The G19 uses Logitech’s LCD Manager software to control any applications for the display, while their Game Profiler software is where you can customize macros and functions. Let’s take a look at the LCD software and included plug-ins.
Plug-ins can be set to rotate automatically as long as the corresponding application is active, or if a change is detected using Logitech’s proprietary Klever-Vu software. Users can also quick swap between applications on the keyboard by pushing a button on the G19 itself.
The default plug-ins included with the G19 far surpasses what was included on their previous LCD keyboards. Logitech has built-in support for email notification, a nice performance monitor, RSS reader, clock, as well as a movie viewer and even a YouTube plug-in. While some of the usefulness of a few of these applications can be questioned, you can become quickly reliant on others just as easily. The performance monitor is great for tracking overall system utilization, while the media viewer makes it quite easy to keep track of what tunes are playing during a gaming session.
The big seller on the G19 however isn’t Logitech’s support, but rather that of 3rd party software and games. When the G15 launched, it took at least a year for native support to find its way to the keyboard, nullifying the benefits of the LCD. Thankfully, the G19 is able to output the same display, meaning that if your favorite application or game already supports a G15 LCD, it will also support a G19.
Games such as World of Warcraft, F.E.A.R. 2, and Age of Conan added LCD support a while back and the G19 functions perfectly with them. Ventrilo also makes use of the LCD, as does Everest, making the display function as an in-game temperature display for all your major components.
While we’re happy the G19 won’t languish due to lack of native support from software developers, the problem is that most of the support is built around the G15. This means most of the images displayed on the G19 are monochrome and scaled down to 160x43. Also, some of the information can be either useless or redundant. Quite a few shooters, like F.E.A.R. 2, just display an ammo and armor counter. We understand we can’t fault Logitech for this issue, but we do hope developers update their applications to make better use of the higher resolution and full color capabilities of the display.
The game profiler software allows you to pre-program macros and setup profiles that become active if an executable is detected. The G19 also retains the ability to record macros on the fly by pushing the ‘MR’ button the keyboard. This puts the G19 into macro recording mode and the LCD displays pertinent information until the ‘MR’ button is pushed again.
The profiling software also allows you to set the color of the backlight based on which macro mode button is active. This gives you 36 possible macros per game profile, more than enough for a majority of your games. The ability to identify each macro mode by color, and knowing which game profile is active based on what you are playing, ensures that you can easily hit the proper macro for the situation you are in.