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Author Topic: PC Keyboards  (Read 2837 times)
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Blackjack
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« on: February 09, 2009, 06:39:34 PM »

I've never really been into fancy programmable keyboards per se. I was quite happy with my Saitek Eclipse II, which was more notable for its adjustable keyboard underlighting than anything else. In spite of having "laser-etched" key lettering, my MMO game playing had worn off quite a few letters.

I snagged a Saitek Cyborg for about $60 ($26 off retail, as part of the Circuit City liquidation sales) yesterday, thought I'd share some impressions.

Here's the official page for it:

Saitek Cyborg Keyboard
http://www.saitek.com/uk/prod/cykey.htm

Here's its features, not all of which I think I'm going to use much:
Quote
    *  Multi-colour backlighting with Tru Vu illumination through keys (mix shades from Red through Amber to Green) and adjustable brightness
    * Touch-sensitive, backlit dashboard control panel
    * WASD, cursor, ‘Cyborg’ and NumPad keys can be lit independently from the rest of keyboard to highlight commonly used gaming keys

    * Cyborg Mode – instantly disable the Windows keys and configure the colour and brightness of your gaming keys at the touch of a button
    * Set and forget – persistent key illumination settings ensure colours remain even after a system reboot
    * 12 programmable ‘Cyborg’ keys
    * Hard wearing, metal-plated key caps in key gaming areas [this sounds impressive but I'll have to see whether it still flakes off]
    * Pass-through USB, audio and microphone sockets
    * Enhanced multiple key presses in gaming areas for complex in-game commands
    * Adjustable wrist rest and keyboard rake angle (front and back)
    * Gold-plated connectors for USB and Audio
I actually wish they had kept the "light blue" lighting option from the Eclipse II, but for some reason they dropped it.

Above the function keys are some little diagrammed soft touch sensor buttons that match certain parts of your keyboard. You can use these to customize the lighting color/brightness for the w,a,s,d; spacebar; cursor; and numeric keypad keys. I don't know how useful that is, but it's a neat idea.

There's about a half dozen large, square "lever style" buttons on the left and right sides of the keyboard. I haven't installed the programming software yet but presumably you can assign macros to this stuff; I'm not sure if they can be set to "mirror" regular keyboard keys, which I think I might find useful in MMOs. AoC in particular overwhelms you with hotkeys in the higher levels, and doesn't quite have enough "hotkey bars" to keep everything on screen to see at once.

So far I like it, but I do miss the light blue lighting option; and the keys sound just a tad louder to my ears than my Eclipse II did. But I type really accurately on it, and it has felt good in gaming so far, knock on wood.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 06:45:43 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2009, 08:50:18 PM »

That is the keyboard I have.  You got lucky and snagged it at a cheap price though slywink
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2009, 09:13:34 PM »

Trade you for the Saitek Eclipse. All the keys are fine on mine (I don't MMO). biggrin
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Blackjack
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2009, 09:41:08 PM »

One thing I started doing in City of Heroes was assigning some hotkeys to letters instead of numbers. Beyond maybe 5 or 6, I have a hard time reaching over for the numbers.

So instead I'd assign hotkeys to stuff like F, V, X, Z, and T. All those my left hand can reach without "reaching over" something. I tended to like to assign Z to a "snipe" or "nuke" key, and V and X to "AOE" type powers/skills, and F to a favorite high damage attack.

I still try to think that way with AoC, but it sort of complicates things because it uses 1, 2 and 3 (and even Q and E if you enable or use "advanced melee keys") for its "combos." So there's three hotkeys no longer available to me. So that's one particular MMO where I'm hoping the Cyborg's lever-buttons come in handy. Of course Funcom would make my life easier if they'd just add another hotkey bar and give players some ability to scale their size (afik, you can't now).

