Gear Review: Logitech G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Disclosure: A G413 mechanical gaming keyboard was provided to VGBlogger.com for review testing by Logitech.

The G413 is now the fourth gaming series keyboard from Logitech that I’ve had the privilege to test out. And I do mean privilege, because if you ask me Logitech’s proprietary Romer-G keys are the cream of the mechanical switch crop right now. Not just for gaming, but for typing as well. Their rapid-fire actuation speed combined with a soft and relatively quiet tactile thump allows you to perform at the highest level with absolute confidence and comfort.

So yes, the G413 comes with the Romer-G switches, and at $90 this is actually the most affordable offering from the Logitech G mechanical keyboard arsenal. Other keyboards with the Romer-Gs, such as the Pro, Orion Spectrum, Orion Spark, and Atlas Spectrum, range from $130 to $180, and even Logitech’s mechanical keyboard alternatives with Cherry MX switches are no cheaper than $120. Those are some significant price differences to take under consideration as you choose the keyboard that’s right for you.

Complementing the Romer-Gs, the G413 keycaps have a smooth cylindrical contouring that cradles the fingertips with a soft touch. The font is bold and cleanly printed for clear visibility. Obviously they’re easier to see when backlit, but even with the lighting switched off the keys are visibly identifiable under normal ambient conditions. As an added perk, the G413 includes a set of 12 alternate gaming keycaps with three faceted edges, creating a slightly deeper and more tactile groove for the fingers to grip onto. The optional keycaps are provided for the most heavily used gaming keys, including W, A, S, D, Q, E, R, and the 1-5 number keys. An included tool makes popping keycaps on and off a snap.

In terms of form factor, the G413 has a long, slender build that takes up very little desktop space, has a solid, durable heft, and rests firmly in place without any excess bulk. Five rubber pads positioned across the bottom keep the keyboard from sliding, while a pair of unfolding feet allow the keyboard to be elevated at an angle. The design is minimalistic with a modern, industrial style. Instead of a traditional keyboard format with the keys nestled into a plastic casing, the keycaps are raised above an aluminum-magnesium alloy plate with nothing but open space below and surrounding the switches. The alloy top is available in your choice of a darker carbon finish or, sold exclusively at Best Buy, a brushed silver. I have the silver model, and it’s a thing of beauty, like a freshly sharpened and polished razor blade.

Lighting options are limited to only a single color based on the chosen finish. The carbon keyboard is paired with ‘elemental red’ lighting, while the silver model has ‘iconic white’ lighting. Programmable lighting via the Logitech Gaming Software offers options for standard always-on lights or a variable speed breathing effect.

Due to the slimline ergonomics, the G413 features the core 108 keys common to most modern gaming keyboards and nothing more. While that unfortunately means a lack of dedicated media controls, the F9-F12 keys as well as Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause are mapped to alternate media commands–play/pause, stop, back/next, mute, and volume up/down–that become active while holding down the Function (FN) key. Using FN in conjunction with F7 cycles through four brightness settings for the keyboard’s backlighting, and turns the lights off altogether with a fifth press. FN used with F8 activates game mode, where the Windows key, or any keys programmed using the Logitech Gaming Software, are deactivated. The optional software can also be used to program custom commands to any of the 12 FN keys.

Aesthetics aside, the primary distinguishing feature of the G413 is its USB passthrough functionality. A dedicated USB port is built into the keyboard’s top-right corner, providing quick and easy access to plug in a device right within hand’s reach. This comes in handy for charging a phone while keeping it right in view, or for popping in a thumb drive without having to unplug something else from your PC or reach around to get at an open slot. Or, of course, you can use it for connecting a mouse or headset or any other peripheral.

On a personal level, the USB passthrough alone has proven to be more valuable than I ever imagined. I had been using a console-size Alienware system for a number of years now, which was small and lightweight enough that I could keep it on my desktop, and it also came with a really nice quality Wi-Fi card built directly into the motherboard. Unfortunately that PC died on me earlier in the year and in replacing it with a new full-size gaming tower, which is too bulky to put on top of my desk and only came with a fairly cheapy USB Wi-Fi adapter, I lost the stable wireless connectivity I once had. I’m assuming due to my new PC now having to go underneath my desk, lower to the ground, my Wi-Fi signal with the adapter tends to drop out at some point at least once a day, usually multiple times. However, since getting the G413 and plugging the Wi-Fi adapter into the USB passthrough port, I haven’t had a single loss of signal from the adapter end in the full month I’ve been testing out the keyboard. That’s just one example of how beneficial the USB passthrough can be for repositioning a USB device and getting better convenience and/or performance out of it.

A byproduct of the USB passthrough is that the keyboard’s braided cable, which consists of two wires that split into dual USB connectors at the end, is about twice the diameter of a standard cable. While it won’t be to everyone’s preference, I actually like how thick and heavy duty the cable is, because it’s stiffer and even less prone to tangle or get in the way.

Another potential selling point for the G413–if it had functioned as intended–is its built-in cable management design. Grooves cut into the underside of the keyboard are supposed to allow for securing wires so that any loose or excess cable is tidier and less apt to cause desktop clutter and tangle. Unfortunately, the channels seem to be too shallow and tightly cut, preventing cables from inserting flush with the casing and staying secure without falling out. I’ve tried headphones and mice–yes, even other Logitech mice which you’d think would have to be compatible–but haven’t had any luck getting even a single cable to actually fit inside the grooves and stay put. Braided cables in particular just seem to be too thick to fit. But not even the rubber-coated cable of an Xbox One controller will squeeze in either.

The Logitech G413 is a mechanical gaming keyboard with a singular focus: pure performance at an affordable value. For that specific purpose it is an absolute success, a high class product built with exquisite craftsmanship. There are plenty of other, pricier options to pick from if you need dedicated media controls, additional gaming keys, wrist rests, robust customization and programmability, and/or full RGB lighting, none of which this keyboard has. But if you just want a minimalistic keyboard that looks sensational and is armed with the best damn mechanical gaming switches on the market, the G413 is the keyboard to get. And depending on your needs, the USB passthrough port may just be the unexpected cherry on top, as it was for me.

Buy From: The G413 mechanical gaming keyboard is available for $89.99 in Carbon from Amazon or Logitech, or in Silver exclusively at Best Buy.

Disclosure: A G413 mechanical gaming keyboard was provided to VGBlogger.com for review testing by Logitech.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!