Date: March 4th, 2007
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Microsoft
<--CLICK FOR DEALS ON A GAMING KEYBOARD IN THE UNITED STATES
<--CLICK FOR DEALS ON A GAMING KEYBOARD IN CANADA
PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Though everyone using a computer is usually fairly versed on what a keyboard is, this keyboard brings some interesting features that are handy during gaming and during normal day-to-day computing.
Flipping the keyboard over to start, seeing this is a wired USB keyboard, thankfully you have the ability to store unneeded cable to keep things tidy. Also to point out, there is the ability for height adjustment which is limited essentially to one position up or completely flat.
Moving up, another very handy feature is the keyboards included USB hub which consists of one USB connection on the right and left top corners. These are great for small USB appliances such as USB thumbdrives or for transferring photos but do not expect them to work properly for any power hungry USB peripherals. Plugging in my USB connection for my Motorola RAZR cellphone which is for data and charging the phone lead to a low power warning and a cellphone that wouldn't transfer files or charge.
Moving to the meat and potatoes of this product, as you can in the photo above, this keyboard is essentially like every other keyboard on the market other than some additional features. The one glaring difference is the keyboard backlight which emits a cool blue glow that illuminates around the keys along with the key lettering as well. One feature missing was an illumination adjustment control which allowed me to turn off the lighting when it wasn't required.
But one thing to note is the keys themselves are quite quiet and have a very nice positive tactile feel which requires a normal effort to press a key. One thing I have noted and avoid is keys that are too soft with no touch response. From experience, you find that you have a hard time typing properly seeing you cannot gauge just how hard to press the key to get the job done which leads to typing errors and a lot of extra proof-reading.
The left portion of the keyboard consists of a programmable jog dial along with some shortcut keys that allow you to visit your homepage, open your email client, open you media player along with cut and paste without using the right click menu when using your mouse. These keys can be assigned to different tasks for gaming or everyday use through the software interface which will be covered later on in the review.
The one thing I do initially have to point out though is the extremely cheap feel of the rotary jog dial. With every other key on the board being tight and responsive, the jog dial on either side of the board are loose and have the chunky cheap feeling you would witness from a dollar store gamepad.