Mouse And Keyboard Buyer’s Guide - Dual Wielding (Part 3)

9/4/2013 11:26:54 AM

Roccat Savu

A mid-range recommendation

Price: $55

Some PC gamers simply can’t afford to blow $125 on a mouse, and the Savu is intended for those on more modest budgets. At around fifty bucks, this is still a little more expensive than the cheapest gaming mice around, but for the price you do get something that feels better than it should.

Roccat Savu

Roccat Savu

The 4000 DPI sensor isn’t the best around, and yet it’s fine for most PC gamers, especially those who don’t need the precision required in first-person shooters. It’s only got four buttons, with twin thumb buttons, but some folks prefer to keep their mice simple. We love the glowing Led light on the rear panel, which makes it look like it’s hovering over your mouse pad. Best of all, it just feels nice and comfortable in the palm, with a solidness and heft to it that is reassuring. It might not be an all-star, but the Savu is a smart way to spend $50 on a gaming mouse, offering a very comfortable, pleasing moussing experience.

Roccat Savu specs

·         Feels good in the hand

·         Great price

·         Cool LCD light

·         4000 DPI sensor

·         Only four buttons

Verdict: 7/10

If you don’t have money to burn, the Savu will serve you well. A highly affordable mid-range offering

SteelSeries Sensei

Keep it simple, stupid

Price: $89

Apart from its sexy silver paint job, the Sensei really doesn’t look like anything special. There’s no wireless option, and the lighting can’t project HD displays onto your walls. So why is it our favorite mouse for FPS fans?

SteelSeries Sensei

SteelSeries Sensei

It all comes down to how it feels to aim. The sensor is only 5700 DPI, though SteelSeries can artificially double this to 11,400 using the built in ARM processor. Special software allows the sensor to be personally tailored for acceleration, lift height and artificial straightening of your inputs. Combined with its low eights and low-friction glide pads, we haven’t seen another mouse that feels so good when pulling off headshots.

If only it had the newer 8200 DPI sensor this would be absolutely perfect. Hopefully by the time you’re reading this we’ll have their latest version in the labs, and we’ve got a feeling an improved sensor will be the number one addition. But even without it, this is still our mouse of choice for shooter fans.

SteelSeries Sensei specs

·         Super accurate

·         Deep customization software

·         LCD screen for labeling

·         5700 DPI laser is getting a little old

Verdict: 9/10

We’ve tested them all but keep coming back to the Sensei for our daily PC gaming needs.

Thermaltake Meka G1

Mechanical keys for membrane pricing

Price: $105

Now that mechanical keyboards are becoming the standard for PC gamers, more and more companies are making them. Buying one is a little more confusing, but prices are also dropping faster than Microsoft’s shares after the Xbox One reveal. Take the Meka; at only thirty bucks more expensive than the Roccat Isku, the extra cost of three Big Mac meal deals buys you a full-fledged mechanical keyboard.

Thermaltake Meka G1

Thermaltake Meka G1

The keys in particular are Cherry MX Blacks, which require more force than most Cherry switches. They’re also undetectable, which means they don’t make the clacky noise that will keep your partner up at 3am.

For the price, you can’t really expect much else, and the Meka doesn’t break those expectations. It’s fully backlit, and comes with a decent wrist-rest, but that’s about it. And that’s fine by us – the fact that you can buy a fully mechanical keyboard for around $100 is reason enough to recommend this product.

Thermaltake Meka G1 specs

·         Amazing value

·         Cherry MX black switches

·         Backlit keyboard

·         Not many other features of note

Verdict: 8/10

The Meka G1 might squeeze into your budget for those who want a mechanical keyboard.

SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard

Can it match the Sensei’s greatness?

Price: $70

We truly love the Sensei mouse by SteelSeries, so expected big things from its gaming keyboard. Alas, it appears the company has yet to get with the times, as the Apex’s keys are backed up by primitive rubber domes instead of our beloved clacky mechanical keys. That wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the relatively high price; at seventy bucks it’s getting close to mechanical territory.

SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard

SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard

If you don’t mind membrane keys, there are plenty of features that might appeal to you. It’s got the most macro keys we’ve ever seen on a keyboard, with 22 of them, each of which can operate in four different modes. The spacebar has also mutated into a short, stubby critter that is much more comfortable to use in games, while the backlighting system has been borrowed from your local rave, able to display a virtual rainbow of colors. And yet, it’s still a membrane keyboard…

SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard specs

·         Lots of macro keys

·         Unique space bar shape

·         Pretty colors

·         Membrane keys

·         High price for low tech

Verdict: 6/10

This doesn’t tweak our nipples, but we can’t wait to see a SteelSeries mechanical board.

Gigabyte Aivia Osmium

Whoah Momma!

Price: $139

We left this year’s Computex with a huge package in our suitcase. Inside was the brand new Aivia Osmium mechanical keyboard form Gigabyte, and it’s a whopper. It’s not so large without the wrist-rest, but attaches it and this thing will swallow up your desk-space. Despite being made from plastic, the rest is actually super comfortable, to the point where our Tech Editor is now using it as his work board.

Gigabyte Aivia Osmium

Gigabyte Aivia Osmium

Not that it’d suck for PC games, as the Cherry MX Brown switches inside are perfect for fragging. It’s also got a pass-through USB 3.0 port, and headphone users will love the 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks right next to it. No wonder the main connection cable is so thick. Macro lovers might find the mere five macro keys lacking, but the fact that the board can run in several different profile modes helps balance this out. With excellent lighting and volume controls, the feature-set is complete. A premium mechanical keyboard at a very respectable price

Gigabyte Aivia Osmium specs

·         Cherry MX Brown keys

·         USB 3.0 and audio pass-through ports

·         Great lighting control

·         Only five macro keys

Verdict: 8/10

The gigabyte Aivia Osmium delivers basically everything a gamer could need, all at a nice price.

Cooler Master Storm trigger

Used to be a contender

Price: $119

With just five macro keys, this is not the keyboard for shortcut junkies. It’s also no good for USB 3.0 users, as the twin USB port are of the ancient 2.0 standard, though they can be powered by an optional power pack for demanding iDevices. Even the software is relatively average, but the inclusion of backlighting is a nice, albeit expected, inclusion.

Cooler Master Storm trigger

Cooler Master Storm trigger

Nope, if you’re looking for frills, this isn’t your keyboard. However, if you want a solid, affordable mechanical keyboard fitted out with Cherry MX Red switches, this is a decent candidate. It could do with another $20 price cut to make it a true contender for your buying bucks, as it’s not far off the price of the Aivia Osmium yet lacks many of the cooler features. Fingers crossed Cooler Master sees how quickly everybody else is catching up, and drops the price in the near future. Until then, drop an extra $20 and get something with more features.

Cooler Master Storm trigger specs

·         Cherry MX Red keys

·         Twin USB 2.0 ports

·         Optional power supply for USB ports

·         A little too expensive only five macro keys

·         No volume or lighting dedicated controls

Verdict: 7/10

Used to be one of the best band for buck keyboards around, but the competition rapidly caught up

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