It's not a gaming mouse, the Microsoft Touch Mouse works for a living

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2011 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: input, mouse, gestures

With so many companies focusing on gaming peripherals, the mouse you use at your day job really hasn't changed very much.  You can see the design is very plain but that has the added benefit of making the mouse equally comfortable for lefties and righties.  It is wireless, using two AA batteries to power it and it is able to transmit up to 10' away from the receiver and work on most surfaces.  TechReviewSource mention several of the gestures that will work with the mouse, from minimizing and maximizing to acting as an alternative to ALT-TAB.  If you are looking to give your desk at work something special, check out the review here.

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"The Microsoft Touch Mouse combines a traditional mouse with multitouch gestures to make navigating and using Windows 7 on a desktop computer just like a notebook with a touchpad. While a little expensive, it is very responsive, comfortable to use and intuitive."

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The Sharkoon glides again

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2011 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: mouse, sharkoon, input, fireglider

Once you get over the name, the Sharkoon Fireglider turns out to be a decent mouse.  7 buttons of which 6 are programmable, 6 DPI settings with a colour indicator and weight which is adjustable all put it in the same league as other gaming mice.  XS Reviews found the mouse comfortable to use and the software to be easy to figure out as well.  See the review in full here.

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"The Sharkoon Fireglider is the most tragically whimsical name I’ve ever heard a mouse being given. When your friends ask you, “So, what mouse are you using?”, the answer “Sharkoon Fireglider” is not one you can give with a straight face. Don’t bring up its slogan either, “Procure the best advantage possible with the SHARKOON FireGlider!” That’s right, “procure” it."

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Source: XSReviews

Who needs a Kinect when you have Razer's Hydra

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2011 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: input, kinect, razer hydra

 The Razer Hydra bears a small resemblance to the Wii controller at first glance but that is quickly dispelled when you realize you get two devices to hold.  Both have 4 face buttons, a 'start' button, a clickable analog stick and two bumper triggers, which give you enough input options for PC gaming.  The wired base station these controllers use senses the small magnetic field the controllers emit, which is how the motion sensing capabilities work.  That field was not enough to disturb any of tbreak's other equipment which is vital to the success of the controller.  As for gaming?  With Portal 2 they had a blast, but when it came to other shooters ... not so much.

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"The Hydra is not spectacularly different, it uses the same nun-chuck approach of the Wii, however it’s technology and precision far outclasses Nintendo’s toy. According to Razer, the Hydra uses magnetic forces to detect the exact location and orientation of the controllers and delivers an “ultra-low latency”, “fluid and precise” gaming experience."

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Source: tbreak

The clicky keyboard is back in a big way

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2011 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, input

Once you had to go digging through old keyboard graveyards to get your hands on a mechanical keyboard, or track down the rare and elusive Das Keyboard.  Now many different peripheral companies offer mechanical keyboards, for instance Razer's new BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate.  This new breed of keyboards are not the familiar buckling-spring switches, instead they a combination of springs and metal clips to provide tactile feedback, the click being an optional feature.  These two keyboards not only give you enough travel and resistance to provide tactile feedback for your fingers, they also included the click so that your ears don't feel left out of your typing experience.  The difference in these two models lies in the Ultimate's programmable macro buttons which the basic model lacks.  Read on to see if the Tech Report had heard enough by the end of the review, or would never go without the click again.

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"We've tested both of Razer's clicky mechanical gaming keyboards to figure out whether they're worth the money—and hearing loss."

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Steelseries' subtle gaming keyboard

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: input, steelseries, steelseries 6G V2

Many gaming keyboards feel the need for glowing keys, LED screens or even fans to cool your palms while you game.  The SteelSeries 6G V2 goes a completely different way to satisfy those who want a good quality keyboard without any extravagant bells or whistle.  It is a mechanical keyboard which can handle 6 simultaneous keypresses over USB and an unlimited amount over PS/2.  The evil Windows key that lives under your keft palm has been replaced with a SteelSeries Key that will activate the sparse media keys sharing space with your function keys.  At $120ish it may be a bit rich for some gamer's blood, Funky Kit recommends it for those who are willing to pay the price.

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"Revolutionary designs for keyboards dont exaclty pop up all the time. The old saying "if it isn't broken..." holds true to the basic keyboard design. Sure there are fancy things thrown in there like backlit keys, LCD screens, and macro buttons. But does that really matter for most people? Not really.

Steelseries has taken that if it isn't broken formula, but tweaked it a bit. This particular keyboard, the "6G V2 gaming keyboard" gives a basic design look of a $10 keyboard you can buy at any big retail store but packs some cool stuff under the hood. Read more ahead ..."

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Source: Funky Kit

CoolerMaster's Storm Sentinel Z3RO-G mouse

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2011 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: input, mouse, cooler master, CM Storm

CoolerMaster is really going all out in the peripheral market as you can see from their latest gaming mouse, the Sentinel Z3RO-G.  The 5600DPI Storm Tactical Twin-Laser Sensor is standard issue in the Storm series, 128kb of onboard memory gives you multiple profiles for the 8 buttons and it even features something called Rapid Fire Tactical Mode which will probably be handy when Diablo 3 comes out.  The unique feature on this mouse is an LED screen which displays your current sensitivity settings which eTechnix really fell in love with.

