Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good, some great, some terrible..., March 16, 2009
This review is from: Logitech G13 Programmable Gameboard with LCD Display (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It takes a bit to warm up to any new gaming device that substantially changes the way you play a game and the G13 Advanced Gameboard is no different. In some ways, it provides a steeper learning curve simply because, when you first get into it, it's not user-friendly.

The problem with the G13 is the software. It's terrible. It's also completely necessary. The way the device works is that the software allows you to set up profiles for your games; ostensibly, this allows you to have different key bindings for each game. The program comes packaged with profiles for a ton of games and each profile that's mirrored with a game has standard key bindings. The software even comes with a auto-search command that will locates all of the available games on your PC and assign the correct standard profile to them.

Unfortunately for me, and for a lot of users I discovered, the auto-search function doesn't always locate your games. In my case, it only discovered Lord of the Rings Online, not Bioshock, Call of Duty, Guild Wars or any of my Steam games. I've seen a variety of people posting their thoughts as to why this is, with most of them hanging onto the idea that if you have games saved on a different hard drive than the normal C drive it won't locate them. That wasn't the case for me, as LoTRO is on the same drive as the rest of my games (the A drive) and it found LoTRO but nothing else. You can manually attach a profile to a game by locating the .exe file, which I had to do for each game, and the problems kind of continued.

Compounding this, the software doesn't load all of the available profiles. This is supposed to be a nicety because you won't have an ungainly list of profiles when you want only a few. However, if the system doesn't locate the game file, it doesn't load the profiles, thereby making you go the long way in setting up a profile/key mapping from scratch. While LoTRO was a cinch to set up and make changes the key mappings, every other game caused me to start from ground zero which can be a time-consuming prospect if you want to get it just right and remember which keys you need.

I thought about updating my software, and it includes an "update now" button. Unfortunately, pressing that told me I had no available updates, which was false I discovered later. I went online searching for profiles because I didn't have any loaded except for LoTRO and discovered a patch on the Logitech website for the device. This is another annoyance. If you're going to offer the awesome "update now" function, why wouldn't you have it, you know, update now?

Once you tire of the software and try the device you might be put off. I know I was. It took awhile for me to be used to it, but give it a week and you'll never want to go back. I'm in love with the actual hardware. It's suitably ramped for comfort; the cushioned pad to rest your wrist on is fantastic, the incline is perfect and the buttons are nicely set apart for easy access. I love the little joystick on the side as it gives me the feel of a console controller for movement, the multitude of keys and the mouse for the PC feel. I love it and use it for both MMOs and FPSs.

Additionally, you can set up a few profiles for each game. So if you'd want to play the game differently, depending on the character/class you're playing, you can do so. The keys have back lighting, which is nice, and you can set pretty much any color (using a color palette) you'd desire for each of the profiles. Then there's the LCD screen that can show you a variety of different things. It tells me the song and artist I'm listening to, RSS feeds of news items of interest, a timer/cooldown counter or, in the case of LoTRO, your health/power and other pertinent information. It's kind of a cool little feature.

To put it succinctly: I love the hardware, I dislike the software. If the software did as it was supposed to (auto-search for games, update when it should) and was easier to manuever in, it wouldn't be so bad. But as it is, it's just an annoyance that gets in the way of what really shines. This is a nice piece of equipment. It's changed the way I play games and I will never go back to just using the keyboard.

As a final example of the dichotomy between the two, I went from playing LoTRO to Guild Wars (which the software couldn't locate). I started putting in keys by hand for it when I just decided against it due to the length of time it was taking and went back to the keyboard. As I was playing, I kept wishing for the joystick and the nicely laid out keys, but I didn't have the time last night to fully get the keys to my liking. After playing only with the G13 for almost a month, I missed it more than anything, but the software kept getting in my way.

So...please, Logitech...do something good with that software.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 11, 2009 7:17:52 PM PST
I bought mine yesterday, when I purchased MW2, and Ive messed with it, and found some things I program for "R" for reload, will work in the test area, but not on the game. I had been using "The Claw" for 5 years and it needed to be replaced, but they dont sell it anymore. I wish they did.
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