As someone who enjoys computer games, Logitech's series of gaming peripherals or "instruments" as I like to call them have intrigued me ever since the debut of the original G15 keyboard. More recently, Logitech unveiled it's G19 keyboard which ups the ante by swapping the monochrome display with a beautiful color display and features choose-your-own-color backlighting and many macro keys for customization. It also includes two powered USB ports and a cord management system for keeping your mouse and another device nice and tidy.
Perhaps the most interesting thing that I learned after getting a G19 keyboard is that its best qualities come outside of the gaming world. In Windows 7 and Vista, the G19 keyboard is recognized not only as a standard keyboard but also a Windows Sideshow device. This means every application written for Sideshow devices (normally used for front displays on Media Center PCs and auxiliary displays on Laptops) can also be used on the G19 including many similar to those found on the Windows Sidebar.
The Logitech G15 and G19 family is heavily supported by freelance developers. This, plus the included Logitech apps and Windows Sideshow, turn the G19 into an extremely useful tool. Yes, Logitech includes a few apps that are useful such as an RSS reader, Youtube video player, video player, and image viewer. Out of those, I found myself only really using the RSS reader and very occasionally using the Youtube player.
The Youtube player can really be used only to view the top videos. There is no search functionality built in so you must resort to turning on a mode which allows you to copy (Ctrl+C) a Youtube link to have it play on the G19. Because of this, and the fact that you already have a real monitor, the G19's Youtube feature isn't very valuable. This fact also makes the built in video player pretty pointless as well.
The RSS reader is very neat however. With the ability to add any standard RSS feed, the G19 will change screens every preset amount of time showing current news and reporting whatever the RSS feed tells it to. This is a very useful tool because it will allow you to keep up to date even while watching a movie or playing a game.
The best feature of the G19 is the Windows Sideshow support. Some Sideshow apps that I love: Twitter, Facebook, Media Player Classic, iTunes, Windows Media Player, Ventrilo, and Accuweather. Yes, while gaming, you can see the current weather. The WMP and Media Player Classic add-ons allow you to see how far through your video you are without touching the mouse. The Twitter and Facebook gadgets allow you to keep up to date with your news feeds. Ventrilo displays relevant data during your gaming session. There's more, but it's more fun if you play around for yourself. Just know this: It's awesome.
The G19 also features media controls, the ability to disable the Windows keys, and the ability to change the backlight color of most keys.12 "G" keys with the option for 36 custom macros are able to be used with any application. Many games are pre-coded so you don't have to make your own macros. This lets you take your Mage (or whatever other MMORPG character) and cast spells over and over again with just a single key press. Other cool things include built in memory so your profile is saved between computers and multi-key input so your button smashing still allows for all key inputs to be registered. This leaves the keyboard with only two downsides: Requirement for external power via brick and cost. If you demand what could be one of the world's most killer keyboards, you wouldn't care. I certainly don't.