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Input Devices Hardware

Hands-On With SteelSeries Ikari Mouse and New 7G Gaming Keyboard 128

Engadget recently had the chance to review some high-end gear from SteelSeries. While they may be a little on the pricey side, it seems that both the Ikari laser mouse and the 7g keyboard received favorable reviews. "The Ikari laser mouse they announced last year is particularly great, with a built-in processor and sensitivity settings to allow for a customized and precise sensitivity setting in a plug-and-play setup particularly suited to professional gamers. Settings are easy to work, and the actual sensitivity and response of the mouse easily outclasses our prior mousing experiences. New to the market is the SteelSeries 7G keyboard, which is making its debut on Monday the 5th. The keyboard is fully mechanical, with no-click switches that give it a much stronger, smoother tactile feel, while simultaneously catering to gamers by registering half presses. The keyboard weighs a ton thanks to the heavy-duty iron-infused plastic and the gold electronics, and is quite capable of handling abuse. We grew up typing on heavy-duty keyboards, and this is easily the best one we've used this decade -- though the $150 pricetag also makes it the most expensive outside of the Optimus Maximus."
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Hands-On With SteelSeries Ikari Mouse and New 7G Gaming Keyboard

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  • by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:40PM (#23305776)

    particularly suited to professional gamers
    Once they've sold to all 6 of them, then what?
    • by joe 155 ( 937621 )
      I dont know if its just for proffesional gamers even if this is a market its well suited for. I'd consider getting one just for typing and the odd game. They did say it was rather quite good even at the say to day tasks.. I guess if they could get the price down to £50 that's about the point I, and a lot of other people, might think about it as a productivity tool
      • Unless you're the kind of smartass that never admits to their mistakes, you're probably going to want a bigger backspace key so you can drumroll it.

        Me, I wish someone would just build a no-compromise keyboard for the 18-hour hacker. The "Happy Hacker" keyboard doesn't cut it for me, too pricey and it still doesn't feel right...

        A while ago I had found one that came close, it was a fancy shmancy thing with a touchpad mouse below the space bar. The keys were light but still offered satisfying feedback, it wa
        • You know it's the way to go :)
        • The comments on TFA mentioned the Razer Lycosa and I went to check it out. Not too pricey but probably a serious keyboard and not too glitzy like Logitech's Edge. I'd check it out.

          Am thinking the low profile keyboards (almost ripped from Thinkpad lappies) with the nub will also work for me since I prefer the 80-something keyboard layout. I use the mouse with the desktop anyway. YMMV. But touchpads are an iffy thing with most brands; they almost feel like, meh let's slap one on that space.
        • I'm not a coder but I've worked as a Technical Writer who's done his share of clacking away in marathon sessions. My keyboard of choice for about 7 years (the very same keyboard I bought all that time ago too) is the original Microsoft Natural Keyboard. It's the first ergo keyboard I ever saw with the split down the middle and it's still the best. Great tactile feel, comfy angular layout, and durable enough for work and play. The only drawback is the nonstandard layout of the function keys.

          I don't ev
          • Whoops, forgot to mention my model is PS2 only. The wife's expensive model is USB and works at the BIOS, though your mileage may vary depending on your motherboard.
          • The only drawback is the nonstandard layout of the function keys.

            Non-standard layout of all other keys does not bother you?..

  • Caps Lock! Oh No! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:42PM (#23305786) Homepage Journal
    The Caps Lock is still there. Why on Earth did they leave the Caps Lock there? I'm sticking with my happy hacking keyboard, with the much more useful Ctrl key on the left center.
    • by Aranykai ( 1053846 ) <slgonser&gmail,com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:43PM (#23305800)
      You cant remap your keyboard? What, are you some kind of windows user?
      • Well, it is a gaming keyboard.. I kind of took the Windows user thing as given.


      • You cant remap your keyboard? What, are you some kind of windows user?
        Yes I can remap the keyboard. I can't re-silkscreen the key caps though.

        More importantly I don't want to have to fart around with keyboard maps in Linux, Windows and MacOS whenever I switch keyboard.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by magarity ( 164372 )
          I can't re-silkscreen the key caps though
          You bought the wrong keyboard then. Get yourself one fo these [] and never worry about it anymore. QWERTY, Dvorak, Gamer, who knows? Poke at a couple of keys and find out what's mapped where!
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            My happy hacking keyboard does what is required.