Anyway, that's my long winded way of saying I don't just wear out w,a,s,d keys. I actually wear out F, V, X, T and Z sometimes just as much. Heck, Saitek should put out a keyboard where *all* the keys have metal plated tops. Maybe that's what I need.  icon_razz
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 10:00:51 PM »

I have a Eclipse 1 thanks to a helpful forum member on here. Best keyboard Ive ever used hands down. My 1 gripe is the light is not nearly bright enough. It has settings for brightness but even on the highest bright it is still too dim for me to see the right keys in the dark. At night while the wife sleeps you might as well not chat to me in a game because gibberish comes back out to ya from me smile
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 08:23:14 PM »

The Eclipse 2 has 3 different colors (blue, red, and a violet I think). I actually found the violet color to be noticeably brighter than the other three. I don't play in the dark much - I think I have some of that Seasonal Afffective Disorder going on with not enough sunlight, so I tend to keep my computer room brightly lit. That sort of makes all this fancy keyboard lighting a moot point, but I just like the "feel" of Saitek keyboards.

Although many people have recommended Logitech keyboards to me (G-15 and the like), I generally haven't liked their typing feel as much, even though I've used and swear by Logitech mice for many years.

Some lighted keyboards only sort of light "around the keys" rather than *through" the actual keyboard lettering.

So far, while I like the Cyborg's key programming software, I've had spotty luck getting it to do "2 or 3 keys at the same time with one button push." It's like it works the first time, but then not after that.  icon_confused And while you can load the Cyborg software to run at Windows startup, it seems like you still have to manually load a programmed keyset (I've saved one specifically for Age of Conan for example), which I tend to forget.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 08:28:37 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2009, 11:06:34 PM »

i've been (heavily) using a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro for the past 8 years and none of the key print has worn off, other than 'N' being a bit lighter than the rest of the keys. it's even been through the dishwasher a few times. why would etched keys disappear faster?
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2009, 03:20:33 AM »

So, I have a Saitek Cyborg as well - great keyboard, I love the color options, but unfortunately I already have a key that already is showing wear on the part that the light glows through (Left Alt of all things). Beyond that, I love the feel of the keyboard. It's great to game and type on.
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2009, 07:16:20 AM »

<-- has an Eclipse II... very very nice keyboard. kinda wish the lighting didn't go through the sides, and I definitely wish it defaulted to red. But in terms of comfort it lacks nothing.

Atomic
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2009, 01:14:32 PM »

Ive been wondering if I could string some of that lighted LED wire inside my keyboard to make it brighter. you know the stuff you put in a pc case. Wonder if it would fit..or it might get too hot.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2009, 03:03:34 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on February 14, 2009, 03:20:33 AM

So, I have a Saitek Cyborg as well - great keyboard, I love the color options, but unfortunately I already have a key that already is showing wear on the part that the light glows through (Left Alt of all things). Beyond that, I love the feel of the keyboard. It's great to game and type on.
No doubt the same will happen to me on some keys Saitek didn't think would get a lot of wear and tear. I never use the cursor keys, it seems odd they bothered to "metal coat" those. Maybe what they need to do is a keyboard for gamers that metal coats every single key on the keyboard. It might look a little glossy, but it would be nice not to have the inevitable peeling.  icon_smile

I'm starting to get comfortable using the programmable left "paddle keys" on the Cyborg for buff skills/spells in Age of Conan. It's just easier to pick out the keys there than elsewhere on the keyboard, and I've already sort of gobbled up the Function and num keypad keys with other functions. Plus, the paddle keys don't have any lettering on them, so wear isn't an issue.  icon_razz

Some pics:

The programmable "paddle" keys. The right side ones I'm sure I'll eventually make use of too - you can flick (if you're right handed) your right thumb on them pretty much without letting go of a mouse.


The coating that's supposed to resist wear and tear. We'll see.  icon_razz If an MMO player had been on Saitek's team, he probably would've advised coating all the number keys, and perhaps the Tab key too.


The lighting configuration sensor-touch buttons. I haven't bothered to remove the protective film yet (they work fine through the film).
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 03:20:19 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 09:28:06 PM »

That almost looks like a Klingon keyboard if you'd put Klingon symbols on it lol.

Looks like a nice keyboard though. Wouldn't mind having one.

