SteelSeries Unveils The Apex M500 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Steelseries is one of the most respected peripheral manufacturers and quickly gained a reputation for producing reliable products without gimmicks. For example, the SteelSeries 6Gv2 offers astounding build quality and feels incredibly robust even when you try to bend the keyboard from an angle. There’s also products like the Sensei which proved to be really popular. Of course, competition in the mechanical keyboard industry is fierce due to the might of Corsair and Razer.

Today, SteelSeries announced their latest keyboard entitled The Apex M500. This particular model opts for Cherry MX Red switches and blue LED backlighting. Furthermore, the keyboard incorporates anti-ghosting technology and opts for a traditional layout. It also supports SteelSeries Engine software to customize lighting and create custom commands. Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling, Carry for Evil Geniuses Dota 2 explained why the Apex M500 was his favourite keyboard thus far:

“The APEX M500 is my new keyboard of choice. It’s a tank and lives up to the quality of the 6Gv2, the mechanical keyboard that I’ve been using for a year now,”

“This keyboard is everything I think a majority of players look for when it comes to quality and feel, it’s going to be a product that will be used at the pro level for a long, long time.”

Here we can see a synopsis of the keyboard’s main features:

Cherry MX Red Switches
The #1 preferred choice of pro gamers worldwide, Cherry MX Red mechanical switches provide remarkable consistency and durability. With the worlds best switch rating for gaming and a 50 million press guarantee, Cherry MX keys continue to be an essential part of any gamers arsenal.

SteelSeries Engine Software
SteelSeries’ acclaimed software delivers the ultimate level of individual customization for gamers. Pros and enthusiasts can program individual keys for unique combinations, create advanced macros for faster gaming commands, launch game profiles automatically, and create unlimited profiles to unlock infinite gaming possibilities.

Cable Management and Anti-Ghosting
SteelSeries’ Apex M500 showcases a smart cable management system with three cable guides that adapts to your keyboard setup to eliminate tangles and interference. It is also armed with 100% Anti-Ghosting technology with 104 key rollover to ensure precision no matter how fast you play.

Unfortunately, it seems the Apex M500 only comes with Cherry MX Red switches. It’s not possible to select more tactile, clicky options such as Blues. In terms of pricing, the keyboard has a retail price of $99.99/€119.99.

Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro S Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Cooler Master are one of the biggest and best in the industry, not only for their high-end chassis such as the Master Case Pro 5, but also their power supplies, coolers and most importantly today, their peripherals. Dropping the CM Storm branding, their latest keyboard, the Masterkeys Pro S TKL, falls in line with their “maker” series of products. Last year so very little new products from CM and we knew they were cooking up something big. They came back after a long period of silence with a completely redesigned and focused product line, and their “make it yours” philosophy.

All the new products we’ve seen from Cooler Master have been beyond impressive, so I’m really eager to see what their new premium-grade mechanical keyboard has to offer. There are two models available, the full-size MasterKeys Pro L and the TKL MasterKeys Pro S, which is the one we have in the eTeknix office today.

“Get the best of both worlds with the MasterKeys Pro L and Pro S: the brightest LEDs and the best tactile feeling that gamers have come to love. We completely redesigned the interior to fit both Cherry MX switches and big, fat, LEDs that can radiate 16.7 million colors. You also get on-the-fly macros, profile support, and easy-to-use software – all in a sleek, minimalistic design.” – Cooler Master

The new keyboards come with all the premium features you would expect, such as customisable RGB lighting, Cherry MX switches, macro support, anti-ghosting and N-key rollover and more. Most importantly, at least in terms of the RGB lighting, is that cooler master customised the PCB, allowing for larger and brighter LEDs, without compromising on the use of Cherry MX switches.

• Brilliant RGB lighting with 16.7 million colors

• Exclusive Cooler Master design makes each LED pop out and shine

• Multiple lighting modes

• Change and customize colors with or without software

• Presets include Color Wave, Breathing, and responsive effects

• Cherry MX switches

• Guaranteed to endure at least 50 million keystrokes

• On-the-fly macro and profile support

• On-board processor and profile keys let you save macros and backlighting settings without hassle

• 100% anti-ghosting with N-key rollover

• Ensure each keypress is correctly detected regardless how many other keys are being pressed

• Detachable cable

• Cables won’t get in your way or clutter your desktop

• Hidden underside positioning grooves gives you 180° cable management (only for Pro L)

The packaging is very nicely designed, showing off the RGB lighting in all its glory, as well as touting the use of Cherry MX switches.

