While I am writing this review, I am also using this board and trying to get used to it. After testing it for some hours after I got it, I couldn’t wait to see what this baby has got to offer once I get my dx10 styled gaming machine complete.To start things with, my eye caught the packaging when the guy paid the rickshaw guy opposite to my house (yes I did that literally). So I got the piece and viola….”The Gaming Board……GROOOVAY”.
Getting back to things, I divided the keyboard on 2 games namely F.E.A.R. and need for speed: Underground 2. Both belong to 2 different game genres’ I use and I feel via instinct it could be useful! After keeping the man dish aside, I will talk about the speaker, mic and 2 usb ports and then the strong and standard built-The Alphabet keys!!!!
Before I jump in the details, I will show you the layout of the board and the pictures.The first thing I did was to compare this board with my Logitech keyboard. I know it’s wide for a good reason, but I wanted to show THAT is it really that different from the board we use? After comparing the pictures and looking at them on my screen, the layout is simple of a typist but for gamers it’s bliss. A rubbery feeling button (yes it’s a rubbery feeling-and it’s much better during gameplay)
The backlight comes in 3 colours which can be switched by a button right above the f2 button. The brightness has 3 settings-off, low medium and bright. I wondered if the keyboard remembered the previous light and brightness settings. I switched on and off-Well what did you know? It did!
There are 3 connectors for the board. Mic, speakers and the usb-All are gold plated. To see if there was any sound change, I plugged my atp3 on these and nothing happened. The sweet music. But that’s about it.The USB ports disappointed me. And boy they did.
I connected my Bluetooth adapter-this is the answer I got. Then in that case it might power up if I make a connection using some 2 usb port male to single usb port female onto my Bluetooth adapter which could power it up. But I would like to question Ideazon-If it cannot power up a Bluetooth adapter then I seriously doubt it can power up an usb flash drive. Although I don’t have an usb flash drive to test it out, I decided to let it off, ending me smirking at the idea to put a lousy low powered usb ports. Another thing I was disappointed is that they should have added some sort of protection plug for the ports on the keyboards. This will be the first point leaving a -1 on my final conclusion. A friend online told me maybe it could power up a usb led lamp or a fan, even a lava lamp (Yeah…..right)
The game Controls
Since this is a gaming board with actual dedicated buttons, I decided to read some of the reviews. One of the reviews had a con saying that numpads are arranged in a very odd manner. Keeping in mind of gamer’s needs, I am writing this review only as a gamer’s point of view-nothing like “the keys make too much sound”. Since I didn’t see or use any other keyboards, whatever criticisms I might do in this review, it’s against standard keyboards. As a writing enthusiast, I cannot just write out made up stories.
F.E.A.R. -Ferocious and Effective-above Ravishing ;)
I started to play for sometime from the start. Wanted to try it all, side look, crouch jump, reload and the whole package. I found the response to be better but I sensed the better performance-as a vibe, not literally. I am not saying its an average performance, but once you are used to the ordinary standard keyboards and use another one, be it a new standard or a gaming board, you will sense something difference. The dedicated gaming buttons which I nicknamed as “wasdinator” had a rubbery feeling. It gave a good grip, but that’s not it.
Whenever I use WASD controls on average boards, I don’t keep my fingers above the buttons which I am not using for the while for example-strafing left and I remove my finger completely from W. But it wasn’t the case for this board. It wasn’t the rubbery feeling which helped me that, but rather the 11 degrees tilt. It really helped me out!!! No wrist pain, My fingers quickly adapted to the arrangements of the button as if my fingers knows exactly where the button should be. Jump on the lower left, duck and walk on the lower right, Reload on the right hand side and so on-One should get the picture when a guy says “my fingers knows exactly where the button should be”.
The rubbery buttons were the usually used-WASD, space, walk and duck button-also a wrist rest portion right below the WASD controls. I would really like to see a cs player’s opinion about this board to test my theory that this keyboard
There were certain cases that for people with fat fingers found WASD to be difficult, but the Merc designers really thought about it and gave a generous space in the WASD section and the rest of it. There were certain buttons which had a semi sphere buttons on top….which is a good thought. Those buttons are for R, P, caps and TAB. These buttons are small and round, which is good for fps players. Jump is docked on the right corner of the gaming pad section and its big enough (not as big as the typist’s space) for a thumb press. The duck button has the same feeling on the left hand corner. The walk button is right above the DUCK button.
