So Long, Battery Stress
We look at a new wireless gaming keyboard and mouse from Logitech G!
Wireless peripherals can be stressful. Sure, we all love being free from the tether, but as time goes on worries about responsiveness linger in the back of the mind like an unwelcome friend. Logitech is here with an impressive answer: the G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and the G603 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse. This pair of peripherals promise an astounding 18-months of battery life with performance that’s competitive with their wire-bound cousins. Did they succeed?
G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- MSRP: $149.99
- Key Switch: Romer-G
- Durability: 70 million keypresses
- Actuation distance: 0.06 in (1.5 mm)
- Actuation force: 1.6 oz (45 g)
- Total travel distance: 0.12 in (3.0 mm)
- Keycaps: ABS, Pad Printed Legends
- Battery Life: 18 months
- Connectivity: Wireless, Bluetooth
- Dimensions: 18.8 x 8.5 inches
G603 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse
- MSRP: $69.99 ($59.97 on Amazon as of this writing)
- Sensor: HERO
- Resolution: 200 – 12,000 dpi
- Max. acceleration: tested at >40G3
- Max. speed: tested at >400 IPS3
- USB data format: 16 bits/axis
- USB report rate: HI mode: 1000 Hz (1ms), LO mode: 125 Hz (8 ms)
- Bluetooth report rate: 88-133 Hz (7.5-11.25 ms)
- Microprocessor: 32-bit ARM
- Main buttons: 20 million clicks with precision mechanical button tensioning
- Battery life: HI mode: 500 hours (non-stop gaming), LO mode: 18 months (standard usage)
- Weight: 3.14 oz (88.9 g) mouse only, 4.79 oz (135.7 g), with 2 AA batteries
Starting with the G613, we find a full-size keyboard that is both longer and wider than average. This is due to a set of six programmable macro keys (highlighted in blue, G1-G6, assignable in Logitech’s Gaming Software) along the left side. There is also a non-detachable wrist rest along the bottom made of hard plastic.
The overall footprint isn’t much larger than a standard full-size keyboard with a wrist rest, it's 18.8 x 8.5 inch dimensions, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re space constrained. I appreciate that Logitech included the wrist rest but with more comfortable padded options out there, it would have been nice to be able to swap it out.
In the upper-right corner of the keyboard, we find our media and connectivity controls. We have our standard track forward/back, play/pause, stop, and volume control. Above the middle function row we find buttons to switch between 2.4GHz wireless and bluetooth, as well as a switch to disable the Windows key for Game Mode.
On both the G613 and G603 gaming mouse, Logitech has incorporated what they call LIGHTSPEED technology. LIGHTSPEED is an end-to-end connectivity solution aimed at addressing the latency and stability issues that have plagued wireless peripherals wireless peripherals for years. The result is a promised response rate of 1000Hz (1ms). This rate is common to high-end wired peripherals and represents quite an accomplishment.
Unfortunately, my own testing capabilities don’t allow for that kind of advanced testing; however, I can offer some anecdotal experience supporting that there’s more to LIGHTSPEED than a bullet point. In extensive game testing, both peripherals performed without compromise. In everything from shooters to turn-based RPGs, both the mouse and keyboard felt exactly like they were wired without needing the desk-cluttering tether. Having reviewed far too many peripherals over the years, this isn’t always the case, and I couldn’t help but be impressed. Even comparing the G603 against Roccat’s Leadr, another “zero latency” wireless gaming mouse, the G603 had a clear edge in consistent responsiveness.
Returning to the 613…
Logitech promises 18-months of life on a single set of AA batteries. That’s a lofty goal and astounding if it holds out (the G613 was only released on November 2017). To accomplish that, they’ve cut out the backlighting that gamers are so fond of. Here, the only lights are for indicators like Caps Lock and Low Battery. In the two months I’ve had the G613, it hasn’t dropped a single bar on the battery indicator even after being left on 24 hours a day.
Like most of Logitech’s mechanical keyboard line, the G613 uses their proprietary Romer-G switches. These switches, made in partnership with Omron, represent a kind of departure from the rest of the mechanical keyboard world. Logitech has abandoned the traditional MX stem in favor of a four-stem design with a hollow center. On other keyboards, this would be used for LED lighting, but since the G613 doesn’t have a backlight, it just gives us a view down to the inner spring.
