Logitech hinted at a 10-keyless Romer-G offering last year at PAX by refusing to confirm or deny such a product was in development. Thankfully they had it in the pipeline and were keeping quiet until it was good to go. I’ve used the new Logitech G310 “Atlas Dawn” for 2 months solid and it’s something to be excited about.

When the G910 Orion Spark review sample hit our test bench, we immediately made friends with the Logitech Romer-G switches. Late last year, we saw the G910 for the first time and asked Max Pan from Logitech if there was a smaller version coming – his response was a very ‘CIA-like’ with neither a confirmation nor a denial.  Even leading up to the press release we couldn’t get anything specific from Logitech or their PR company – then the press release came out and we saw that the 10-keyless Romer-G keyboard was designated the G310 “Altas Dawn”. Having never really used a 10-keyless gaming keyboard for more than a few hours at a time, the smaller size and lack of a number pad had me initially sceptical but after using the G310 for 2 months instead of my normal keyboard, I’m a total convert. 

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Logitech seem to have a very strong development team working on their products and you can see the level of thought that goes into their designs with regard to usability but also the understanding of the target market. The G310 is a scaled down gaming keyboard and Logitech has managed to implement the key features of its gaming range selectively whilst keeping the street price in a competitive place but I’ll talk about price later.

The G310 is very portable, weighing in at 765g and the desktop footprint is 18.5cm x 21cm so it isn’t as small as some other 10 keyless boards that don’t have as much funky outer housing. The outer shroud and palm rest make for a more comfortable gaming keyboard even if it is at the expense of some desktop real estate. The left edge of the keyboard is also handy for holding the keyboard in your left hand whilst you type on it with your right – I discovered this by accident during my testing and some research into ‘couch gaming’.  Aesthetically, Logitech has remained true to the Gaming line/’Science Wins’ theme of black and light blue which is great if you have other Logitech G-series products. Given that most of the product upper materials are black, the G310 shouldn’t clash too much with other peripherals. 

The backlight is blue and the key-cap etching makes the keys really easy to identify in low or no light environments. The extra etching on the WASD and arrow keys also make these easier to readily identify. It’s worth mentioning that I found myself typing ‘wwwwwwwwaaawwwddssssaa’ into the console after a mis-hit on ‘~’ on only one occasion in 8 weeks compared to much more frequently on other keyboards. The extra marking is easy to see but perhaps unnecessary as the palm rest and key-cap profiling meant that my hand and fingers were always in the right spot for gaming.

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The profile of the top of the key caps is the same as the G910 Orion Spark with raised edges on the keys on the left side of the keyboard to avoid mis-hits. The angle of the tops of the keys is also slightly different to other keyboards so as to maximise the contact with a gamer’s fingertips in a downward motion. This angle also helps you hit the actuation point a millisecond or two faster which won’t matter for 99% of us but the hardcore out there may see this as a real advantage.

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ARX Control is a Logitech application that uses a smartphone or tablet in place of a keyboard-mounted LCD screen. At the moment the applications are a little limited with the most useful one being the system monitor that shows CPU (utilisation/temps), GPU (utilisation/temps/memory/fan speed), and Memory usage. This is really handy when you’re gaming and I regularly used the system monitor to check temps and GPU memory utilisation.

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The G910 Orion Spark had the ARX-DOCK that was attached to the keyboard and slid out about 20mm to allow people to mount their phones in the centre of the full sized keyboard. The G310 Atlas Dawn takes a different approach in that the whole thing detaches from the keyboard allowing for a phone or tablet to be placed further away from the keyboard – probably more in keeping with the portable/LAN theme. After 2 months of use, I prefer this approach and found myself using the ARX-DOCK on the G310 a lot more than I did on the G910. There is nothing cheap about the blue plastic dock/stand either. It has rubber pads that stop it from moving around and it stayed in place at all times on my perspex covered desktop which is pretty susceptible to stuff sliding from where I place it.

The Logitech Gaming Software is a great one stop shop to manage all your Logitech peripherals and it even had a profile for my old G5 series mouse from 7 years ago. The interface is easy to use and you can disable keys for different gaming profiles. This can be handy for the obvious “Windows Keys” but there is also a gaming mode toggle for that – I found that this feature was awesome for disabling keys like the ‘~’ in games where I never use the console.

The hero of the G310 is the Romer-G switches. I really liked them on the G910 and still prefer these to the more widely used Cherry MX switches. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the Cherry MX switches but the Romer-G make less noise and feel slightly more comfortable. The key caps are also an advantage because once you get used to them, it’s easier to tell when your fingers are resting on the wrong keys and it also means that the situation where you end up out of position on the keyboard happens a lot less. The raised edges really do seem to reduce mis-strikes and also make a gamer’s fingertips feel ‘at home’ when they are in the right position.

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Like the G910, the G310’s branding is really understated in that the word ‘Logitech’ isn’t actually on the keyboard housing except for underneath. There is a small G310 etched into the blue tag on the bottom edge but that’s it. The key marking and backlight are clearly the Logitech G-series font but there isn’t any over the top branding to be seen at all.