            I'm in the market for a robust, high quality, compact keyboard with the right layout. But nothing has surpassed the happy hacking keyboard yet.
          • Poke at a couple of keys and find out what's mapped where!
            Ah.... you must be the one who designed the key bindings for vi.
        • Yes I can remap the keyboard. I can't re-silkscreen the key caps though.
          Because you somehow forget that you remapped your keyboard, and you stare at the keys while you scour the keyboard for CapsLock? I guess you're right to just get a different keyboard. If this is ever an issue, you probably shouldn't be remapping your keys.
          • I never scour the keyboard for CapsLock, because I never use CapsLock. I can press the shift key on the occasions I need to. Ctrl however, is much more useful, and would best be places in a convenient location. Hence the happy hacking keyboard.
        • Yes I can remap the keyboard. I can't re-silkscreen the key caps though.
          IBM Model M. Replaceable keycaps.
        • by 777a ( 826468 )
          I've tried a few gaming keyboards - The zBoard, Saitek Gamers keyboard and Razer Tarantula.

          Without a doubt the Tarantula is the best. You can redefine each key to another layout and it's stored in the hardware, so I know I've got Dvorak (with swapped backspace/caps lock, and Start menu/pause) in Linux, Windows and even my bios.

          If you've used Dvorak for a while you'll come across little hiccups - like Flash games which are hardcoded to use 'wsad', to switch between keymaps all you've got to do is press the '
      • by dave420 ( 699308 )
        You can fully remap your keyboard in windows, fyi :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by djohnsto ( 133220 )
      In XWindows, try this in xorg.conf:

      Option "XkbOptions" "ctrl:nocaps"

      In MS Windows, try caps-as-ctrl.reg []. You will need to reboot after installing.

      • n XWindows, try this in xorg.conf:

        Option "XkbOptions" "ctrl:nocaps"

        xmodmap might be the preferred solution as it allows you to test your configuration without restarting X. Also useful if you're a vim user and choose to remap ESC for a long editing session.

        In MS Windows, try caps-as-ctrl.reg. You will need to reboot after installing.

        A reboot? Say it ain't true! Seriously, thanks for that. There's a remapper utility provided in the Resource Kits that I regularly drag out, but it didn't occur to me after
        • Also useful if you're a vim user and choose to remap ESC for a long editing session.

          CTRL+[ is equivalent to ESC in vim, and doesn't require quite as much reaching.
      • In XWindows, try this in xorg.conf:

        Option "XkbOptions" "ctrl:nocaps"

        In MS Windows, try caps-as-ctrl.reg []. You will need to reboot after installing.

        Nahh. I just plug in my happy hacking keyboard. No config necessary.
    • For AOL users?
    • by Trogre ( 513942 )
      but.. but then it would be in the wrong place! And you wouldn't have a Caps Lock key! I'll stick with PC-101, thanks.

  • by the_arrow ( 171557 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:45PM (#23305808) Homepage

    Both of these products are obviously built for pro and casual gamers
    While I can see "pro gamers" shelling out $150 for a keyboard, I'm not so sure about casual ones.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Personally, I want to know what the fuck gamers are doing to their stuff where they need reinforced steel and a mouse with it's own CPU. Is this shit REALLY necessary?

      I'm not asking that rhetorically, I'd seriously like an answer; the whole "Professional Gaming" thing, save my early flirtation with The Wizard when I was 10, passed me by in my old age.
      • by Kazrath ( 822492 )
        Because "Hardcore" gamers get pissed and throw or smash shit. My old GM back when I played WoW was on his third keyboard after about a year. Nice solid durable keyboard will most likely be able to take a throw against the wall or maybe a good stomping on.

        My roomate unfortunately has found it cheaper to punch a hole in the wall since plaster is cheaper than computer equipment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dslbrian ( 318993 )

        Personally, I want to know what the fuck gamers are doing to their stuff where they need reinforced steel and a mouse with it's own CPU.

        I don't know about the mouse, but a heavy keyboard with mechanical switches is nicer to use IMO. Weight keeps it from shifting around and the switches are more durable. If the keys are properly formed, using some kind of infused plastic rather than the surface printed labels then they won't tend to have the labels wear off either.