I have the original Saitek Eclipse, in red. I love it as I find red easier to see in the dark than blue, but like you, some of the keys have worn off.
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2009, 10:22:28 PM »

I like those paddle keys!  I've pretty much exhausted all my reachable letters for hotkeys for my left hand, so any extra ones are good.  Unfortunately, I just bought a new keyboard last month...   icon_frown
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Blackjack
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2009, 04:46:31 PM »

Since you can bind multiple keys and commands, I'm hoping I can set one paddle to flip my AoC Ranger into melee mode (with a separate hotkey tray in the game focused on melee stuff), and then one for its bow/xbow equipment and hotkey tray).
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2009, 06:02:18 PM »

Endgadget noted this new Logitech G110 keyboard on the horizon. If I had 4 hands, it might appeal to me. drool Just look at those features.  smirk

New: Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110
http://blog.logitech.com/2009/10/15/new-logitech-gaming-keyboard-g110/
Quote from: Logitech
Customizable backlighting: We put in red and blue backlighting LEDs and give you control in the Profiler software over how they are mixed together, so your G110’s backlighting can be red, blue, or pretty much any shade of purple you can imagine.

12 programmable G-keys and three M-keys: Give you the power to assign up to 36 single keystrokes, multi-key macros, or intricate LUA scripts. And, using the MR key, you can configure macros on the fly. The Profiler software also allows you to configure each M-key mode to have a different color backlighting, so you can know at a glance what mode you’re in.

Automatic game detection: Lets you create separate custom G-key programming profiles for every game you play.

Game mode switch: Easily disable the Windows and Context Menu keys, so that accidentally pressing them doesn’t kick you out of your game.

Integrated headset support: Works with any standard headphones or headset with 3.5mm plugs, like the Gaming Headset G330, and turns them into a high-quality USB audio device.

One USB cable: Unlike other gaming keyboards with these features, the G110 gives you convenient audio jacks and a USB hub port without a tangled mess of cables at the back of your computer. All you need is one available USB port.

ImsomniacTM Shock System: Delivers non-lethal doses of mild electric shock at random intervals after midnight to ensure that you stay awake during those neverending MMO raids that last until 3-4-5 a.m. in the morning. CAUTION: We do not recommend playing your G110 keyboard with wet fingers...

Orange AidTM Cheetos Residue Licker: Artificial Tongue Port quickly removes Cheetos residue from your fingertips. Empty the Cheetos crumb tray at your leisure to use as condiments on popcorn or your favorite pasta dish.

DrainmasterTM Urination Collection System: Optional integrated vaccum tube with disposable sleeves eliminates the need to leave your computer chair to visit the bathroom. Collection bag may be used to "water" your garden. Remember to recycle! CAUTION: The tube and sleeves are not certified as birth control devices or sexual aids. For pete's sake, please do not attempt to use them as such.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 06:08:10 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 04:05:02 AM »

Although I've been happy with that 2009-era Saitek, the lettering on most of the keys (save the "coated" a-w-s-d keys) was flaking off badly, and outside of a little bit in Rift, I hardly ever used any of the extra dedicated gaming keys. Although I toyed with trying Logitech's solar-powered one (the "island" keys on that aren't quite to my tastes) and its rechargeable illuminated one (I'd read in places that the built-in battery doesn't hold up well and needs to be replaced often), Best Buy had their more basic illuminated USB model on sale for $59.99 so I picked one up today.

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard
http://www.logitech.com/en-us/keyboards/keyboard/devices/4740

I really like the PerfectStroke keystroke feel, and it seemed to improve my accuracy right away. It's quieter too (not whisper quiet per se, but it doesn't sound terribly clackety clack clack). The keys are closer to a good laptop's in feel (whereas my keyboard at work feels more like an old typewriter's), but it really does seem to have a deep enough "throw" that's a bit more like a desktop's. Or maybe I've read too much Logitech marketing pablum.  icon_razz

It has a couple strange things though. The delete key is this long, double-vertical-length key, and insert is bumped up to the top row next to F12. Maybe something to consider if you use the Insert key often but I rarely do. The palm rest is built into it, so it isn't something you can detach. It feels good imho. And the backspace key is large, but maybe not quite as large as I'm used to.


The illumination has three settings (my Saitek used a not for infinite adjustment but I hardly ever touched it. The lighting is very nice, not harsh. It's mostly through the letters, numbers etc., although there's just a wee bit of bleed between the keys, just enough to help you make out the key's outlines.

It's extremely thin and takes up little space on one's desk. The optional fold out spindle legs are maybe ... more spindly than I'd like but they seem to hold up OK. I guess I'm used to having the back end of the keyboard positioned up a little higher than this, but I'll get used to it and like I said, my typing really does seem more accurate on this.  icon_smile

As for gaming, I've read the keyboard has some difficulty with triple key combos in some cases. Not something I use, but it could matter to others.

