Good Gaming Keyboard

Good Gaming Combo – Razer Cynosa Keyboard & Deathadder 2000

The Cynosa Pro Gaming Combo is a new option from Razer which combines their iconic Deathadder gaming mouse with their excellent value Cynosa Pro keyboard, a great combo for a gamer on a budget!

The coolest thing about this combo is the inclusion of the Deathadder 2000 gaming mouse, though it’s not quite in the same league as the current Deathadder Elite it has got that same comfortable shape and honeycomb grip that has kept the series in many of the top 10 gaming mouse lists for so long 🙂 The mouse has 5 customisable buttons in total, the normal left and right click along with two more on the side of the mouse (this one’s for right handed gamers) and a fifth as the mouse-wheel – it doesn’t have a DPI switch on the mouse so you’ll need to install the Razer Synapse Gaming Software suite to tweak this, which you’ll want to do as this gives you access to LED lighting, macros and performance settings.

Once you’ve downloaded this gaming software you’ll be asked to make an account, all your macros and settings will be saved to the cloud so when you log in on another system, your gaming gears will automatically adjust to your favourite settings.

When you’re logged into the software you’ll see the mouse and keyboard down the bottom along with any other Razer gear you’ve got connected, clicking these will take you into the options for that device – starting out with the mouse, the DPI settings can be found within the “Performance” tab and there is a simple slider going from 250-2000, once you’ve moved to a position and release the left click, the setting will automatically apply itself 🙂 There is an option here for “configure sensitivity stages” but seeing as there isn’t a dpi button on the mouse we’ll have to configure button 3 and 4 use this, once setup is done through a neat little graphic shows up on the side of the screen (even in game) when you change the sensitivity – of course, if you’re gaming it far more likely you’ll map one of the buttons to be a “sensitivity clutch” or “sniper button” which is perfect for those gaming moments when you need to be super accurate with your shot.  Macro wise the Synapse software package also gives you the ability to record a sequence of both keyboard presses and mouse clicks, with timings, and assign them the button of your choice 🙂

The LED lighting with the Cynosa Pro bundle gives you the options to switch between Green, Blue, and Light Blue, while the keyboard is treated as one large zone the mouse LED is actually split into two allowing you to customise the mouse wheel and razer logo independently – saving your favourite as a profile if you want to 🙂

If you don’t have the software installed the keyboard and mouse combo will still remember your last LED and DPI settings, with the keyboard you can also adjust the brightness of the LED backlighting from the keyboard itself, without software. All in all, it’s a pretty tempting combo for a gamer on a budget, even if it’s not quite a pretty as the Cooler Master MasterKeys Lite Combo with its full RGB lighting the Cynosa Pro Gaming Keyboard and Deathadder 2000 Combo holds it’s own thanks to the inclusion of that sweet Deathadder 2000 gaming mouse 🙂

GAME ON!

Good Gaming Keyboard – The Logitech G Pro TKL RGB!

The Logitech G Pro TKL RGB is the first to carry the name Pro, a keyboard is designed and built to the exacting standards of some of the world’s top eSports athletes – we’ve used it’s spiritual precursor, the G310 in many gaming tournaments and found it to be excellent!

Featuring Logitech’s own exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches – purpose-built for pro-grade performance, responsiveness and durability these have a very short actuation point at just 1.5mm making them around 25% faster than a standard mechanical switch. A perfect blend of speed, precision and quiet performance, the Romer-G is the stealth assassin of mechanical gaming keyboard switches 🙂

The compact tenkeyless design which frees up tournament table space for low-sens mouse movement, and a detachable cable for easy transportation to the next tournament. Durability is built into every component and reinforced by a super-strong steel backplate that adds stability and rigidity to gameplay.

To improve performance even further, Logitech focused on KSP (Keystroke Signal Processing) which is the sequence of events that translates a switch actuation into a USB signal. To make the Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard ultra responsive, they’ve optimised the KSP to be up to 10ms faster response than the competition. Speed isn’t just in the key switch, it’s the entire system starting with the switch actuation, KSP, and then report rate.

