Logisys KB606SL Illuminated Keyboard Review - Page 1 of 1
By Ed Piotrowski - February 9, 2005
Illuminated keyboards have been on the market for a while, though most have yet to gain wide acceptance. The first generation of these input devices, while very cool looking, had some pretty serious flaws including but not limited to: Non-standard key layouts, the inability to turn off the backlighting, cost and lack of a height adjustment. All of these deficiencies are what have kept me from abandoning my trusty $6 IBM Active Response keyboard.
When Saitek released its PC Gaming Keyboard I decided to give it a try. Sadly, I had to return it because it was too long to fit on my desk. Then one day, I was browsing some hardware e-tailers and I came upon a few different illuminated keyboards from Logisys. I hadn't heard of this company before, but in the reviews I was able to find, it seemed as if their products were of good quality while being reasonably priced.
Small Package of Good Things
I elected to go with the KB606SL model for its standard key layout, slim form factor and full-sized function keys. In addition to the matte silver finish, the KB606 comes in black. Both models offer blue backlit keys with a switch to turn illumination on and off. Its $30 price tag also was extremely appealing since the Saitek goes for at least $45 and the original backlit keyboard, the Auravision EluminX sells for in excess of $70.
This is a very no-frills package. You get the keyboard, software to activate the multimedia keys, a USB to PS2 adapter and quick start guide. Setting up the KB606SL was a simple task. I used the adapter to plug the keyboard into the PS2 port of my new MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI. As I really dislike extra keys, I did not install the software on the included floppy disk. According to the product Web page, here are some of the KB606SL's features.
PS/2 & USB interface
Translucent white keys
Extra long 6-foot power cord
Now that I've had the KB606SL up and running for a few days, I have to say I'm extremely impressed overall with its quality and performance. Typing on it feels very much like that of a laptop. This may or may not appeal to you, but it's not something that's a detriment from my perspective. I appreciated the standard layout of the insert/home/page up keys as my former IBM keyboard had an unusual layout that I never fully got used to. The full-size F1-F12 keys were excellent because I have my quick save/load keys bound on this part of my keyboard when gaming. More than once on my IBM I've hit the wrong button when either saving or loading. This has not been a problem so far on this unit.
As the keys are translucent (as opposed to transparent on the EluminX or opaque on the Saitek) the illumination works just about perfectly. It provides enough light to see each key clearly when gaming in the dark without being absurdly bright. The on/off switch is very handy as well as I can preserve the backlight by keeping it off when I don't need it.
All Lit Up
All this said, there are some minor flaws with this product. The most glaring (literally) is the group of excessively bright LED lights to indicate caps, number and scroll lock. I have to make sure all three lights are off before I go to bed or else they cast a menacing blue glow around my computer desk area. They're so bright I couldn't get my digital camera to take a good picture. Another thing I've noticed is the backlight switch will intermittently stick when I'm trying to turn illumination off. This probably is due to the fact that sometimes I don't press striaght down on the switch, but this play shouldn't be there in the first place.
This is more of a personal preference, but I'm not crazy for the location of the backslash key in relation to the enter and backspace keys. I'm used to having backslash wedged between enter and backspace. On the KB606, backslash is a standard size key sandwiched between the +/= key and backspace. Since I have small hands and fingers, this layout will cause me to inadvertendtly hit \ instead of backspace when I need to delete something.
Again, these are all minor quibbles considering this keyboard's overwhelming virtues. I really dig the brushed aluminum look. The overall layout is very good, the backlighting is actually useful and it can be had for much less money than the competition. Aside from the KB606, Logisys has some other illuminated models that have slightly different layouts. All of them are priced within $10 above or below the KB606 so regardless of your preferences you should be able to find one that suits your needs. This keyboard's performance and value for the money are tough to beat.
Standard layout with full-size function keys
Practical and unobtrusive backlight
USB and PS2 connectors with 6-foot cable
Number/scroll/caps lock lights too bright
Backlight on/off switch can stick if you're not careful
Awkward position of backslash key
Feel free to ask a question or post a comment about this review in this forum thread.