Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 14, 2013 - 08:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows rt, mouse, microsoft, keyboard
I would normally begin a product announcement with some introduction but, this time, a quote from Mary Jo Foley seems a better fit:
These new peripherals work with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT, though only "basic functionality" is provided when used with Windows RT.
Problems with Windows RT, it is now obvious, go beyond Ethernet dongles and I would be shocked if Microsoft Hardware are the only ones suffering. We have already heard Plugable, an adapter and peripherals company, complain about Microsoft and their demand for Plugable to pull Surface RT drivers from their website. I cannot see this being a few localized issues.
These are the problems you will experience with a platform where the owner has complete control. Imagine how bad Windows RT will be if Microsoft slips behind, again, in Internet Explorer development; the only browsers allowed must be Internet Explorer reskins. But I digress.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is a mouse, keyboard, and number pad with a unique appearance. Non-uniform keys pushing upward to a split should conform to the hand of a typical home row typist. WASD gamers might as well stop reading by this point. Microsoft is not known for mechanical switches so I would expect this keyboard to be typical membrane-based activation.
Side-on shows off the depth better.
That said, most Microsoft peripherals I have used tends to keep up with mechanical in terms of durability and performance... except wired Xbox headsets. Those little turds snap within a matter of hours.
The mouse, on the other hand (literally), does not seem to include extra mouse buttons except for a dedicated Windows button. If you have not figured it out by now: gamers are not the target audience. It seems fairly standard otherwise, from a feature standpoint, although comfort and durability are the big deciding factors for many users which we are not in a position to give an honest opinion on.
Together, the devices are available within the week and retail for $129.95. The keyboard, separately, will be available in September for $80.95; the mouse, separately, will be available for $59.95. High price, but it might just be worth it for dedicated typists.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Cases and Cooling | May 29, 2013 - 02:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows key, mouse, microsoft, I Hate This Key
Has this ever happened to you while playing a shooter? You need to get to a position so you mash the alt key to sprint and... aw crap I hit the Windows key... well, now I am dead. Have you ever considered purchasing software or a gaming keyboard which allows you disable that button?
Have you ever considered purchasing a mouse which also has that button to give both hands something to fear?
Definitely not a member of their Sidewinder product line.
Okay, so I should be fair: the Microsoft Sculpt Comfort mouse is not designed for gaming and Windows 8-like user experiences revolve heavily around the start button. The mouse button is also more useful than a redundant Windows key; the blue pad also has swipe functionality for extra functions. According to how it is described on its product page, slide gestures are bound to respond to the computer as mouse buttons 4 and 5.
So you can probably bind them to game functions, if you feel daring.
But, in the end, I still need to congratulate Microsoft for trying to innovate computer hardware. This is more than just trying to graft touch functionality to a mouse surface, as both Apple and Microsoft have tried in the past, and tries to make the classical mouse experience better. I doubt it is for most of our audience, but not everything needs to be.
Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Morry Teitelman
Tagged: vengeance, mouse, MM600, M95, M65, keyboard, K95, gaming mat, gaming headset, corsair, CES
Corsair upgraded their Vengeance line of products with the Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard, Vengeance M95 and M65 mice, Vengeance MM600 Gaming Mat, and driver enhancements for the Vengeance 200 Wireless Gaming Headset.
Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard
Courtesy of Corsair
The Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard is an evolutionary step in the growth of Corsair's award-winning keyboard line. Corsair used the K90 keyboard as a foundation, and added a brushed-aluminum chassis and Cherry MX key mechanical switches on all keys. Additionally, the K95 keyboard features 18 programmable macro keys and a 1ms reporting rate.
Courtesy of Corsair
Corsair further enhanced the original K90's design by added individually back-lit keys with adjustable light intensity. The keyboard back-lighting can be macro-controlled and is adjustable to four pre-set levels.
The Vengeance K95 Gaming Keyboard will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $149.99.
The Vengeance Gaming Mouse - Enhanced
Building on a successful design, Corsair pushed the envelope with the Vengeance M95 and M65 Gaming Mice. Both are encased in stylishly designed uni-body aluminum chassis and feature the Avago Technologies ADNS-9800 LaserStream™ gaming sensor. With this sensor, both mice boast a maximum tracking resolution of 8200 DPI more than enough to defeat any electronic foe.
