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Logitech's sub-$100 deck tempts new mechanical keyboard fans

The G413 isn't fancy, but it is very clicky.

Kris Naudus (AOL/Engadget)

Mechanical keyboard aficionados may extol the virtues of their chosen device like speed and feel but often downplay how much that luxury will cost you. Many good mechanical keyboards run between $150 and $200, with gaming-centric models jacking up the price thanks to features like RGB lighting and programmable keys. Logitech's new G413 hopes to indoctrinate the less hardcore by eschewing most of the bells and whistles, delivering a quality gaming deck that will cost you only $90/£99.

The G413 is a solid piece of kit, with an aluminum plate underneath the keys and a thick braided cord providing USB pass-through so you can plug stuff into it and reduce cable clutter on your desk. Even the feet feel pretty solid and are hard to pull off -- and yes, I tried, as I've had a few go missing in the past. The keys are easy to remove, which makes the deck super simple to clean, as well as allowing you to swap out buttons if you have replacements on hand.

However, getting new keys isn't as easy as it would be on rival peripherals that use the fairly common Cherry-brand switches. Like Razer, Logitech uses its own proprietary switches, known as the Romer-G. They don't feel as sharp as Cherry switches or Razer's brand, with a slightly soft impression on each key press. But the actuation point is only 1.5mm deep (with a force of 45g), so they're just as responsive. They're a huge improvement over the keys in Logitech's low-cost G213, which was aimed at the same audience with a similar price point. That model wasn't mechanical, using what the company called "Mech Dome" keys instead. That's a fancy name for what are essentially high-quality membrane buttons.

Logitech at least supplies a set of contoured WASD replacement keys in the box for more serious gamers. Further customization is also offered via Logitech's software, allowing users to program the function keys with macros. The ability to customize the lighting is not available, though -- Logitech left out multicolored LEDs to bring the price down. This leaves users with an ominous red backlight under each key instead (it can be turned down or off). I was glad to see macro buttons omitted as well, as I have a bad habit of accidentally hitting those extra keys when trying to type. But I admit that I wouldn't have minded some dedicated media controls at least -- I've grown rather fond of them after using Corsair's K95 for so long.

The black keys with their red glow contrast rather nicely with the G413's backplate, but there's also a pretty sweet-looking silver version available -- however, it's a Best Buy exclusive. Whatever your preference, both colors will run you $90/£99 and can be picked up today.