Replacing the G15

In what will probably come as no surprise to any regular reader of the site that I have had my current keyboard for more than a decade.  The keyboard, a Logitech G15, appears in a picture I posted of my desk back in middle of 2007, while Amazon says I purchased it in 2006.

The table is unusually clear in this picture

As noted every time I use this picture, not much has changed.  The headphones have been updated, the iPod dock is gone, a second, even smaller monitor has appeared, and a lot more crap has managed to accumulate.  But the monitor, keyboard, trackball, and speakers are all pretty much as they were ten years back.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The G15 has been a solid keyboard and, while I haven’t taken full advantage of every feature of it, I have grown used to some unique aspects of the keyboard.  Chief among them is the LCD display.

In the picture above you can see the LCD display, nicely back-lit with a blue-ish tint, at the top center of the keyboard.  Not a huge piece of display real estate, but I have grown used to having it there.  As it turns out, quite a few games and applications wrote out to Logitech’s display API.

Not that everybody uses the LCD well.  I posted back in 2007 asking what would be useful to put on the LCD display.  You can’t put anything there that won’t otherwise be available in game, but you ought to put something useful on it.  Games, like WoW, LOTRO, and EQ2 default to putting your character attributes, hit points, and maybe mana/power/whatever on the screen.  But things like hit points are already better represented in the main UI, while your stats like strength and what not aren’t generally something you need to be updated on constantly.

Still, some games, like World of Tanks, use the display well.  And I can always swap the LCD back to the default clock display, which is handy when playing games that do not have real world time somewhere in their UI.  Or it can show me what I have playing in iTunes currently.

EVE Online does not support the display, but Mumble and TeamSpeak do, showing on the display who is currently speaking.  That is probably more useful than any in-game data I might want.  I know many people by the sound of their voice on coms, but there are still a lot of strangers out there, or people who sound very much like other people, so having that name up without having to use the wonky (and, to me, annoying) in-game overlay running is of value.

Basically, I’ve gotten used to having that display.

However, wear and tear has worn down the keyboard.  After more than a decade of heavy use, the back lighting on the LCD has failed, I’ve worn through a couple of the key caps, the back lighting on the right half of the main keyboard flickers and goes out regularly, and I have to hit the space bar at the left end because the senor doesn’t register if I hit it on the right.

So I went to the Logitech site to find a replacement.  I knew the G15 itself was long gone, supplanted by new models and, as I recalled, even a color LCD display.  But I was sure the LCD display would still be a thing, given how many apps support it.

However, the LCD display on keyboards seems to be a thing of the past at Logitech.  Technically it is still supported via their G13 Gameboard accessory, but the keyboard they offer are all LCD free these days.  I suppose the list of titles supporting their game panel LCD is a bit of a clue as to how long gone the display might me.  Some selected historically interesting entries:

  • America’s Army
  • Duke Nukem Forever
  • Everquest II: Extended
  • Hellgate London
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
  • Star Wars Galaxies
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning
  • World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

I think you could pin down when that list was written based on when those titles were all viable.

Logitech does have some new technology called Arx Control, which can put up a panel on your smart phone or tablet.  I tinkered with that for an evening, wondering if they would be able to  just pipe things from their older game panel API to it.  I have seen posts saying that this is possible.

However, most of those posts are a couple of years old, so if it was once the case it does not seem to be that way any more.  Arx only appears to work with items specifically built for it, which appear to be few and far between.  World of Warcraft was the only supported title I could find, and I couldn’t get it to do anything that made WoW appear to actually connect and display something via Arx.  All it could do was launch WoW, which isn’t all that useful a feature, especially since it launches it directly and not through Battle.net.

So Arx seems to be a complete bust.

If I want the Logitech game panel support, it looks like I have to go shopping for a vintage Logitech keyboard with an LCD.  However, I distrust used ones and the few new-in-box- models I have seen are priced pretty high.

And if I am willing to let go of the LCD panel, then I have a plethora of keyboard choices to wade through.

For now though, the G15 on my desk continues to soldier on. The back lighting flickers, and I can feel the “a” and “e” keys due to their tops being worn off, but it still does what it needs to do.

 

12 thoughts on “Replacing the G15

  1. Armagon

    I’m still using my G11. Was just checking old photos and I’ve had it for sure in early 2009, but not yet in 2006 – but as I didn’t order it on Amazon, I don’t know for sure.

    Yet I only need those 18 extra buttons always when I get back to playing WoW, haven’t needed them in any other MMO. I was very close to buying a G710 (mechanical, not the blue one) but so far I haven’t.

    Like

  2. Gazimoff

    I absolutely feel for you here. I, too, had a G15 back in the day, before it died a death under the weight of fierce gaming and even fiercer writing. You’re also right about the secondary screen -I ended up resorting to a 2nd monitor to try and work around the problem, but it’s still not ideal.

