|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Steelseries SHIFT Gaming Keyboard|
|Posted by Erkan Tairi|
|Thursday, 17 March 2011 21:03|
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A few years ago ... if I mentioned the possibility of seeing keyboards with interchangeable keysets in the future, you all would have laughed and thought I lived on a different planet. I suppose that's fair assumption because back then, there wasn't any need for keyboards with interchangeable keysets ... until now.
Games like WoW (World of Warcraft, MMO - Massive Multiplayer Online), Counterstrike (FPS - First Person Shooter) and Starcraft (RTS - RealTime Strategy) ... all use different keys to control various aspects of the game. Each game may have a selection of keys specifically assigned for use for that paritcular game. Using a standard keyboard, most gamers can get by ... but if you're a dedicated/professional gamer of a particular game, somethimes a standard keyboard just isn't good enough.
It's hard to explain if you're not a PC gamer ... but most gamers will look at their keyboard as an essential tool, just like their gaming mouse. They would want a keyboard that feature programmable keys and access to short-cuts. The more programmable keys the better, as it would mean faster responses and quicker actions within the game.
When Steelseries released the SHIFT keyboard, I couldn't believe my eyes. My predictions have come true ... a keyboard with an interchangeable keyset actually exists, and it's produced my a reputable gaming company no other than Steelseries. You're probably asking why bother? Well, as I've expalined above, only gamers will really understand the need for keyboard with an interchangeable keyset. For example, playing WoW and playing Counterstrike are two totally different games, and therefore require two totally different set of peripherals (keyboard and mouse). Buying two sets of keyboard and mouse, just to play two different games isn't practical nor sensible in terms of costs. So what's the solution? Well, Steelseries have come up with a keyboard with an interchangeable keyset called SHIFT.
In this review, we will be taking a look at the Steelseries SHIFT gaming keyboard. It's one of the first keyboard we've tested in our labs that features an interchangeable keyset. The Steelseries SHIFT is aimed at the enthusiast and professional gamer who wants a keyboard that not only offer programmable keys but also an interchangeable keyset for different games. The keyboard comes with Steelseries' original keyset which can be configured, customized and personalized to do pretty much anything you want.
Although the Steeleries SHIFT keyboard is fairly large measuring 490mm x 190mm x 40mm in dimensions, it does come absolutely packed with great features. These include the media controls, gold plated microphone-in and audio-out ports, as well as two 2.0 USB ports (one powered). You can also access multiple levels of macros and record macros directly on to the keyboard. There are also fine-tune heatspots, where keys that are used the most (e.g. WASD for First Person Shooters), require less force than the keys you don’t use as often.
We've also been given an interchangeable keyset for players of WoW:Cataclysm. The keyboard layout on this particular keyset is specifically designed for playing WoW:Cataclysm. We'll be giving the Steelseries SHIFT plus the WoW:Cataclysm keyset a good test by letting a good friend of ours (who's an avid WoW player) use it for a few days.
The Steelseries SHIFT keyboard does looks pretty good in all respect, but my main concern is that it could be OTT (over the top) for most gamers, especially when you consider the price tag. The interchangeable keyset is a great idea ... if you want to access to special programmed keys for a particular game, all you have to do is just pop-out the original keyset and pop-in the other. ..
Let's not waste any more time an take a closer look at the specifications of the Steelseries SHIFT gaming keyboard in our next page ...