Lights! Lights! Lights! Shiny! Shiny! Shiny!
If you woke up today and it seemed extra-bright outside, it's probably because Logitech unveiled its G910 Orion Spark keyboard this morning. Like so many other products these days, the G910 Orion Spark is all about lighting: Each key features full RGB illumination, with the potential for 16.8 million colors.
Though a mechanical keyboard with this type of RGB illumination is new, the concept itself is similar to, say, the non-mechanical SteelSeries Apex. The lighting is tied into Logitech's latest software and software development kit, allowing both users and game developers to take advantage of the system. Basic setups are easy and intuitive. It takes only seconds to set a custom profile that only lights the keys used in a shooter or change the color of each of the number keys to represent different spells in an RPG.
But it's the SDK side of the G910 Orion Spark that seems most interesting. Logitech hinted at working with developers to, for instance, have the keyboard light up red on the left or right side when you're being shot at from that direction. Another potential application: Having a key slowly fade back to its normal color to reflect an in-game ability cooldown.
The keyboard is tied to Logitech's new Arx Control app, which gives users access to media controls and other tools from their phone instead of needing to Alt-Tab out of whatever they're focused on.
What's the catch? Well, there are actually two.
If you're sitting there drinking coffee or Mountain Dew or water or whatever, you might want to swallow before you see the price of the G910 Orion Spark. We wouldn't want any spit-takes, here.
Ready? One-hundred and eighty dollars.
Okay, okay, clean your monitor off. Yes, when the G910 Orion Spark launches in November it'll carry a $180 albatross around its neck. Even for a mechanical keyboard, that's really damn expensive. The gold standard for backlit mechanical keyboards up until now was the Ducky Shine II, and even that cost approximately $150.
The other potential sticking point? It doesn't use Cherry MX switches. For the uninitiated: Cherry MX switches are by far the most prevalent mechanical keyboard switches nowadays, with four primary styles (Blue, Brown, Black, Red) to satisfy various typing needs.
Further reading: All about mechanical keyboards and why you need one
Logitech doesn't use Cherry switches though, in large part because up until recently there was no RGB-enabled Cherry switch. Instead, Logitech uses the exclusive Romer-G mechanical switch. Rather than the typical Cherry MX stem, the central part of the Romer-G switch is hollow, allowing for evenly-bright illumination of the entire key. The switches feature a 1.5mm actuation point, which Logitech says is "25 percent faster than any other mechanical switch."
For my part, I'll need more time with the Romer-G switch's feel before I weigh in on it with any real authority. At my demo, however, the short actuation length made the key feel a bit more rubber dome-like than I typically enjoy. Not entirely unpleasant, but definitely not the smooth feel I prefer.
But for now, I'll put a pin in that opinion—I'll be able to speak on that more once we get a review unit and do some heavy typing/gaming on the Orion Spark. For now, feel free to check out more information on the G910 Orion Spark here. (And you can buy a pair of sunglasses here.)