        For this particular keyboard though I don

        • by Kelbear ( 870538 )
          I don't understand why back-lighting is sold to gamers. I get that gamers often play late into the night and may be forced to turn off the lights(or voluntarily do it to reduce glare). But jeezus christ, if you need to look down and key-hunt in a game, you're screwed in everything but turn-based and adventure games, and we all know how small those two genres are. Even most puzzle games these days involve a timer. The target market should already be able to touch-type, if not in general application, at the v
      • Speaking as a gamer and a PC enthusiast I pose this question to the community:

        Have you ever been in the mood to upgrade your computer but it was fast enough already? That's when it's time to buy a fancy keyboard or mouse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Eirenarch ( 1099517 )
      Well there are many gamers with money that dream of going "pro" or just want to copy the "pro". While pro gamers will probably spend that much money on gear they are usually addicted to their gear and will not buy new one unless the old breaks. I doubt any pro gamer upgrades his gear when new one appears on the market. However the pro wannabes do.
    • i'm definitely not a progamer and i bought one. they were on sale at for $107 (free shipping) a few weeks ago.

      i love the thing. i got my first upscale keyboard a couple months ago - a logitech g15. i liked the volume control and the LCD but the build quality was really cheap. it felt like a thin piece of plastic; i probably could have torn it in half with my hands. after using the same keyboard for a decade (a $10 dell) i managed to break the g15 twice in a month.

      then i went to a lan party in san f
      • one of the great features of this keyboard that i don't think any other keyboard has is that it is wired to take huge key combinations (at least 9 simultaneous keys). this was an annoying problem on every keyboard i've had before including the $80 G15. for example in BF2142, if i needed to keep moving (W) while running (left shift) i couldn't send a squad order (V) or accept an order from the squad leader (PageUp). i learned to play around it (stop running long enough to hit the other key) but it's nice to
  • by drquoz ( 1199407 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:48PM (#23305842)
    "...the actual sensitivity and response of the mouse easily outclasses our prior mousing experiences."

    Well, that's a phrase you don't hear every day.
    • by Barny ( 103770 )
      So, uh, will it outclass my Razer Lachesis (4000dpi, 1khz polling on USB port and a great feel)?

      Gamers don't want a mouse to last forever, we want a mouse that is the best.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Oh lord, a superiority complex.

        Gamers bleat that 4000dpi is needed for that "uber" control. It's not. Not even close. The day any human being on this planet shows me manual dexterity with an object weighing half a pound capable of precision control to within SIX THOUSANDTHS OF A MILLIMETRE is the day I'll personally fund the construction of an 8000dpi mouse just for you.

        I want to tell you just how fine that resolution is. SHORT head hairs on an ANT measure 0.006mm.

        You could survive on 1000dpi at the most

        • by modecx ( 130548 )
          Hey, you know, that's really short sighted. Personally, when the muscles in my right arm are replaced with micrometer accurate servos because of severe gaming (or otherwise) induced carpal tunnel syndrome, I KNOW I'm really going to appreciate that I chose to invest in such quality hardware. Laugh it up all you will, we'll see who gets the last laugh when I'm owning your ass in Counter-Strike XVI! HAHA! SUCKER!
        • by Barny ( 103770 )
          Yup, I don't usually run the mouse at 4000, normally 2500 is fine, but its nice to be able to sort out exactly what I need. And yes, there is a noticeable change in accuracy and movement from just 2000 (my old mouse, that I replaced because I flat out killed it from overuse) to 2500 :)
        • by Kelbear ( 870538 )
          I believe many of the top-gamers don't bother with expensive "gaming"-oriented hardware. They're good enough to notice that they missed because they missed, not because their mouse somehow misinterpreted them. An understandable excuse on a dirty ball mouse, but it's ridiculous on an optical or laser mouse.
  • the lack of the Windows key!
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:50PM (#23305862)
    More like a cut and paste of a PR release. All I saw was short blurbs about "This rocks, you ought to buy it", along with some tech buzzwords thrown in. Not a single word breathed about ergonomics, how the programmable interface actually works, the details of the customizations and how effective they actually are. Really, the summary IS the article.

    This is a slashvertisement if I've ever seen one.
  • by tknd ( 979052 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:53PM (#23305900)

    Just from looking at the keyboard I hate it already. An L shaped enter/return key and a tiny backspace key with the backslash next to it.

    I've always hated the L shaped return key because it forces you to move the center of the key slightly higher...which is too high for a pinky. The large size you could say makes it easier to hit, except that most L shaped keys have terrible balancing so hitting it slightly lower or higher than the middle of the key can cause the key press not to register.

    Now the tiny backspace key really gets me. I had a keyboard with a tiny backspace key and it pissed the hell out of me because I would often hit the key next to it since it was so small.

    • Don't use it.

      Personally as someone who enjoys playing games online (and has a little extra income to throw at it) I've been disappointed by the majority of gaming keyboards which seem to use standard switches. I haven't used this board or seen it myself so I wonder how the keys feel. Standard boards are good for typing and have a bit of play in the keys you don't need for your average twitch and shoot.

