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G-relk

Amateur review: microsoft sidewinder gaming keyboard

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so, got one of these keyboards the sarvo. prices vary greatly for this unit, OEM ones go for as cheap as $90 or so, while the full retail version has an RRP of around $150. i bought mine from EB games for $149.95, and it came with a "free" copy of cod 4 (which i will keep and sell my retail copy to a friend to make it a bit cheaper :D), tho mine wasnt in the box, so im going to go in tomorrow morning and ask about (it might be a retail version, which would be awesome).

 

so far its very differant to other keyboards that ive used. build wise its kept to a very aggressive sorta design similar to that used in the logitech G9 and sidewinder mouse (both the v1.0 and the X5, which, physically are very similar). for those who like flat keyboards this is amongst the lowest and flateset i have ever used, but for those looking for a bit of height, this isnt for you, as it doesnt have the little feet that clip out to raise it a bit.

 

the backlighting is very well done. its very even across the whole keyboard, and letters themselves are very clear, it can also be dimmed from not on, to a very bright, clear, red. with the backlight off the keys are still fairly readable, but your better off having the backlight dimmed rather than off for better visibilty. oddly enough the voluem and dimmer switch markings arent backlit, but this isnt too big an issue as they do have a picture to indicate what they are.

 

the disc come with 64bit software as well, so no need to download extra stuff because you have a 64 bit OS (like me). the software is very easy to use, and you can apparently make up up to 90 macros for the keyboard to use at once.dont know how its supposed to use all of them, but whatever.

 

keys wise they are a bit weird, not quite the full stroke of a normal keyboard, but not the super short action of something like a lycosa (which i really dont like) or a laptop keybaord, having said that, i really like it. media key wise there are mute, forward, back, play, and pause buttones, as well as a volume dial. the detachable numpad is a bit of a waste imo, the connection system is good, but unless you like having your numpad on the left, or not at all, its fairly useless, except for sticking in a backpack to take to LAN's. it also has a few differant modes (two of which seem the same to me) the first is standard, where the main keybaord is red backlit, the game keys on the left are amber, and the numpad is red, the second and third have the same as 1, except the numpad is amber. anything with an amber backlight indicates that its being used as a macro/game key. there is also a macro button to make your own macros in game, but they arent stored on the keyboard itself, so youll have to reset them on each computer you connect it to. there is also a calculater button just above the numpad, which is sota handy, this doubles up as a game key in modes 2 or 3 along with the rest of the numpad.

 

the "sidewinder" key in the top left opens up my games in vista, dunno what it does in XP tho (havent tested yet). also, for all you RPG'ers there is a cruise control key, holding this key, and up to four other normal keys at a time will keep them repeating even after you stop pressing them, sorta like th "Q" keys function in oblivion/morrowind/fallout 3, but in any game/app, handy if you wanna chat spam a few leters or something i spose, or have to run for ages at a time.

 

so far im very impressed with it, time will tell how long it lasts (though microsoft peripherals are known for there quality). just gotta get used to the differant feel of it. ill report back after a session of CoD 4 on it tonight to see how it fairs gaming wise.

 

atm its a solid 9/10 from me

 

G-relk out!

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