Often when we review gaming keyboards, we usually get a few comments or messages from people who are looking for a keyboard that isn't so intimidating. Something without all the bells and whistles they don't know how to program. Logitech was kind enough to send one our way that just might fit the bill, as they sent us their latest model in the 513 Carbon Gaming Keyboard. But how does this one really hold up compared to others of its kind? We plugged it in and gave it a test to see how well it really did.
So let's start off with the design of this model, which is a mechanical keyboard made to look like any standard keyboard you might run across at a retailer. The design was done so in a way that makes it feel more accessible to average gamers. If you're just starting off and you're not sure how some of the higher end keyboards from Logitech work with the programmable G keys and media buttons and setting up macros, it can be a turn off to plunk down money on something you don't understand. By creating a gaming keyboard the way you would a standard keyboard you might see on anyone's desk, it makes it easier to dive in. The biggest upgrade for people will be the LED keys, which are set up so you can see them in the dark and also learn how to program lighting using the gaming software that lets you play with the lights.
The board itself has a metal frame with an RGB setup underneath and a standard 3.0 USB plug that's hard-wired into the unit. Like a lot of keyboard designs for PC users, the F-Keys have been given icon designs along the lower-front face so you can find the standard media access as well as brightness and volume controls. The keys are well designed to give that mechanical feeling without the pushback, and the satisfying feeling of hammering them down in the middle of typing or throwing out a keystroke. Beyond the G in the corner, there's nothing about the board that is remotely out-of-sync with a regular design.
Gaming with it felt easy, in fact, way too easy. Having reviewed several keyboards over the years, I've grown accustomed to breaking a board in, so to speak. Yes, everything we've received over the years works right out of the box, but you usually have to get your fingers adjusted to playing on a new board as well as getting the board used to your patterns. A lot of times I find I need a couple hours to hone everything in, but with the 513 Carbon, it felt like an easy transition from my current keyboard to this. If it's easy for me to get into the groove with, then that says to me anyone just picking it up will have a quick turnaround of getting used to using it.
The board came with a giant wrist pad as well. I myself had no use for it because my desk has a pull-out keyboard rest, so I took it around to a couple friend's homes and tried it out with them. Most of them agreed that it was nice and comfortable, but it was a little bigger than they were used to and it almost didn't fit on their desks. I love the touch from Logitech to add in something to alieviate any possible pain, but the design is a little bigger than most people may have room for.
I thought the 513 Carbon was a great design for what they created. You have what is essentially an entry-level keyboard designed for gamers to get people into using one without having a giant learning curve. The downside is that once you get used to it and become amazing with it, there's no room to expand with it, meaning you have to buy a new one to upgrade if you wish to learn more and program. The other factor, because it is still a mechanical gaming keyboard, is the price which is currently at $150. If you're an average gamer that wants to get a better experience, but has zero desire to upgrade beyond what's necessary, this is the board for you.