back to article Logitech G915 TKL: Numpad-free mechanical keyboard clicks all the right boxes

Regular readers will know this correspondent is rather partial to mechanical keyboards. The latest to join my collection is Logitech's G915 TKL, launched by the Swiss peripherals makers just last month. The G915 TKL is aimed at gamers. You don't have to take my word for it, just check the flickering RGB lights buried under the …

  1. mdava

    Sounds excellent all round

    But quite pricey (and appears not to be available on Amazon this morning).

    Anyone got alternatives for good keyboards-without-numberpads at a more budget price point?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Sounds excellent all round

      you could search 'tkl keyboard' on the big river, then search gamer forums

      1. mdava

        Re: Sounds excellent all round

        Fair point - I hadn't realised that TKL was a generic term (thought this was logitech marketing dept at work).

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Sounds excellent all round

          "No keypad" as a feature? Where we're going, we don't... count?

          In one or more "Latin" languages, the word for "keyboard" is something like "teclado". If that really sounds like it does in my head (like somebody typing), that has to be something to do with it...??

    2. John 110

      Re: Sounds excellent all round

      There's the fnatic miniStreak, but I think that's wired. It has a range of cherry options though.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds excellent all round

      Check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bnV9YnrWVI

      It's my FOREVER KEYBOARD <3

    4. goldcd

      Corsair do a reasonable one

      K93 - Cherry Reds, RBG-free lighting, about £75

    5. l8gravely

      Re: Sounds excellent all round

      I've been enjoying my CODE keyboard from wasdkeyboards.com for years. Simple white back light, 10 keyless or full size, and the backspace key isn't as small as this logitech one.

      But it's not perfect, and I'm sure there might be better ones. But I do feel that tenkeyless is much much better for my carpal tunnel when it kicks in.

      Actually, I miss the old IBM/Northgate OmniKey and Sun keyboards with the extra function keys on the LEFT. Very nice stuff to use.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lots of options

      There are literally dozens of options. Almost all of them will be cheaper, unless they are boutique semi-custom jobs made out of milled aluminium with polished brass weights.

      A couple of reputable and solid brands would be Filco, Leopold. Corsair is probably more commonly found with gamery flair (and possibly awkard key sizing that make them incompatible with aftermarket key cap sets). Realforce, NIZ/Plum/Abko for electro capacitive (much smoother feeling, non-clicky) switches. Something like GMMK for cheap hotswap boards that allow your choice of switches. There are loads more brands which I can't think of off the top of my head, and many obscure brands on the big online markets.

      This article covers a board that would not be terribly well received by most keyboard enthusiasts- it's extremely expensive, uses switches of no particular note, and has no additional functionality mentioned such as firmware level key remapping or macro recording capabilities (maybe it has this last one, most gamer boards should have).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lots of options

        Some more decent brands:

        Das - basically unadventurous office keyboards with a bit of an office-chic makeover

        Ducky - (despite the silly name, its a big, well-established Taiwanese company). Big range. Solid.

        Vortex - tends towards small form factor, 'hacker' style boards

        Mathias - modelled on old-school clicky boards, makes one model that feels the same but without the click. Canadian.

        There are loads of other less known ones. Just avoid anything by Razer and similarly overpriced gamer garbage.

    7. wurdsmiff

      Re: Sounds excellent all round

      Just bought a Durgod K320 based on recommendations from reddit. Working brilliantly so far and half the price of this one.

    8. hob_bes

      Re: Sounds excellent all round

      Keychron makes excellent (IMHO) full-size and TKL mechanical keyboards, all of them starting under $100 USD.

  2. Dr_Bingley

    Thank you for the review! The switches sound interesting (I like Kailh switches generally).

    One correction though: Unicomp doesn't make Model M clones. IBM spun off its keyboard and printer divisions in the 1990s. They became the new company Lexmark. When it stopped making Model M keyboards, a number of former employees acquired the moulds and tooling. Their Model M's are, in other words, 'real'.

    1. overunder Silver badge

      Take what yout will from this but, decades later I still compare every new KB to various old IBM KB's. As of 2020, I'm positive it's not just because I'm old.

      A proven fact by unseen gods... 99% of all new KB's suck balls, their quality standards are shit. And no, I can't be civil when describing them, too much money wasted.

      1. Dr_Bingley

        I tend to rotate my keyboards, but I do most of my typing on a 1991 Model M. I love its sound and keyfeel.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's because you're old ;)

        I own two Model Ms. They are nice boards, but I don't use them anymore except occasionally for old time's sake. There are plenty of crappy boards these days, but given the proliferation of boards in general, some are very, very good.

        (And I'm not prepared to own an Model F because of the key layout and general boatiness.)

        1. Dr_Bingley

          I have two Model Fs, but the spacebar is far too heavy for my taste. Apparently those 'brand-new model Fs' that are currently being sold online (not sure if I'm allowed to provide a link here) fix the issue, but they're rather expensive.