Romer-G switches can be an acquired taste. They’re closest to Cherry MX Browns. There’s no audible click but instead a tactile bump to let you know when the key actuates. They feel slightly softer under the finger and have a higher tactile bump to create their own distinctive “keyfeel.” Romer-Gs also have a raised actuation point of 1.5mm instead of the average 2mm, making them a full 25-percent more responsive than your average key switch. This gives a clear advantage in games but only if your response time can support it, so don’t buy into the hype quite yet. I’ve actually found quite a bit of enjoyment just typing on them. My wife also appreciates that they’re so much quieter than a typical mechanical switch.
These switches are also rated for an additional 20 million presses over standard Cherries, totaling 70 million actuations in their lifespans.
On the topic of keys, here we can see that Logitech opted for your standard ABS plastic. This is nothing unusual for a gaming keyboard at this price range and they feel fine under the fingers. What is unusual is that they settled on pad printed legends with very clear edges. This type of legending is well known for wearing off over time and I’m concerned the long term durability of the keycaps. Because the edges on the legends are so clear, the first impression is that they’re stickers. They’re coated, of course, so you can’t peel them off (yes, I tried) but it feels cheap when the rest of the board is so well done.
From the side, we can see how slim the keyboard is. While it’s not low profile, it definitely tends in that direction. We also have the on/off switch near the G613 branding.
Finally, moving around to rear, two horizontal tilt feet provide a nice angle if the original is too flat for your taste. A tray for two AA batteries resides along the top edge of the bottom of the case.
G603 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse
Now we come to the G603 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse. Paired with the G613 above, it makes for a great desktop setup for gamers wanting to rid themselves of wires. Like the G603, Logitech promises 18-months of battery life on two AA batteries while still being capable of wired-like gaming performance.
The mouse is moderately sized and sculpted to feel good in the palm. It’s suitable for palm or claw grips, though fingertip mousers may find it a touch too heavy at 135.7g with batteries inserted.
High-accuracy mouse tracking is more battery intensive than normal keyboard input, so the mouse offers both LO and HIGH modes that radically alter battery life while still remaining impressive in both cases. For normal desktop use, LO mode will be sufficient offering a 125Hz (8ms) report rate and guaranteeing 18-months between battery changes. HI mode, on the other hand, boosts that response rate to 1000Hz (1ms) but cuts battery life down to 500 playable hours. Make no mistake, both are very impressive, and by entering into LO mode outside of games, can significantly extend battery life beyond that.
On the bottom, we also find Logitech’s new HERO sensor. Logitech claims performance that’s in line with the well-loved Pixart 3366. In games, I was thoroughly impressed at the accuracy of its tracking. If you choose to download Logitech’s Gaming Software, you can customize the DPI sensitivities from 200 through a staggering 12000 DPI.
It’s also here where you can assign the side buttons and even tie them to specific games for automatic function switching. By default, these buttons are mapped to Forward and Back, but in titles like Battlefield 1, I like to map one to crouch and one to melee, for example.
Around the front we have our two main buttons, our rubberized clickable mousewheel, and our DPI selector switch. By default, this button swaps between several levels of sensitivity but can also be remapped in the software.
Finally, coming around the back, we see a pretty standard sculpting. There is no soft touch coating here, just contrasting plastics.
Also included in the box are the diminutive USB transmitter and an extension cable if you need extra range.
Considering that each of these peripherals launched in the second half of 2017, we aren’t able to accurately assess Logitech’s claims of 18 months of battery life. Yet, having had these peripherals for the last two months, using them for gaming and day-to-day work, I’ve yet to have either drop a single bar on the battery indicator in Logitech’s software suite. Will it make the full 18-months? That’s hard to say, but the early results are promising.
There was a time when I swore off wireless peripherals for my personal setup. Yet, accessories like the G603 and G613 are drawing wireless and wired performance closer than ever before. Removing the stress of batteries and recharges is also a huge boon. The G613’s battery indicator turns on at 15%. Even then, at 18-months of battery life, that’s nearly three months of warning. Hardly anything to stress over.
It’s also worth noting that alongside the G603, Logitech has also released their battery-free PowerPlay system. With either the G703 or G903 mice and the PowerPlay mat, users might finally realize a fully battery and cord-free mouse experience. For my money, however, the G603 is the better bet. While PowerPlay might free the mouse from wires, it doesn’t free the mousepad, and at only 30-percent of the price of PowerPlay, swapping a pair of batteries every year and a half feels a lot more reasonable.
Overall, both the G603 and G613 impressed me and are a cost effective way to lose-the-cord to your accessories without sacrificing performance.
Silver Award for Logitech G613
Gold Award for Logitech G603
|Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
|How product was obtained:
|The product is on loan from Logitech for the purpose of this review.
|What happens to product after review:
|The product remains the property of Logitech but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
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