Logitech GamePanel Software
The Logitech G15 Keyboard uses specialized GamePanel software, rather than the standard SetPoint drivers of most other Logitech peripherals. For this review, we've used the very latest 3.01.180 version from early-2009. Upon installation, it scans your system for applicable games and loads the appropriate profiles. The bundled G-Series Profiler allows the G Keys to be customized as per each of the M1/M2/M3 modes. When a game profile is loaded, you can either use the default setting or assign a keystroke/macro to the button.
The other important part of the software is the Logitech LCD Manager, which controls the GamePanel features. This allows you to set up the various GamePanel programs, enable features like Quick Switch, adjust the program rotation time, change brightness and contrast settings, and determine how the program interface functions in Windows. Overall, this is a very powerful program, not only allowing game profiles and button customizations, but also full control of the GamePanel LCD.
Logitech continues to add new profiles for the G15 Keyboard, and the latest 3.01 update incorporated games like Fallout 3, Spore, Mercenaries 2, and Crysis: Warhead, among others, and the G15 now supports over 60 games.
The G15 Keyboard performed up to our expectations for a wired Logitech model that caters to the gaming crowd. It handled all of our standard games with ease, and the programmable features are excellent, if not as robust as the previous model. The fewer G Keys and the streamlined design it affords is also a blessing for those who really don't have the need for 54 commands for each game. The orange backlighting is easier on the eyes than the blue, and although the GamePanel LCD is smaller, its improved color/contrast and better resolution made it clearer to read and easier on the eyes.
The overall design of the G15 Keyboard is very good and whether it was gaming or office typing, it certainly passed all our tests. The tactile feedback of the keys is also nice, and these are just the right size and spaced well enough for gaming touch-typing. The G15 Keyboard is also smaller than its predecessor, and the drop in footprint size will leave you a lot of extra room on the desktop. Even the aesthetics are top-notch, with an eye-pleasing silver/black exterior and orange lighting accents.
There are a few niggling issues, such as the positioning of the USB ports. These are at the front of the keyboard, underneath the LCD and in our configuration with a keyboard tray, were difficult to access. There will never be a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution for USB ports, but we still like them mounted on the sides. The lack of a dedicated Calculator button is also a big deal, as you never realize how often you use it until it's gone. Changing the volume controls from a dial to a pair of buttons can throw off those used to the previous design.