You don't see a ton of gaming keypad releases, at least not at the same clip of full-size gaming keyboards. If you're a fan of such devices, you'll be delighted to learn that Razer just launched a successor to its Nostromo keypad with improved ergonomics and more features. It's the Razer Tartarus, a membrane gaming keypad heavily focused on comfort and customization options.
Once you go mechanical, you'll never go membrane again.
I like to think of myself as a keyboard enthusiast, though you're free to call me a typing snob if you wish. Either way, I view typing on a membrane keyboard a second-rate experience that pales in comparison to the sweet sensation (and, depending on the key switch, audible clicks) of a mechanical plank. So, I'm more than a little intrigued with Razer's Orbweaver mechanical gaming keypad.
Razer's new Nostromo Gaming Keypad is a new take on the original n52te SpeedPad it co-developed with Belkin a few years back. So what exactly is new?
"The Razer Nostromo is an update to this illustrious gaming keybpad to meet today's competitive gaming demands," Razer explains. "Building on the SpeedPad's proven ergonomic design, the Razer Nostromo incorporates the latest gaming technologies that Razer has developed over the past few years, including a new chipset and software drivers that allow all levels of gamers to program sophisticated command strings to help decimate their opponents."
The Nostromo sports 16 buttons in a layout designed to provide easy access, along with a soft-touch rubberized wrist pad so you can game well into the night without suffering wrist fatigue. Each button is programmable, and unlike the original, you can switch instantly between eight keymaps instead of just three. You can also store up to 20 gaming profiles, twice as many as the n52te.
The number of available OLED keyboards has just doubled with the release of the United Keys OLED Display Keyboard. Unlike the Optimus Maximus, United Keys' plank doesn't sport a fancy name or boast 16-bit color support, nor does it cost a small fortune. What you do get are nine monochrome OLED display keys slapped onto an otherwise standard keyboard.
The USB-powered keyboard measures about 20.5 inches long by 7.25 inches wide and emits a blue glow on each side. Each of the 64 x 64 resolution OLED keys can be mapped to a command and customized with an image (.png) or text, and the included software, which is pre-loaded in flash memory, works on both Windows XP and Vista.
For those unwilling to give up their favorite plank, United Keys also offers a separate nine-key OLED keypad with the same feature-set for $60 less. Both the keyboard and keypad and manufactured by Foxconn and carry and 1-year warranty through United Keys.
The United Keys OLED keyboard and keypad are available now for $260 and $200 respectively.
Yesterday, Logitech announced that they’ll be releasing the G13, a gameboard keypad peripheral designed to streamline PC gaming by allowing one-handed access to dozens of programmable keys. It’s akin to niche controller products like the Belkin Nostromo Speedpad or Zboard Fang. Well, it just so happens that today we got a shiny new G13 delivered to our office, which we were more than happy to playtest. Read on to find out what we thought of the device.