Peripheral Presents

Feature by jw | 12 Dec 2006
An often overlooked addition to a dedicated (pc) gamer's set up is the keyboards. Sure, you can get by with a standard £4 jobbie, but its not pleasant, and several companies out there have been hard at work making keyboards suited to todays modern gamers. Theres a plethora of keys in different shapes and sizes offering everything you could possibly want and a few thousand things you never new you wanted. Here, as I so often do, I throw myself on the altar of free, to test some advanced typing technology that you may want to ask for for xmas.

First to grace my desk was the Raptor K2 gaming keyboard. This is a basic keyboard, no fancy pants action going on here. So why bother? Well... basically the main reason to buy this is that its a fucking nice keyboard. I (like many of you out there) had just been using a standard keyboard, what difference could it make? A lot, not only is this a fantastic keyboard to use; brilliantly balanced, soft touch keys make typing a please, and with their low-keystroke they could save your (pseudo) life in-game. Not only does it feel and respond incredibly well, but it has the (crucial) gamer grade fair of macro buttons. Via the use of software included with the kit, and the press of a button you are able to map key-stroke combinations to any key on the keyboard. An incredibly easy to use system, which works well; there is no longer any need to bash all your buttons to activate that power up in the midst of an Unrel Tournament bout. So simple, it works. As well as all the gaming infused goodness, the K2 boasts some multimedia buttons and ALTERING buttons, allowing you to easily skip tracks, change volume and all the other standard things you see on a multimedia keyboard. This is a very, very good, no nonsense keyboard. Well suited to any gamer, who doesn't feel the need to splash out on those extras.

Next to grace my inbox was the Logitech G15. A gaming keyboard that has been subtly fed steroids ever since the concept of gaming specific keyboards came about. It has everything, EVERYTHING. Macro recording on the fly to any of its 18 (with three modes, making 56) extra macro buttons, which can be configured on a per-program basis. As if a keyboard wasn't just a board full of buttons you don't use anyway. As well as all these, it boasts two USB1.1 ports, a backlight and a flip up programmable media control centre: this is the nicest feature, showing you the artist and track info of any song playing, and allowing you to skip through easily, even if you're not in you chosen media player. This too is programmable, so with a little knowledge you can make it do whatever you want, very cool. That and the incredibly useful backlight, means gaming and general keyboard use is easy, even in the dark. However, here is where the goodness ends. The keys are nowhere near as nice as the K2, feeling slightly clunky, and then the keyboard itself is massive, with 3 more columns of keys on the left side, which just seem to get in the way of regular keyboard use. Sure, macro mapping is useful but the ability to map to regular (closer keys) in-game would be my preference. On top of this, the USB ports had trouble powering some devices, and so were kind of pointless. Hovever, the saving grace of this keyboard is the media panel; an awesome device that everyone should have.

The choice is yours really, awesomely nice simple keyboard, or its turbo techy - overly everywhere but full of usefulness (backlights are really useful) nemesis. There is a price consideration, but its not much if your spending a lot on a keyboard anyway. I know that writing this, was just so much nicer on the K2.
Raptor K2 - £30 from
Logitech g15 - £50,,CRID=2166,CONTENTID=10717,