Around the back, a little breakdown of the build, showing the PCB, switches, casing and key caps.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started. This includes a high-quality micro-USB braided cable, which fully detachable from the keyboard, a key cap removal tool and a nice and colourful user’s guide.

Roccat Ryos MK FX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Roccat are back on eTeknix once again, this time with the latest and hopefully, their greatest keyboard they’ve ever produced! The new Roccat Ryos MK FX RGB Mechanical Keyboards takes everything we know and love about the already fantastic Ryos range, and gives it a glorious RGB switch upgrade, allowing Roccat to take their already impressive lighting engine to a whole new and far more colourful level.

“The Ryos MK FX offers fully customizable, ROCCAT®-enginereed Per-Key RGB illumination in two convenient modes: preset and custom. This means you can add awesome special effects in 16.8 million colors to your keystrokes, configure your keyboard to highlight your in-game and application key bindings, your modifier keys, your system controls as well as your macro sequences and cool-downs plus much, much more.” – Roccat

Of course, aesthetically pleasing lighting effects are one thing, but the Ryos MK FX is no slouch in other departments and is easily one of the best-equipped keyboards on the market today. With full 16.8 million colour lighting, two 32-bit ARM Cortex processors with 2MB of flash memory ensuring lag-free processing of lighting, macros recording, Cherry MX switches, AlienFX, Roccat Talk, Easy-Shift, dedicated macro keys, thumbster keys, n-key rollover and more.

“Do you pick style or performance when you look for the perfect weapon to add to your gaming arsenal? Do it the ROCCAT way: pick both. Purpose built for hardcore gamers, the Ryos MK FX is the most advanced mechanical gaming keyboard on the market. Using all of ROCCAT’s industry expertise and gaming experience, the Ryos MK FX boasts a feature set so comprehensive and a design so eye-watering you’ll be leading the pack by miles – complete with 16.8 million color per-key RGB illumination.” – Roccat

The packaging keeps in theme with all the other Roccat keyboards we’ve seen, but one noticeable difference is the extra aura of colour around the keyboard; very colourful!

A few technical details around the box tell us that we’ve got MX Brown switches, the UK layout and some of the cool features of the board, but since we’ve already discussed these, let’s move on and open up the box!

With the outer slip cover removed, you’ll find a sturdy inner box with a Ryos logo.

Inside that, the Ryos keyboard, protected with a lot of cardboard spacers to keep it safe, as well as a custom plastic top cover and some plastic strips to prevent scratches in transit.

The keyboard comes hard-wired with a thick braided cable and has dual USB headers for extra power, as well as a pair of 3.5mm audio jacks for pass-through connectivity.

Roccat Announces Ryos MK FX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Roccat is one of the leading peripheral manufacturers and produces a huge array of products including mice, keyboards, headsets and more! Some time ago, the company unveiled the Ryos MK Pro mechanical keyboard which features a wide selection of switch options from Cherry MX blue to blacks. Furthermore, the keyboard offered superb durability and a wonderful wrist rest. It seems the current trend revolves around RGB backlighting and allows the end-user to choose a colour scheme which matches their PC build. Even some motherboards have started to adopt RGB lighting directly onto the PCB.

To keep up with the current market, Roccat has updated their keyboard line-up and launched the Ryos MK FX. This particular model sports per key RGB illumination and supports 16.8 million colours. Additionally, it’s possible to create a custom mode or select from a number of special effect presets. This is made remarkably easy via Roccat’s Swarm software package and gives the end-user a great deal of flexibility. As you might expect, the Ryos MK FX is powered by two 32-bit ARM Cortex processors and 2MB of flash memory to store custom configurations. Roccat’s Easy-Shift[+] technology means each key has a secondary programmable function with options for simple commands or complex macros. This is incredibly useful in certain games where repeated key presses for a particular command are a common occurrence. On another note, the keyboard has a microphone/headphone passthrough, braided USB cable and media function keys. At first the media keys’ positioning seems a little strange, but it works rather well. In terms of pricing, the Ryos MK FX will cost $169.99 in the US market and should be available from today. Unfortunately, I haven’t received information regarding the European price, but I’m guessing it’s around the £120 mark.

Are you a fan of RGB lighting or feel it’s a gimmick?