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"Today I will be taking a look at CM Storm’s latest offering- the Sentinel Z3RO-G. Just like CM Storm’s other products the Z3RO-G is aimed at the gaming market, and showcases many of the company’s famous features. The Z3RO-G is kitted out with a 5600DPI dual laser sensor which is easily changeable on-the-fly for a quick switch between precision sniping to rushing within an instant. It also has a unique LED display on the top to give you information about your current settings and is highly customisable using the advanced software included. So are these features useful, or just a marketing gimmick?"

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Source: eTechnix

The next NZXT product you buy might be a mouse; the Avatar S (in natural 3D)

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2011 - 12:18 PM |
Tagged: input, nzxt, avatar s, gaming mouse

Available in both black and white, with a switchable DPI of 400, 800 &1600 a USB polling rate of up to 1000Hz, tracking speed of 30 in/sec and acceleration up to 20G, the NZXT Avatar S has all the bells and whistles you want from a 5 button gaming mouse.  The software suite is fairly minimalist compared to some but with 5 distinct save-able profiles, it covers all of the basics you need to get the most from your gaming sessions.  eTeknix also liked it's size as the mouse is comfortable even for those with large hands.

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"If we asked you to name a target category for NZXT products, peripherals would probably be the last section on your list. Recent diversion into new markets by NZXT has changed things though. They are very quickly becoming a diverse brand looking to match their newer attempts in other product categories with the amazing name they have built themselves mainly through their cases. Today we have one of their latest releases, a mouse, the NZXT Avatar S to be precise."

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Source: eTechnix

Part raptor, part mouse, all game

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: raptor-gaming, mouse, input, gaming

The Raptor-Gaming LM2 mouse actually looks unique in a market where several mouse bodies are rebranded and perhaps slightly modified and sold as a unique product.  In theory the use of a 2400dpi optical sensor should help keep the price down and they also completely skipped any sort of control software. That might annoy micromanagers but it will please the plug'n'play crowd.  Hardware Heaven felt that with 5 buttons including the scroll wheel it has enough controls for most usage but the asking price is equivalent to mice with more features and a control suite which is why they recommend you give this mouse a miss.

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"Today we have another new product from Raptor-Gaming, the LM3 gaming mouse. The LM3 is a mid-range gaming mouse offering simple plug and play support and we will find out if it suits the needs of today's demanding gamers."

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Sing the praises of this SteelSeries board in the key of mechanical

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2011 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, input, steelseries

Mechanical keyboards seem to be a hot topic, with round ups appearing to deal with all of the new boards coming out.  Hardware Heaven chose to focus on one particular product, the SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical gaming keyboard, which thankfully didn't take 'gaming' to mean sticking extra buttons all along the side.  The Cherry Black MX designed keys are very common amongst these new mechanical keyboards though the n-key rollover, being able to hit an unlimited number of keys and have them properly register, is not something you find on all USB keyboards.  The 6Gv2 can handle multiple keys for you circle strafers and replacing the Windows key on the left hand side with a 'media key' that is disabled in games is a very nice touch.  Check out the full review at Hardware Heaven since there are some negative aspects to the design of this board.

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"For quite some time the gaming keyboard market has concentrated on products which add macro buttons, re-assignments, profiles, USB and audio pass-through and weighted key actions to enhance the gaming experience. In addition to this we see branded products such as the Razer StarCraft 2 gear and SteelSeries Medal of Honor products however few manufacturers have looked to release high quality mechanical keyboards for the gaming masses.

There have been a few though and these have clearly made an impact with gamers as we are regularly seeing manufacturers launch their own mechanical gaming models. One manufacturer which has historically offered mechanical keyboards for gamers is SteelSeries and they are now back with a new model, the 6Gv2 which we have connected to our system today."

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A keyboard for the terminally paranoid

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2011 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: input, secure wireless, aes-128, keyboard

Wireless connections are convenient, as anyone who has dealt with well tangled cords and wires can attest to.  The downside is that without proper setup they are incredibly insecure and can still be vulernable to certain attacks even when properly secured.  One particular vulnerabillty of wireless connections that tends to be missed completely is wireless peripherals, especially the keyboard.  What use securing your WiFi when your keyboard is broadcasting everything you type, up to an including passwords, in plain unencrypted text.  tbreak examines the Microsoft Wireless Keyboard with AES-128 encryption, perfect for securing yet another attack vector on your PC. 

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"Do you feel insecure when you press keystrokes on your current wireless keyboard, some one might capture them and find out what passwords or other information you are typing? Then Microsoft has just announced a brand new wireless keyboard and mouse for you. It sends all wireless keystrokes and mouse clicks with AES 128-bit encryption."

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Source: tbreak