Logitech G915 Lightspeed TKL long-term test: The Magic Keyboard for gaming

RRP $ 230.00

"The Logitech G915 TKL is an expensive gaming keyboard that easily deserves its price."

advantages

  • Excellent typing experience

  • Bright RGB lighting

  • Fast wireless technology

  • Long battery life

  • Error-free, useful software

disadvantage

  • Expensive

  • Incompatible with most mechanical keyboard accessories

Logitech's G915 is for gamers who want the aesthetics of Apple's Magic Keyboard with the feel of a mechanical switch (plus a good dose of RGB). I've searched far and wide for a keyboard that gets the look and feel to the point, and after browsing dozens of low-profile options, I turned to Logitech's latest G915 TKL.

It's not as sturdy as a full-size board and, like many Logitech peripherals, the price is too high. However, the combination of Lightspeed wireless technology, rather unique low-profile switches, and rock-solid build quality makes the G915 feel like it deserves its award.

It's a keyboard that manages games and typing well, and it's a show stopper in the visual department. Although it took me a while to get used to Logitech's flat keycaps and switches, I loved the balance the G915 offers – and after months of non-stop use, I never return to a full keyboard at any point Size back soon.

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Logitech G915 TKL on an orange background. Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Logitech G915 is available in two versions: Either full-size or a Tenkeyless (TKL) design. I got my hands on the TKL version that omits the number pad that normally occupies the right side of the board. TKL boards have become increasingly popular in recent years – take the Corsair K70 RGB TKL for example – and that's a trend I can follow.

A little extra space on your desk goes a long way towards gaming, and the overall slim design of the G915 TKL makes it appear a lot smaller than it actually is. Logitech sells a version with a number pad, but if you don't need one for hotkeys in programs like Adobe Premiere or Pro Tools, stick with the TKL model.

The design of the G915 TKL is simple but beautiful. It's a brushed aluminum plate that some buttons stick to, but it still looks better than boards like the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini.

There are mutliple reasons for this. First the RGB lighting. Even at full brightness, the lighting barely shines out of the sides of the keys, with most of the light being directed towards the top of the keycap. Second is the limited number of extra buttons that help keep it functional without leaving the deep end.

The design of the G915 TKL is simple but beautiful.

Outside the buttons, you have access to four media buttons, four function buttons and a volume wheel. The four function keys do different things. There's a brightness button that lets you toggle through five levels of brightness (including Off), as well as a game mode switch that turns off the Windows key. You can use the supplied G-Hub software to deactivate all the buttons you want in game mode.

The other two buttons are for inputs, either Logitech's own Lightspeed wireless technology or Bluetooth. You can switch seamlessly between Lightspeed and Bluetooth at the touch of a button, which is a big win for the G915. It's small enough to use on the couch with something like the Nvidia Shield, and I appreciated being able to jump back and forth without reconnecting dongles or messing around with pairing.

Function keys on the Logitech G915 TKL.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Logitech sells a wired version of the G915 (called the G815), but it's only slightly cheaper than the wireless version. Wireless peripherals have gotten a lot better over the past few years, and Lightspeed is an example of that. It's impossible to tell the difference between wired and wireless, even in troubled shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The volume wheel feels great. It's made of metal and offers a smooth adjustment over the edge of the board, making quick volume changes a breeze. I just wish that the quality is transferred to the media and function keys. They are made of a soft rubber material and feel squishy. I didn't miss any input while using them, but they still don't feel good.

In addition to the keyboard, the scope of delivery also includes a Logitech micro-USB cable, the Lightspeed USB receiver and a USB range extender. Crucially, the G915 TKL lacks a palm rest, which is hard to swallow for $ 230. However, when using the G915, I didn't miss a palm rest.

I use a desk pad for my keyboard and mouse. Given the G915's slim shape – it's only 0.9 inches tall – my wrists rest comfortably on my desk pad without having to bend up. This is great in my situation, but not ideal if you don't have a desk pad. Slim palm rests only cost about $ 15, so it would have been nice to see one in the box.

Switch and power

Turns on the Logitech G915 TKL keyboard.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I prefer a traditional brown switch for typing because it offers the tactile feedback of a blue switch without the annoying click. The G915 TKL does not use a mechanical Cherry MX switch or one of its derivatives, but one of Logitech's GL switches, which approximates the feel of a full-size Cherry switch.

There are three options available: Clicky, Tactile or Linear, which correspond to a Cherry MX Blue, Brown or Red switch. I chose the Tactile Switch to find a balance between my daily typing and gaming. Cherry makes some low-profile switches, but not a Brown variant, which makes the Tactile switch perfect for my purposes.

I've always struggled between writing and playing, and the tactile switch compromises that I can live with. It's not as pleasant to tap as a full-sized brown switch, and the gaming experience doesn't come close to a red switch. But the balance between the two is excellent. Gaming feels better thanks to the shorter travel distance and writing still feels tactile.

The thinner profile, however, took some getting used to. The G915 itself is angled, but the keys live on a flat plane. That increases the chance of accidentally sliding up or down in a row while typing or gaming, which I did a lot when I first picked up the G915 TKL. Fortunately, after a few weeks with the keyboard, I got used to the slightly different typing experience.

Profile of the Logitech G915 TKL keyboard.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Although the Tactile Switch comes close to a Cherry MX Brown, it is not an exact copy. Logitech's switch is 1.5mm actuation distance, while a full size switch is 2mm apart. When you poke the key, the Logitech switch can travel up to 2.7mm while a full size switch can travel 4mm.