G.Skill Announces RIPJAWS KM780R Keyboard Models

G.Skill’s latest two RIPJAWS mechanical keyboards aren’t actually new ones, but rather the current ones with a reduced accessory package and thereby also a reduced price. There might be quite a few people out there that wouldn’t mind saving a few bucks on the hardware and not get the parts that they don’t need or want on the side.

The two new G.Skill keyboards are the RIPJAWS KM780R RGB and KM780R MX keyboards and they are just the same as the KM780 versions when it comes to the keyboard itself.

The KM780R models offer highly responsive and extremely durable Cherry MX key switches that are rated for 50 million keypresses without losing the same mechanical feel, a military-grade aluminum plate in a brushed black anodized finish, and the full suite of extra macro keys, onboard keyboard profiles, and media control keys with the digital LED volume display. These keyboards will also be available with the choice of Cherry MX red, brown, and blue flavors.

So what is the difference between the KM780R and KM780 series? As previously mentioned, it is the accessory pack. With these reduces version you don’t get the gaming keycaps, the puller tool, and the keycap box. All things that one can go without or already might have extra from a previous keyboard. Let’s face it, you only need on puller tool to remove your keycaps. It saves money, it saves resources, and it saves you the hassle of finding a place to put all the extras. In return, you get a keyboard that is $10.00 cheaper on the recommended retail price.

These new G.Skill RIPJAWS KM780R RGB and KM780R MX models are currently available on Amazon.com, but they will be sold via G.Skill authorized partners worldwide at a later unspecified date.

What do you think about these reduced package models? Is it a good or bad thing? Are the savings enough for you to let go of the extras or would you still get the full product version? Let us know in the comments.

Gigabyte Released FORCE K83 Mechanical Keyboard

Gigabyte is probably known mostly for their motherboards and graphics cards, but they do make a lot more. The newest addition to the Gigabyte family is the Force K83 mechanical gaming keyboard built with a minimalistic approach and quality components.

The Gigabyte Force K83 comes with either Red or Blue Cherry MX switches to give that tactile feedback and durability that most gamers like and prefer. With a rating of over 50 million keystrokes, even the most demanding gamers should be satisfied. The keyboard naturally features an N-key rollover to prevent any ghosting

By removing design aspects that don’t provide any function at all, Gigabyte managed to keep the minimalistic approach. Additional functions can be access through the FN key and it also features a Win Lock key with dedicated LED indicator to lock out an accidental launch of your start menu. I do however question where that key actually is located and whether it interfere with the general operation. On the product photo above it is located right next to the spacebar while the product photo below shows it one key further up and as a replacement for the actual second windows key. I personally believe the bottom photo to be the accurate, as it would be illogical to remove the ALT key altogether. It’s too important.

The Gigabyte Force K83 is built with an island-style that makes the keys stand up above the keyboard, allowing you to clean it a lot better. The bottom features anti-slip feet to make sure that it stays where it should, even during the most demanding and hectic gaming situations.

Gigabyte didn’t reveal a launch date or price at this time.

CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard Review

Introduction


There’s no shortage of gaming keyboard on the market, but one brand in particular has always stood out for me personally, Cooler Master. They’ve proven time and time again that they can make a great keyboard, with excellent performance and some of the best build quality in the business, which is why I was eager to test out their very popular Quickfire Ultimate. It’s no secret that this keyboard has been on the market for a while now, but it’s still a big seller for Cooler Master and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about; although given their past successes in our reviews, I have a pretty good idea.

The Quickfire Ultimate is available in a range of Cherry MX switches and LED backlighting configurations. The model at my disposal today is the Cherry MX-Brown with Red LED backlighting (SGK-4011-GKCM1). Cherry switches are world renowned for their exceptional performance and build quality, so we can expect the same high performance from them as you would in any other Cherry equipped mechanical keyboard. The keyboard packs a few interesting bonus features too, such as the 1000 Hz/1ms polling rate, full N-key rollover, high quality ABS key caps, a rubber grip coated chassis, multimedia control keys (via F-shift), Win lock and a removable braided cable.

The Quickfire Ultimate is pretty straight forward in terms of design, but there are a few lines cut into the top right corner, and a few more on the bottom left edge; they don’t add to the function of the keyboard, but they do break up what would otherwise be a bland design.

The key caps are a curved design as well as a very light texture, which should provide you with a more accurate finger resting position and extra control.

Along the F-keys you’ll find a range of extra features. on the F1-F4 keys you can control the backlighting features; these are accessible via the F-shift key.

