Esports are big business now. And with millions of dollars wrapped up in prizes and sponsorship, hardware makers are starting to cater to a new category of athlete. But while the resulting gear might be designed with professional gamers in mind, it turns out it can be pretty fantastic for the rest of us too.
Logitech’s new G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is based on the company’s G810 gaming keyboard, but for pro gamers who find themselves travelling the world from tournament to tournament, with a mountain of hardware in tow. The G Pro is actually a more compact version of the Logitech G810, ditching the numeric keypad on the far right in favour of a smaller footprint that leaves more room for a mouse, and more room in a suitcase.
Lots of travel on these keys, but the Romer-G switches are still immediately responsive.
Instead of Cherry switches, which you most commonly hear about when people talk mechanical keyboards, the G Pro uses Logitech’s proprietary Romer-G mechanical switches which register each button press well before the key reaches the bottom of its travel. When translated from marketing-talk to English, it means a faster response time for gamers who rely on making split-second decisions faster than their opponents do. For the rest of us, it means a whole different typing experience than what the flat chiclet-style keys on your laptop offer.
We had the chance to pound away on the G Pro for an afternoon, and although it took us about five minutes to get used to its comparatively gigantic keys, typing on the keyboard was pure joy. Its keys are satisfyingly firm to press, but thanks to those Romer-G switches, as responsive as the flat keys on your laptop. We assumed that typing on a mechanical keyboard would feel like trying to forcefully pop bubble wrap using just a single finger, but the G Pro somehow felt even more comfortable than the laptop keyboards we’ve been using for years. It isn’t quite as quiet. However, the G Pro also won’t enrage your co-workers with a deafening non-stop barrage of key clacks.
You’ll probably never need to replace the keyboard’s included microUSB cable.
Just don’t mistake the G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for one of the slim, lightweight wireless keyboards Logitech makes for iPads. Despite shedding the numerical keypad, this keyboard is still thick and heavy, thanks to a reinforced steel back plate. You’re going to want to use it perched on a desk at all times, if only because there’s no wireless connectivity. (That would add unwanted lag to a professional gamer’s movements.) It’s a strictly USB affair, with an impressively reinforced cable and connector that will probably be the last thing on the G Pro to break.
The lack of Bluetooth and hefty dimensions for what is supposed to be a compact, travel-friendly keyboard seem like it would be a deal-breaker for anyone other than a well-funded professional gamer. But for anyone who spends long hours at a keyboard sniping typos instead of opponents, the wonderful typing experience the $US130 ($172) G Pro provides is exactly why mechanical keyboards have been making a comeback. Australian pricing and availability has not yet been confirmed.