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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
100-12000, 100 CPI Increments
350+, on SteelSeries QcK surfaces
None (Zero Hardware Acceleration)
Finger Print Resistant Semi-Rough Matte
Palm or Claw
Omron Mechanical Rated For 50 Million Clicks
2 RGB Zones, Independently Controlled
57.16mm (front), 62.07mm (middle), 70.1mm (back)
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.
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.
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.
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?
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
We will continue to bring you are impressions of the Xbox One and its games this coming week.
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.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Some people probably wouldn’t consider me much of a Resident Evil fan, seeing as my first foray into the series was with RE4. I have, however, managed to snag almost every new entry into the series since then and even poked around in some of the older games. The stories are a bit goofy and the controls are sometimes awful, but I enjoy myself most of the time. I was actually pretty excited when it was announced that a full console-like RE experience was coming to the 3DS, in what felt like the way distant future at the time. Oddly enough, time seemed to zip by and I found myself holding a copy of Resident Evil: Revelations.
The game takes place some time between RE4 and RE5. The story jumps from the perspective of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, along with a few other members of whatever initialism is in charge of defending the world from virus outbreaks. Apparently a terrorist organization has resurfaced, which in the past was responsible for releasing bio-weapons upon cities, turning people into monsters. Like I mentioned earlier, a bit goofy, but maybe it’s just me. All I know is that I need to make my way around zombie/monster infested areas while trying not to get my ass bit, and that works for me.
The game plays like the newer generation of RE games. You get a 3rd-person, over the shoulder perspective and hold a button to aim your gun, etc. According to most people, Capcom has attempted to add a classic feeling of survival horror to the game, i.e. limited resources, but I’m not feeling it. I always seem to have enough ammo and healing items to take care of business. I’m hoping to get a bigger challenge from the Hell difficulty. As for controls, RER utilizes the tank control scheme that people seem to either love or hate, though most people seem to gravitate towards the latter. It feels similar to how RE4 felt, as far as I can remember. It’s okay, but not great. There are other control options, but they tend to be worse, unless you have a Circle Pad Pro, which I’ll get into later.
In terms of visuals, it is by far the best looking 3DS game that I’ve played and probably the best looking portable game I’ve played ever. They really managed a pull a lot from the system and I found myself quite impressed at how well it ran. The 3D elements of the game don’t seem to be that exciting, though. It adds to depth to the game, but I don’t think you really even need it on. The game actually seems to look better with the 3D off, which seems like a win/win as it will also save you on battery life.
Unfortunately, there is no campaign co-op. That bummed me out, especially seeing as how you get an A.I. companion with you through almost the entire game. I don’t understand why they opted not to do it. We may have lost out on that, but Capcom did deliver a different kind of co-op experience that is actually quite good. It’s called Raid mode, which has you, by yourself or with a friend, running through portions of the campaign levels trying to get from point A to B while shooting enemies and gathering loot. Unlike the singleplayer, enemies come in different varieties as evidenced by a small tag near their name. Some are smaller and faster, other are bigger and stronger, or have a crap-ton more defense on them. Killing them can get you ammo, keys to progress through the level, or loot items that reward you with new guns at the end of the round. You gain points and level up, allowing you to utilize higher level guns and mods, along with unlocking new characters and costumes. There are 20 levels and three difficulty modes, the later ones needing to be unlocked.
Resident Evil Revelations is ridiculously fun and the only real negative I can think of is that Keen wont buy the game and play it with me.
Circle Pad Pro
Holy crap, I really love this thing. For those who are unaware, the Circle Pad Pro is an accessory for the 3DS which not only adds an additional circle pad, but two shoulder buttons to the system. I was skeptical at first because it didn’t match my teal 3DS, and I would have to take off my awesome crystal armor. Not only that, but I’m not a fan of giving money to Gamestop (it’s exclusive, WTF?). I went through with it anyway and I’m SO glad I did. You pretty much just stick your 3DS into the device and it works using the infra-red connection. It’s really easy to pop it in and out whenever you need. What I find to be the best part is that I can actually hold my 3DS comfortably now and without getting hand cramps from it being ridiculously small.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it does anything for a game that doesn’t specifically utilize it, which might make you say,”Woah, forget that, why would I want one then if I can’t use it for all the 3DS games that I already own?”, which I would then proceed to shush you and explain further. Sure it may seem like it has limited uses right now but soon some of the greatest games coming out will utilize it. Metal Gear Solid 3D, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Kid Icarus uprising, and Monster Hunter Tri G (If Capcom localizes it, please) are all some of the games that will utilize the Circle Pad Pro.
Not only that, but using it while playing Resident Evil Revelations actually makes the controls GREAT! The camera controls just like it would using an Xbox or PS3 controller. You can aim, shoot, move, strafe all at once. I tried doing that on every other control scheme and I just couldn’t. I tried for 20 minutes and now my thumb makes this clicking sound; you don’t want that. Even when playing online I see my poor teammate awkwardly trying to aim in combat while trying desperately not to get hit. I can tell he doesn’t have a Circle Pad Pro. Don’t be that guy… because I will mock you.