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Logitech Orion Spark Makes Gaming Colorful

NEW YORK — The days of having to choose a gaming keyboard based on the color of its backlight are rapidly drawing to a close. Mechanical RGB keyboards, which have access to millions of colors, are starting to hit the market, and the Logitech G910 Orion Spark is the latest contender to enter the ring, boasting a unique switch type and streamlined software.

I had a chance to try the Orion Spark firsthand at September's Pepcom trade show, and was very pleased with what I saw. Longtime readers will know that I've been quite hard on Logitech keyboards in the past, but this peripheral seems to address many of my concerns: It's a mechanical model rather than a membrane one, and it makes use of second-screen tech you already own rather than charging you a lot of additional money for an additional screen.

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Whereas many mechanical keyboards use Cherry MX switches or ape Cherry's design as closely as possible, the Orion Spark wants to introduce gamers to something new. Logitech's Romer-G switches are closest in feel to the somewhat resistant Cherry MX Brown switches, but Logitech claims that they register keystrokes 25 percent faster and last much longer than Browns.

Because it's an RGB keyboard, one of the big draws of the Orion Spark is that you can customize any color pattern you see fit. You can choose from 16.8 million color options and go key-by-key, section-by-section, or make the keyboard pulse with rainbow colors or change after each keystroke. Although the software I saw was still under construction, the process looked simple and straightforward.

Logitech fans may also remember the Logitech G19 and G19+ keyboards, which included small, expensive LCD screens to display companion apps. This time around, the Orion Spark has an extendable tray, which allows players to use their own smartphones for second-screen functionality.

The Orion Spark will cost $180 and release in November 2014. Tom's Guide will have a full review available then.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.