Here we go again folks! Another mechanical keyboard review and it’s another Logitech. I gave the G710+ fairly high praise due to its G-keys, Cherry MX Brown switches and built-in on-the-fly macro programming. Well, it’s been a while and Logitech has been busy. Busy releasing the G910 Orion Spark and now the G410 Atlas Spectrum which I will review for your reading pleasure.
At first glance, you can tell that the keyboard conforms with Logitech’s design standards – it’s predominantly black, has light blue trims, angled frame design to catch the eye, and of course, lighting. It’s designed just differently enough to probably split users’ opinions on what “cool” looks like. Logitech has been hard at work merging unique looks with utilitarian design and the results have been somewhat mixed of late. More on that later.
Let’s get the things I didn’t like and or had mixed feelings about out of the way here. First and foremost, I absolutely hate the lack of a real wrist rest. Even back in the day, rocking out with a beige no-name brand keyboard, playing Quake Team Fortress, I had to rest my wrists on something. Luckily, options were near to limitless. Just run out to CompUSA or Computer City, plunk down 10 to 15 bucks for a gel-filled or foam rest and call it a day. Later on, most manufactures started packaging sloped wrist rests along with their fancier products. Corsair uses rests that actually attach to the keyboard via two metal screws. Logitech had something similar going back to the original G15 days. Albeit it was in the form of plastic tabs that snapped in but it was still something. The G410 Atlas Spectrum doesn’t come with a wrist rest attachment. Rather, it’s built into the frame, sort of. There is space on which you can rest your game-weary wrists on but it’s far too shallow and there is not enough real estate to do so comfortably. The angled design of the keyboard’s front lip also prevents the use of a third party wrist rest as well.
I hate to say this but the feature that I had mixed feelings on is what the keyboard is basically built around – the switches. This time around, in comparison with the flagship G910 Orion Spark, Logitech decided to forgo the vaunted and de facto industry standard Cherry MX switches in favor of their internally developed Romer-G switches. They work great – I love the linear action and quick actuation but they feel a little off. Pressing the keys gave me a sensation of being lost somewhere between silicone squishy-land and the solid travel and bottoming out of Cherry MX. I have to admit that it took a little getting used to and I’m not sure if I like it. So yeah, mixed feelings.
Some brands of keyboards are known to go for the big flash and gimmicks to grab attention. For example, I remember a keyboard that Thermaltake put out a number of years ago that had a mini fan to address those sweat inducing moments in gaming. Another one that comes to mind is a keyboard made by Mad Catz that had a built-in second touch screen and a modular number pad. That aside, Logitech’s gimmicks throughout the years never went past a small LCD screen, since I don’t count the programmable G Keys as gimmicks, and the plateau in terms of that was reached with the old G19 keyboard.
This time around, Logitech decided to stick with the second screen concept but moved that workload off to your smartphone. In addition, the feature has an official name too: Arx Control. It’s pretty neat on paper. You can connect to your PC via local WiFi and get a glimpse at how your system is running: CPU core temperature, HDD and Memory Usage, etc. It’s neat except that with free programs like Core Temp and PrecisionX, you can set up alerts and actually make use of the information presented. It’s neat and all but not all that useful. Another thing you can do with Arx Control is launch games on your rig remotely from your phone. Again, pretty cool but you can run into issues when trying to run games that require a launcher such as Warframe, Tera and Fallout 4. You need to run the launcher from your PC first, THEN use Arx to launch the core executable for the game. It’s maddening. By the way, yes, you can check out the programmed G-Keys in Arx Control. But guess what, that’s all you can do. Sadly, it’s just an informational screen; no customization to be found here. #sadface.
The potential is there but seriously, I don’t know anyone who makes consistent use of a second screen when gaming. I get it, you can use the phone holder which neatly slides out from the top of the keyboard to prop up your phone below your monitor. That would allow you to check gas or tach while playing a racing game, but again not really useful in most situations. Personally, I find it hard to take my eyes off the screen at all while playing a really involved game because that usually means a quick death in twitch shooters and it breaks immersion. I hate to say it guys but Arx is a no go in my book.
However, there are some really good features that I want to talk about too! The G410 was made for the LAN warrior, it’s true. Logitech had gaming pros in mind when they designed the keyboard. Most mechanical keyboards are usually built on a metal backplane but instead the G410 was purposely engineered to be lightweight for easy travel. In addition, the lighting is pretty kick-ass. Logitech’s gaming software allows for pretty much an infinite number of lighting related customization. From lighting behavior on key press to setting profile-specific lighting schemes, it’s actually quite fun to play with.
The media button cluster hasn’t gone away either, just taken a different form. This time around, Logitech employed a Function key to manipulate volume and playback controls to further save space on the keyboard. I’ve never been a fan of using Fn keys but it works well here and I haven’t run into any issues as of yet.
As a keyboard, the G410 Atlas Spectrum gets the job done. I’m having a hard time recommending it though. The MSRP for the keyboard is $129.99. If Logitech had thrown in a few G-Keys I would have had an easier time recommending this keyboard. As it stands however, with the questionable Arx Control and uncomfortable lack of ergonomic design of the lip, it’s simply not worth the asking price. For about the same price, a comparable mechanical alternative without the fancy RGB lighting can be had for your typing/gaming pleasure. If you’re gaming road warrior who’s grown tired to lugging around a heavy full sized mechanical keyboard, this just may suit you but that’s about it.
I really wanted to like this keyboard. I like the little flash and the fun RGB lighting. The Function button-reliant media keys had me wary yet it worked really well. However, it’s just not enough. I’m hoping that this is just a “1.0” device and that Logitech is just waiting to surprise the market with something really cool like an updated G710+ or (I know I always mention this in all my Logitech reviews) and updated G9x gaming mouse. Until then, I’m going back to my G710+.
Feel free to check out the G410 Atlas Spectrum for yourself here.
† Review sample provided by Logitech.