Is Mechanical Mandatory?
A gaming keyboard with RGB lighting and Mech-Dome keys
The Logitech G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard offers the company's unique Mech-Dome keys and customizable RGB lighting effects, and it faces some stiff competition in a market overflowing with gaming keyboards for every budget (including mechanical options). But it really comes down to performance, feel, and usability; and I was interested in giving these new Mech-Dome keys a try.
“The G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard features Logitech Mech-Dome keys that are specially tuned to deliver a superior tactile response and performance profile similar to a mechanical keyboard. Mech-Dome keys are full height, deliver a full 4mm travel distance, 50g actuation force, and a quiet sound operation.
The G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard was designed for gaming, featuring ultra-quick, responsive feedback that is up to 4x faster than the 8ms report rate of standard keyboards and an anti-ghosting matrix that keeps you in control when you press multiple gaming keys simultaneously.”
I will say that at $69.99 the G213 plays in a somewhat odd space relative to the current gaming keyboard market; though it would be well positioned in a retail setting, where at a local Best Buy it would be a compelling option vs. a $100+ mechanical option. But savvy internet shoppers see the growing number of <$70 mechanical keyboards available and might question the need for a ‘quasi-mechanical’ option like this. I don’t review products from a marketing perspective, however, and I simply set out to determine if the G213 is a well-executed product on the hardware front.
Specifications from Logitech:
- Technical Specification
- Connection Type: USB 2.0
- Indicator Lights (LED): Yes
- LCD Display: No
- Backlighting: RGB
- Cable Length: 6 ft (1.8 M)
- Spill resistance:
- Tested with 60ml liquid spillage
- Physical Specifications
- Height: 8.6 in (218 mm)
- Width: 17.8 in (452 mm)
- Depth: 1.3 in (33 mm)
- Weight: 2.4 lbs (1000 g)
- Warranty: 2-Year Limited Hardware Warranty
- System Requirements
- Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7
- USB port
- Internet connection for optional software download
- Pricing and Availability: $69.99, Amazon.com
An aspect of the keyboard's specifications to keep in mind is the liquid spill resistance; a feature which might affect a purchasing decision depending on usage environment.
“The G213 Prodigy membrane and keyframe construction design is built for real life, delivering spill resistance tested to 60ml liquid rating. The result is a keyboard built to contend with the realities of everyday gaming.”
Now we'll take a closer look at the G213 keyboard, which arrives in the standard Logitech packaging.
At 2.4 lbs the G213 feels quite solid, and it has a sturdy build. This is a very standard keyboard layout, and while there are multimedia buttons there are no dedicated macro keys.
The base of the keyboard has quite a bit of a hard foam material that does a very good job of keeping the G213 in place on your desk or table top.
The bottom flip-out feet are very sturdy, and have the same hard foam material to prevent slippage.
Finally, the USB cable has a nice braided construction with a 6-foot length.
I used the G213 for a full month before writing these impressions, and to begin with, the 4 mm key travel and 50g actuation force makes the G213 feel almost like a mechanical keyboard. In fact, there were times that I forgot that I was on a membrane keyboard as I clacked away on CES news stories last month. But there is a slightly spongy quality to the key-presses that would eventually remind me that it was not actually mechanical; though it is the closest to that experience that I’ve encountered. Does that make any sense, though? This is the problem for the G213: what is the advantage of a quasi-mechanical experience for the same price as a similar mechanical option? Does mechanical even matter if it's a solid keyboard that does what you need it to do?
The lighting effects are a big part of the G213 Prodigy, handled as always by Logitech’s Gaming Software application. Lighting is first-rate, as zoned RGB lighting goes, and make this look every bit the modern RGB gaming keyboard. Of course you can choose to disable lighting entirely, or set the color anything you wish. (I preferred the 'color wave' effect, set to a moderate speed, with all of the colors slowly moving across the keys.)
The layout is very basic, and there are no dedicated macro keys or the like. This is not to say that it doesn’t have gaming “chops”, as the keys are quite responsive and it offers a polling rate that is, according to Logitech, “up to 4x faster than the 8ms report rate of standard keyboards”. The keyboard also features anti-ghosting, though the specifications do not indicate how many keys may be simultaneously pressed. I had no issues in that department to report.
In my use, mostly as a productivity keyboard, though I did a little gaming, I found the typing experience to be a little less ‘crisp’ overall than a mechanical keyboard, though the lower noise output was certainly a good thing when my one-year-old was sleeping. Couple the lower noise with spill resistance, and the G213 Prodigy starts to look very kid-friendly, actually.
The G213 keyboard is very well made, has a nice lighting implementation (if you’re into that sort of thing) that is fully customizable using Logitech’s software, and offers an experience that is very close to a mechanical option with the Mech-Dome keys. $69.99 might be a little high when you look at the increasing market for these under $100 gaming keyboards, many of which are using mechanical key-switches, but the G213 is an well-realized product, nonetheless.