Although I’ve worked in tech for around 15 years now, I’d never owned a mechanical keyboard. When I worked for IBM, there were a couple of older, long-haired, Linux admins who still rocked some classic beige mechanical keyboards but I never saw the appeal. They were loud and that meant they were pretty annoying for most of the people around us. Still, though, the idea stuck - why did they love them so much?
I’d never put much stock in my own keyboards, I’m pretty happy to use whatever keyboard was in front of me - though I’ve bought a few over the years, from small Logitech wireless keyboards to a personal favourite in the full-sized Apple chiclet keyboard. So it was time to find out what they (and the internet) love about mechanical keyboards, and I picked up the Logitech G413.
Mechanical keyboards tend to serve the gaming market so are often styled in what marketers assume are gaming colours - bright reds, greens, and other garish combos. The Logitech G413, however, comes in two muted colours - a brushed light metal (Silver) with white led backlighting and a darker version (Carbon) with red backlighting. I really prefer my peripherals in muted colours - so I went for the “Silver” version. I love the light grey, black keycap and white backlight combination but some of the older folks around the office we less impressed with the look of the keyboard.
It is also a frameless keyboard which is what drew me to the device in the first place. I really like the design and how prominent the keys are. Again, some other folks around the office wondered whether the rest of the keyboard was still in the box so it’s definitely not for everyone.
Switches and keycaps
So the internet loves a good switch debate - Cherry MX Browns versus Reds etc. This keyboard uses a different switch - called Romer-G by Logitech and made by Omron. Although I have no personal experience with the Cherry MX Browns a few websites have compared them to I have to say I’m really liking the typing experience. Both at home and work machines I was using chiclet-style keyboards so this was a big leap. Both in terms of hand position and level of noise. But the keys are not as loud as I thought they would be. To be honest - they are no louder than a couple of old non-mechanical HP keyboards that a few people around me are using.
The keycaps on this keyboard are not the grooved keycaps from the rest of the Logitech mechanical gaming range, though they do include replacements for certain keys (WASD, 12345) in the box if that’s your thing. I don’t think I’ll be swapping them out but nice to have them included here.
I was amazed at how heavy the board was when I took it out of the box - it has a great feeling of weight to it. The base is a solid plastic topped with an aluminium alloy so it looks solid too. There’s a slight movement in the keys but they feel good when typing. The dual USB cable (for a USB pass-through port on the keyboard) is nicely braided. I’ve noticed a trend of people drilling their desk to let the keyboard cable through but the position and thickness of this cable might not be ideal for that, so if you’re going for that clean look, this keyboard might not be great for that.
While overall I like the keyboard a lot, I have a couple of small gripes with the keyboard.
There is no num lock indicator light. Working in IT I use the Numpad quite a bit although I’m used to not having a numpad on my laptop keyboards. But for a full-size keyboard, it’s nice to know if the numpad is going to act the way I think it’s going to act before I hit the keys. I end up hitting the num lock button a few times now before using it so that the installed Logitech software will pop up a little notification and tell me whether its on or not.
The Logitech software seems pretty superfluous apart from the aforementioned num lock notification. The backlights now “breath” - and there are some game profiles but I was happy enough without it installed for the first day. Your mileage may vary.
Some people will be sad to see the lack of custom keycaps for the keyboard, but that doesn’t bother me much. However, it looks like DAS keyboards are using a very similar switch (Gamma Zulu) in their upcoming keyboards so that might change. The only difference might be a 0.5mm height difference - we’ll see if that changes anything. See here for more details.
While this is an expensive keyboard, I am initially very satisfied with it. I’ve started to notice that I get some tiredness in my hands from the raised keys but any shift to mechanical from chiclet was going to do this to me. In fact, the lower keyboards were actually encouraging pretty bad hand positioning in general. The build quality is great, the styling is exactly what I was looking for, and I’m very happy with how the switches and keycaps feel. Maybe in a couple of weeks, I won’t ever want to type on anything else. Now my only problem is that I’ve decided to leave it in work, so I may have to buy a second one for home!
You can buy it from Amazon here - Logitech G413. (Affiliate link)