F5-F11 features the multimedia controls, which are perfect for controlling your music while gaming, as well as your systems master volume levels. F12 features a Windows lock control, because no one wants to accidentally return to desktop while gaming!

The Insert and Delete keys allow you to toggle between 6-key and N-key anti-ghosting/rollover modes.

While the top of the number pad has 8ms, 4ms, 2ms and 1ms response rate modes; this means you can control and configure ever feature of the Quickfire Ultimate directly from the keyboard, with no need for external software.

The keyboard has quite a thick chassis with a very slight curve from front to back, giving the keys a near-flat layout that is ideal for gaming. The thick chassis goes a long way to explaining the weight of the keyboard, it’s chunky and heavy; I certainly wouldn’t want to drop it on my foot, but at least I’m confident that the keyboard wouldn’t be the thing that broke.

Around the back you can see that the keyboards braided cable channels through a small cut-out at the back.

The cable goes through one of three routing channels on the underside and into a microUSB port on the center.

There are four tough rubber grips on the underside to keep the keyboard from sliding around your desk, and there are two durable kickstands, each with rubber grips on them.

Cooler Master have included a key cap removal tool, which is great for helping you keep your keyboard in excellent condition, as it makes cleaning the keyboard a much easier task.

CM Storm Quickfire Rapid-i Mechanical Keyboard Review

Introduction


CM Storm, the gaming division of legendary manufacturer Cooler Master are back once again with their latest mechanical keyboard. OK I tell a slight lie there, this keyboard isn’t exactly their latest, but it is the first time I’ve been able to get my hand on one for review. We’ve had a lot of fun in the past testing CM Storm products, as they rarely disappoint us thanks to their excellent performance and competitive price tags. The CM Storm Quickfire Rapid-i is a popular choice with a lot of gamers, so I want to see what all the fuss is about.

The Quickfire Rapid-i comes in a choice of Cherry MX switches; Blue, Brown and Red. I have the MX Brown switch model at my disposal today. The Rapid-i features a five level, five mode white LED lighting system, ABS grip coating, N-key rollover and more; pretty much everything you would expect from a mechanical gaming keyboard.

The model we have at our disposal today is a TKL style keyboard, this means it’s had the number pad removed to give the keyboard a much smaller ten-keys-less form factor. The cut down size saves space on your desk, but it also makes the keyboard a lot easier to transport, it should even fit in your backpack when you’re heading out to a LAN gaming event.

The key caps feature a light coating to them that adds a little texture and grip and they’ve been laser etched to allow the LED lighting to shine through. Another thing that stands out is that the chassis under the keys is finished in white, which contrasts nicely with the soft-touch rubber finish of the keyboards exterior chassis.

From the F-keys you can control the polling rate and lighting settings, these are accessible via an FN-Shift key.

General multimedia controls are located on the right side of the keyboard; these are accessible via the Fn-Shift key. The media keys are located in such a way that you can quickly change the volume, or skip through songs with one hand; no need to take your left hand off the all important WASD keys!

The chassis around the keyboard is pretty slim, so you’re certainly going to save even more desktop space with the Rapid-i.

The keyboard is a little heavy, but that’s hardly uncommon for a mechanical keyboard and in terms of durability, this keyboard should survive more than a few hard knocks and bumps.

Around the back of the keyboard you’ll find the CM Storm logo just below where the soft-touch rubber finish ends. On the left side you’ll find a micro-USB port; nice and simple.

There’s four rubber grips on the base of the keyboard to help keep it from sliding around your desk.

The flip up feet are plastic, but they feel pretty robust compared to most keyboard feet and there’s a wide rubber grip on the base of each foot.

CM Storm included a key-cap puller in the box, which means you can easily strip the keys down and maintain your keyboard. As you can see, we’ve got MX Brown switches, with white LEDs. Here you can also better see the white finish on the interior of the keyboard, this will no doubt help reflect the white LED lights better, giving a nice underglow effect to the keyboard.

Finally, we have the included USB cable, which comes fitted with gold-plated connectors and a high quality black braiding.

COUGAR Announces 600K Gaming Keyboard

Cougar got a lot of praise for their almost over-the-top aluminium structured 700K keyboard. But it was too much for some people, those who don’t want to have to install software to use extra functions and don’t need all sorts of extra keys. Those people have been heard and Cougar is now releasing the 600K keyboard that basically is a slimmed down to basics model, but it still maintains an edge over budget keyboards.