The greater difference takes effect. The Logitech Tactile Switch requires 60 grams of force to reach the tactile point, while a Cherry MX Brown is slightly lighter at 55 grams. It's a small change, but the added pressure makes all the difference in a low-profile design. The added power makes the tactile switch feel closer to a full size switch despite having a much smaller stroke.

The switches from Logitech hold up well against the Cherry competition.

Although the switch bears Logitech's GL branding, it actually comes from Kailh's Choc range. There are few keyboards that come with these switches and no options that I could find from big brands. However, there are more boutique boards like the Morgrie RKB 68 that they use, and this board is cheaper than the G915 TKL.

Nevertheless, the switches in the G915 have a compromise. They're not perfect for gaming or perfect for typing, but both are good enough to make a living. As long as you're ready to adjust to a slightly different typing experience, Logitech's switches hold up well against the Cherry competition.

Unfortunately, these are still Logitech switches and, like previous designs, are not compatible with other keycaps. There aren't many low profile keycaps out there right now, but it would have been nice to see additional universal support as more sets inevitably pop up.

That makes mechanical keyboards like the Roccat Vulcan TKL and Cooler Master SK630 a little more attractive – especially compared to the G915. Both keyboards use the standard cross for Cherry switches, which makes replacing the keycaps a breeze.

G-Hub software

I don't mess around with bundled keyboard software much. In most cases, I set the lighting I want and let the software quietly eat up system resources in the background. Logitech's G-Hub is different. It's functional, easy to use, and – critically – free of errors. How to make peripheral software.

Animation window in Logitech G-Hub.

The lighting is divided into three categories: presets, freestyle and animations. Presets give you access to standard RGB effects like breathing and a color wave, Freestyle lets you paint colors on any key you want, and animations allow you to create a chain of unique color changes.

Although there are other software out there with more options – Corsair iCUE in particular – G-Hub still offers a good level of customization. It's easy to use for someone who wants to set and forget about RGB while still offering various effects and animations. You can even set the lighting to match what is displayed on your screen or how an audio visualizer works.

You can also automatically synchronize the G915 with other Lightsync products from Logitech, as well as use special lighting effects in supported games. For example, you can see your ammo bar in Borderlands 3, as well as instantly see your critical keys in Final Fantasy XIV. Only a small number of games are supported, but ramping up a supported title was a nice treat.

The lights will take you to G-Hub, but that won't keep you there. You can reassign each key, set up macros and assign system functions such as copy and paste. This isn't unusual for a gaming keyboard, but G-Hub makes mapping macros feel effortless. You can quickly drag functions such as Alt + Tab from a pool onto a function key and switch between commands and macros with an optional G-Shift key.

Macro panel in the Logitech G-Hub.

When you've set everything up to your liking, you can save three macro and two lighting profiles on board and cycle through them with a key of your choice (the first four function keys by default).

Finally, you can view your battery level in G-Hub as well as your remaining battery life. Logitech rates the G915 TKL for 40 hours of use at 100% brightness (30 hours for the full version), but you get a lot more than that. The keyboard automatically goes into sleep mode after a while to save battery life when not on Your desk.

I've used the G915 TKL at 50% brightness for months, and with semi-continuous use of 10 to 12 hours a day, I usually have to charge the battery every couple of weeks. This time is significantly reduced at full brightness, but the buttons emit a lot of light even at lower brightness levels and save you a lot of battery life.

The G915 uses a micro USB cable for charging and you can continue to use the keyboard while it is charging. Although Logitech includes a micro-USB cable in the box, I would have preferred USB-C for charging. At least in my case, USB-C has become the standard on all of my devices, so I can quickly swap out a new cable if I inevitably lose the one that came with the package. With the G915 TKL, I have to dig through a stack of three-foot micro-USB cables to find one that actually extends to the connector.

However, that's proof of the G915 – I charge it so infrequently that I don't have a dedicated cable on my desk. Still, USB-C isn't all that much of a demand for a $ 230 keyboard, especially one that's still fairly new.

Our opinion

The Logitech G915 TKL is overpriced when compared to other keyboards that offer the same or a similar low-profile experience. The combination of wireless connectivity, useful media and function keys, a robust construction and error-free software makes the G915 TKL deserve its price.

It creates a balance between typing and gaming that I enjoy, and it looks amazing when it's on my desk. It takes some time to adapt to the low profile switches, but in my many months of using the G915 TKL, I've never felt the need to go back to a full-size switch.

The downside is, like other Logitech peripherals, you don't have options for third-party accessories. As someone who likes to swap out keycaps and experiment with different switches, I know that the G915 TKL will lie dormant in my keyboard graveyard at some point. It hasn't got there yet, however, and that's a good sign.

Are there alternatives?

Yes, but not much. The Roccat Vulcan TKL and Cooler Master Cooler Master SK630 are both cheaper low-profile alternatives, although they don't have WiFi and use different switches. The G915 is quite unique in its combination of switches and wireless technology, but there are boutique options that use the same switches with a cord.

How long it will take?

Logitech's GL switches are designed for 50 million actuations. The number of keystrokes depends, of course, on how often you use your keyboard. With general use, the G915 will last for several decades and even then it could still have a little life.

Should you buy it?

Yes, but look for it on offer. The G915 has some obvious flaws and is incompatible with most mechanical keyboard accessories. It's a fantastic low-profile option, but Logitech can charge a steep price considering how few real competitors there are in this category.

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