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Logitech G513 Carbon: Romer-G Goes Linear

By Christopher Coke on April 21, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Logitech G513 Carbon: Romer-G Goes Linear

Logitech is no stranger to high-end gaming peripherals. Earlier this week, we looked at the G560 Gaming Speaker System, a first of its kind. Today, we’re digging into another first: the Romer-G linear switch, featured in the brand new G513 Carbon RGB Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Is it worth picking up over last year’s G413? Read on to find out.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $149.99
  • Key Switches: Romer-G (Linear or Tactile)
  • Key Durability: 70 million keypresses
  • Actuation distance: 1.5mm
  • Actuation force: 45g
  • Total travel distance: 3.2mm
  • Connection Type: USB 2.0
  • Indicator Lights (LED): 2
  • USB Ports (Built-in): x1, USB 2.0
  • Backlighting: Yes, RGB per key lighting
  • Special Keys
    • Lighting Controls: FN+F5/F6/F7
    • Game Mode: FN+F8
    • Media Controls: FN+F9/F10/F11/F12
    • Volume Controls: FN+ PRTSC/SCRLK/PAUSE
  • Keyboard Dimensions: 132mm (H) x 455mm (W) x 34mm (D)
  • Palmrest Dimensions: 88mm (H) x 445mm (W) x 21.5mm (D)
  • Weight: (w/o cable): 1020g
  • Warranty: 2-year Limited Hardware Warranty

As you might guess from the name, the Logitech G513 is a refresh of last year’s popular G413 mechanical gaming keyboard. When it comes to the physical design the two keyboards are very similar. The G513 has its own share of tricks, though, including new RGB backlighting, the option of Logitech’s brand new linear Romer-G switch, and one of the best palm rests we’ve ever seen included with a gaming keyboard.

Beginning with the basics, the G513 features a full 104-key layout. The top plate is a nice brushed aluminum, available in Carbon and Silver (currently a Best Buy exclusive). There are no dedicated media keys but your standard play/pause, stop, and track controls are all available as secondary functions, as well as volume and lighting controls. In the upper right, we also have a USB 2.0 passthrough, which has its own header wired through the braided cable. When it comes to layout, the G513 plays it safe with no additional macro keys, so it would be safe to use in an office environment without fear of getting the side-eye from your coworkers.

The palm rest included here is fantastic. It’s covered in a thick leatherette with a good quarter in of padding (maybe a touch more in the center). The closest comparison would be the palm rest included with Razer’s Blackwidow Chroma V2, but where the Blackwidow’s faux leather felt thin and susceptible to wear, Logitech’s feels much more durable and high quality. The palm rest also has a nice weight to it and six rubber feet to keep it stationary on your desk. That does mean that it’s not attachable; however, it stays in place well enough that I really don’t mind and actually find it quite a bit better than the weak magnet solutions used elsewhere.

One of the most striking aspects about this keyboard is the backlighting. It is bright and vibrant but better isolated than any keyboard I’ve reviewed. This was also true of the Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum I reviewed last year. This is because the Romer-G switches used a center-mounted LED in a form of light-pipe, leading directly up to the key legend. The switch housing blocks the light from escaping out the edges, channeling it directly to the legend and nowhere but. Even though the G513 uses the floating key design, exposing the switch housing from the side, there’s no light bleed or “light bed” occurring under the keys.

Speaking of the keys, the G513 ships with single-shot ABS keycaps, surface treated to ward off premature shine. They’re in line with other gaming keycaps, though because Romer-G switches use a box-style stem, they feel more secure than MX style switches, wobbling much less under the finger.

The big selling point of this refreshed keyboard is the first-time availability of Logitech’s Romer-G linear switch. This new version carries through all of the attributes of the standard tactile switch, including the shorter travel and actuation distances, but lacks the usual bump telling you when the switch would actuate. This puts it much closer to a Cherry MX Red switch, though slightly faster with a 1.5mm actuation point versus the standard 2.0mm. The pressure required to actuate the switch is identical at 45g, however, so making the jump should be fairly easy.


Where the original Romer-G “tactile” has semi-translucent stems, the linear version uses solid grey

Between Cherry MX Red and Romer-G Linear, the Romer-Gs are an objectively quieter switch. There is less noise in both bottom-outs and top-outs. This was also true of the tactile version, which is one of my favorite switches of all time.

The original Romer-G was divisive but this linear version is likely to be far less so. The main point of contention with the original seemed to be the higher tactile bump and the somewhat softer keyfeel. While the keyfeel remains the same, the lack of bump puts them much more in line with other gaming switches. In fact, as Cherry MX Silent switches make their way into more keyboards, it’s likely that this will be a far more accurate comparison than to standard Cherry Reds. That said, opinions on that softness, a term I’m hesitant to even use due to the connotation, vary so widely I would encourage everyone to try one for yourself. I love them and have had the opportunity to test a huge array of keyboards.

In games, both variants of Romer-G switch are prone to provide a mechanical advantage over any standard MX style switch. With an actuation point that’s 25% higher and a bottom-out distance only slightly less than that, they’re a distinctly faster switch. If your reaction time is up to it, these switches will allow you to output more commands in less time. They also have an expanded lifespan of 70 million actuations versus the standard 50 million found elsewhere.

Since the G513 is a gaming keyboard, you can count on the usual array of programmable functions inside the Logitech Gaming Software. Every key can be remapped or made to execute different functions, and creating and editing functions is as easy as scant few mouse clicks. Your layouts can also be tied to specific games, so when you launch Battlefield 1, for instance, it will automatically switch over to what you’ve programmed for that specific game. Logitech’s software has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years and is one of the most user friendly on the market.

For lighting, you can choose from an array of presets including your standard waves, ripples, and breathes, but also customize your own lighting schemes. It’s not quite as in-depth as the Photoshop-like layers of Razer and Corsair, but it’s easy to make your lighting look great and to sync it between your different Logitech peripheral.

The one thing I’m not sure about is the 1/4" threaded hole at the top of the keyboard. What is this for? Surely, Logitech has an accessory planned, like the smart phone holder that shipped with the G613 Wireless Gaming Keyboard. As it stands, however, there’s no reference to this in any of the documentation and no obvious purpose that I can discern.

Final Thoughts

Odd hole aside, the Logitech G513 Carbon is an excellent keyboard. The lighting is beautiful and well isolated, providing a solid option for gamers wanting to avoid the light bleed “feature” of most RGB gaming keyboards. It features an excellent build quality, easy programmability, and one of the best palm rests we’ve found in a gaming keyboard. If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard that won’t bother your roommates with clicks and clacks but will still offer a competitive advantage against your enemies, the G513 Carbon is a solid bet.

Pros

  • Keys still feel excellent, linear better suited for gaming
  • Keys remain exceptionally quiet compared to other mechanical keyboards
  • Bright, vibrant, even lighting with excellent isolation
  • Weighty with a nice brushed aluminum top
  • Excellent palm rest
  • Simple, elegant design
  • Fully programmable

Cons

  • Media and volume keys are secondary functions

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for purposes of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.