      Typically I use a board that uses scissor [] switches (like in laptops) because they have a much smoother
      • what kind of noob wants LESS clacky? the best keyboard i ever owned was a keytronics keyboard. it weighed about 5kg and had STEEL SPRINGS for the return tension. it's clickity clack was unrivaled, people across the road ducked for cover when i typed because the sound resembled machine gun fire.

        the thing was about 10 years old and still going strong.

    • Then again, their previous keyboard is only offered in "Swedish, Norwegian and Portugese" so the L shaped key is the least of your worries.

    • I agree 100%. I've always had trouble finding a decent keyboard fitting those requirements. Luckily, the Das Keyboard II [] has the perfect layout for me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jackbird ( 721605 )
        That would be a rebadged Keytronic Ergo series. An awesome keyboard, but considerably cheaper if you buy it with letters affixed.
        • The original Das Keyboard was a Keytronic, the new one is made by Cherry and has mechanical keyswitches (as opposed to the membrane switches on the Keytronic). AFAIK, you can't get the reasonably-priced, non-pretentious equivalent of Das Keyboard II anywhere.
          • IBM Model M, take off the keycaps (NOT the whole keys) and spraypaint them all black. Then spray them with 1 layer of Testor's glosscoat and 2 of Testor's dullcoat to seal. Thin layers. Place the keycaps back on the keys, you now have a Das Keyboard-style keyboard for a reasonable price. Whatever you do, don't spray over the date-of-manufacture/serial number sticker on the back.
    • Yuck, I agree completely. That tiny backspace key is a dealbreaker for me, with my typing error rate.

      I do like the complete lack of "evil" keys though: Power, Wake and Sleep.

  • "catering to gamers by registering half presses"

    Does this meen that the keys are analong and can be programed that way? or is it just another button that clicks halfway down?

    The idea of having analog 'WASD' sounds real nice for pc games. Still 150 is too much when better supported gaming keyboards are on the market for less then 100
  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @06:58PM (#23305938)
    seriously, "iron infused plastic and gold electronics"? way way too much masturbating.
  • This has got to be the sparsest review I've seen for any product. WTF? The specs say that it has a USB port and speaker/mic jacks, but did we get a picture of them? Did they even mention them? Nope, I had to guess from the picture of the connectors. The most useful piece of information was the user comments that told us about the two USB jacks and the flimsy hand rest. What, pray tell, was the point of the four images of the logo on (what is that anyway? a bunch of mouse pads?). Really, this has got
  • Model M (Score:5, Funny)

    by Digi-John ( 692918 ) on Monday May 05, 2008 @07:04PM (#23306002) Journal
    Get it, use it, annoy your roommates. Seriously, I have 3 or 4 of these things, use them all the time, and only had to pay for one ($1.50, the rest were free).
    • by Nursie ( 632944 )
      Oh hell yes!

      I have a few hanging around, must be 10 years old. Best Keyboard Ever. Also comes with handy "super loud" click to annoy friends and workmates alike!
    • by lmfr ( 567586 )
      I'm a happy client of Das Keyboard II [].

      Enough cicky-clack to annoy your workmates, and a good feel to it.

      Never had a Model M, though, so I can't give a comparison.

      Also, I only have slight problems with the lack of key information w.r.t. the top row (numbers and symbols on top). YMMV, of course.

  • A decent keyboard is $20. Anything over that is robbery. Anyone who actually shells that kind of cash out for a keyboard needs to have his credit cards taken away.
    • Great idea!

      For all who are interested in saving your hard earned cash I will help you out. Mail your credit cards (preferably in tact with the PIN number for ATMs included) to:

      Garett Spencley
      1374 Copperfield Ave
      Toronto, ON
      N8W 5K7

      I am offering this service FREE OF CHARGE to anyone interested. Seriously. NO STRINGS ATTACHED!

      You're welcome!
    • I spent around US$75 each on Microsoft Ergo 4000 []'s for home and work when I first started getting RSI, they're worth every cent.
    • I paid over $100 for my keyboard and don't regret a penny of it. []
  • A few weeks ago I bought a SW mouse at BestBuy. I was a little worried about dropping that much money on a rodent, but my standard came-with-the-PC optical mouse just wasn't cutting it. After a few days I couldn't be happier. The size and chunky construction of that thing makes it a no-brainer for FPS.