    2. NickHolland

      Unicomp may have claim to being a source of "real" Model Ms...but as an owner and user of many REAM IBM Model M keyboards, and a recently purchased Unicomp...I really wish the Unicomp was a better clone and less "real". I had the two sitting next to each other for a few weeks, even.

      The good: the key feel is very good. As a great keyboard ... it succeeds.

      But it would never be confused for a 30+ year old Model M. The Unicomp case is loosely snapped together and has a distinct hollow and rattle sound. The real IBM keyboard is much heavier, screwed together and very tight and solid...and has a slightly more Model M feel to the keys.

      I got the Unicomp with the trackball. Just ... don't. It's got four buttons on the top, four on the top-edge. And two of the buttons in both locations do literally nothing. Confirmed with the manufacturer -- they are just sitting there, confusing your fingers when trying to use them and send no signal out. I'm a unix guy -- I need at least a third button. Sure, X fakes the third button, but I'm forced to use Windows (which is what this was purchased for) and Windows doesn't fake the third button.

      Don't get me wrong -- the Unicomp is a good keyboard, it's entirely worth the money (really quite reasonable for the PRIMARY thing you interact with on a computer!!), but it's not up to the old IBM Model M standards.

      1. NickHolland

        CORRECTION...

        Whoops. I'm wrong. The Unicomp and the IBM are both screwed together in a very similar way. The screws are on the back edge (towards the monitor) and it's clipped together on the front (towards the user). However, my old IBM is quite solid, my Unicomp is very wiggly on that front, clipped together part.

  3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Why LAN

    This was mentioned in a previous post by another commentor, I would take my fullsize wired keyboard with me.

    I see these as more for use with entertainment system pc's (Which I am toying with and so far my ProDesk barebones mini runs Rocketleague ok considering its an AMD Ryzen APU).

    But for me £200 is still to expensive, bring it down to below £125.

  4. AJ MacLeod

    No numeric keypad = no thanks. In any case my own mechanical keyboard isn't showing much sign of wearing out yet and it's been clicking away since the second of October 1986!

    1. paulf Silver badge
      Happy

      I've got a Corsair K90 which I got cheap at Flea-Buyer in 2013 thanks to a sudden price drop. The black paint is wearing off the space bar a bit, but otherwise no issues. My only complaint is the key pitch is slightly different to the other keyboards I use so the muscle memory typing can get a bit out of kilter sometimes.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Have a K70 myself, wrist wrest is wearing out, but as its got a rubber coating thats to be expected.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      "No numeric keypad = no thanks."

      Horses for courses. I dislike keyboards with numeric keypads because they make the keyboard asymmetrical and push the mouse further away from the centre-line. I also discovered a long time ago that I like a row of number keys rather than a stack which can be either 1-9 or 7-3 (top-left to bottom-right) depending on... whatever.

      1. skswales

        I use a keyboard with numpad on the left hand side to have a closer mouse. I like the numpad still - better accuracy for entering numeric data I find. Also have a 4-way KVM which switches via the numpad...

    3. Topperfalkon

      Just take the TKL off the end and they've got a variant with those keys too

  5. FordPrefect

    I've used logitech mice and keyboards for years. Currently using a G910 which also has nice old school feel with noisy keys which hark back to the old IBM keyboards. You really can't go wrong with logitech in my experience. Some linux software for the lighting functionality would be nice though I have to admit although appreciate it will probably never happen.

  6. Avatar of They
    FAIL

    What price?

    With a world that's on fire and chances of jobs being around for a lot of people quite slim.

    No keyboard should ever cost that much, not even if it was made of gold.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    200 quid for a keyboard? Are you insane?

    Check out the HyperX Alloy Origins Core. It's tenkeyless, red switches, fully machined curved aluminium frame (base and top, not a single milligram of creaking plastic in the whole thing) uses a USB-C to charge, has incredibly bright RGB keys. Can get it for 87 quid.

    You're welcome!

    1. Rockets

      I've got a HyperX Alloy FPS with Cherry Blue's and the damn thing is solid as a tank and as loud as one too. Can't remember how much I paid for it but it wasn't expensive. Also has a number pad. Why would any one want a TKL keyboard? I use those keys heaps, it's one of the worst things about using a laptop is not having those keys available.

  8. legless82

    I'm a recent mechanical keyboard convert

    But a lot of the mechanical keyboards on the market had lairy designs or gaudy RGB backlighting. I like gaming, but why marketing departments think that means I want my PC to look like a 1990s Dixons stereo system I'll never understand.

    In the end I bought a Das Keyboard Prime 13. Keys backlit in a nice neutral white, Cherry MX Brown switches, aluminium casing and a USB passthrough. It's a joy to type on, and it was only £85.

