We’ve noticed that one of the important factors in team game coordination and success is the extent of communication. That’s no big surprise for anyone, but it’s especially true for faster-paced games such as shooters and MOBAs. Oftentimes, text wheels and typing are decent, but in the heat of the moment nothing beats using a mic to communicate.
Unfortunately, many users may not have much desk space for a desk mic or might have a lot of background noise, making it less than ideal to grab a broadcast mic. Further, for folks who already own high-end headphones that they don’t want to replace with a headset (which oftentimes have mediocre mics and speakers), it’d be nice to keep using those headphones just with a mic attachment. This leaves few options except for clip-on mics (which are easy to hit, annoying to use, and sometimes require amps) or something like the Antlion ModMic. We previously reviewed the ModMic 4 and found it to be a reliable product, with some minor issues that were largely overlooked at its price tag.
We just received Antlion’s new version of the ModMic for review: the ModMic 5. This new version features more robust build quality, omni- and uni-directional mics, and a removable mute switch, but it also has a higher price tag of $70.
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and generally the winter holidays coming up, there’s bound to be a lot of sales and (likely) last minute shopping for gifts. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best mechanical gaming keyboards at various price points that we at GN have reviewed and recommended for both gaming and general use.
These keyboards go from basic budget keyboards to high-end RGB gaming keyboards, all of which are mechanical. Besides, there’s not much in the way of membrane keyboards lately -- the Logitech G213 and Corsair K55 pretty much round those out.
Here’s the shortlist:
Whenever we get a new keyboard to review, we make a point to put away the regularly used keyboards. It’s easy to gravitate toward what we’re familiar with, and so those things must be put aside for the review. Oftentimes, putting away the usual keyboards is easy since we have worked with a number of good releases lately, but sometimes it’s not so trivial.
Frankly, we expected the latter situation when unboxing the Logitech G213 Prodigy ($70). It’s a rubber dome keyboard, and those don’t get quite the fanfare that mechanical boards do. Setting the keyboard up revealed inclusion of RGB lighting, fully functional media keys, and a tuned force profile on the switches. The G213 also positions itself at a $70 “budget” price-point for an RGB board, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Following the Cloud I, II, and Revolver, Kingston's branched-off HyperX brand has now entered the $50 headset market with its HyperX Stinger. The company is targeting a more affordable market with this product launch, and aims to compete most directly with the Logitech G430 headset. The launch of the Stinger headset is accompanied by the FPS Alloy mechanical keyboard, priced at $100, which we also covered while at the show.
The Stinger is fairly simple in its componentry: Two ear-cups, obviously, and a mutable microphone, along with an on-ear volume slider. The headset is largely made of plastics and doesn't have the quality feel of higher-end units, like the Cloud II, but that's the trade off of building a cheaper product. A metal headband exists quietly under the plastic exterior, and similar foam padding is present in the headband and ear cups.
As soon as the electrical contacts of a switch are joined from a switch depression, an electrical signal is dispatched within the mouse for processing by its internal components. That initial queue of processing helps rule-out potential spurious behavior, electromagnetic interference (or cross-talk), and performs any necessary calculations for the input command. If deemed an intentional user action, that input is sent down the USB cable (or transmitted wirelessly) to the system.
We discussed this process in our Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum review. There's a misconception with users that wireless input devices are inherently slower than their wired counterparts, when the reality is that the opposite can be true – and is, with the G900 and G403 wireless. The recent PAX West 2016 event gave us an opportunity to get hands-on with the company's USB analyzer setup to demystify some of the wireless vs. wired mouse arguments.
Logitech's new Chaos Spectrum G900 mouse has definitively settled the wireless gaming mouse debate: Wireless mice can respond just as fast – if not faster – as their wired counterparts. This topic is one we've explored in-depth below, including discussion on wireless interference and cross-talk/impedance, battery life and weight trade-offs, accuracy, and more.
The Chaos Spectrum G900 was unveiled at GDC as a “wired-wireless” mouse, embodying Logitech's devout effort to demystify wireless mice as “unreliable” for gaming. Logitech informed us that their wireless G900 tested as performing minimally equal to wired competition for responsiveness, and sometimes better.
The new G900 RGB mouse costs $150, making it one of the most expensive gaming-class mice currently on the market. It also makes some of the biggest promises, like 24-hour run-to-die battery life (with RGB LEDs on) and exceedingly tight tolerances for click force variance from mouse-to-mouse. It's a uniquely high-end peripheral that requires a properly in-depth review. Starting us off, the usual specs sheets:
Logitech's gaming (“Logitech G”) unit deployed a clicky spectacle at PAX East 2016. The “Great Wall of Logitech G” flanked the booth, a composition of 160 keyboards capable of aggregated video playback across roughly (by eye) ~10 x 15ft of key caps. The display uses Logitech's G810 RGB mechanical keyboard with diffuser keycaps for the underglow. Partnership with Right Brain Electronics' Kent Suzuki made the wall possible on the software side, where video playback was programmed to location-match the appropriate keyboards.
A video explaining the making of the keyboard wall can be found below, along with some footage of the wall itself:
Corsair’s recent Strafe RGB keyboards are among our highest-rated peripherals for gaming and typing. The Strafe RGB expanded Corsair’s RGB lineup and fixed some of the issues Corsair’s other RGB keyboards have. Corsair is once again expanding its RGB keyboard line – and standard keyboard line – with its new Rapidfire K70, K65 RGB Rapidfire, and K70 RGB Rapidfire. These keyboards are the same as Corsair’s current versions, but the new RAPIDFIRE iteration features Cherry’s new Cherry MX Speed switch, which actuates at 1.2mm (40% higher than normal Cherry MX switches) at 45g.
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