Using Logitech Gaming Software you can customise every key manually but there is also a massive range of lighting profiles available for over 300 different games. We highly recommend you enable ‘Automatic Game Detection’ in the Logitech Gaming Software to have them automatically display on the Pro Keyboard when the game launches – when Mass Effect Andromeda launched we were surprised with a very cool custom A logo on our keyboards during loading which was pretty crazy cool and once you get in-game it just gets cooler by lighting up all the keys you’ll need in your gaming session 🙂

Combine all this with smart little touches like a removable USB connection, killer macro management and those oh-so-perfect height adjusting rubber tipped feet and you’ve got the Logitech G Pro TKL RGB Gaming Keyboard!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming Keyboard – G413 Mechanical in Silver and Carbon!

UPDATE: Hands on the with new Silver G413 – it’s beautiful!

Hot on the heels of the excellent TKL Gaming Keyboard just released (Ten Key Less, it basically means no numpad :P), those fine folks at Logitech G have just released another TWO new metal keyboard options for us!

Full sized but lightweight with high strength aluminum alloy top casing for added rigidity along with a slim, blade-like form factor thanks to the way the keys raise off the board – they’ve done something brilliant here within the keycaps and the LED lighting on these doesn’t suffer from the light leakage issues you may have experienced in the past with other slim metal board designs, the package even includes extra gaming keycaps that are interchangeable with the ones in the keyboard as well as a keycap puller to get those keys out when you feel like it.

 

One of the best bit’s about these new G413 is they both feature a USB passthrough so you can charge your smartphone from the keyboard, an excellent feature that should be on every gaming keyboard! They’ve also added a nice cable route pathway on the bottom of the keyboard too ensure everything stays super tidy 🙂

The media, brightness and volume controls are now integrated as secondary functions accessed via the F keys. and you can also setup your favourite programmable macros for games via the Logitech Gaming Software suite. Two distinct versions are available, the first is Carbon Black with a red LED backlight and the second is a super cool looking Silver G413 version with white LED.

Good Gaming Keyboard – The Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum

UPDATE: This amazing keyboard is available in NZ now!

Not to be confused with the previous Orion Spark the new Logitech G Orion Spectrum is what happens when a company listens to customer feedback and adjusts to make their products even better.  An awesome version of the G910 from Logitech is incoming – The G910 Orion Spectrum!

With a darker look, RGB logo and those ultra fast Romer-G mechanical switches to give you incredible responsiveness, this sleek RGB Mechanical keyboard actuates your presses faster than standard mechanical switches.  This faster actuation gives you faster response for the winning edge in battles where every move you make matters.

A small detail in the keycaps has been adjusted to be smoother allowing for easier finger travel between them during the more complex maneuvers we all attempt while in the heat of battle.

As with the original Orion Spark the Spectrum allows for some pretty extreme customisation via the Logitech Gaming software, you can tweak keyboards lighting effects and mark individual keys by colour to keep track of spells and game commands.  Each key’s backlight can be customised from a palette of 16.8 million colors. The key letters are entirely illuminated for a beautiful, evenly-lit glow with minimal light leakage 🙂  You can also download ARX Control app for your smartphone (here are links for Android and Apple) which introduces some second-screen capabilities.  Use your smart phone or tablet screen to display in-game info, vital system statistics and more.  The keyboard’s adjustable smart dock positions your phone perfectly at the top of the keyboard.

We’ve really put this keyboard through some extremely enjoyable game testing and happily give it our full recommendation – the Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum is GOOD!

This keyboard is outstanding top to bottom, in-game integration for lighting effects is simply outstanding – check out the video below as we test this with Counter Strike: Global Offensive using the key lighting to signal the number of rounds left in our clip.