Vengeance M95 Gaming Mouse
Courtesy of Corsair
The Vengeance M95 Gaming Mouse has been fully optimized for MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) gamers with 15 intuitively placed, programmable buttons. Further, the M95's on-board memory can store up to six macro profiles.
Courtesy of Corsair
The M95 Gaming Mouse also includes a fully back-lit mouse-wheel house area and back-lit buttons. The Vengeance M95 is available in both Gunmetal Black and Arctic White colors.
The Vengeance M95 Gaming Mouse will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $79.99.
Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse
Courtesy of Corsair
The Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse was designed with FPS (First Person Shooter) gamers in mind with a programmable Sniper button, instantly adjustable DPI, and adjustable center of gravity. The Sniper button is the red thumb button on the left side of the mouse, placed for easy access for instant toggle action.
Courtesy of Corsair
Courtesy of Corsair
Similar to the M95, the M65 Gaming Mouse includes a fully back-lit mouse-wheel house area and back-lit buttons. The Vengeance M65 is available in Gunmetal Black, Military Green, and Arctic White colors.
The Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $69.99.
Vengeance MM600 Dual-sided Gaming Mat
Corsair designed the MM600 Dual-side Gaming Mat to appeal to many types of gamers. One side of the mat has a more textured design for superior mouse control, while the other side is a smooth texture for high-speed gliding. The MM600 is designed with a 3mm piece of aircraft-grade aluminum at its heart to provide a rigid surface and is encased in a specially designed polymer for superior performance and longevity. Additionally, Corsair includes non-slip rubber corners on the mat so that the surface stays in place during those critical fragging moments.
The Vengeance MM600 Dual-sided Gaming Mat will be available at a retailer near you in January at an MSRP of $39.99.
Vengeance 2000 Wireless Gaming Headset Driver Update
To further enhance you audio gaming experience, Corsair will be releasing driver support for the Dolby 2.0 Headphone spec on the Vengeance 2000 Wireless Gaming Headset series. With this updated support, the Vengeance 2000 series will fully support audio delivery in full 7.1-channel surround sound. Corsair expects to release this update sometime in February.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2013 - 05:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mouse, rsi, vertical mouse, input, HE Mouse
There are a variety of devices out there meant to improve the mouse by allowing your hand to sit in a more natural position while you are using your computer. From trackballs to joystick-like devices with a sensor on the bottom, they have seen only limited acceptance but perhaps the HE Mouse might gain more fans as it does very much resemble a mouse flipped on its side. That allows a familiar look while still putting your wrist in a much more natural position and comes in both wired and wireless versions. You still get gaming features such as settings between 800 and 3400 dpi and a total of 5 buttons so gaming will not be a problem. Check out Hardware.Info if you think your wrists could use a break.
"We reviewed the HE Mouse. Ergonomic input devices are rare these days, so it was great to test a product that tried something different. The vertical orientation of the HE Mouse does indeed reduce the strain on your hand, wrist and forearm, so if you’re susceptible to RSI then this could be a good alternative. It falls short of perfection, however, since the lack of an accurate sensor limits the applications for this mouse."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- Thermaltake Level 10 Gaming Mouse Review @ Ninjalane
- Thermaltake eSPORTS Level 10M Gaming Mouse Review @ Custom PC Review
- Mionix Ensis 320 Aluminum Mouse Pad Review @ Madshrimps
- Gigabyte Aivia Osmium @ Bjorn3D
- Gigabyte Aivia Osmium Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Funky Kit
- Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- ROCCAT KONE XTD Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cmstorm Quickfire TK mechanical gaming keyboard @ Rbmods
- Mad Catz Cyborg S.t.r.i.k.e. 7 Gaming Keyboard @ Hardware.info
Thermaltake brings BMW to the mouse
Our friends at Thermaltake recently sent us a fun new toy, the Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M adjustable gaming mouse. Yes, that's a lot of letters to describe a mouse, but I can assure you this mouse is unlike any you might have seen before.
