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2

My New Keyboard I Recommend

My old keyboard finally gave out on my the other night. I can't say I was sad to see it go. It was a wireless Logitech keyboard that had uncomfortable keys, wireless connectivity issues, battery consumption problems, and was really loud.

I decided to be really picky and scrutinize my next keyboard purchase.

I already knew I didn't want a mechanical keyboard. I don't like the clicking, and I think they're too loud and expensive.

My criteria were clear: (1) Comfortable keys in feel, travel, and size; (2) Full size keyboard, (3) quiet keystrokes, (4) wrist rest, (5) Generally pleasant apperance, and (6) Definitely not wireless.

I found all of those things in the Corsair K55 Keyboard.

The K55 is the low-end keyboard from Corsair. They call it your "first step toward enhanced performance," but I think this can easily by my final stop. It's really comfortable to type on -- probably the most comfortable keyboard I've owned, and has all of the features I want.

There are a few additional features that aren't important to me, but you might find them appealing.

RGB Backlit
The keyboard has the ability to light up different colors. While gimmicky, it does look neat. What I really appreciate about the feature is that it doesn't require any software at all. The keyboard itself has internal software that allows you to set the colors yourself via keyboards using the function and F keys, as well as a light button at the top to commit your choices to the keyboards internal memory.

You can have the keyboard strobe different colors, or set a single color you find pleasant. I've settled on a nice purple color.

G Macro Keys
Down the side there are six "G" keys which are programmable. Again, no software necessary. Simple press the record button on the keyboard to begin recording keystrokes. Once saved, pressing a G key can execute an entire macro.

There are a few minor critiques I can make.

Pressing Escape
I find the inclusion of the macro keys down the left side of the keyboard confuses my fingers. I'm used to quickly pressing escale by sliding my hand up and left to quickly press that top left key. Although there's a clear separation between the G keys and the rest of the keyboard, I'll often hit G1 instead of Escape. Simple fix: Map G1 to Escape!

Audio Controls But No Calculator Button
This is incredibly dumb and picky, but I always find those sound control buttons an absolute waste of space. I will never use them. Ever. But I did use my calculator button that brought up my calculator on my old keyboard. 

As you can see, minor critiques.

Overall, an incredibly solid keyboard for a fair price. Last check it was $48.99 and Amazon's Choice. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a keyboard with my same criteria.

Pros

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    Quiet keystrokes.
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    Great feel and travel.
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    No software at all.

Cons

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    Inclusion of G keys confuses my muscle memory for the escape key.
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    No calculator button.
1

Steelseries Rival 310: My New Favorite Mouse

Last month I asked you guys for your feedback on gaming mice and keyboards because I was a little bit over my current wireless, battery/charge devices. I've had the same mouse (Logitech MX1000 Laser) since around the time WoW came out. I was ready for a change.

After going through my usual process of studying the options, weighing out the pros/cons of each mouse, I ultimately made a decision that has made me very happy.

Steelseries Rival 310

The Steelseries Rival 310 is a right-hand ergonomic mouse silicone grips on each side. There are two buttons for your thumb to interact with, a scroll wheel, and a button to change the DPI.

I like my mice simple and comfortable. My hands are large which makes a palm or claw grip feel best for me, and the Rival 310 allows for both types of grips (even a fingertip grip too because of the silicone grips on the sides).

The mouse is light but feels sturdy. Some mice I've used in the past by Logitech and Razer felt a little cheap.

The 310 has a rough matte finish, but does have more of a plastic feel to it than my MX100 which was a little more hard and metallic feeling (despite being plastic, I know).

Rival 310 Gaming Mouse

Specifications

How much of these are marketing speak and how much actually matter I'll leave up to you. The technical specs are not why I bought the mouse, other than no hardware acceleration and optical instead of laser.

Sensor Specs

Design Specs

The Sensei 310 has the same tech specs with just a different form factor. The Sensei is basically the Rival without the right-hand design.

Customize Everything

The Rival 310 comes with an 'engine' which is basically just software to change keybinds, create macros, set sensitivity and CPI, and program colors.

All of the settings are saved directly to the mouse itself, so I'm pretty sure it can be plugged in anywhere and remember its settings.

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I am extremely pleased with the Steelseries Rival 310. I haven't found a mouse to beat my Logitech Mx1000 in over 10 years -- until now. If you're looking for a solid mouse with great customization and control, I definitely recommend the Rival or Sensei 310.

Pros

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    Extremely accurate sensor that feels more accurate than mice I've used previous.
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    Solid build materials that feel light, but not cheap. The rough matte is comfortable and looks great, and the Silicone side grips are awesome.
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    The customization via the Steelseries engine allows you to customize sensitivity as well as create macros or keybinds for the buttons.

Cons

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    Mouse wheel is a little noisy. My wife even made a comment asking, "What's the sound?" It muted mechanical sound as it clicks past each point.
16

Looking for Mice and Keyboard Recommendations

I'm entering the market for a new mouse, and while I'm at it I think it's time for a new keyboard.

I've had the same mouse since 2004 when WoW was still a fresh new game, and my first character was leveling up in Hillsbrad Foothills on the farm.

I love the Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse. Something about the way it's shaped, its heft, and the way it feels are perfect.

I've tried to replace it over the years. Trust me, I have a box full of mice that I try once or twice and end up putting back in the box.