The Cougar 600K is an N-Key Rollover mechanical keyboard and will be available with all four types of Cherry MX Switches. There is no need to install drivers or set it up to start using it due to the pure approach to functionality. Connect it and your good to go.

“We knew that there were people who simply weren’t interested in the plethora of functions offered by high end keyboards but at the same time didn’t want to settle for a lower end one. For all those people, who just want a pure, high quality mechanical keyboard in a durable and elegant design, we created the COUGAR 600K,” said Lio Huang, Marketing Dept. III Director, COUGAR.

What it lacks in software features, it got as hardware features – something the “bigger” keyboards could learn a thing or two from. The hard turn-off of the Windows key is well-known and present, but the K600 also has allows for adjustment of the repeat rate of the keys, has lighting control for the WASD and Direction keys. Default multimedia keys are also present. For added convienience it also features a USB pass-through port.

No word on pricing, availability or other features yet, but we will keep you updated as the information emerges.

Thanks to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Roccat Ryos TKL Pro Gaming Keyboard Revealed

Roccat has just revealed the latest entry to their popular Ryos range; the Ryos TKL Pro gaming keyboard. The new keyboard has been designed with a focus on the eSports and pro gaming communities. It comes equipped with a tenkeyless design that makes it LAN friendly, as this is easier to transport and it also allows a lot more space on your desk to maneuver your mouse.

“I’m in it to win it, so you’ll never see us put gear in our eSports team’s hands that don’t give them an edge. Team ROCCAT uses the Ryos TKL in competition because it optimizes their play. They have to demonstrate the talent, we have to provide the quality tested gear to help them show that talent. From HyuN to our League of Legends Jungler Jankos and the rest of our amazing team, the Ryos TKL gives them that tool, and now our fans can have it too.” – Says René Korte, CEO and founder of ROCCAT Studios.

Equipped with Cherry MX switches, Roccat Talk, a 32-Bit ARM Cortex processors, 2MB of flash memory, per-key illuminations and Lighting Engine 2.0; the Ryos TKL Pro is incredibly well equipped.

The new Ryos TKL Pro is launching immediately and will already be in most major retailers both online and offline from today. Prices should be in the region of 139.90 EUR.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

OCUK Cherry MX Keycaps and Rubber O-Ring Mod Review

Introduction


Mechanical keyboards offer incredible performance and durability compared to membrane switch keyboards, and they’re loved by gamers and day-to-day PC users alike for their unique tactile feel. There’s more to your typical mechanical keyboard than just the feel and the sound of the switches, you can choose the type of switches you want in your keyboard, such as Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Black, Red, Green and of course the mechanical switches from competing brands such as Kailh. There are a lot of MX compatible keyboards that allow you to remove the key caps and replace them with aftermarket ones, and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing today.

Mechanical keyboards do have one downside vs a membrane switch, plunger or even scissor switch keys, in that they’re often louder, this can be a big distraction for some and while the noise levels vary from one switch type to the other, mechanical switches are almost always noisier than membrane keyboards. There is a solution to this problem, known as O-Ring modding, which is something I’ve known about for a while, but never really had the opportunity to put to the test; until today. So while I’ll be replacing the key caps on my keyboard today, I’ll also be installing a range of O-Ring mods to test how they can effect the overall acoustic performance of my keyboard.

For those of you who don’t know what O-Ring mods are, they’re simply little rubber hoops that can be put onto the stem on the inside of a mechanical keyboard key cap, this prevents the key from bottoming out (hitting the chassis of the keyboard or the switch) and as such, they can massively reduce the acoustic levels of your typing.

At my disposal today I have a set of double shot injection Cherry MX stem key caps, they come bundled in a clear plastic box, nothing fancy, but it’s not like they need to be individually wrapped.

Around the back you can see there are other colour options available, although I’m quite happy with the neat and tidy white colour we’ve chosen for today’s review.

In the box you’ll find a simple owners booklet and a key cap puller; an essential tool for any mechanical keyboard owner.

The O-Ring mods come in three choices; black, clear and blue. They’re quite small, so they only come packaged in a ziplock style bag

Corsair RGB Keyboards, Mice and Headsets Now Available

Following their official release, the Corsair Gaming RGB peripherals are now available! We’ve already reviewed their impressive Corsair Gaming RGB K70 Mechanical Keyboard here, but that’s not all Corsair have to offer.

