Steelseries 7G: First thoughts

Box Photo

Well I just received a Steelseries 7G Keyboard from PcCasegear in Melbourne, and although they shipped it the wrong way so I had to wait an extra day, they always over package with bubblewrap so I at least know these things are safe! It also helps that compared to my other keyboard, the Logitech G15, this feels much more weighty.

I’ve always said the G15 Could make for an impromptu cricket bat, and although this one is not as wide, If you were to pit these together in a fake lightsaber battle, the Steelserie’s 7G Keyboard and its build quality would come out on top.

As a bit of a background, this keyboard is Steelserie’s highend gamer keyboard. It uses gold contacts, and is a switch based instead of a membrane style. It has two usb 1.1 ports and a Mic/Speaker input. It is natively PS/2, with a usb adapter. It makes a lot of mention about anti ghosting technology, which reading between the lines seems to be a internal buffer large enough to remember a keyboard sequence of an entire set (100+) of key commands. This is important, because PS/2’s in the old days had the problem where more than three keys at once, and you would have it beep and lock up on you. When you think of doing a circle strafe (Forward + Left), Jumping – You are already going to have trouble fitting in shooting and grenade/melee.

I feel PS/2 As a native keyboard connection was due to the actual construction of the keyboard being based on more older style techniques. While the media keys are something unique in a solid keyboard like this, lending more of a gamer centric feature (more on those in a minute),

The connections for the keyboard The USB connection with the keyboard isn’t actually used for the keyboard input. It’s only for the rather slow USB 1.1 hub integrated. This does not impact use of the keyboard at all, and due to lack of overhead may be barely faster than a USB keyboard.

For size, the keyboard is suprisingly small, and has a large plastic shield to double as a wrist rest , which fits snugly over the top of the keyboard. It makes the keyboard look a lot more daunting, and if it wasn’t for the impressive amount of rubber stops locking the keyboard down, it would slide around – luckily they thought of that well in advance.  It does add a large “chin” to the keyboard, although is not as solid as having the keyboard just have it in the first place. From a gamers view, It would be likely they would have the shield off, as it gives it a modern appearance (especially with the white leds). Also with the shield off, the keyboard is very slim! Here is a photo side by side with the G15.

G15 (Bottom) with the Steelseries 7G

As you can see, the G Keys on the logitech keyboard really add to the width of the keyboard, and I used to have a lot of trouble when finding desks with a keyboard shelf – they just were not wide enough to support this keyboard. Now I have more room for a mousepad!

The main difference between this keyboard and other Gaming keyboards is that it is a rare mechanical one. This keyboards are getting fairly rare, with their own niche to provide them. A similar mechanical keyboard would be the das keyboard, which isn’t even available for purchase in Australia when I last checked. Due to their larger cost in making them, these keyboards are always above $150 – You won’t see these in the bargain bin, due to the amount of material needed in producing it.

Because I’ve only been using this keyboard for today (I’m writing this using the keyboard), I’ll need to wear myself in and get used to it. One thing I found straight away is the feel of the keyboard is very different. If I’m being a lazy, casual  typist (chicken pecking style), The extra resistance on the keys is a bit off putting. Coming from the Logitech G15, I found myself pressing keys too lightly sometimes, erroring out as I didn’t press the key in the first place!

Speaking of errors and fixing them, the backspace key – it’s the traditional style of being single sized, rather than the more common double key backspace. My little pinky had to adapt to reaching further to press the key, and led to more errors because I’d mistype, then miss-press the backspace key! Led to some funny mistakes. Still, I got used to it quickly and moved on.

It comes into its own however, when you have a large stream of thought to type down in a barrage on the keyboard – it comes into it’s own, letting  you fire it away as fast as you can, the keys being very tactical and my fingers feel much more intuitive in tracking the amount of pressure needed before I move to the next key.

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