Almost a year ago Logitech announced its most important gaming keyboard to date, the G910 Orion Spark. The G910 was an important product for Logitech that was designed to help it stand out in the ever growing pack of companies pouncing on the gaming peripheral market.
Logitech claimed that the G910 was the culmination of years of ongoing development by its engineering team. With feedback from gamers and eSport athletes the company set out to develop the next-generation mechanical key and the end result is what it calls Romer-G mechanical switches. While everyone else was busy ordering shiploads of Cherry MX switches, Logitech went about creating its own.
For the most part, the G910 received positive reviews, though the main sticking points were the keycaps and the palm rest. The non-unified keycaps were by far the most criticized part of the keyboard and I have to admit that we didn't really enjoy them either. The uneven wrist pad was also horrible for typing and only suited for gaming -- two were included and they both sucked.
Whereas the Cherry MX switches have a solid feel and in many versions a nice clicking noise to go along with it, the Romer-Gs feel squishier and have a hollower sounding click if you will. That said, a lot of gamers really liked the switches while others said they could live with them if not for the keycaps.
Since pushing out the G910 some 11 months ago now we are yet to see another Romer-G enabled keyboard from Logitech. That was of course until it announced the G310 Atlas Dawn, a compact Romer-G mechanical keyboard.
As the name implies, the G310 is a slimmed down version of the G910. Gone are the macro keys along the side and top of the board, as are the media control functions. The number pad has also been given the boot. The reason for removing these features has been to develop a lightweight and compact keyboard that's better suited for travel to LAN events or to fit into smaller gaming spaces.
Almost everything about the G310 is smaller than the G910 but one thing in particular isn't, the price. The G910 originally retailed for $180 but has since dropped to $140 where it is much more competitive. The G310 on the other hand is starting with an MSRP of $180, the same price its bigger brother once sold for. Naturally we are wondering if the G310 is worth paying more for than the G910.
Design & Features
The G310 Atlas Dawn is 33% smaller than the G910 measuring 390.5mm long, 185.2mm wide and 35.5mm thick. It's also 50% lighter tipping the scales at just 765 grams.
The Romer-G switches are garnished with the same mishmash of keycaps that we saw on the G910 and personally I don't like the feel at all. To me, they feel rubbish to touch/push and spoil what might otherwise be a pleasant experience with the Romer-G switches. Not only do they feel uncomfortable under finger, but I struggle to move across the keyboard without getting caught on keys.
On the plus side, the keys are center-illuminated with blue backlighting and the brightness can be controlled at the push of a button or even disabled. For the price you might have expected the same RGB lighting as the G910, but sadly that isn't the case so it's blue or nothing.
There aren't any programmable keys and we feel like for the price there should be, there is no reason why Logitech couldn't have included some on the far left side of the keyboard, much like what Cougar did with their 700K mechanical gaming keyboard.
Instead Logitech decided to include an unnecessary cut out feature on the left side which looks a bit like a handle, but unless you have child-like fingers you aren't going to be using it as a handle. It seems like Logitech could have made the G310 at least 20mm shorter and it wouldn't have impacted the functionality, just the aesthetics.
The next issue, and for me it is a rather big one, is the palm rest or lack thereof. The G310 is a tall keyboard, especially at the front where your hands rest, so the palm rest is extremely important.
Unfortunately, the G310 might as well not have a rest. Like the G910, it only has a half palm rest for your left hand that would typically go after the WASD keys when gaming. However, the rest is so short and so steep that your palm doesn't actually fit on it.
I would describe the keyboard as having a double claw grip-like feeling, your palms virtually have to hover in the air to avoid clawing away at the G310.
The ARX dock makes a comeback and this time it is fully removable which is pretty cool. The downside being that in order to use the dock it has to be fully removed, so not that great for saving space then. Had the dock worked as it did on the G910 and been removable that would have made it a worthwhile feature.
Other than the ARX dock the only other noteworthy feature at the top of the G310 is the 1.8m long USB cable which isn't braided. Moreover there isn't any kind of USB pass-through feature on the G310 or anywhere to plug your headset in for example, which would have been a nice bonus for a compact gaming keyboard.
Underneath the G310 has been given a baby blue paint job and four rubber pads for grip. There are also two legs that can be folded out to increase the user's angle of attack.
So far the G310 Atlas Dawn has been quite disappointing for a gaming keyboard selling for over $150.