Here are the key selling points:
- Air-through Ventilation
- 3D Steering
- Macro / Lighting software
- RGB LEDs in several places for customization
- Laser sensor up to 8300 DPI
The idea of the ventilation is to keep your sweaty hands a bit drier and cooler while the 3D steering allows the user to adjust the mouse surface in two different directions (one for height, one for horizontal angle) to find their preferred placement. The LEDs do allow for some interesting color combinations as long as you are okay with the preset colors that Tt eSPORTS has available in software.
Speaking of software, the application for customization is a little over exaggerated on the "extreme" design cues but enables the feature set you are looking for. Custom macros can be created and assigned to one of four buttons (A-D) with adjustments for timing, delay, etc. In addition, you can combine macros, lighting and DPI settings into one of five profiles that you can switch between easily with the thumb stick on the left side of the mouse.
Even better - all of this information (macros, profiles) is saved in the mouse after you disconnect it and take it to a different PC - no need to install the software to get the presets you configured before.
After a couple of us have used the mouse for a few days in the office, we put together the video below for you to see our thoughts and opinions as well as how the Level 10 M looks and feels. Even though it was designed in partnership with BMW, a current selling price of $95 on Newegg makes it hard to recommend the mouse to anyone but those of you that know for sure this is the mouse you want to use going forward.
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: razer orochi, razer, PC, mouse, mobile, laptop, gaming
Razer has been on an updating kick this month with a number of its gaming mice being refreshed with better hardware and support for Synapse 2.0 (cloud syncing) software. This time, Razer is turning to its mobile lineup and giving the Orochi an upgrade for a 2013 release.
The ambidextrous mouse can be used in a wired or wireless configuration. While the original Orochi featured a 4000 DPI laser sensor, the updated model upgrades the sensor to 6400 DPI. Further, Razer has bumped up the Bluetooth radio to one rated at Bluetooth 3.0 specifications. Powered by two AA batteries, Razer has reportedly improved battery life by a significant margin. The company rates the mobile gaming mouse at up to 30 hours of continuous gaming, and three months of normal use.
The refreshed mouse maintains the traditional LED-lit scroll wheel, mouse buttons, and two side buttons of the original Orochi. Interestingly, it comes in a shinier "chrome" colored variant in addition to the standard black blade addition.
The refreshed Orochi 2013 is available for pre-order now for $69.99. According to the Razer website, the blade edition will ship in 1-2 weeks and the chrome variant will ship in a little over a month.
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2012 - 09:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: razer, mouse, mice, krait, gaming, 6400 dpi, 4G sensor
Earlier this month Razer announced that it would be updating its DeathAdder gaming mouse with a new sensor and texturized grips. Now, it looks as though the peripheral company is going to be updating its Krait mouse as well.
The budget gaming mouse will be getting an updated 4G infrared sensor that has a maximum of 6400 DPI resolution for sniping precision. The DPI can be changed on the fly with the Krait as well. Measuring 116mm x 52mm x 36mm and weighing 85 grams, Razer has kept the same overall form factor and design as the original Krait, but has removed the strip of LEDs on the side and replaced them with new texturized rubber grips that are designed to improve grip. Support for Synapse 2.0 is also coming to the new Krait mouse, which will allow you to sync your mouse settings to other computers.
Compared to the original Krait's 1600 DPI, the updated model should bring the classic design into the hands of modern gamers that are used to higher precision mice. At least that's the idea. It will be interesting to see how well received Razer's updated designs will be.
According to EXPreview, the updated Krait will cost 299 Yuan, which works out to just under $50 USD. Unfortunately, there is no word on a specific release date.
Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2012 - 10:31 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: synapse 2.0, razer, mouse, gaming mouse, deathadder
Razer recently announced an update to its DeathAdder gaming mouse. Orginally released in 2006, the company is refining the design with a better sensor, improved grips, and support for its latest Synapse software.
On the outside, Razer has kept the same right-handed optimized design, but it added rubberized side grips with texture that the company believes will improve grip and control. The internals of the mouse have also been updated as Razer has included an improved 4G infrared sensor. According to Razer, the new sensor is capable of 6400 DPI resolution. Other specifications of the sensor include 200 inches per second and 50G acceleration ratings. The new DeathAdder also supports Razer’s new Synapse 2.0 firmware software which allows cloud syncing of your mouse settings.