 

Good Gaming Keyboard – The Zalman ZM-K900M

GGPC Recommends ZM-K900M

We first caught a glimpse of the Zalman Gaming Keyboard at the recent Computex 2016 Expo and it captured our attention immediately, so good were the first impressions of this keyboard that we returned for another go with it the next day.

What made the the Zalman Keyboard stand out?

– No drivers or software needed
– Solid build with a nice key layout
– Excellent features (especially the built in microphone, macro recording including mouse clicks and lighting options)

To begin with, the ZM-K900M has the ability to customise everything directly from the keyboard and will store your choices via the keyboards internal memory. This means that you can create a macro and save when connected to any computer without having to install dedicated software. It doesn’t end with gaming macro either, you can customize everything on the K900m from the keyboard and when you connect it to another system all your perfectly tuned settings will be ready to enjoy right away – no sync, no hassle.

For those of us that use macro while online gaming we can also quickly adjust the speed of the macros and utilize loop and timing as needed, this helps ensure our commands will work even if we end up in a match with a less than ideal internet connection.

The keyboard itself has some of the cleanest RGB lighting we’ve seen, it’s well constructed with very little flex when trying to bend, there are non-slip rubber feet on the kickstands and a cable management channel underneath allows you to direct the braided cable (which is also really high quality) out the left or right of the keyboard to suit your setup. The switches used are called Kailh and feel just like Cherry MX blue with quick press and satisfying click. The keyboard’s built in microphone adds a further layer of effects not often seen and with the EQ feature your RGB lighting can be used to provide some excellent visuals while you type, game or listen to your favourite tunes.

How is it in action?

Having no software makes this one very different from the other gaming keyboards we’ve used recently, usually we would talk about how what game configs were pre-available for download but seeing as this keyboard is really about doing it yourself for yourself we thought we would jump into a game to see what’s involved and how it really works.

When it comes time to customise things and create your perfect layout we recommend starting out by making our keyboard a uniform colour, we choose a deep blue as this would make it easy for the goto keys to stand out (to do this push Fn+DEL and then select your chosen colour from the RGB rainbow that has appeared on the keyboard).

We then highlighted the WASD keys in a vibrant white so they could always be found easily should our fingers wander away, this is done by first pushing Fn+7 to enter colour mode, then press Fn+= to enter key select mode, from here simply click the any of the keys you want to be a certain colour, then tap Fn to bring up the rainbow and select your preference. We continued to customise our 1,2,3,4 weapon keys in other colours so they would also stand out and finishing off the look with our interact, sprint, reload and melee keys. (on a side note, if you change your mind about the base colour and want to change your surrounding keys while leaving your custom ones set you can push Fn+INS to do this)

Happy with our basic layout it’s time to make some macros!

We wanted to create something that uses both mouse and keyboard presses to complete so we’ve streamlined the motion of switching to C4, throwing a charge and then switching back to our primary weapon. We then created a quick detonate charge macro and finally made a switch to pistol, unload the clip, and then return to primary weapon – this is possible on the ZM-K900M because its macro can include mouse clicks!

Making these was actually very easy, there are a bunch of ready to program macro keys around the middle of the keyboard so for our C4 macro we started out by pressing and holding FN+O for 3 seconds then release at which time the keyboard began recording which is signaled by a little blinking light at the top left – from here it was as simple as pushing 4 (for C4) then left mouse click (deploy a charge) and finally 1 (to switch back to primary) – we continued through in the same fashion to make our other macros – so much fun but it sort of feels like cheating!

We’ve done something a little different to show off how well the live macro recording works with timings 🙂 We thought it would be fun if we jumped on a Gaming PC and went for a little drive in Dirt Rally while recording, then restarted the race and had the keyboard macro do the driving for us – surprisingly it worked!

Although this one’s a bit harder to master than something with dedicated software that’s what sets this Zalman Z-Machine Gaming Keyboard apart from the rest, and with some very unique and excellent features we are happy to add this fine keyboard to our GGPC recommends list – the ZM-K900M Gaming Keyboard is GOOD!

