|Specs at a glance: Logitech G413 SE|
|Switches||Long Hua Brown|
|Connectivity options||USB-A cable|
|Weight||1.43 lbs (650 g)|
A common complaint about mechanical keyboards is that they’re expensive, especially if you prefer an established brand. But Logitech challenges that with its new G413 SE, which is one of the company’s least expensive mechanical keyboards. At $80, it barely squeaks into the budget category, and there’s also a $70 tenkeyless version.
Logitech comes through with a quality, mildly unusual typing experience. The G413 SE’s conservative design will also win over users who feel mechanical keyboards, especially gaming devices, have become too flashy.
Despite a reputation for high prices, $80 mechanical keyboards can still offer a lot these days. But if you’re comparing feature sets among budget mechanical keyboards, the G413 SE costs more than it should.
I don’t know why Logitech categorizes the G413 SE as a gaming keyboard instead of just a keyboard for general use. The device lacks the impressive feature sets of the company’s other gaming clackers. Even the non-SE G413 offers more while costing $10-$20 less as of writing.
The G413 SE doesn’t work with Logitech’s G Hub software. So, unlike the non-SE version—which lets you program the F1-F12 keys, including with macros—there’s no programmability at all.
Additionally, the non-SE G413 from 2017 has a USB passthrough port and cable management meant for gaming mice and headphones. It comes with a red (instead of white) backlight option and claims to support 26-key rollover, which lets the keyboard register 26 simultaneous key presses, compared to our review subject’s 6-key rollover. It even comes with extra keycaps and a keycap puller.
We haven’t tested the non-SE G413, which has different tactile mechanical switches (Logitech’s Romer G Tactile) from the SE and uses ABS plastic keycaps. The G413 SE’s bump to PBT plastic seems to be the only obvious improvement over the non-SE, although, as upgrades go, it’s nothing to sneeze at. That helps the G413 SE’s typing experience stand out, but the pricier special edition of any keyboard really ought to come with a greater number of benefits over the standard edition.
Black and basic
Some mechanical keyboards combine striking, retro, or daring color schemes with flashy, colorful lights in the keys, chassis, or even wrist rest. The G413 SE seems to take a different tack: it doesn’t want to be seen. In fact, before you turn on its white backlight, the dark legends on its black keycaps are hard to see.
Users who find beauty in subtlety or who want a sleek, black look to complete their setup can appreciate the G413 SE. But combined with a lack of unique features, this overall design can best be described as “plain.”
The keyboard’s flashiest aspect is its white backlight. Since the keycaps’ legends were illegible from my seated position, I always needed the backlight. The G413 SE’s bright LEDs are no RGB, but they shine through the dark keycaps while creating a glow between the keycaps that’s visible from a top-down view.
This backlight is a step above basic. It has five effects: in one effect, the lighting fades in and out; in another, keys illuminate brighter than the rest for a second after pressed. Controls for effects as well as brightness (three levels, plus off) are reached by pressing Fn and F12 and F1 and F2, respectively. Putting all the lighting controls next to each other would be more intuitive, though.
Soulless, lightweight plastic with a mildly glossy finish makes up the bottom chassis. Meanwhile, the aluminum top plate brings more imagination. The top’s subtle brushed finish gives the keyboard more texture and weight—and the occasional fingerprint smudge.
Another sacrifice made for the SE’s low cost? The cable. It’s a plain rubber thing with no enforcement where it connects to the keyboard (although its connector is rather chunky). Budget keyboards often feel cheaper and poorly made, though, and the G413 SE’s two-year warranty is longer than some more expensive rivals.