  9. Toe Knee

    Backlighting

    Is it just me, or is there a real scarcity of backlit (only the letter/number/function) keyboards? Mechanical or otherwise, unless I want a rainbow on my desk, it just doesn’t seem possible to have visual identification of a key in a dark environment.

    That’s one thing Apple did right on its PPC PowerBooks! I wonder if they still have that feature these days...

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Backlighting

      My cheap TKL mechanical keyboard (Drevo Tyrfing v2 with Outemu switches, £40) has RGB LED backlights, and there is a magic key combo to press to cycle through the different options for that, one of which is just white backlights (and one is just "off").

  10. eionmac

    No wire, USB option?

    How do you get it to connect if Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is inactive?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: No wire, USB option?

      USB dingle, according to the article.

  11. Def Silver badge

    No keypad?

    No thanks.

    How do you enter accented and other extended characters without resorting to a localised on-screen keyboard or charmap?

  12. autisticatheist
    Thumb Down

    RGB - ugh

    What's with the rainbow lighting? Who on earth thought that actually looked good? Makes it look like something you pull out of a box of cornflakes.

  13. sanwin

    Just checked my local PC parts supplier.

    Logitech K120 - £9.98 - That'll do me!

  14. Giles C Bronze badge
    Joke

    Apparently this keyboard is a 1990 Ford Escort in Red.

    Honestly manufacturers using uk registration numbers as part numbers......

    1. Timarzi

      It actually is! Tax is overdue though.

  15. VulcanV5

    So whatever happened to Cherry?

    It astonishes me that Cherry is still cited so favourably in keyboard reviews. Way back when, IK had a Cherry keyboard that was an absolute joy to use: quiet, responsive, and robust. Fast forward 20-odd years, and I'm now on my 2nd Cherry keyboard (I know, I should never have bought it) in 2 years. It's dreadful: time and again the keystrokes don't register, and working with programs like Photoshop where keyboard shortcuts are pretty much a necessity becomes a nightmare. Capitalisation repeatedly fails and the whole thing feels lumpen, even dead.

    I'm told that the 'origina;' Cherry no longer exists, that it's nowadays just another brand name on just yet more Chinese tatt. How true that might be, I've no idea, and lack the time and interest to bother finding out. All I know is that I'd like to have a keyboard which works as it should ( I don't need one of those flashing-light gaming things, just an 'ordinary' keyboard.)

  16. Anonymous Coward
  17. CountCadaver Bronze badge

    Ouch on the price

    I'm currently looking for a wireless keyboard, to replace my 20 odd year old microsoft internet pro keyboard, since I've had the PC powering the TV, as an interim I've been using an MS wireless Keyboard 800, but the markings are wearing off the keys and its getting tempremental after only 4 years use (and fresh batteries recently) its also nowhere as good to type on as the old internet pro keyboard from 1999 was.

    Any suggestions for something mechanical and wireless? That or a way to convert ye olde wired PS2 keyboard to work wirelessly? Some form of PS/2 to bluetooth/wifi to PS/2 usb converter or some other black magic?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ouch on the price

      Google will reveal many ways to connect a PS2 (or USB) legacy keyboard via Bluetooth. I suspect the problem will be supplying enough power for a free-standing keyboard. If it needs a PSU connected to the keyboard then it tends to invalidate the untethered advantage of a wireless solution.

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: Ouch on the price

        Nah this just draws power via PS/2

        Upvote incoming as I didn't know you got PS/2 to bluetooth

  18. cam

    Bought a Corsair K90 about 5 years ago. If I never have to change keyboards ever again, I'll be a happy little clickity clacker.

  19. Quinch

    Why, though?

    To me, removing the numpad on a keyboard is equivalent to removing the audio jack on a phone/tablet. Sure, you can do without it, but why would you want to?

  20. conscience

    I've got a Cherry MX 3000 USB (G80-3000LSCGB-2) here that I'm fairly happy with, especially at the price of around £70 when I bought it a couple of years ago. OK it's not perfect or high-end, it feels plastic-y and clipped together and it's a bit too loud with Cherry's blue switches but it has the reliability with 50m key-presses and 80,000 hours MTBF. Best of all - no batteries built in or otherwise because it is wired so there's nothing to need charging, replacing or go wrong. The UK layout version is limited to black or blue switches which is a pity because I prefer the quieter brown ones. A decent budget workhorse considering most membrane keyboards just don't last long enough. There's more info and a data sheet here: https://www.cherry.co.uk/cherry-g80-3000.html.

    It replaced a Roccat Ryos MK FX with brown Cherry switches and per-key RGB LEDs which cost far more, but the only thing I miss are the slightly quieter Cherry brown switches and built-in wrist rest. I've yet to investigate any of the new switches that are based on/knock offs of the Cherry switches since Cherry's switch patents expired.

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