If you want a mechanical keyboard from a major manufacturer, you usually have to open your wallet wide and dig deep. That's not the case with the Logitech G413, which marries the company's mechanical keyboard expertise to an agreeable, $90 price tag. While the G413 isn't nearly as robust as Logitech's colorful 810 Orion Spectrum (opens in new tab) or as compact as the tenkeyless G Pro keyboard, it's a great deal cheaper than those products, but doesn't sacrifice performance. The G413 features comfortable key switches and an attractive design, and all you'll have to sacrifice is a little customizability.
The G413 has an industrial, stripped-down feel (appropriate, considering the keyboard's stripped-down price). Rather than the standard black, plastic shell, the G413 instead features raised keycaps over a brushed-metal platform. The metal is usually black, although a Best Buy-exclusive Silver variant features a color scheme to match its name. While plastic is less obtrusive and easier to clean, there's something decidedly attractive about the metal build.
Since the G413 is a full-size keyboard, it's fairly large, at 17.5 x 4.1 x 1.4 inches. Logitech saved a little room, however, by getting rid of one of my favorite features from its other keyboards: discrete media controls. Instead, the media controls are integrated into the top row of function keys. To be fair, discrete media keys are an expensive luxury, especially in a keyboard designed primarily for gaming, but if you want to know what you'll be giving up compared to the more expensive models, know that these are a noticeable loss.
Otherwise, the G413 represents the first time in a while that Logitech has employed a USB pass-through in its gaming keyboards. This is as helpful a feature as ever, particularly since Logitech also makes some of the best wireless mice and headsets on the market. On the underside of the keyboard, you can organize the cables in a groove. The G413's extra features are helpful if you need them, but well-hidden if you don't.
Like most of Logitech's gaming keyboards, the G413 has the company's proprietary Romer-G switches underneath its keycaps. For the uninitiated, Romer-Gs are quiet(ish), tactile switches that approximate the feel of a Cherry MX Brown. At least according to Logitech's evaluations, they're a little faster and more resilient than Cherries, but either way, the bottom line is that they're quick, comfortable and not too loud.
The Romer-G keys are good for typing, at least. I scored 109 words per minute with 10 errors on the G413, compared to 102 words per minute with 11 errors on my regular office keyboard. The keys feel well-spaced, and their distance from the baseboard makes them at least appear easier to reach. Whether this has some kind of physiological basis or is purely psychosomatic is harder to say.
Although it's not a full RGB keyboard like the Orion Spectrum or the G910 Orion Spark, the G413 still makes use of Logitech's highly competent Gaming Software for a variety of other functions. You can reprogram the top row of function buttons, control the intensity and pattern of the lighting, and link up profiles with individual games.
Because the G413 has no additional keys or RGB features, the software's utility is limited, although it does everything it's supposed to do. The backlighting, on the other hand, is going to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair.
The G413's default red-and-black pattern is common enough among gaming peripherals, but it does make your gaming setup look like what a mid-'90s action movie villain would use in his secret lair. The white backlighting on the Best Buy model is much more elegant and versatile, although the device's exclusivity will make it a little harder to track down.
You can also control the device's illumination via keyboard shortcuts, so using the software isn't strictly necessary. That's a feather in the G413's cap for those who want to keep things simple.
I tested the G413 with Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Final Fantasy XIV to evaluate how well the keyboard performed across different genres. Unsurprisingly, it performed similarly to other Logitech models that have Romer-G switches. It's competent and comfortable, and it can withstand repetitive, forceful tapping.
Laying down turrets as Torbjorn in Overwatch was quick and painless, as was quaffing perilous potions in The Witcher 3. The springy, responsive keys were particularly useful in Heroes of the Storm and Final Fantasy XIV, when tapping the keys over and over to activate special skills was especially helpful.
The G413 is very similar to what we've seen before from Logitech, but stripped down to the bare essentials. You don't get colored lighting; you don't get extra keys; you don't even get a full plastic frame. On the other hand, you might not need all that stuff anyway, and you can do a lot with an extra $50 or so in your pocket.
If fancy extra features don't excite you, the G413 is a familiar, reliable product encased in an inexpensive new shell. Just do yourself a favor and get the Silver model if you can; white backlighting may be boring, but it never goes out of style.