Looking in a bit closer, the 2, 5, 6, and 7 keys by default represent the traditional W,A,S,D commonly used for movement in games. They are even labeled with the corresponding letters and arrows.
The thumb area has two programmable keys and an analog stick. This whole section can be tilted forward, backward, left and right by loosening the silver thumbscrew and then tightening it again after the desired adjustments have been made.
By the looks of it, I was sure that the wrist area also could be moved back and forth along the two metal rods but it turns out it's in a fixed position. The light bar illuminates blue no matter what mode the unit is in and there is even a red “Saitek” logo that is projected onto the desk when powered on. Additionally, there is a shift key here to allow for more button assignments.
PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING
The PGCU will be detected and is usable in Windows XP without any drivers loaded, but with any device that is programmable it's recommend to install the software in order to get full functionality. Installation is straightforward; just follow the prompts to install the drivers and test out the keys and it will be ready to go. The control panel shown above is accessible even after the install to test if all the keys are working.
Before getting into all the customization features, let's see how it performs with the standard settings. Here's a chart of the default keys for each profile:
My first test was to load up S.T.A.L.K.E.R without modifying any current profiles or recording any macros. I set the profile to FPS mode and after changing a few key bindings in the game to satisfy my personal preferences, I tried it out. My first impression was that the keys were easy to press (but not overly sensitive) and not too “clicky”. However, with the keys all being a small size and close together it took a bit of time to get used to using a smaller equivalent of, for instance, the tab key on a normal keyboard. I set the analog stick as the zoom function and that worked pretty well, but the thumb buttons next to it were still a bit too far away even after adjustments so I ended up not assigning those to anything. One thing I found frustrating when I switched to playing Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was the row of four buttons at the top. On a normal keyboard, the top row of numbers is used to switch between weapons and other items and I would utilize the entire row of keys for this. There are only four keys on the top row of the PCGU, so my only choice was to assign other keys to certain weapons. Additionally, these keys were a far reach away which only added to my frustration. This really slowed me down during the game and I'm not sure that I'll feel comfortable using this setup permanently. It wouldn't have been such a huge deal in a game that isn't so fast and furious, but in a game like Enemy Territory speed and timing is everything. As far as comfort, the wrist area is raised which is nice and made for pain free gaming sessions, although it would have been even better if it had a bit of padding on it. Overall, I found myself enjoying the whole setup when playing games like Fable or Lego Star Wars II. With faster paced games I found myself a bit irked trying to configure a setup that was comfortable.
Now here's where things can get really time consuming if one is willing to put in the effort. There are 20 programmable keys plus the analog stick, each with 3 different modes along with a shift button which makes for a grand total of 144 possible programmable keys. Macros can be set up as well and can be assigned to any button you choose. For the gamer who likes to have a totally custom keyboard layout, this is a product to consider.