Razer USA president Robert Krakoff had the following to say abou the updated design:
"We didn't want to fix anything that wasn't broken," said Robert "RazerGuy" Krakoff, president of Razer USA. "We focused instead on enhancing and optimizing the proven merits of the Razer DeathAdder, utilizing next generation technologies and further ergonomics tweaks to make a perfect gaming mouse even better."
Of course, the DeathAdder features five programmable buttons, Razer’s Ultraslick mouse feet, gold-plated USB connector, and a seven foot braided cable.
Dimensions of the updated DeathAdder are 1.27 mm (L) x 70 mm (W) x 1.73 mm (H). Further, it weighs in at 105 grams or approximately 0.23 pounds.
The new version of the DeathAdder is available now worldwide for $69.99 in the US or €69.99 in the EU.
Thoughts about Interface Design in General
I have been in several situations where a variety of people claim the gamepad is superior for gaming because that is what it was designed for. No elaboration or further justification is given. The controller is designed for gaming and is therefore clearly better. End of – despite often being start to – discussion in their minds.
Really it is a compromise between the needs of popular games and the environment of a couch.
Interface design is complicated. When you design an interface you need to consider: the expected types of applications; the environment of the user; what you are permitted to use; what tolerances are allowed; what your audience is used to; and so on, so forth. There is a lot to consider when you design an application for a user and I could make an educated guess that it is at least as hard to design the input device itself.
The history of keyboard design is a great example of tradeoffs in input devices.
Sometimes it is better to be worse...
The first wave of keyboards were interfaces to the mechanical typewriter. These keyboards were laid out in alphabetical order because as long as each key is accessible and the user could find the letter they wanted – who cares, right? We already have an order for the alphabet that people understands so the users should not have too much difficulty in finding the letter they need.
Another constraint quickly game to light: typists were too fast and the machines jammed.
The engineers now needed to design an input method which could keep up with the typist. Correcting the machine itself was somewhat futile so the solution was to make the typist as slow as possible. The most common letters in the English language were spread all over the place and – while possibly by fluke – the left hand is favored, as in made do more work, over the often dominant right hand.
The problem required making the most aggravating keyboard layout engineers could imagine. QWERTY was born.
Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2012 - 04:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: razer ouroboros, razer, mouse, gaming mouse
Gaming peripheral company Razer recently released a new high-end gaming mouse called the Razer Ouroboros. Named after an ancient symbol of a serpent or dragon, the Ouroboros is by no means using outdated technology. For $129 USD or €129.99 in Europe, the Ouroboros offers up wired or wireless connectivity, and a 12 hour battery life in an ambidextrous design. Users can adjust the length of the mouse as well as the angle of the back arch. Additionally, the Ouroboros mouse comes with one of two side panels for each side (four total) that can be switched out to make it right or left handed.
The new Razer mouse comes from the company's Mamba pedigree. Specifically, it is packing an improved version of the 4G Dual Sensor technology that boasts up to 8,200dpi resolution. In the wireless mode, the Ouroboros features a 1ms response time and a claimed 1000 Hz polling rate. It is powered by a single AA battery that can provide up to 12 hours of use on a single charge for long gaming sessions (general desktop use and standby time should extend the battery life much more). The Ouroboros also includes LED lighting, left and right mouse buttons, a scroll wheel, and dedicated DPI switching buttons. The company's Synapse 2.0 software is also compatible with Razer's new mouse.
The Ouroboros will be available some time in Q4 2012 for $129.99. Razer has set up a website for more information and photos of the new gaming mouse which you can find at razerzone.com/ouroboros. As a long-time user of the original (pre-dual sensor tech) Mamba, the new Ouroboros looks to be a promising gaming mouse. Just about the only feature it doesn't seem to have is adjustable weights, which always seemed like a neat feature to have.
Is it worth $129? It's hard to say without getting my hands on it in person, but it certainly looks good! What do you think?