I do kind of miss the Saitek's coated keys (a-w-s-d), as it just helped me keep my left hand properly positioned while gaming. I suspect I'll get used to it though. The F and J keys do have tiny notches on them to help touch typists orient themselves, though I guess pretty much all keyboards do.

In lieu of a right Windows key, it has an FN key that lets you assign various things to F1-F12, including a favorite e-mail program (including Google mail in a browser), iTunes and some other things. I'd forgotten that Logitech's Setpoint keyboard utility lets you disable things like the Windows key, scroll lock and caps lock, which are all quite handy.

So overall I give it an initial thumbs up, pending how it survives the likes of Space Marine, Gatling Gears, SWTOR, Diablo III, Torchlight 2 and whatever other keyboard pounding games I fling at it.  icon_cool
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 03:52:32 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2011, 05:27:02 PM »

Just a wee update -- the illuminated Logitech is holding up nicely under heavy-pounding for Space Marine.  icon_smile I thought maybe it would affect how I type on my more typewriter-ish IBM-brand keyboard at work but it really hasn't at all.

I think I can do certain actions in Space Marine easier using it (sprint, for sure), although maybe just cause my Saitek was gummed up with junk I couldn't quite clear out of it over the years. I think these types of "island" keys will be less prone to debris issues though I guess only time will tell.
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2011, 04:32:54 AM »

Leopold FC200R Tenkeyless for the win.

I'll never buy another "gaming" keyboard, with a possible exception being made for Corsair if they come t hrough and make a tenkeyless version of their new boards.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 04:37:03 AM by Thin_J » Logged

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Blackjack
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2011, 04:32:51 PM »

Interesting.

I'm still happy with my Logitech Illuminated. I do want to maybe find some kind of keyboard cap (something that might stick but not use adhesive per se) thing I could maybe put on the w,s, keys or something to orient myself there. I just sometimes find myself not re-orienting on the main keys for gaming (i.e., sometimes I'll be off by a key if I don't look directly at the keyboard) -- so I still kinda miss those four "coated" keys on my Saitek, which let me re-orient by "feel."
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2011, 09:30:48 PM »

I probably should have explained my post more really. I guess popping in to link a $100+ board that to most people just looks like it's missing keys is probably pretty silly.

First off, it's a mechanical board. It uses Cherry MX switches. I've now had three mechanical boards, all using Cherry switches, and I will never again own another standard "rubber dome" style keyboard. They always feel mushy and completely terrible after spending just a few weeks on my mechanical boards. We have normal rubber dome keyboards with all our machines at work and they're absolutely maddening to sit down and type on now. I hate them.

If you need your numpad, there's tons of options out there. I also have a Daskeyboard Professional Silent sitting around. It's an excellent board and I loved it during the time i used it, but I wanted it to be smaller somehow. I don't like how far apart I have to keep my hands when I game with standard keyboards. I wanted to be able to move the two things closer together, and maybe gain some deskspace too. Then I stumbled on a FILCO Tenkeyless board on Amazon, and started doing some digging.

I bought my Leopold and haven't looked back since.

If you're ever curious how a mechanical board feels or how much more sound it might make relative to your standard rubber dome board, Best Buy usually carries a couple of mechanical boards made by Razer. I don't recommend their keyboards because they pile on a bunch of other useless silliness, but if you want to see if the keys feel different enough to you to justify the cost I think it's worth at least looking at.

Blackjack, your Illuminated board from Logitech is technically a mechanical board too, albeit with an entirely different kind of switch. It uses a variant of the scissor style switch used in most laptop keyboards which is why you like typing on it so much more than your old Saitek. When you tell people that keys on mechanical boards offer more resistance than normal rubber dome keyboards they often look at you funny and ask... why would you want keys to be harder to press? But they're not thinking it through. Having just a touch more resistance earlier on in your keystroke can help your typing out in a fairly short amount of time. It's a weird thing that I didn't really buy into when I first read it either but it ends up being true for a fairly large number of people.

They may cost a lot more, but I will never regret taking a leap on my first fairly pricey mechanical keyboard.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 09:33:45 PM by Thin_J » Logged

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