Date: January 17th, 2006
Article by: Mike Carter (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor) <--SHOP FOR A COMPUTER KEYBOARD HERE
PRODUCT WALKTHROUGH AND OPERATION
This is where most of your finger action will be. This side of the keyboard remaps the most common FPS game commands to easily reached, tactile buttons. The red paddle-shaped keys in the middle are for movement, which would normally be q,w,e on top and a,s,d on the bottom. The keys form a shallow bowl, which matches the placement of your fingers. To the right of these, you'll see two buttons labeled Reload and Use, r and f on a standard keyboard. Across the top, you'll find number keys lableled 1-6, which are typically your weapons selection buttons. These are slightly domed. To the left, you'll find three buttons labeled Cons., Goals, and Pause, with the first two keys being ‘ and Tab. Across the bottom are keys labeled 1-7 (in diamonds), which correspond to z, g, x, Left Ctrl, Alt, [, and ]. The final buttons are the three black buttons, labeled Run/Walk (Left Shift), Crouch ( c ) , and Jump (space). Notice that the space bar is half normal width, and right where your thumb expects it to be. Everything seems conveniently located, and even a stumblebum like myself had no problems finding the right keys, almost instinctively.
Moving to the other half of the keyboard, thihgs get a bit more interesting. Rather than ditch a regular keyboard entirely, Ideazon worked the better part of a standard keyboard into the center and right-hand sections of the keyset. The top row is standard F-keys, with three extra buttons labeled Load (q) Prnt Scrn, and Save (q). The next row is a bit odd. The keys start with 7-0, followed by Insert, Home, End, Pg Up, Pg Down, [, ], -, =, and Backspace. While functional, typing on this keyboard is not something I'd want to do for an extended period of time. Aside from some goofy button arrangement, the large gap between the T an Y keys is difficult to get used to. If this were the only keyset the board came with, it would be rather limited in its uses.
Fortunately, Ideazon also included a standard keyset, with a pretty much standard layout. There are some functional differences, which I'll go over now. In the picture above, you'll see some green labels on the left-hand side buttons. (Sorry for the lack of a closeup, my hand's just aren't that steady.) These are standard Windows keyboard commands, such as cut, copy, and paste, and are activated by using the Ctrl key. Standard keyboard fare, but much better labeling than most. On the numberpad, you'll see some blue labeling. These are activated by pressing the last key in the top row, labeled Pad Lock. While the Pad Lock is on, the numberpad performs a number of useful Windows functions:
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While most people won't use them, I can see where they would be useful, as they eliminate a bit of mouse fumbling and clicking.
The third interesting feature is called the Bar Lock. This button only functions in Internet Explorer, and gives the F-keys actions such as back, forward, home, stop, etc. While a nice addition, I'm disappointed at the lack of support for other browsers, such as Firefox or Opera. Perhaps a later driver release will fix this issue.
The last set of buttons can be found along the top edge of the board. The left-hand bunch is a set of basic Media Player controls. Out of the box, they only work with Windows Media Player. Once again, a nice feature, and one found on most keyboards, but the lack of support for anything other than WMP is disappointing.
The right hand bunch of buttons are labeled 1-9, with a tenth button hardwired to the keyboard setup utility. The other nine buttons are programmable, through the hotkeys programming utility. Out of the box, these are set to open WMP, Internet Explorer, Calculator, and a few websites, mostly Ideazon's. These are easily programmed to whichever program or website you'd prefer.