“For 20 years, Corsair has equipped gamers with high-performance, precision hardware to build their dream PCs. Corsair Gaming now introduces new ways for PC gamers to optimize how they play,” said Andy Paul, Corsair President and CEO. “We’ve brought together our engineering expertise and our passion for gaming to build a line of products that delivers performance, customized for however you play.”

The new Corsair Gaming range now plays host to three mechanical gaming keyboards; The K95 RGB, K70 RGB and the K65 RGB. All of the keyboards are revisions of previous Corsair models, but all now come equipped with a choice of Cherry RGB MX switches and the new Corsair Utility Engine software.

The M65 mouse has also been given the RGB treatment; perfect for creating colour coordinated effects between your keyboard and mouse. The M65 RGB is available in both black and white.

Finally we have the H2100 and H1500 headsets, which don’t feature the same funky lighting, but they do come with the Corsair Gaming branding that will match up with the new range of peripherals.

Thank you Corsair for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Corsair.

RGB LED Mechanical Keyboards From Corsair at Computex 2014

Computex 2014: Corsair had a huge range of products on display at this years show, but one of the stand out items were their new RGB lit mechanical keyboards. The K95 and the K75 are simply revisions of their K90 and K70 keyboards which was saw last year, both great keyboards in their own right, but now they feature the latest switch configurations from Cherry.

The new switches feature a transparent housing with RGB LEDs inside them, allowing you to dial in any colour you can imagine, best of all you can do it on a per key basis, set up pattern effects such as wave, pulse, delay, strobe etc. Corsair went a little nuts with their demo modes and the whole thing looks like a epileptic fit waiting to happen, but as far as showing the limits of what the RGB kit can do, it made a big impact.

The keyboards will soon be hitting the market with a small premium over the previous models to cater to the new switches. If you’re interested in extensive lighting customisation, then you’ll certainly want to check out these models when they hit retailers in the very near future.

 

Ozone Strike Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Pro gaming, LAN gaming, online gaming, eSports, or just dragging Draugr around Skyrim on your own, it doesn’t matter what type of gaming you prefer, PC gaming has a whole lot to offer. It doesn’t matter which style of gaming you pick either, one of them or all of them, having the right tools for the job however does matter and having a great keyboard, mouse or controller at your disposal can not only improve your performance, but it can go a long way to improving your overall personal experience and comfort while you play.

The Strike Pro has been launched with one thing in mind, gaming. Everything about it is focused on improving your gaming experience and performance and Ozone are quite keen to shout about its abilities, so today I’ll be expecting nothing short of excellence to see if the Strike Pro really lives up to all of its own hype.

Mechanical keyboards are a prime choice for the gaming market, the switches used for each key offer a lot of precision and feedback that you often don’t find in a lot of membrane keyboards. Of course this is mostly just preference and many people still choose to play using a membrane keyboard, but one cannot deny the accuracy and speed that is offered by Cherry MX switches. Ozone offer a choice of popular switch types, Black, Red, Blue and Brown, but today we will be taking a look at their keyboard equipped with Cherry MX Reds, a very popular choice with gamers.

Specifications wise, the keyboard is very well equipped with 104 mechanical switch keys (fully mechanical), a 1.5 meter braided cable, 64KB on board memory for storing macros and profiles, full Nkey rollover! As well as an array of lighting modes and gaming modes.

The packaging is really nice on the Strike Pro, with a few major features detailed on the front, a really nice image and a cool cutaway that lets you get hands on with the arrow keys, a great way of testing out the mechanical switch types.

Around the back we have a very detailed break down of all the major features, but of course we will take a closer look at those in just a moment. There is also an endorsement from Samsung Pro-Game Team star Cho “Mata” Se-Hyeong;

“ For me there is no other option but mechanical keyboards. And there is no other option but the new Ozone Strike Pro. Cherry MX Switches, HUB & Audio inputs, Red LED Backlights, fancy design… So yes, I have many reasons to choose this amazing keyboard for my professional gaming sessions.”

In the box I found a small CD-ROM with all the basic drivers and software on it, of course I’m not going to use that as I will be downloading the latest from the official website, but it’s always nice to see them included. There is a full colour user guide that shows you all the major features of the keyboard, as well as a break down of different mechanical switch types. Finally you’ll find four spare grips for the underside of the keyboard, as well as a large vinyl sticker that would be perfect for the back of your monitor or the side of your PC chassis.

