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Nathan Edwards Aug 26, 2008

Steelseries 7G Keyboard

At A Glance

Steel

We couldnt lock this keyboard up. Great action on a classic keyboard layout.

Steal

Barebones. Very loud. Extremely expensive. USB ports only support 1.1 speeds.


The SteelSeries 7G looks like a normal, run-of-the-mill keyboard.
But beneath its plain Jane exterior lies a keyboard that we couldn’t lock up.

(click picture for full shot)

A few minor flaws aside, the SteelSeries 7G is a truly spectacular piece of hardware.

Almost completely devoid of amenities, this keyboard was designed from the ground up to prevent keyboard lockup—the effect that suspends all input if you inadvertently press too many buttons at once. Lockup is essentially a death sentence for competitive gamers.

To curtail lockups, SteelSeries designed its key mapping so that the board’s most frequently used keys are all on separate circuits -- genius! The 7G also uses the PS/2 interface and a proprietary keypress buffer to ensure lockup is all but impossible. While we’ve tested other keyboards that didn’t lock up during gameplay, we’ve never tested one that we couldn’t get to lock by mashing two hands worth of keys at once. Well, the SteelSeries didn’t lockup, even when we mashed 20 keys in unison.

Aside from that, the 7G is a pretty straightforward keyboard. The fairly standard layout has but a single deviation: It sports a SteelSeries key, which can be used along with the function keys to control volume and media playback. The SteelSeries key replaces the normal Windows key on the left side of the keyboard. We understand why SteelSeries would ditch the Windows key on a gaming keyboard, but we’d much prefer a physical switch that lets us turn the annoying Windows key on and off rather than an outright removal.

We don’t understand why SteelSeries would bother adding USB 1.1 ports to a modern keyboard, but that’s what you’ll find on the back of the 7G. While USB 1.1 would be suitable for use with a mouse, we wouldn’t use these ports for anything else. But we do love the integrated headphone/microphone ports on the plank, although we wish there was an easier way to integrate this feature with our speakers.

We should also mention that this is one of the loudest keyboards we’ve tested in recent memory. Although SteelSeries describes the 7G’s keys as no-click, they’re certainly not quiet. The other thing we need to touch on is the 7G’s price -- this is an incredibly bare-bones keyboard for an MSRP of $150. So, if you’ve never managed to lock up your keyboard in the course of normal game playing, you probably don’t need to shell out the big bucks for this one.

THE VERDICT

Steelseries 7G Keyboard

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