As a reader of Guru3D.com, you're surely aware of all the great peripherals available to help your gaming. There's products such as the Logitech G15 keyboard with it's LCD display, and there's the G5 and G7 gaming mice from the same manufacturer with their on-the-fly DPI adjustment and weight system. There hasn't been a keyboard or mouse review @ Guru3D for some time now, so we thought we'd change that since keyboards (along with mice) are very important peripherals as they're your communication points with your PC. Whilst the products mentioned above would've made for an interesting review, they have been on the market for over 6 months now. Instead, we were given the opportunity to review something new to market, something quite unique and something that should, in my opinion, be a hit with serious gamers.
It may sound strange to some but you can most certainly strain your anatomy when using your computer for lengthy periods of time. Repetitive Strain Injury plagues many computer users so it's advised that you set your work station/desk and your position up correctly to avoid any potential problems. The way in which you position and use your keyboard can have a significant impact on your comfort. First of all you need to position the keyboard directly in front of you and pull up close to it. Which section do you use the most? Readjust the position of the keyboard so this section is directly in front of you. Next, if you are able to, adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows are in a slightly open position, and your wrists and hands are straight. The next step is to tilt the keyboard. If you sit in an upright or forward position, try tilting the keyboard away from you at a negative angle. If you sit reclined, a slight positive tilt will help maintain a straight wrist position. A wristpad can be used to rest your palms between keystrokes, but it is not recommend to rest on the wristpad whilst typing. The mouse should then be placed as close as possible to the keyboard to avoid overreaching and have everything positioned in the same zone.
How about the keyboard itself then? How much thought goes into your choice of peripherals? Think about it. How much time do you spend at your computer each day? Do you work in an office? Do you run a business from home? Do you play multiplayer games online for a clan? Do you spend hours chatting away on an instant messenger service? If the answer to any of these is yes, you should definitely invest in a good quality keyboard. The main factor is your comfort. The keys of a keyboard need to feel light and responsive and the design needs to be an ergonomic one. If these features are present, your accuracy should approve as should your speed. If you are able to go to a store and try out the products before you buy then do so as once you've tried practise typing a few sentences on a display keyboard you'll instantly know whether that keyboard feels nice to type on or not. Quite honestly if you stick to any Logitech or Microsoft product, even their basic models, that keyboard is going to have a good feel to it, you should enjoy using it and it should last for years.
Today's product then. What is it? It's a new product from a company called Ideazon who previously brought us the Z-Board. This product is another keyboard yet this time with an integrated game pad. We mentioned ergonomics earlier, and indeed, how good would it be to have all the keys you need to succeed in any top game surrounding your left hand, without having to reach around the entire keyboard to press them? Sounds good to me, and let me tell you, although it's a rather subjective thing, it definitely works.
This keyboard was kindly supplied by CrazyPC (www.crazypc.com) who specialise in providing modding, cooling and gaming accessories. Should you need any of these, you should definitely check out the site as I'm sure there will be something to catch your eye.
Here's some brief info about the product blatantly stolen from the product's web site before we move to the photo's on the next page where you can see exactly what I'm talking about.
PC gaming has evolved!
MERC is a premium hybrid keyboard that features an integrated game pad powered by ZEngine technology. MERC's innovative form and key profiles were engineered with the gamer in mind. The ergonomic gaming design was fuelled by years of research, plus feedback gathered during hundreds of thousands of hours of gaming action. MERC was developed for gamers to meet the exploding demand for high-performance gaming peripherals.
MERC's dedicated gaming terrain combines 34 gaming keys, a deadly central "butterfly" layout, three thumb keys and 11 weapon keys.
Sleek ergonomic game pad tilts 11 degrees to match natural wrist position while providing hours of comfortable gaming.
Core game commands are labeled for quick access, including run, walk, jump, crouch and reload.
MERC features multimedia keys and programmable hot keys.
Phantom-keys elimination capabilities delivers up to 7 simultaneous keystrokes.
ZBoard MERC Gaming Keyboard Today's product then. What is it? It's a new product from a company called Ideazon who previously brought us the Z-Board. This product is another keyboard yet this time with an integrated game pad. We mentioned ergonomics earlier, and indeed, how good would it be to have all the keys you need to succeed in any top game surrounding your left hand, without having to reach around the entire keyboard to press them? Sounds good to me, and let me tell you, although it's a rather subjective thing, it definitely works.