Ozone Release The Strike Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Ozone have just revealed their new Strike Pro gaming keyboard, a high performance, feature packed mechanical keyboard with full LED back lighting. Ozone promise to have packed it with the precision, speed and control that modern gamers demand and while this looks like it will be ideal for any gamer, it looks like Ozone have their hearts set on the world of competitive gaming and eSports once again, which is no bad thing of course.

Cho “Mata”. Samsung Ozone Team said “For me there is no other option for a keyboard than mechanical, and there is no other option than the Ozone Srike Pro. Cherry MX Switch, HUB & Audio inputs, LED backlight, good design … So, yes, I have many reasons to choose Strike Pro to my sessions as a professional game.”

The keyboard also features a build in USB HUB & Audio inputs that allow you to stay connected without cluttering up too many cables or digging around behind your computer. Customisable black lighting helps you configure zone and layout so that you can find the right key with just a quick glance at the board even in a dim environment, or even just make the board look cool when it is sat on your desk.

“Turn off the light. Turn on Strike Pro. White LED lighting in normal keys and red LED lighting in gaming keys your fingers will go directly to the right place. Strike Pro can even be configured to only illuminate gaming keys and also adjust the light intensity. Also, during play sessions you will experience maximum compatibility thanks to the keyboards built in HUB & Audio inputs.” – Ozone

The Strike Pro also brings you the possibility to use their 30 macros in five default profiles to suit all gaming styles. Meanwhile, store all your settings safely in the 64k internal memory for recall later, handy for pro gamers since you are not aloud to install 3rd party software at tournaments.

What is the best Cherry for a mechanical keyboard ?: Red? Blue? Brown? Black? It really depends on every gamer, on every use. Strike Pro is available in the four most requested Cherry colours by pro gamers seeking speed and accuracy, an innate characteristics in the new Ozone Strike Pro. You can also configure the response time between the keyboard and the computer from 1ms to 16ms. That said, speed of response and accuracy: Strike Pro, your best gaming partner.

The Strike pro is due for release next month and will have a MSRP of around 89,99€.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ECbDeiXCyJI[/youtube]

Thank you Ozone for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ozone.

Zowie Celeritas Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Pro Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Zowie have made their name in the gaming industry by being laser focused on pro gaming and eSports, and rightly so, because when it comes to making high performance gaming equipment there really isn’t a better testing ground than competitive gaming. The pros want the best tools for the job, the peripheral or component that will give them that advantage over their opponents, no matter the cost. Then at the end of the day, you’ll find consumers will want the same hardware because they know it’s the product used by winners, much like how Formula 1 works to promote consumer cars brand names.

The Zowie Celeritas has some bold claims to it and given Zowie’s heritage of working closely with some of the biggest pro gamers in history such as Abdisamad ‘SpawN’ Mohamed, Young Ho ‘Flash’ Lee and Ho Jun ‘Ho-Jun’ Moon, all of whom helped develop this keyboard, we know they mean business. In a bid for maximum performance the Celeritas features mechanical switch keys, with 18K gold plated switches, gold plated USB connection, nylon key caps and most importantly the fastest response time of any keyboard on the market today.

“The primary feature of the ZOWIE CELERITAS is the newly developed ZOWIE RTR (Real Time Response) technology which allows the user to define the repeat-response of their presses to be 1x, 2x, 4x or 8x of the normal repeat-response for a keyboard when using the PS/2 connector. RTR allows gamers to gain a higher responsiveness from their keys and thereby increase the pace of movement in FPS and Racing games or possibly even increase the APM in RTS. How fast do you like it to be? We give you the possibility so you can define your most comfortable repeat-response.” – Zowie
“With an actual response-time of only 0,2 seconds, the ZOWIE CELERITAS has the fastest response-time of any mechanical keyboard currently on the market.  Furthermore it features anti-ghosting, supporting all keys through PS/2 and 6 keys through USB. For your information, the definition of a “normal response-time” for a keyboard is 0,5 seconds.” – Zowie
Now I’ll admit, gold plating and super low response times are for the most part marketing buzz words, your average gamer will likely never notice anything different about a 0.5 and 0.2 second response time for example, but what really matters is that at the end of the day, does this look, feel and perform like a premium gaming keyboard, so long as we can answer that, everything else is just a bonus.

General functions

  • 6 keys Anti-Ghosting through USB
  • 18K Gold Plated mechanical switches and USB connectors
  • Ability to change the “Windows”-key to “Ctrl”
  • Multimedia controls
  • Highly durable metal inner chassis
  • Ergonomic design saves space and offer full comfort during use
  • Connector: USB / PS2 (by USB to PS2 converter)
  • Cable Length: 1.8m / 5.8 ft.

