Before PAX Prime, we took apart the Logitech G903 mouse and wireless charging station, known as “Powerplay.” The G903 mouse can socket a “Powerplay module” into the weight slot, acting as one of two coils to engage the magnetic resonance charging built into the underlying powerplay mat. Magnetic resonance and inductive charging have been around since Nikola Tesla was alive, so it’s not new technology – but hasn’t been deployed in a mainstream peripheral implementation. Laptops have attempted various versions of inductive charging in the past (to varying degrees of success), and phones now do “Qi” charging, but a mouse is one of the most sensible applications. It’s also far lower power consumption than something like a laptop, and so doesn’t suffer as much for the inefficiencies inherent to wireless charging.
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.
In gaming mice news, Thermaltake’s gaming arm, Tt eSports, this week announced the new Nemesis Swtich RGB – a MOBA/MMO gaming mouse.
The Nemesis Switch RGB uses a PMW 3360 optical sensor, topping out at 12,000 DPI, and uses 50-million click Omron switches with 12 programmable buttons for macros. On-board storage exists to permit staging for up to 5 profiles.
Logitech today announced its new wireless charging products for an upcoming pair of mice, the G903 and G703, which use familiar high-performance wireless hardware to the G900. The two mice (and, theoretically, subsequent mice) will use magnetic resonance rather than inductive or closed-couple charging, permitting a small form factor “under-mat” for mousepads.
The lower mat is dubbed “PowerPlay,” and emits an electromagnetic field in a radial pattern outward from the center. Used within reason – read: the mouse is probably not on the fringes of the pad for too long – the PowerPlay mat is advertised as being capable of wirelessly charging mice with an efficiency great enough to sustain ongoing use, plus some recharge. Magnetic resonance is not as efficient as induction, though neither is as efficient as just plugging the device in (which is still possible). Logitech worked to improve charge efficiency to a point that the mouse never has to be actively charged by the user, or by requiring user thought and effort, while also completely ridding of the cable. This is part of Logitech’s on-going evangelism promoting wireless mice as minimally equivalent in performance, if not objectively superior, to wired mice with regard to latency and response times. Now, though, the company has instituted a $100 mat to further entice users away from the wire.
Razer is pulling the curtains on a pair of high-end gaming mice: the wireless Razer Lancehead and the wired Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition. Razer touts the new mice as being “tournament-grade” in terms of accuracy, performance, and reliability. The two variants of the Razer Lancehead share many features: the sensor and Razer’s proprietary “Adaptive Frequency Technology” are the chief modifiers.
The wireless Razer Lancehead—much like the refreshed Diamondback and high-end Mamba series—uses a 5G laser sensor with up to 50g acceleration and 16,000 DPI/210 inches per second tracking. The refreshed Diamondback and Mamba/Mamba TE all used a Philips Twin Eye sensor. It is unclear if that is the case with the Razer Lancehead, but given the specs, it’s plausible.
CORSAIR today announced updates to their flagship K95 keyboard and their SCIMITAR gaming mouse (the CORSAIR marketing department really likes capital letters). The Scimitar Pro is out now and the K95 Platinum will be available sometime later this month, but both are at Corsair’s CES exhibit. We’ll also be covering Corsair’s RGB Vengeance memory and, albeit briefly, new “gaming” chair.
The K95 Platinum starts at $200 and has already replaced its non-platinum predecessor on the Corsair products page. For comparison, Newegg is selling the older version with Cherry MX Brown or Red switches for $170 (with some extra keycaps thrown in).
Logitech's latest obsession seems to be weight reduction. The G502 didn't make as much noise about weight as its top-tier predecessors, sequentially the G303 ($42), G900 ($135), and now G403 ($70) (and G Pro). The company has fine-tuned its tooling to allow for manufacturing of ultra-thin plastic shells, making for a lighter weight mouse chassis that can seemingly still withstand the usual wear-and-tear imposed on a mouse. In previous efforts, Logitech has boasted sensor optimization through firmware or other collaborative efforts with its sensor suppliers, has boasted lights, and has moved to implement keyplates with more consistent "clickiness" as governed by spring-tensioned switches.
But again, the latest trends have been to reduce weight and improve wireless functionality -- two efforts that seemingly go hand-in-hand. We talked about these moves heavily in our G900 review, and will leave most of the technical discussion (radiation patterns, wireless strength and reliability, etc.) to that content.
Corsair recently announced two new additions to their peripherals lineup: the HARPOON RGB mouse and the K55 RGB keyboard, priced to appeal to gamers on a budget. This follows competitor Logitech's recent release of the Prodigy series, also targeted at entry-level gamers.
Corsair's Harpoon is purchasable right now, while the K55 will be available starting November 22.
As soon as the electrical contacts of a switch are joined from a switch depression, an electrical signal is dispatched within the mouse for processing by its internal components. That initial queue of processing helps rule-out potential spurious behavior, electromagnetic interference (or cross-talk), and performs any necessary calculations for the input command. If deemed an intentional user action, that input is sent down the USB cable (or transmitted wirelessly) to the system.
We discussed this process in our Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum review. There's a misconception with users that wireless input devices are inherently slower than their wired counterparts, when the reality is that the opposite can be true – and is, with the G900 and G403 wireless. The recent PAX West 2016 event gave us an opportunity to get hands-on with the company's USB analyzer setup to demystify some of the wireless vs. wired mouse arguments.
Logitech's PAX Prime presence initializes with the launch of its “Prodigy” line of gaming peripherals, each attempting to expropriate the $70 market with gamer-not-gamer hardware. From our hands-on with the new line, it looks as if Logitech's goal is primarily to fulfill the demand of high-end gaming components without the Transformers-esque appendages and plastic wings. This follows the company's still recent Logitech G Pro release (not to be confused with the Logitech Pro-G), another $70 peripheral, but targeted more specifically at eSports players.
We've not yet had enough hands-on time to fully review the new Logitech hardware, but we do have the specs and some initial notes.
The Prodigy components announced today include the G213 non-mechanical keyboard, G231 gaming headset with a familiar body, and G403 gaming mouse. All three devices hit the same $70 price point, with the mouse including an outlier $100 wireless alternative.
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