Gaming keyboards aren’t new as we have a review of one from Saitek
that our reviewer Ben Berry really liked. I haven’t changed keyboards much because other than some multimedia keys, I was pretty comfortable with what I have. Logitech though is looking to change that with their new keyboard aimed at gamers. So with that we look at the next product in the G line, the G15
Let’s just get to the feature that makes this keyboard really stand out first: the LCD display. The LCD display sites at the top center of the keyboard and can be tilt adjusted or closed all the way when not in use. It’s backlit with the brightness and contrast being adjustable in three different phases.
Five buttons control the LCD unit with one display switch and four general buttons.
From the beginning with the drivers installed, you can see the LCD panel in action displaying the date, time, and rotating to your CPU and RAM usage. While it doesn't have temperature and other computer settings, it's still a great sample of what the LCD panel can do for you in monitoring your computer. The clock display can also be configured to display various types of clock dials as well. The information can be set to flip between various plugins or be manually cycled. There's also a setting to vary the speed at which the display cycles.
Of course that’s just not all that it can display. When playing music in a media program, it can show the title and artist of the file being played whether it is a music file or video file. As you can see, there are plenty of programs that are already compatible with the keyboard: iTunes, MusicMatch, Media Player, Winamp to name a few.
Notifications also extend to email and instant messages. For supported programs, you will be notified of when an unread email is sitting in your inbox. The popular email programs are supported such as Microsoft’s Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. The LCD screen can also notify you if someone’s messaging you. This feature can be useful say if you’re in the middle of a game and you’re waiting on someone to message you. Now, you won’t need to get out of the game to check who it is as the LCD display will tell you. Pretty sweet eh? Currently the program I use, GAIM, isn’t supported but it can be added in later on by Logitech or even by you. More on that in a minute.
One feature of the LCD that I am anxiously waiting for support would be to see stats in game. The screenshot shows an example such as having all your ammo info on hand. With that you can minimize some of the HUD and have information on the LCD so that it doesn’t clutter the screen. There's only one game out right now that supports the LCD in game and that's Brothers In Arms: Earned in Blood
. As you can see from the screenshot below your ammo, clips, and grenades are displayed. As I was firing my gun, the ammo number went down in real time. Reloading and throwing a grenade also had the same result. It's a small taste of what can be possible in game. I'm really hoping to see some past titles support the LCD panel such as Battlefield 2
and hope more titles are announced soon.
Logitech’s decision to release the SDK is a great move in my opinion. If you know some C or C++, you can use the SDK to develop your own plugins for the LCD. Just off the top of my head I can think of a ton of new features I’d love to have such as:
- Ratings for the player that’s currently controlling the puck or basketball
- Ratings for the player currently up at bat
- Batting stats against current pitcher
- Leaderboard for FPS games
- Capture point statuses
- Last orders issued by commander
- Statistics on a server I am monitoring
- ne status of my friends while I am in a game
I can go on and on but you can see there are plenty of applications the LCD panel could be used for and I can’t wait to see what users can come up with.
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