PS/2 functions

  • Full Anti-Ghosting with PS/2
  • ZOWIE RTR technology provides 4 levels of repeat-response (normal, 2x, 4x, 8x) – PS/2

Dimensions

  • Width: 44 cm
  • Length: 16 cm
  • Height: 2,5 cm

The Celeritas comes in a fairly unassuming grey box, there is a sneaky look at the keyboard through a small window, but this only gives away the colour of the keyboard model as there is a plastic guard over the keys that hides most of the visual details.

Around the back of the box we have something I’ve never seen before, the entire user manual! Details of how to configure the windows key (more on that soon), response rate and change the LED light colour are all here, as well as a multi language breakdown of the main specifications.

There wasn’t a huge amount of stuff in the box, just the keyboard its self, a Zowie sticker and a PS2/USB adaptor.

CMStorm Launch Their Aluminum Range Keyboard, Mouse & Headset

Today marks the launch of a brand new range of peripherals from CMStorm (Coolermaster), not content with the typical black plastic models that are flooding the market, CMStorm have decided to add a a touch of metal to their designs.

The new Aluminum range peripherals feature, you guessed it! Aluminum panels. These panels can be removed and this allows for some unique customisations, you could have them engraved, printed on or maybe just attack them with a Sharpie, the choice is yours.

We got hands on with these recently at iSeries i49 and the build quality is fantastic. The Mech and Reaper each offer a huge range of profile and key customisations, check out the price and specifications below for more details.

MECH Keyboard:

UK RRP £149.99

  • Removable customizable aluminium front plate
  • All mechanical Cherry MX Keyboard – Guaranteed 50 million+ keystrokes
  • Powerful 32 bit 72 MHz Rapid Fire Engine for quick hardware Macro playback
  • Fully programmable! Store up to 5 Profiles and 75 Macros on the Keyboard
  • 2 USB 3.0 Super Speed ports for Gaming Gear or Phone/Tablet charging
  • Full LED backlight – 3 modes and 5 brightness Levels

REAPER Mouse

UK RRP £64.99

  • Removable customizable aluminium plate
  • Aluminum and rubberized coating body structure
  • 8200 DPI high precision Avago laser sensor
  • 1000 Hz polling rate with 1ms response time
  • 128kB flash onboard memory
  • Ergonomic right handed design
  • 8 fully programmable buttons

PULSE-R Headset

UK RRP £74.99

  • Removable customizable aluminium plates
  • Optimized for gaming – clear highs and powerful bass
  • Durable aluminum Plating – can be removed and customized
  • Cushioned ear cups and headband for noise cancellation and maximum comfort during long gaming sessions
  • Convenient in-line remote with volume slider and mic mute switch
  • Detachable microphone arm with noise-canceling mic system for clear in-game team chats
  • Stylish white illuminated ear cups and mic (USB powered)

Thank you CMStorm for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of CMStorm.

Cooler Master Announce Storm QuickFire XT Mechanical Keyboard

Cooler Master’s “CM Storm” line of keyboards are quite well respected throughout the industry and CM Storm offer one of the widest range of keyboards both in terms of different models and with a variety of different key switches. Cooler Master’s latest addition to the CM Storm line is the QuickFire XT and this doesn’t really try and do anything that different to previous CM Storm keyboards. To me this simply looks like a more compact and “less flashy” version of the CM Storm QuickFire Pro.

As you can see Cooler Master are going really minimal on the branding. As far as I can tell there are no CM Storm keys or CM Storm logos on the top of the keyboard, there is one on the back plate with the USB 2.0 input. The QuickFire XT uses laser marked key caps and a matte finish. It is operational in both PS/2 and USB modes as well as having media keys accessible with the function button. Though these keys are not dedicated as they are shared with the F5-F12 keys. Unlike previous keyboards I am glad to see CM Storm doing away with the stupid CM Storm keys. I myself have the CM Storm Trigger and it was one of my dislikes.

Impressively CM Storm will offer this keyboard with red, green, brown or blue switches – though there is always regional variability. As you can see the back offers only a single USB 2.0 connection so there is no additional connectivity. Pricing and availability will come soon and will vary by region. On the CM Storm USA store the red version is selling for $99.99 while the blue version is selling for $89.99.

Product Page.

Images courtesy of CM Storm