Saturday, January 22, 2011

Microsoft Sidewinder Laser Gaming Mouse

This mouse is a very nice, comfortable mouse. your palm rests comfotably on the back of the mouse, which is just big enough for your whole hand. The mouse is a USB based mouse, and has a dock included with it which holds your weights and feet for the mouse. The USB cord goes through this dock so that you only use as much cable as is needed.

There is a nice panel that comes out of the right side of the mouse that has 3 slots for your weights, so that it can be customized to your play style. There are also 5 feet that can be replaced for smooth, semi-rough, and rough surfaces. which are black, white and grey

There is also a LED panel which shows your current DPI or if you are recording a macro.

There are two buttons on the left side of the mouse for your thumb. They are right at your fingertips so you know which one you are pressing at any given time.
There are also 3 DPI buttons which you can set the DPI for each. between 200-2000 DPI, which is kind of low on today's standards, but is plenty enough for any game I've played.
There is a button on the back of the mouse which launches the games folder in windows 7, which is fairly nice, although it can't be reprogrammed.

There is a macro button that you can press to record and execute macros.

Another cool feature, which is purely aesthetics, is the red light that comes out of the back of the mouse, and the red light that is on the DPI button. It looks pretty cool at night with only a red light floating around, and pretty cool during the day with it being a black/burgundy/red mouse.

There is included software which allows you to remap every button on the mouse, which then can be application specific.

The software includes a nice picture which shows what button you are currently reprogramming.

The default for the two side buttons are back and forward. But the software includes preloaded buttons such as quick-turn which turns you around 180 degrees (which requires some in-game programming to get the direction correct, and hardly ever gets exactly 180 degrees). Also there is a precision booster (which is the same as pressing a DPI button) but it boosts the accuracy of the mouse. It is mainly for sniper-shots, but can be useful for very tiny buttons.

This mouse gets an 10/10 for gaming and a 10/10 for every day use. The forward and back buttons are priceless and I miss them every time I use another mouse. Being able to re-program each button is also very nice for games and even for daily use.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Logitech USB 350 Headset

The 350 is an over-the-head headset with a movable mic. The speakers rotate so that it fits your head more comfortably. This headset is not that comfortable, the ear cups rest on your ear, and are leather, so your ears will get hot and sweaty, and since its resting on your ears they will begin to ache.

The mic can be rotated up when you're not using it, and can also be moved closer to your mouth or away from it, depending on your volume, which is fairly nice, except there is not much movability involved.

It is a USB Headset so that you can use it with the PS3 and any USB device.

There is a mic mute button, with a light that flashes when the mic is muted and stays on when it is not. This light is rather bright and i would not recommend looking directly into it.

Sound playback:

the quality of sound is rather well for this headset. when playing games or listening to music, this headset is much better than ear-buds or the standard 3.5mm headphones. if you can manage to get over how uncomfortable  this headset is, you will actually be shocked at how good things sound.

Sound Recording:

the microphone on this headset is made for voice chat, which it works with very well. The ambiant sound pickup is not too bad, but it still does pick it up. You don't need to turn the volume up very much at all in order to be heard as with many other headsets.

i'd give this a 3/10 for gaming and a 5/10 for every day use. Honestly, i cant stress just how uncomfortable this headset is. it makes up for it with good sound quality and a great mic, and it is fairly cheap, so you do get what you pay for.

Personal Tidbit:
I'd recommend using this as a mic and wrapping it around your neck and pick up some more comfortable headphones.

*note* I plan to add pics and possibly a video review

Ideazon (SteelSeries) Merc Gaming Keyboard

First, let's begin with the design:
The Merc Gaming Keyboard is a USB based keyboard. It has no 3.5 or USB jacks on it. But it has a gaming pad that not only has your standard  WASD setup in a comfortable ergonomic area, but it also has every key you would normally use for FPS, RTS, and MMO's right at your fingertips.

At the top of the keyboard you have the Z-Board logo, which launches the  Z-Engine program which allows you to change the current mod of the keyboard, make macros, and change key definitions. Your volume up and down arrows, and your media keys which already work with windows media player. For winamp and other players it only takes a few seconds to download the correct plug-in and you have media control from your keyboard.

Perhaps the nicest feature of the added keys is the I II and III keys, which you can program to launch any program you choose, or you can use them as extra keys for your current game.

On the right hand side you have the numpad/ hot-key pad. it has your standard numpad but when numlock is off, you have special keys on top of your insert/home/end/page up keys. these include minimize, maximize, close, search, my computer, cut, paste, copy, shift left, and shift right. Now, perhaps the most annoying feature of this keyboard is the close key, because it is so close to the numlock you will end up hitting this more than once.

I do like how Ideazon (SteelSeries) has incorporated the insert/page up/end keys with the numpad to save space, otherwise this keyboard would be ridiculously huge. Some might not like this as it requires switching back and forth between the numpad and hot-key pad for everyday use.   But honestly, every time I've used it in a game I've remapped them to special keys and macros for the game.

Now, For the software:
The Z-Engine program is a very nice piece of software which is very user friendly. It sits in the background without the user ever noticing it, but lets you know its working via a red light on the keyboard.

There are several preloaded "MODS" or preset key maps for specific games, which they are updated constantly. There is also a save function so that you can make your own custom mods and save them into memory.

The absolute best thing about the keyboard and software is that EVERY KEY is re mappable, even the windows key, this is all done via a nice keyboard on screen and by pressing the desired key, key sequence, or macro.

Personal Tidbit:
I have owned this keyboard for quite a while, obviously because it is the Ideazon Merc, which it used to be before SteelSeries bought Ideazon. I have never had an issue with keys, or software malfunctioning.

Usually, during an MMO You can remap FPS or RTS based keys to something more specific for your MMO. For instance the panic key on the game-pad can be used with a (ctrl-alt-shift 1) spell or such.

I'd give this  keyboard a 10/10 for gaming, and a 10/10 for personal use. the design is timeless, the quality is great and the mod-ability is endless. i would most definitely recommend this keyboard to any serious gamer.

check out my video review on Youtube: Ideazon (SteelSeries) Merc Gaming Keyboard Review