The Logitech G610 Orion keyboard is a clean, simple and refined “gaming” keyboard marking Logitech’s return to using Cherry MX switches (red and brown) as opposed to their proprietary Romer-G mechanical switches.
- Genuine Blue or Brown Cherry MX switches
- White backlighting
- Multiple backlighting effects
- Dedicated media control buttons
- Custom key lock
- 26-key roll over
- Three levels of elevation (0 degrees, 4 degrees and 8 degrees)
Before going any further, I’ll quickly cover off the two types of switches that the Logitech G610 Orion can be purchased with.
Brown switches are very similar to Blue switches, in that they are of the “tactile variety”, however they do not have the audible “click”. The tactile bump is still there, confirming each keypress.
Brown switches are the most popular and common type of tactile non-clicky switch, and are probably the most common type of mechanical switch used.
Brown switches take the click out of the Blue switches, making keyboards containing Brown switches much more suitable to environments where the click could be annoying – such as offices.
Brown switches are considered the middle ground for gaming and typing.
Red switches are the most recently designed and released switch from Cherry. Introduced in 2008, the Cherry MX Red switches tie with the aforementioned MX Brown’s in terms of actuation force at 45cN.
Red switches are generally favoured by gamers, due to the lightweight actuation force, meaning pressing a key multiple times is much quicker/easier. The Red switches are of the “Linear” type, which means there is no extra tactile feedback or noticeable bump.
Red Switches are now amongst the four most popular Cherry MX switches, along with Brown, Blue and Black switches.
Unboxing, setup and install
The packaging for the G610 Orion is surprisingly simple, which ties in with the product in the box. The main face of the box is jet black, containing the product name and a large picture of the keyboard itself. The only other imagery on the front-side of the box is the label telling you which colour switch is installed in your keyboard and Logitech’s logo.
The outer sides of the box are all a bright blue colour and simply display the name of the product. The rear-side of the box is where you find all of the information about the product. With a heavy focus on the detail of the installed switch (in my case, Cherry MX Brown’s), you can also find details on the dedicated media keys and the keyboard back-lighting.
The packaging is otherwise relatively unexciting. Pulling the keyboard out of the box reveals the keyboard, its non-removable braided USB cable and the user documentation. From there, the keyboard can essentially be plug-and-play across both Windows and Mac!
If you want more than just plug-and-play functionality though, Logitech’s Gaming Software allows more extensive control and customization over some of the intended gaming features and back-lighting of this keyboard – more on that in a bit!
Design and build quality
I won’t lie, when I initially saw and purchased the G610, I was expecting the top-plate to be made out of some form of metal (aluminium or similar). At almost £100 ($120), I don’t think this is too unexpected? I’ve purchased other, significantly cheaper mechanical keyboards (such as the GEEZER GS2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard) which have both back-lighting and an aluminium top-plate. However, it’s worth pointing out that the GEEZER GS2 didn’t include genuine Cherry MX switches. Regardless of this, I was rather surprised that the keyboard is wholly constructed out of plastic.
That’s not to say by any means that this keyboard is poorly constructed. Oh no! The G610 Orion is incredibly well built. The smooth matte black top means that there’s no glare off of any lighting that may be above/around you. The sides of the keyboard are shiny as opposed to the matte top and contain subtle product branding.
The G610 is incredibly well weighted (surprisingly heavy actually). Pair that weight with the 5 relatively large rubber pads on the bottom side of the keyboard and once you’ve placed this keyboard on your desk – it’s going nowhere!
The media control buttons, num lock/caps lock/scroll lock indicators and Logitech G logo are all constantly yet subtly back-lit (lock indicators only when toggled on!) and the volume control wheel in the top right of the keyboard provides a simple and smooth way to fine-tune your volume output!
Logitech Gaming Software
Logitech’s “Gaming Software” (which is downloadable for both Windows (7 through 10) and Mac (OS X 10.8 through 10.12)) provides you with some degree of customization for your G610 Orion. Ranging from custom per-key back-lighting, to back-lighting effects and on to custom function keys/macros – you can build yourself a bespoke key setup for your keyboard to suit your needs.
Whilst there are no dedicated macro keys, certain keys can be mapped for certain functionality. The keys in the G610’s case are the F keys (F1 – F12). Logitech’s gaming software allows you to configure these keys to perform either as a letter, a function key, a macro key, a multi-key and more!
Digging into back-lighting control, Logitech allow you full control over brightness and tone of the back-light on a per-key basis if you so wish. Whilst this keyboard only comes with a white back-light, with incredible accuracy you can range both the brightness and “colour” of each key from completely dimmed & black (effectively off) to 100% brightness and fully white (effectively fully on).
There are also preset (and relatively standard) back-lighting “effects” which you, once again, have some degree of control over in terms of back-light “colour”, speed and brightness. These effects are:
- Fixed brightness (all keys are at a set brightness/”colour”
- Breathing (controllable speed)
- Star effect (controllable speed, colour and count)
- Light wave (controllable speed and direction)
- Key press (controllable speed and colour)
You also have the ability to set “Zones”, which is effectively per-key back-lighting. This defaults to the number row, arrow keys, WASD, F row, Shift, CTRL, ALT and Windows keys. From here you have the ability to create your own “zone”, enable or disable individual keys and set the brightness/”colour” of each of those keys.
For some, this keyboard will be exactly what they’re looking for – A simple, clean design with minimal extra and unnecessary “gaming” features whilst still making use of genuine Cherry MX switches. For others, this keyboard will appear lackluster in features for its price point despite the genuine switches and solid build.
Personally, I use this keyboard for work. I type… a LOT! Whilst I much prefer the feel of typing on blue switches, they’re really not appropriate for an office environment. Brown’s are the compromise for this, providing a decent degree of tactile feedback without the loud and potentially annoying click. Therefore in terms of the “gaming” capacity of this keyboard, I’m not really looking for much. The ability to have custom macro’s or functions mapped to 12 keys on my keyboard and taking up no more room than a standard keyboard is a bonus for me. The per-key back-lighting, whilst fun to play with – doesn’t provide any benefit to typing! (Worth nothing though that when I lock my screen and the keyboard defaults to light wave from left to right across the keyboard – that’s pretty darn cool in my book!).
In all honesty, I don’t know why this keyboard is specifically marketed at gamers. Yes there’s a windows lock button on there for gaming, but otherwise this is a relatively standard keyboard with some decent (albeit potentially superfluous) customization options. Whilst I would PERSONALLY prefer a Orion Spectrum, the G610 Orion with the simple white back-lighting is incredibly well suited to a more professional environment. I’d go full RGB in my home office, but in an actual business/place of work – RGB is out of place.
The typing experience is pleasant, as expected with genuine Cherry MX keys. As I mentioned above, I’d prefer Blue switches, however the G610 Orion is only offered in Brown and Red and even if Blue switches were offered, it would be unfair to my nearby colleagues for me to hammer away on a clicky mechanical keyboard! I do find every now and then that one or two keys will make an “spring” sound, but I’m sure this will settle down as I use the keyboard more.
If you are looking for a no-frills, well built, sturdy mechanical keyboard with genuine Cherry MX switches, understated/monochromatic back-lighting all in a generally professional looking form factor and have a budget of £80 – £100 ($100 – $120) then I would definitely recommend this keyboard to you.
If you are looking for an all-in gaming keyboard… I honestly don’t know that this is the right fit for you. I’d personally start looking at saving a little extra money and putting it towards the G810/G910 keyboards instead
Logitech’s website: http://gaming.logitech.com/
Logitech Gaming Software: http://support.logitech.com/en_gb/product/g610-orion-brown-keyboard/downloads