KeyboardsPC Hardware Reviews

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard

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Observation

The G13 feels a little cramped for my (larger than average) hand; I cannot use the bottom row of keys, or the two “clicky” buttons (near the joystick) without serious hand movement.  I imagine with average or small hands, this would fit a bit more naturally.  Ergonomically, the control stick needs some work.  Its small, hard and round design makes it difficult to control. To move the stick in the back or right directions, I often had to move my thumb and push against the side of the stick, instead of just pulling it from the top.  A simple rubber dome would make the stick infinitely easier to use.

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard G13, Keyboard, Logitech 1

As noted earlier in the review, the “analog stick” has been crippled.  It is only capable of emulating 4 digital switches (although the hardware itself is analog).  An unconfirmed posting in a Logitech forum claims that a future update will enable true analog function, but at the present that is unavailable.  3rd party coders have created custom software that allows the functionality, but I could not test it due to 64-bit compatibility issues.

The single feature of the G13 that was most useful (to me) was the ability to reproduce “text blocks” with keystroke delays.  This allowed me to navigate repetitive in-game menus extremely fast.  While this function is reproducible with the macro recording ability, I found it much easier to type in a block of text and tell it how long between each keystroke I wanted, as opposed to recording a macro with delays and hitting keys madly (often took me several tries to make a macro that worked).

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard G13, Keyboard, Logitech 2Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard G13, Keyboard, Logitech 3

Other useful functions allow you to bind keys to tools like Calculator and Internet, or a shortcut.  The only severe limitation in terms of button assignments is that you have to assign a keystroke to the G-keys (besides the shortcut exceptions obviously).  Games and programs will not recognize the key G6 for example unless you bind it to a key. So instead of G6, my games see “R”.  This is not significant in games that require sequences or key combinations.   

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As I was testing out the G13, I ran into a few software “glitches” that ultimately ended up being unexpected features of the product.   The biggest thing I ran into was the G13’s classification as a Windows SideShow device.  This allows the LCD screen to be used as a secondary display for programs like Windows Mail and Media Player (WMP).  Unfortunately, it also means that when you close a Windows Media Player window, your computer will assume that you still have the SideShow application running on your G13 and continue playing whatever media you were listening to.   The simple fix is to just hit “stop” before you close the WMP window, but you can also open Windows Sideshow configuration and uncheck all the settings for WMP.

Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard G13, Keyboard, Logitech 4Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard G13, Keyboard, Logitech 5

Another annoying thing was that the GamePanel LCD screen would get stuck showing the current profile for my racing wheel.  This was quite annoying because i would look over to see the time, current song, or memory usage, and boom “Profile: Race 07” would be sitting on the screen instead of useful information.  This was a simple fix (after I banged my head on the desk for a few hours): just deselect the wheel’s driver in the LCD control panel.

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