Hands-On: Logitech G613 Wireless Keyboard, G603 Mouse

By Published September 02, 2017 at 4:08 am

Going hands-on at PAX West 2017, we stopped by Logitech’s booth to get more technical details on the Logitech G613 wireless keyboard, G603 wireless mouse, and some follow-up information on the PowerPlay mat and G903/G703 mice. The latter set of information will go live in our pending-publication review. The former is up for discussion today.

Both devices leverage the same wireless hardware used in the G900 mouse, which we previously reviewed and found to perform equivalently or superior to high-end wired mice. The myth of “wireless is always slower” was immolated by that product series, mummified and entombed alongside other black magic gamer peripheral mythology. The G613 is the first high-performance wireless keyboard that we’re aware of, levying Logitech’s Romer G switches (which feel similar to o-ring damped browns) and two modes of wireless connectivity. These include Bluetooth and Logitech’s now-standard high-performance wireless setup, dubbed “Lightspeed.” Interestingly, these two systems can be used asynchronously to create an ad-hoc KVM, switching to wireless for the high-performance machine (e.g. gaming box), then Bluetooth for the accompanying streaming box or compression machine. This, we think, is the most marketable feature of the G613, and so happens to also exist on the new G603.

The G613 runs two AA batteries. Logitech notes that internal testing indicates an 18-month life of simulated gaming+office use, cycling daily. We’re not sure the exact split or uptime of that metric, but even if the keyboard is just within the ballpark, it’s still fully reasonable. A keyboard should not exhibit performance falloff as batteries drain – it’d likely just die. You’ll get the usual warnings prior to that point. Regardless, the keyboard runs a $150 price, has Romer G switches, and operates wirelessly. That’s more or less the start and end of it.

G603 Mouse Specs

The mouse is a bit more interesting, to us: Its sensor is branded the “Hero” sensor – sort of makes “3366” sound less marketable – and reduces relative sensor-to-power consumption by an advertised “10x.” This is just sensor consumption, so your mouse won’t suddenly live for 5000 hours, but any gain is a significant gain in the world of high-performance device battery life. Most of the sensor’s power consumption reduction comes in the form of faster image processing and pixel tracking, permitting the sensor to sleep between workloads. Logitech’s G603 battery life is marketed as a 500-hour continuous number, which roughly translates to 4-6 months of “real” use. Unless putting a mouse on a glass turntable is real use, in which case, you get 500 hours. Pretty damn good. Switching into a “low” speed mode increases report rate from 1ms to 8ms and modified other precision functions, offering a stated “3x” uptime boost. Low speed mode would be used for non-gaming and non-precision applications, like web browsing or office work.

As for the performance side, the new Hero sensor has a maximum FPS capability of 17,000, compared to the 3366’s 12,000FPS, and more remarkably continuously steps FPS vs. IPS, rather than stepping in fixed increments. The big thing, though, is that Logitech hasn’t forsaken its use of the 3366 – it’s still used in most their active mice, and still a competitive product. It’s just that the Hero has been selected for these power-constrained applications, promising performance which is not appreciably worse than the previous high-performance (3366) solution. That’s the goal. Differences can be measured in machine testing, but we’re told that user ability to appreciate any such gap in 3366 vs. Hero performance is likely limited.

Speaking of prodigal gamers and idols to peripheral mysticism, we noticed some early rumors about the G603’s battery configuration and “reduced performance” in certain scenarios. Logitech’s G603 has its batteries configured in parallel for the G603, permitting the mouse to operate on a single battery when desired. This could have interesting practical applications in the form of reducing mouse weight (by the weight of one battery), and would result in “only” sacrificing roughly half the capacity. That does not, however, impact performance. The mouse isn’t receiving less voltage, it’s just got half the capacity to pull from. That’s all. There will be no performance loss from halving the batteries, but there will be a ~15g (or whatever your battery’s weight is) difference in heft.

That’s Logitech’s PAX West presence. They’re pushing the wireless angle hard – and it makes sense, given the G900’s critical success.

The mouse will run $70. Keyboard is $150.

Editorial: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Last modified on September 02, 2017 at 4:08 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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