    I used to think dedicated gaming hardware was just a selling point, but really, if you're into FPS and you're still using the OEM crap that came with your box, you're missing out on a lot. Take it from someo

    • I saw this mouse at Future Shop the other day and was totally weirded out by the shape. However, I've sworn by MS mice for about 15 years so I usually have faith in their designs. Do you find the SW comfortable? How do you like those crazy thumb buttons?
      • by dedazo ( 737510 )
        It took a while to get used to. One thing about the SW, it's big. If you have smaller hands you might want to stay away from it. But other than that, once you get the hang of it it's great.

        Another thing, the buttons (especially the thumb ones) need some force to actuate. Mine have gotten a bit softer now, but it does take a few weeks. All in all, I'm really happy. The weights make a big difference at higher DPI settings, and I settled on the white sliders (teflon?) based on how they perform on my desk. I

  • I used a Steel Series frosted glass mouse pad for a while, but I had to stop because if even the most tiniest particle settles on the surface, my mouse made this horrible scratching sound. Even worse, I could feel it as well, so I was constantly wiping down the surface and also rubbing the mouse on my pants leg. Needless to say, this detracted from my overall gaming experience.

    I'm sure their other pads are fine, and maybe I'm one of the unlucky few who works/plays in a somewhat dusty area. I'm just putting
  • "Pro gaming" equipment is just like specialty "audiophile" hardware -- overpriced, showy crap that only makes a difference in the mind of the buyer.

    I'm not saying there's no difference between a quality keyboard and a cheap hunk of plastic, but the difference in performance between a $20 Key Tronic and a $150 L337 G4m3r Pr0 Blingmaster Xtreme sure as hell isn't going to be noticed by "casual" gamers, and probably makes no difference to somebody who is already good enough to be a "pro".
  • I'm typing this message on a $200 Logitech DiNovo Edge.
    • I'm typing this on a $5 Walmart keyboard but will blow $195 tonight on a dirty hooker, drugs & beer.

      So who's the "happy chappie" now then?

  • I would have to say the G15 (revision 1) is the best keyboard I have ever used. The flip-down LCD is just wang, really (although seeing my soul shard/ammo count is nice), but the 18 macro keys are godly for WoW. The blue backlight is sexy, but can be turned off if you don't like it.

    For some crazy reason they decided to release a 2nd revision with only 6 macro keys and a fixed LCD (orange backlight rather than blue). This would be alright if they didn't:
    a) Keep the G15 model name, and
    b) Stop productio
    • by Barny ( 103770 )
      I rather like the newer G15 myself, the keyboard itself is just THE keyboard for MMOG and RTS gaming, nothing compares to it. (I believe if your game is improved by more than 6 macros, technically your keyboard is just masturbating).

      For FPS the Razer Tarantula is a hard one to beat, extremely sensitive keys, remapping of any keys you want, not recommended for typing however, just too sensitive.
      • by Samah ( 729132 )
        Sorry when I said macro keys I wasn't implying that I actually assign full "macros" to each key. I reassign them to be number pad keystrokes and then bind those to action buttons in WoW. Lets me have a whole lot more spells within reach without having to click. I actually arranged my action buttons to be in the same 3x6 groups so it's easy to see what does what.
        • by Barny ( 103770 )
          Nifty idea (re the arranging of your keys in-game), I play Dark age of Camelot, and mainly play my tank (Valerie so healing + massive defence), usually use my bank of 6 keys just to map regular keys, although for crafting I sometimes use timed macros, but only while I am at the PC, or else they would reset my trade skills :/
  • My vote goes for the Unicomp keyboards. They're mechanical and provides a nice "click". Oh, and their built like a tank. Got mine for about $70 []
  • So who, apart from the airforce, Navy, marine corps, and NASA needs a keyboard that will operate while under acceleration of 68 meters/sec^2?
  • Have we returned to the dark ages? I don't mind the mouse shape so much, but having a cord drag off the end is something that just doesn't do it for me anymore.
  • I'm not a professional gamer, but I must admit I played, play, and will play games way too much.

    I've changed more than 10 keyboards in my lifetime so I do think I have something to say about gaming keyboards.

    Lets look at the "features" of this 7G keyboard.

    It is made of metal. I'm not really sure why this is a positive thing, except for added weight. But as my experience tells me, the keyboard doesn't need to be heavy to be firmly planted on your desk. All you need are good rubber legs/plugs/or whatever they
  • Is it me, or does the mouse look like it's designed to be used with a specific hand? Whether it's right or left I don't know...but example. [].

    I indulged myself and picked up a Razer Lachesis mouse not long ago and it's pretty much symmetrical. I'm a right-y, so I don't *need* to pay particular attention to these things but do they produce two versions, one for right-handed people and one for left? Or what?

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