 

Good Gaming Keyboard – Cooler Master Masterkeys

Masterkeys Lite is GOOD

Cooler Master have got another new gaming keyboard – well actually this one’s a combo!

Introducing the new Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite 🙂  Unlike the above gaming keyboards which use the Cherry MX this new value keyboard is packing CM’s own mem-chanical switch which not only feels great but also conforms to the Cherry MX standard shape so we can add aftermarket custom key caps very easily, it’s still early days for the Maker Hub but we’ll be keeping an eye on this for 3D printable models to appear, until then Thingiverse certainly has more than enough to keep us modding!

Masterkeys LiteWhile the Masterkeys Lite Keyboard might not be quite as bright as its big brothers this keyboard still produces that clean RGB LED glow we’re in love with.  They’ve added something really interesting to the kickstands by running a grippy texture along the back so when you’ve got the keyboard laying flat it still sticks to your desk like glue.

Even though the target is value this keyboard is still very well built and you can change the LED lighting to suit you setup quickly and easily from the keyboard itself without additional software or drivers needed, simple must haves like disabling the windows key (which is printed with a Cooler Master logo on this keyboard) can be done easily by pushing Fn+F12 and you’ll also find a host of media and lighting controls can be accessed in the same way.

The included mouse is a nice shape has an LED indicator that flashes in several colours as you change though the DPi settings lighting up the scroll wheel and also a thin strip at the base of the mouse, you can make this glow constant and even cycle to a RGB breathing mode by clicking the DPi shift + scroll wheel simultaneously  – awesome stuff Cooler Master!

The version we have to play with has a L on the box as well which leads us to believe a second 10keyless version might be on the way which is always nice (UPDATE: Yep, there’s a new S version), in any case this is certainly the best entry level combo we’ve had the pleasure of using in a long time (since the Cooler Master Devastator II actually) and we’re happy to give this new value gaming combo our GGPC recommends badge – the Masterkeys Lite is GOOD!

 

 

 

Good Gaming Keyboard – SteelSeries Apex M500

The Steelseries Apex M500 delivers the gaming features from the popular Apex series giving you the keys to victory (lol nice pun SteelSeries).  A tournament-grade backlit mechanical gaming keyboard built to meet the requirements of top level gamers, SteelSeries really have created an excellent keyboard for gamers that game – with features we’ll actually use and an emphasis on quality that is well received.

We’ve gotten hands-on with this epic new piece of hardware and the Apex M500 is certainly does it’s job well, the sleek design gives you everything you need in a professional gaming keyboard, without the fluff 🙂

Created with the toughest plastics and reinforced with a battle-hardened steel back plate, they’ve gone to extra lengths to ensure the construction and materials can withstand anything thrown its way.  A standard key layout means no learning curve and no surprises and with Cherry key stems, gamers can swap out the keycaps for a custom set and everything fits perfectly.

With the SteelSeries Engine software you can easily customize your keyboard with macros, setting these up has never been easier and text based, key-press, and-on-the-fly macros can all be programmed and set with ease.  Your profiles aren’t limited to just your keyboard either, you can program any key to cycle between your keyboard, headset, and mouse profiles.

You can even auto-deploy your exact settings right when you launch your games, crazy cool.

Combine all this with the smaller details like cable management channels underneath, rubber non-slip kickstands and a beautiful evenly lit glow from the blue LED (also the base plate is blue which is nice) and you’ve got a well thought out, quality keyboard.

Now that we’ve had a game or 12 with this excellent new peice of gaming tech we are happy to give it a well deserved recommendation to anyone looking for a new mechanical gaming keyboard at a great price – The SteelSeries Apex M500 is GOOD!

The SteelSeries Apex M500 is available overseas but we haven’t seen stock land in New Zealand yet so keep your eyes on our NZ computers blog and we’ll update as soon as this epic nww keyboard arrives!

Steelseries Apex M500 is Good