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Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum: A New Flagship is Born

By Christopher Coke on October 10, 2017 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum: A New Flagship is Born

The first mechanical keyboard I ever owned was the Logitech G710+. I couldn’t have known it then, but that keyboard represented my first steps down the path of a brand new hobby. Since that time, I’ve used and reviewed more mechanical keyboards than I ever thought possible. This month, Logitech sent me their new flagship mechanical keyboard, the G910 Orion Spectrum, loaded up with their proprietary Romer-G switches. Do they still have what it takes to compete in an ever more crowded market? Let’s take a look and find out.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $179.99 (price as of writing: $139.99)
    • Romer-G Key Switches:
    • Durability: 70 million key presses
    • Actuation distance: 0.06 in (1.5 mm)
    • Actuation force: 1.6 oz  (45 g)
    • Total travel distance: 0.12 in (3.0 mm)

Keyboard Specifications

  • Connection Type: USB 2.0
  • USB Protocol: USB 2.0
  • USB Speed: Full Speed
  • Indicator LIghts (LED): Yes
  • LCD Display: No
  • USB Ports (Built-in): No
  • Backlighting:  RGB
  • Special Keys: 9 G-Keys
  • Cable Length (Power/Charging): 6 ft (1.8 m)

Design and Finish

When unboxing the Spectrum, the first thing you’re likely to notice is how large it is. It’s uses a standard, full-size key layout, but also features a column of five macro buttons along the left side and four more along the top, as well as three mode select buttons and dedicated media controls above the numpad. The bottom features a redesign wrist rest that’s straight all the way across, which appears to be a response to some of the criticism the Spark received. This rest snaps into place and can be removed to expose the angled frame of its predecessor. There’s also an illuminated G910 logo set into the frame, which looks fantastic. The Spectrum is large but looks great.

The other big change coming from the Spark is that they keycaps have returned to a standard concave design. While some people loved the Spark’s angled keys (our own Suzie Ford adores them), others found them too foreign and so the Spectrum should prove a return to form for them.

Looking at the rest of the keyboard, you’ll find six anti-slip pads on the bottom as well as two wide flip-out feet. Along the top of the board is the ARX dock. This tray is meant to hold your phone while using the ARX Control app for Android and iOS. Using the ARX dock in this way is immediately reminiscent of the G15 keyboard and its built-in LCD panel. With ARX, you can keep track of system information, like your hardware temps and CPU usage, select different profiles, and access your multimedia controls (though you can also do the last two on the keyboard itself). ARX also features game integration, allowing you to see stats like health, ammo, or who’s speaking in your VOIP program. The selection of compatible titles and programs is limited but continues to expand thanks to the fan community.

Taken as a whole, the G910 Orion Spectrum feels like a premium keyboard. It’s plastic, but fairly heavy, and doesn’t flex. In our time with it, it never creaked, the keys didn’t squeak (though this may come up in time), and the material design, mostly matte black, did a good job of repelling fingerprints. I do wish Logitech included a braided cable, just for that extra premium feel, but the rubber coated cord is thick and feels durable enough for years of use.

Let’s talk keys. The Spectrum throws the current “floating key” design out of the window opting for the light-isolating top-plate design. When so many other keyboards are content to chase the fad, it’s actually refreshing to find that the Spectrum sticks to its guns with a more traditional design. Since the Romer-G keyswitches don’t feature the same type of housing found on Cherry RGB keyboards, I find this a smart choice that accentuates where the lighting looks best: shining up directly into the legend. We’ll talk more about that in a second.

The Romer-G

The keycaps are low-profile, which pairs perfectly with the fast actuation of the Romer-G switches. The Romer-Gs are Logitech’s in-house answer to the Cherries and Cherry-alikes found in other mechanical gaming keyboards. Made in partnership with Omron, these switches actuate at 1.5mm, a full 25% faster than your average mechanical switch. Their light, 45g to actuate, and there is a slight tactile bump at the top of the key’s travel. The keys feel light and fast and quite satisfying.

Typically, when I approach a review, I avoid reading much about the product in question. Here, I read many impressions in the weeks surrounding the Spark’s launch, long before I ever realized I would be testing its successor for myself. I was concerned about not liking the switch as some reviewers categorized it as “membrane-like” - which, well, if you’re a mechanical keyboard enthusiast isn’t exactly a selling point.

Let’s set the record straight. I love these switches. Really, I adore them more than I ever expected to, and to be very clear, I despise “mushiness.” I would even disagree that they feel like a membrane keyboard. Instead, they feel like a cross between Cherry Browns and Speeds dampened with rubber O-rings, which is a common practice to keep the clack at bay. Tomato tomahto, I know, but it’s an important distinction keyboard enthusiasts will understand. The Spectrum is also by far the quietest mechanical keyboard I’ve ever used. It’s only slightly louder than a membrane keyboard while offering all of the improvements of a premium mech.

Put simply, the Spectrum feels fantastic for both typing and gaming. It’s extra responsive without being touchy and typo-prone, and if you live or work around someone who doesn’t want the noise, it can’t be beat.


This demo given to Maximum PC gives a great idea of what to expect with the G910 Orion Spectrum

Lighting and Programmability

It’s also worth noting that the G910 looks great, too, but it’s in the lighting and programmability where some of its limitations start to show. I’m a big fan of the bright vivid legend lights and the lack “bed” under the keys lends it a sleekness and understated sense of style. If you want to do more than enable/disable illumination, you’ll need to download Logitech’s Gaming Software, or LGS for short.

LGS is a feature rich platform that’s easy to understand for the RGB and macro newcomer. There are only a handful of effects, from breathing to a spectrum cycling and reactive typing. Each can be customized and assigned to one of the keyboard’s mode buttons. These modes can also store macros and other key assignments. Macro keys are a godsend for MMO and MOBA players, but you can also assign them to launch programs, perform windows functions, or control your multimedia.

Recording macros and changing assignments is a breeze, as is tying modes to specific applications. The only downside to all of this customization is that it requires storage that the Orion Spectrum lacks. Without onboard storage, all of these macros and modes are controlled via software. Latency becomes possible in such a situation, though I never encountered it. It also means that if you want to use your keyboard with another machine, you’ll need to install the software and redo all of your customizations. At this price point, we would really love to see a small amount of on-board memory for profile storage.

Closing Thoughts

The Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum is an excellent keyboard that feels amazing to type on. Suzie Ford, our News Editor, recently purchased the Orion Spark and had very similar impressions to my own, these G910s are quiet, look great, and feel premium. It’s too bad that it’s so reliant on software, but it’s great to see Logitech delivering a flagship keyboard capable of standing out in a crowded marketplace. The Orion Spectrum is one of my favorites this year.

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