These are all set and done, but I must warn you guys that if you really want to use potential, you have to install the z-engine and update the software to get the settings of the new games coming in the future.
Need For Speed: Underground 2
The Z Software offered zero settings for the racing genre which was disappointing.
I am disappointed…atleast they could have done the nitro, gearshift and brake changes and make a genre changer on the software-but there is no genre on the software at all. This will leave a dent on my final scores.
I really loved playing UG2, one of the best rolled out from nfs garage ages ago. Reason I am testing this on UG2 because out of all the nfs games, I always had trouble getting the manual gear changed swiftly. Since I used the arrow key buttons I kept the direction and throttle controls as it is and I changed my gearshift to caps and tab, alt button for nitro and ctrl for brakes entirely on the game pad section. Switching to caps and tab on the game pad section REALLY made a difference. The gears did actually react better then the default keys on my Logitech standard keyboard. To keep things interesting, I changed the controls back to the default settings on the board and used it. It felt like an average keyboard, not surprising I had to say.
Its all about the Z Software
In the end of the day, I wanted to see what they had to offer on the hyped “z” software’s mod files and its settings.
The ‘z’ Engine-Ignite the Zorro in you!
I really have to critize the reviews on some sites (only for fps-not for action and RPG games) that it would be ideal to install the software to use the full capacity of the dedicated buttons, which I didn’t think it should bother much. I uninstalled the software and tried to play fear again, except for changing the health, slo-mo and the light button, there is nothing much to it. If you’re a LAN gaming regular, this software shouldn’t be a problem for LAN gaming with fps. Most of the LAN gamer’s do change their control patterns and the game buttons do work on the game without the software. Only difference this software made was that the mod files automatically syncs the settings of the keyboard with the game controls and on the software you can view or change the settings from there.
However they did give some controls for the role playing class games and especially action games like chaos theory. This is where the software truly shines. This time the controls were placed wonderfully and all the buttons on the dedicated side were occupied.
I haven’t played WOW on pc and its been ages since I played an rpg…especially an mmorpg (I did play in the beta ages of inRO.. That was like a decade ago :/) but here I will show 2 interfaces which will an idea-Ghost recon: advanced war fighter 2 in action genre and World of warcraft in MMOPRG section. The reason I picked these two games is to give you a vague idea of how this thing works.
Ghost Recon: Advanced war fighter 2
The arrow and strafe keys here are grayed out because it’s a standard movement key, not that it’s useless. They should have used some colour to indicate that it’s a movement button. In this case it should have been green. These are the multiplayer’s settings-default settings. Like I said about while playing fear, I got used the keyboard easily, I can say that a player might dedicate button for pistol and grenades is conveniently placed on the correct area. I love pistols for heated gunshots. Grenades- it gets you out of a pretty situation or “flank the enemy”.
WOW-world of warcraft
The settings looks more useful for someone who is having a character specialized in sorcery and alchemy (in a ragnarok kind of a way) rather then someone with skills with archery or sword fights, then again I don’t know anything about WOW, so war of warcraft players, you be the judge. Other then that, there are usual multiplayer keys and the 1, 2, 3 buttons which opens the internet explorer. Just some basic setup for multimedia.
Here comes the drum….and the gong!
This is a gaming keyboard and a good one with a good layout with some faults. To start from the top, under powered usb ports! Second, no genre settings on the z software. Many people do use manual gearshift, especially for drifting using Volkswagen on downhill on nfs: ug2! I haven’t updated the software yet so I am talking this by using the software cd, still they should have had it…its not one or two games, it’s the entire genre. During typing I noticed that default space bar makes lots of noise. Anymore then that then it would remind me of my uncle’s days when I was spending time in office during his time as an editor for THE WEEK magazine.
Wont complain about the numpads, they highlighted this board as a gaming board and I will treat it that way. The scores are 3 ½. If they add the genre, it will be 4. I doubt they can fix the usb issue in this version of the board. But it’s a bold and radical move to fuse this game interface on the keyboard. So it’s a thumbs up for innovation-and who doesn’t love innovation!