Update, 6/30/18, 5:39am ET: I can confirm that Kaihua makes the Logitech GX blue switch. The original article has been notated accordingly. It’s probable that Logitech asked Kaihua for some slight tweaks compared to the standard Kailh Blue design, but the basic specs indicate no substantive differences.
Original article, 6/13/18, 9:23am ET:
With the introduction of the clicky GX Blue switch, Logitech now has three of its own switches. But the new one, introduced alongside the G512 keyboard, has a Cherry-compatible stem. This is a stark departure from the Romer-G switches that have anchored Logitech’s mechanical keyboard lineup for years, and it’s unclear why the company made this change.
What’s Old is New
Arguably, it’s a step backwards. There are variations everywhere, and one of the big selling points of Romer-G switches is their excellent through-stem lighting design, and one of the big selling points of Logitech keyboards has been those Romer-G switches. Therefore, the GX Blue eschews a unique and trademark feature of Logitech switches in favor of industry sameness. Why?
The most likely reason is that Logitech needed a clicky switch option of some kind–any kind–on its roster. Otherwise, there’s some logic in offering a switch with Cherry-compatible stems; by doing so, Logitech granted customers the ability to employ aftermarket keycaps.
But it seems that the new clicky option is the impetus here. It kind of feels a little bit like Logitech phoned this one in, because even apart from the stem, the specs of the Romer-G switches versus the GX Blue are completely different. That is to say, it wasn’t an effort to build a clicky switch in the spirit of the Romer-G line.
Note for instance that although the Romer-Gs have shallow actuation points and overall keytravel, and are rather light (45gf), the GX Blue specs look like the Blue switches of old. They offer 1.9mm actuation, 4mm travel, 50gf force, and 60gf tactile force. Even Logitech’s page describing the GX Blue switch calls it “iconic,” which is coded language.
Given the change in design, we suspect Logitech has a new switch-making partner, too. Omron makes the Romer-G switches, but it’s also worked on similar switch designs for the likes of Das Keyboard and its 5Q keyboard, and it’s possible that Logitech just wants to plan ahead for a time when the advantage of the through-stem design evaporates a bit. Or perhaps they just want to diversify their partner portfolio.
In any case, any of the usual suspects (Kaihua, TTC, Greetech, etc.) may be the switchmaker for the GX Blue. We’re looking into it.
About the G512 Keyboard…
Somewhat lost amidst the switch news is that fact that the G512 was announced alongside it. This $99 mechanical keyboard seems well-appointed given the price.
The release materials indicated that you can order one with any of the three Logitech switches, and it’s got an aluminum alloy top plate, RGB lighting (with LightSync), and 26KRO. You can control the lighting, key assignments, and macros through the LGS software, and there are some media controls as secondary functions you can access right there on the keyboard itself. It also has a USB 2.0 passthrough port.
It’s quite similar to the G413 except for the presence of RGB lighting, and it’s even more similar to the G513 but lacks the extra “gaming” keycaps and wrist rest. Basically, unless you have a real fetish for wrist rests (#nojudgement), if you want a budget-friendly Logitech keyboard, the G512 is the sweet spot.
Logitech is one of the biggest mechanical keyboard companies around, and it seems that the company is in full-on iteration mode. Over the last year or so, it’s added new keyboards with small variations (as outlined above), and now it has a full set of linear, tactile, and clicky switches. In that regard, it’s keeping up with Razer and Corsair, its two biggest rivals. The G512 looks like a great bargain on paper–certainly more compelling that the RGB-less G413, for just ten bucks more–but it remains to be seen if this seemingly also-ran GX Blue clicky switch will entice new buyers.