The build quality of the G310 is what I’ve come to expect from Logitech G-Series products in that it’s solid and after 2 months of constant use there is very little, if any, signs of visible wear. I didn’t notice any issues with fingerprint retention, key squeaking/creaking or wobble. Keep in mind that the testing involved taking this unit on the road with me a fair bit including domestic air travel. The construction feels premium and I can confirm that all LEDs have uniform brightness with no evidence of flickering or dimming during use. I’m a big fan of braided cables but neither the G310 nor the larger G910 keyboards from Logitech have them. This looks to be a durability decision on the part of the designers and there is a thin USB cable that didn’t snag or kink in any of my testing – in fact it felt more durable and robust than the braided cables of the other mechanical keyboards I had around the office. The cable connection at the keyboard end really does look ready to take a beating with a rubber surround to prevent it bending and wearing too much from being wrapped around the keyboard too much.
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I didn’t pull any punches when road testing the G310. I didn’t try to break it but I took it with me almost everywhere during the testing period. This included 4 interstate trips and countless local travel. I typically carried the G310 out of it’s box in an overnight bag or backpack. Given its compact size, the G310 is really easy to carry, light and has a small small footprint for less generous working spaces. I found it to be a great partner to a laptop because let’s face it laptop keyboards are ok but nothing beats typing on a real keyboard.

When it comes to a number pad, I really missed having one when using spreadsheets and for day-to-day clerical use it’s really apparent. The situation is very different when gaming as the keypad and the macro keys make very little difference for my gaming needs. I’d say that I don’t miss the number pad, g-keys or media buttons at all. One surprising exception was that I found myself trying to hit the number pad’s “Enter” key a few times to respawn in a couple of games. The interesting thing is that until now, I didn’t realise I was doing it. The extra real-estate is important too – with space sims like Elite:Dangerous and Star Citizen, extra room on the desk for a HOTAS joystick setup is also good as is room for both a driving wheel like the G27 / 930 AND a gaming keyboard. For gaming, I’m a complete convert to the world of the 10-keyless gaming keyboards.

There are media keys on the G310 and I think this is where the biggest compromise was made from a design standpoint. They are accessed via a function key and the symbols are not etched on the key so they don’t show up backlit. This is the only thing that I would like to have seen done differently and it’s by no means a deal breaker. I do miss the volume barrel from the G910 however I can’t see where it would have gone on such a compact keyboard.

I also tested n-key rollover with Aquakey and can confirm that you can activate more keys simultaneously than one could sensibly ever need.

To be thorough, I also checked out the BIOS compatibility and didn’t have any issues with either the Dell or Gigabyte laptops in the lab. The same applied to the BIOS of our ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI motherboards that were rocking Z77, Z97 and X99 chipsets (Sorry AMD guys but we didn’t have a test setup to check it on).

Specifications

I’ve listed the formal specifications of the G310 Atlas Dawn below:

PART NUMBER: 920-006967
WARRANTY INFORMATION: 2-Year Limited Hardware Warranty

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
○ Windows® 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7
○ Powered USB 2.0 port
○ Internet connection for optional software download

PACKAGE CONTENTS
○ Keyboard
○ Arx Dock
○ User documentation

KEYBOARD SPECIFICATIONS
Connection Type:  USB
USB VID_PID:  VID_046D & PID_C32D
USB Protocol:  USB 2.0
USB Speed:  Full-speed
Indicator Lights (LED):  Yes
LCD Display:  No
USB Ports (Built-in):  No
Backlighting:  Yes
Special Keys:  Game Mode, Backlight on/off
Other Features:  Exclusive Romer-G Mechanical Switches
PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Height: 15.4 in (390.5 mm)
Width: 7.3 in (185.2 mm) / 8.3 in (210 mm)
Depth: 1.4 in (35.5 mm)
Weight: 1.7 lbs. (.765 kg)
Cable Length: 6 ft. (1.8 m)

Pricing

The Logitech RRP is $179.95 which seems excessive – and it really is. The much more realistic street price of $125 is a going to make this wallet-friendly, especially given the competition in the market. I’d drop the cash on this in a heartbeat and think it’s pretty good value as a dedicated gaming keyboard. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Logitech downsized the gaming keyboard to a sensible end result with the G310 Atlas Dawn. Features like dedicated macro keys, RGB lighting, USB pass-through and a full suite of media controls would have added weight, size and cost to the end product so hats off to the designers for finding the right balance here. The Romer-G switches are now available at a more affordable price tag and in a much more compact offering.

If your gaming habits involve multiple peripherals or perhaps you just need more space to wave your mouse around, 10-keyless is worth a look. I was surprised at how easy it was to adjust to the smaller footprint and even more surprised at how much space I suddenly had on the testbench desk area. The G310 is ideal for LAN gaming, cluttered desks, or travel (eg. hotel room or hot desks where tablespace can be limited). 

  Logitech G310 Atlas Dawn
Mechanical Keyboard
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PROS

Comfortable ergonomics, with contoured key caps to reduce mis-strikes
Romer-G switches are responsive and make less noise when compared to other mechanical switches
Compact size and weight
ARX Control App and detachable stand converts a smartphone/tablet into a secondary display panel
Pleasant backlight and clear key cap etching.

CONS

crossLack of USB pass-through or dedicated media keys may be an issue for some people
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