Logitech G910 Orion Spark Review
Editor's note: The original version of this article wrongly stated the ERP as S$269. This has been corrected to reflect the actual ERP of S$249. So you're finally in the market for a Mechanical Keyboard, but you don't want a spartan Ducky or no-frills Filco — no, you're looking for something with a little more bling to reflect your colorful personality. You want one of those newfangled RGB LED backlit mechanical gaming keyboards with 16.8million colors. And maybe you've heard that Logitech is stepping up their game in the gamingmouse market and you're wondering if they sell matching keyboards. Well, dear reader, rejoice! Because Logitech's G910 Orion Spark is here!
But if you want the flash, you've gotta part with cash, and the G910 and its ERP of S$249 should give budget-conscious gamers some pause. So before we rush headlong into any big peripheral purchasing decisions, let's discuss what kind of bang you'll be getting for your buck.
Logitech touts the G910 to be "the world's fastest mechanical gaming keyboard". This is because of their proprietary "Romer G" mechanical switches that actuate at a distance of 1.5mm. This coupled with the fact that key presses only require a mere 45g of force to actuate the Romer G switches makes using the G910 feel quick and responsive when in gaming. I would liken the feel of Romer G switches to slightly quieter and slightly more sensitive Cherry MX Brown switches, so if, like me, you're already a fan of Cherry MX Browns, Romer Gs will be right up your alley. According to Logitech's website, Romer G switches are also supposed to be rated for 70million actuations and are thus 40% more durable than the competition. It's clear Logitech put quite a lot of effort into R&D for these switches, and they're quite pleasant to use, so I look forward to seeing these switches on more products, but more on this later.
Aesthetically-speaking, the G910 takes some getting used to. Even if we were only comparing it to its flashy RGB keyboard competition, this is one of the louder designs you'll find on the market. From the large Logitech "G" series logo on the top left to the G910 model number below the left Alt key (both of which are RGB lit by default) to the overall asymmetrical shape of the device, this is a peripheral that just screams "DO NOT BRING ME TO THE OFFICE IF YOU VALUE YOUR CAREER".
The odd shape of the G910 is accentuated by whichever one of the two included-in-box detachable plastic wrist rests you decide to use. These are asymmetric because Logitech assumes (correctly) that gamers will spend most of your time with your left hand on WASD and your right hand on the mouse, so the rest heavily favors the left palm. I quite like the comfort of the larger of the two rests — Logitech really nailed the size and slope of this piece of plastic, so kudos to them.
Another thing they've gotten right are the media controls. Sure, these things are usually an afterthought — a box to check off on the feature list if one is to compete in the premium gaming keyboard market — but unlike some manufacturers who just tack on secondary functions to the F1-9 keys (looking at you, Razer) Logitech has put some fantastic dedicated media controls on the G910, unobtrusively situated just above the numpad. My favorite thing part about this is the analogue scroll wheel volume control — aside from the fact that I don't have to press a button 20 times just to change my Windows audio volume by 40 points, Logitech have got the weight and resistance of this little wheel just right, making this volume wheel an absolute joy to use. Seriously, you guys, every keyboard needs this. Someone please add this to ISO 9995. Thanks.
Seriously, you guys, every keyboard needs this volume wheel. Someone please add this to ISO 9995. Thanks.
And while we're on the topic of ISO 9995, in addition to the standard keyboard layout keys, the G910 has 9 "G" keys that can be programmed using Logitech's proprietary complementary gaming software. The G910 also has three "M" buttons to switch between three profiles for a total of 27 programmable inputs. Next to the M1 M2 and M3 buttons is the confusingly named MR button, or Macro Record button. As the name suggests, this allows you to quickly and simply assign a series of keystrokes to any "G" key. All these bells and whistles would be rendered meaningless if not for the excellent usability of Logitech's proprietary gaming software. We've lauded this software in the past when we reviewed Logitech's G402 and G502 mice, and I can confirm that in the context of the G910 the software is just as intuitive. When compared to the Razer and Corsair utilities for customizing their respective keyboard's RGB lighting, Logitech's software is by far the simplest to use. As an added plus, if you have an iOS or Android device on the same network as your PC you can download Logitech's ARX app which allows you to use your phone or tablet as a media controller. Probably not one of the main factors of consideration when weighing your keyboard purchasing options, but it's a nice little touch nonetheless.
It's little details like this that make it clear that Logitech put a lot of care and thought into the design of the G910 Orion Spark — they got so many things right, and they went the extra mile to really polish up the user experience. So it is with a heavy heart that I write these next few words: the G910 is a terrible keyboard. Or at least, the G910 is terrible at being a keyboard.
The G910's failure to be a reliably accurate keyboard started off as a niggling annoyance but eventually grew into a fully blown rage-inducing deal breaker
Let me explain.
Logitech made one tiny but significant misstep with the G910: they tried but failed to improve on standard keycaps. The keycaps on the G910 were designed for gamers and are sculpted to help prevent mistyping, or so claims the Logitech website — this couldn't be further from the truth. The keycaps on the G910 are supposed to cradle your fingers to keep them on WASD keys (or ESDF keys if you're a goddamn heretic); unfortunately the bottom corners of each key are slightly raised, which means that your fingers tend to catch on these raised corners as your hands move across the keyboard. Couple this with the increased sensitivity of the Romer G switches and you have the perfect storm for mishit keys. Over the two months that I've had this keyboard, I've found my typing accuracy to be severely diminished.
And this problem isn't limited to work-use — it sometimes rears its ugly head while I'm gaming! While playing an MMO I found myself accidentally activating the wrong skills when I mishit the wrong number keys. I would not trust this keyboard in a high-pressure raid situation. Just sayin'. The G910's failure to be a reliably accurate keyboard started off as a niggling annoyance but eventually grew into a fully blown rage-inducing deal breaker for me.
Now this wouldn't be that big a deal if only the G910 had Cherry MX switches — in which case I would simply replace all the keycaps on the keyboard with sanely-shaped ones. I like this keyboard a lot! A whole lot! Enough that I would put in the effort to make this relationship work. Unfortunately the G910 uses proprietary Romer G switches — Logitech doesn’t sell standard-shaped replacement keycaps, and presently you cannot buy any normally-shaped 3rd party Romer G compatible keycaps on the internet. G910 users are stuck using these horrible keycaps for the foreseeable future.
In closing, I have a love-hate relationship with the G910 Orion Spark. Logitech made some great design choices here, but those abysmal keycaps ruin the overall experience; more's the pity because they came so close to a masterpiece with this keyboard. I wouldn't recommend the G910 until we get either 1st or 3rd party manufactured normally-shaped replacement keycaps to fit the Romer G switches. Let's hope Logitech fixes their keycaps in the next iteration of the G910 — maybe if they were to release a 2015 edition or something.