The MX1000 isn't perfect, though. The battery lasts only a few hours now before needing to recharge. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't lost count of the number of times I'm in the middle of a match or a raid and have to dock it for a few seconds during DPS rotations.

I'm also not a fan of the pads on the bottom falling off. I've purchased several replacement pads.

It's mostly a battery charging issue, but slightly a wireless interference issue that brings me to want a mouse with a cord. While I'm at it, a keyboard too. The keys on this one are starting to stick and are becoming harder to push. It's seen many, many years.

I've had the Steelseries Rival 310 recommended to me. It looks pretty good. I want the mouse to be a good size and heft. Nothing too dainty or light. I don't want to feel like I"m going to break it when playing intensely. 

I also want buttons on the side. Maybe 3 at most. Nothing like that 12 button or 20 button sides. I need to be able to grip the mouse pretty tight at times if necessary.

Any recommendations on a good mouse/gaming mouse and keyboard? 

2

Xbox One Impressions

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Xbox One Dashboard

Xbox-One-DashboardThe Xbox One Dashboard is similar to the recently updated Xbox 360. There are three  main screens: The left shows stuff you can pin, the middle section is anything you have accessed recently (like a history), and the right is the Game/Music/Video store.  The dashboard right now feels somewhat bland, having just a solid black background.  We had a similar complaint with the PS4 because there doesn’t appear to be a way to customize it yet.  Finding things can be confusing because some of the options feel a little buried.

Multitasking, a new feature, is a little unclear.  If you have something going through HDMI pass-through you can play a game, then ‘snap’ TV onto the screen to watch both and play at the same time.  I don’t know what combinations can be multitasked.  For example, we’re not sure yet if you can multitask Netflix with a game.

HDMI Pass-through

We were excited to be able to connect our DISH Network through the Xbox One in order to be able to utilize the picture in picture.  We detected a slight difference in visual quality — negative or not, there was a difference.  The big negative with pass-through is that you must always have your Xbox One on when utilizing the device passing through.  That means in order to watch DISH or use the Wii or whatever is passing through, the Xbox must be on.

The pass-through for DISH worked perfectly, though.  It detected the Samsung TV we have (old model) and we were able to adjust the settings.  We told it our area code, provider, and it was able to completely control our satellite unit.  It could pause, fast forward, and manipulate our DISH just like we can with a remote.  The Xbox One utilizes Xbox branded menus for everything if you choose to use your Xbox One instead of a normal remote.

In the end, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything worthwhile enough to make the Xbox One the center of our entire entertainment experience.  If the Xbox One could be turned off, we would have kept the pass-through.

Xbox-One-Kinect

Kinect 2.0

The Kinect 2.0 is able to identify both of us quite easily, and log us into our respective Xbox Live Profiles.  The head tracking and face tracking was really quite good.  There wasn’t an ounce of calibration beyond microphone adjustment.

The voice commands seem…. ‘good’.  We can’t say great because we have already had to repeat ourselves twelve dozen times to get them to work.  Voice commands can control our DISH TV though — that was pretty cool.

We will do a more formal revue of the Kinect 2.0 when we can experience more games utilizing the features.

Xbox-One-Controller

Xbox One Controller

The new Xbox controller is heralded by Microsoft as the best controller they’ve ever made.  We’re not so sure it’s better than the Xbox 360.  The analog sticks feel a little loose and should have more resistance.  The bumper buttons are hard to press unless you click them square in the center which is hard for someone with longer fingers.  The D-Pad feels very cheap, although when in-game it does perform as they claim: Ultra-responsive.  We’re divided on the triggers.  Keen loves them, especially when you pull them quickly and feel the impact when they stop; Graev wishes they had more resistance.

Two new buttons are now on the controller: Multi-task and Menu button.  We’re not quite certain yet why the typical Start and Select buttons were removed in favor of these new options.

Xbox One Controller vs. DualShock 4 – Who wins?

  Keen Graev
  Analog Sticks pslogo pslogo
  Bumpers pslogo pslogo
  Triggers XboxLogo pslogo
  D-Pad pslogo pslogo

 

We will continue to bring you are impressions of the Xbox One and its games this coming week.

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PS4: DualShock 4

dual shock 4

I haaaaaaated the DualShock 1, 2, and 3.   The controller was always so light, the grips too short, the analog sticks awkward to use, the triggers wonky, and the overall controller just was so uncomfortable.  The only redeeming quality was the D-Pad — actually the best on the market.

The DualShock 4 changes all of that.  The grips are much longer now making the controller easier to hold in my large hands.  The analog sticks are slightly less awkward, and are now slightly concave making it much easier to keep my thumbs in place.  I think the analog sticks are still positioned a little weird — less ergonomic than the 360 controller.  The D-Pad remains remarkable.

The triggers are way less wonky and curved for more comfort.  I’m thinking they removed the pressure sensitivity from the button in general, though.

Holding the controller feels better — there’s more heft to it.  This makes the integrated six-axis sensors way more fun to use.  Speaking of which, the six-axis functionality has worked quite well so far.

Featured right in the middle of the DualShock 4 is a touch-pad.  It can click in like a button, and feels nice to the touch, but surprisingly nothing we’ve done in the first few hours of play has used the touch-pad.  The DualShock 4 also has a share button to allow you to share and stream your gameplay quickly.

I can easily say the DualShock 4 is now my favorite console controller. The fact that it is PC compatible is icing on the cake. If my opinion changes in the coming days, especially with the launch of the Xbox One, I’ll  let you know.

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