    In the meantime, I wonder if it’s possible to knock up a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to mimic what the G15 used to do. Might be worth an experiment…

    Like

  3. James

    You might be interested to know that there is an awesome third party applet for the G15 called LCDSirReal:

    https://www.linkdata.se/software/lcdsirreal/

    It shows all sorts of useful performance info such as:

    CPU stats: core usage, temp, etc
    Graphics card stats: FPS, temp, usage,etc
    Network usage

    and loads more. I’ve been using it for years and it still works, even on Windows 10.

    Well worth a look if you’re sticking with the G15

    Like

  4. Andy Carrein

    Still using my G15v2 and it still runs fine.

    For me, all the features were a bit overkill. My keyboard is below my desk, I never look at it. So:
    – It lights up in the dark. Euh, I never look at my keyboard
    – The LCD display is not visible
    – I play with the numpad keys. The 6 extra buttons are out of reach.

    Like

  5. Jeromai

    I feel for ya too. I was very happy with my G15, LCD display and all, until I accidentally ended its lifespan with a badly timed drink of water, a little of which got into its innards and shorted out a couple of essential keys on its membrane keyboard.

    After thst, a mechanical keyboard which wouldn’t repeat the same trick became higher priority than the LCD screen. It is possible to go back and get used to not having one, so don’t close out the alternative too quickly.

    Like

  6. zaphod6502

    I still have my original G15v1. But I stopped using it as some of the keys don’t work properly anymore due to the keyboard membrane wearing out. The only time I drag it out is when I need it to get into older BIOS which won’t recognise new keyboards.

    My current keyboard is a Corsair K70 RGB. Best keyboard I have ever used.It uses mechanical Cherry MX red switches. Very nice to game and type on.

    Like

  7. SynCaine

    Still using my G15, still works perfectly fine. I’m absolutely terrible at remembering voices to names, so I use the screen all the time to identify who is talking. Discord not supporting the display is actually a major problem for me right now.

    A bit surprised they don’t have an updated version with a screen too, hopefully mine keeps working for a while longer.

    Like

  8. Scifibookguy

    I’ve got the original G15 that IIRC I got in 2008. It’s the one with the amber LCD. But I don’t use the LCD, because MMORPGs really only display stuff that’s already available on the screen, and my other type of gaming, 4x TBS, doesn’t use it. I’ve also never really used the G1-6 keys. Hopefully it doesn’t wear out soon, though, as I don’t want to spend money on a new keyboard.

    Like

  9. Jameson York

    It looks like they are still selling the G13 Gameboard new if you wanted a new Logitech LCD. As a bonus that screen comes with a bunch of buttons that can be configured to run macros or be a subset of a real keyboard. I never really got to liking the thumbstick before I stopped playing WoW, so it mostly just sits on my desk and taunts me. Sometimes I’ll map a macro to make my life easier outside of gaming, but it’s mostly just a relic of an age when I could play games on my computer (time and hardware age).

    I have a mechanical keyboard now, and I don’t think I can go back to a G15 even if I could buy another one. Mine sounds like a hail storm when I get typing, but it looks like the G710+ (brown) has the quiet key switches. I don’t believe the brown ones give you feedback when typing, but that also means they don’t resist when you are gaming or make extra noises to be distracting in comms.

    Like

  10. Alex D

    I’ve had two G15v1 in a row – bought the 2nd after the first died, both used. I must have had them for 10 years straight now. After the second G15 started fading away, I sold it and bought a G19s. Love it so much (even though mine is defective. Also bought it used, ofc, so no warranty for me).
    Also bought a G15v2, gave it to a friend to try it out, and he spilled some liquid over it. So sad. He reimbursed me, ofc, but the keyboard was like new…

    I, too, want to find a replacement, and don’t see any. The strength of the G15/G19 is in the number of applets for it, and the number of games that support it natively.

    Like

  11. G15 and 2600k rocks

    Im still on G15 v1. Its working nice but someday it comes to its end. It weird that logitech doenst add lcd to its new keyboards, this new arx phone app sucks, juat temps and something but nothing else..

    Like

  12. Anonymous

    My one-legged G15 is still going strong but years of acculating crud and crumbs has had me considering an upgrade at times, but always in vain as the LCD panel was always a favourite feature and none of the current gaming keyboards with their various switch flavours fancy backlight colours and high prices is at all appealing… My MX518 mouse is suffering too but I’m loath to part with the familar comfort of it (although I do have a similar G5 to replace it when the fatal day finally comes…) Maybe I better just figure out how to safely disassemble it for a thorough clean and hope it’ll see out my days!

    Like

Voice your opinion... but be nice about it...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s