Bought myself this keyboard. I won’t bother you much with the facts you probably obtained easily in other reviews as I prefer writing my reviews just with the information other reviews missed. So lets get started.
The main reason I bought this keyboard is because of the removable keypad. I just prefer somewhat narrower keyboards (ie numpadless) because I hate having keyboard off-center to the monitor if I want mouse not too far to my body. In reverse case if I want the keyboard centered then I have to move the mouse further to the right so it gets very uncomfortable to do anything serious. The solution is a keyboard without numeric pad because I can have centered keyboard with regards to the monitor and mouse close at hand. The solution this keyboard uses is in my opinion great and should be used on other keyboards as well.
The keyboard itself is sturdy build and not that heavy (as other reviews imply) but heavy and unmoveable enough. It isn’t built as bomb proof as razer’s tarantula (for 2x the price here), but it is not worse either. It has good build and nothing less, you don’t have to worry about it.
Keys have similar feel to the razer’s tarantula which is good, that means that they are softer than microsoft natural multimedia keys and logitech’s diNovo. Good thing is that they have a threshold for tactile feedback so the typing doesn’t feel like typing on a sponge or worse, on pack of wet towels.
One of the main “problems” I read about in the reviews/forums about this keyboard is the famous “ghosting”. This is just a wrong word to describe a problem when you press multiple keys at once. Bad keyboards register just a couple of key presses at once, good ones register more then couple. There is much talk that pressing ctrl+w+r doesn’t work (reloading while moving forwards crouched). I can confirm this. This combination doesn’t work. I got nifty program called KeyScan which can tell which keys are registered when pressed. Using this program I have determined that only ctrl has only a problem with R+something. Every other ctrl+key+key+key+key works. If you’re like me and don’t rely on ctrl that much every other key combination works without problems. So for example if you use shift for crouch (I dunno why would anyone use ctrl to be honest) the keyboard will register this shift+w+e+r+a+s+x or any other similar combination. So if you are really heroin-like dependant on ctrl maybe you can buy some other keyboard. Just as a little sidenote, my msi wind’s keyboard registers up to 12 (yes you read it correctly – 12) key presses at once. Quite remarkable and totally unexpected. I used the same program to determine this fact.
This is the infamous CTRL+R+W which doesn’t register. But ctrl+r+alt+printscrn works though;)
This works easily, even without alt because I was pressing print screen at the same time so you can press q and a or whatever at the same time. If you have three hands this can be very useful.
So my conclusion regarding ghosting is this: this keyboard will put up with pretty much any key combination except ctrl+r+something(1).
There is much talk about placement of the space bar and escape key. I can confirm that the escape key is placed a bit to the left but in this few days time I have completely adjusted, it isn’t a big deal at all. What will take a bit more to adjust is the placement of the alt gr (right alt) key. The space bar is actually very long (14cm vs 11,2cm of a normal logitech keyboard) especially on the right side. There is couple of mentions of smaller ctrl/win/alt keys on the left side but that is not the case or a problem, but the right side is. Alt gr is placed too much to the left. That is a problem when you use (especially in croatia) alt+v (@) or alt-f/g () or alt-q (\). I used to press alt gr with my right thumb, but cannot anymore. I have to use my right pinky which feels awkward and will need a lot of adjustment because I don’t use those keys that much.
Function keys (F1 etc) are quite narrow and somewhat long, and this is not bad at all because the more shorter they are (height doesn’t matter much) it is quite more harder to find exactly the one you need without looking at them.
All keys have tapered(?) edges so they don’t feel sharp and they don’t look rounded. This is always commendable because I hate keyboards with keys with sharp edges. Those kind of keyboards always want to chop off your fingers.
There are multimedia and macro keys which are easy to press and have medium travel. Contrast this to razer tarantula which have too short travel and are too hard to press (and tarantula doesn’t have pause button, wtf). Multimedia keys work from any program so you can be in say firefox and control your playlist in itunes without problems.
There are two large knobs on the right part to the top of the keyboard and one is brightness of the led backlighting and the other one is the volume. Both take 270 degrees from 0-100%, and both turn smoothly. Volume knob can be turned endlessly. Background lightning doesn’t flicker (contrary to razer tarantula on which every led flickered horribly)
Macro buttons are simple to use and configure (as a contrast to tarantula’s which are frankly useless). You don’t even have to use the supplied drivers/software to configure macros. You do have to have that software installed though, but it is lightweight, powerful and easy to use. You can program any key combination, key sequence (including large strings, for example bpush the cart!enter) etc. Memory banks are easily selected with a key etc. There are more on other reviews but I just want to stress that macros work flawlessly and they are very easy to configure and use.
There are some words on the reviews/forums about strong magnets on the sides, and they are somewhat strong but they don’t seem to influence my mouse at all. If they did in the future I’m not reluctant to remove them or isolate them somehow, but I don’t think there will a problem with them at all. Moreover, you can use them as paperclip holders.
There are no audio or usb ports. Razer’s keyboards have usb ports but those ports are ver1.1 which means they are completely unusable (yes, even for usb flash drives). Well someone will miss those ports but I don’t them so much.
Handrest is not “huge”, nor it is uncomfortable or made of cheap plastic. It gets the job done, of course, it isn’t removable but it doesn’t get in the way. Moreover, it is lower than the key so you don’t have problems pressing the keys. I don’t really know what the fuss is all about. One more good thing about the handrest and the keyboard itself is that the back of the keyboard is very clean and as the keyboard is raised couple of millimeters from the desk you can put A4 papers below it (short side first). This is very handy when you have to have paper between your hands while typing on the keyboard.
Just as a curious sidenote: the keyboard does really style well with logitech’s g9 (which is a good thing). They look like they are designed by the same guy. They use same font colour, same visual cues and curves (or lack of them).
To sum up: I have this keyboard for a few days now, but I’ve been using it full time. Aside from the alt key which migrated eastwards.
If you have any questions, suggestions or anything else, please leave a comment below. I will reply as soon as possible (probably the same day).
Here are other images of Sidewinder X6 gaming keyboard. On this site you can find all of this plus more.
btw, Windows Live Writer is great.
(1) just to clarify, ctrl+r works without problems.
By popular demand, ctrl combinations (all w/ print screen):
So just to make this one very clear: All usual ctrl+key+key+… key combinations work. There is only one problem and that is with ctrl+r+any_other_key_on_the_left_side. That means that ctrl+r works, ctrl+c+whatever+whatever works (as shown in the screenshots) etc. The only case this keyboard isn’t suitable is with ctrl+r+some_other_key. For any other key combination it works perfectly.
[Another update] The bottom of the keyboard
I had some problem with the keys numbered 9 and later 8 and 0. They were easy to press (as usual) but didn’t register all the time. For a few days there was only the problem with the key 9 then the problem spread on the previous mentioned keys. The keys are easily removed and I noticed that the rubber layer somehow moved a little in the direction of the handrest. The only way to repair that was to disassemble the keyboard and move the rubber layer. The keyboard is easily opened but be very careful to remove three (3) screws which are underneath the two stickers. I just readjusted the rubber layer and the problem went away. I’m not really sure why the problem occurred anyway.
But to this day, I’m very content with the keyboard aside from this little problem. I would lie though, there is another problem, but not with the keyboard, probably with software (drivers probably). The problem is that the media keys (play, pause, next etc) don’t work from another application in windows 7 RC1 x64. I’m hoping that will change in the near future.
New Microsoft Intellitype drivers fixed the media keys, so now they work on a global level. In other words, you can control iTunes while browsing the web.