For about 5 years was pretty happy with my Razer Tarantula keyboard (in fact in have had 2) but after the last failure I decided that I would move away from the Razer and try out something new.
The Gamer keyboard market is getting busier and there are numerous variations being released all the time. First I needed to decide on what features I wanted in my new keyboard.
- Size – This is a rather big factor in my decision process as space is at a premium, ideally I wanted something smaller than the Tarantula (522mm)
- I wanted something that looked like a gaming keyboard and not a office keyboard.
- Volume controls & though not essential media keys if possible
- Macros, not that I use them much any more but they are invaluable when required
I was looking a wide selection ranging from the Logitech to the Steel Series, of course I had many people telling me their preferences, much of which weren’t really what I was after.
Mechanical keyboards are a little too noisy for my liking, plus they often pick up on my headset deafening everyone else on Teamspeak.
Many keyboard now seem to be all about the gimmicks, how streamlines their appear is over competitors or what cool LEDS colours you can set the backlit keys.
The X4 is a gaming keyboard that is the successor to the X6, notable distinctions include:
- Reduction in the number of macros available to 18
- Anti-ghosting is included across the whole keyboard not just the WASD key cluster.
- Compact yet wide enough design, meaning that the location of the keys feel natural and I wasn’t crammed into one little area.
I’m been using the SideWinder x4 for over 7 months now and it’s been very solid, occasionally I have an issue with the volume buttons not functioning in Windows 7.
If you are all about the new shiny or the ultimate in gaming precision, then this really isn’t the Keyboard for you. Compared to the high-end products it’s plain and straight-forward and doesn’t try to be anything more than it needs to be. For a mid-core gamer like me it’s ideal. Once you get the software installed setting up the macros or remapping keys was straight forward and you can record macros on the fly also.
The macros are easily activated and the key strokes are comfortable so you don’t feel like you are fighting with the keys. The W key has 2 small spots on it that makes find your way back to WASD very straight forward.
There is a reminder that this keyboard is Microsoft product with the handy addition of a quick-launch calculator button, on a gaming keyboard I struggle to see the use, unless they are targeting EvE players. The good news is that you can remap it to something more useful like Teamspeak or Media Player.