Back in the day, one keyboard reigned supreme -- the IBM Model M. A buckling spring keyboard that informed supervisors how hard their cube-slaves were working due to its loud sound upon actuation. But these wonderful times did not last forever. The membrane switch was developed, which was far cheaper as a result of using a rubber dome instead of springs to register keypresses, and since that day mechanical keyboards grew more scarce.
The mechanical keyboard industry has been expanding. Fast. Cherry MX mechanical switches are the primary switches sold, but there are competitors in the marketplace. Tesoro has been expanding into the North American market with their mechanical keyboards, adding yet another name to the myriad of brands currently on digital shelves. Interestingly, like some other brands -- Razer and Thermaltake included -- Tesoro is using Kailh mechanical switches in their keyboards instead of standard Cherry MX or Topre switches.
Scott's taking a break this weekend for vacation, so I'll be filling-in for the regularly-scheduled hardware sales round-up. This weekend, we spotted an ASRock Z97 Extreme4 board marked down to $130, 27" Acer IPS panel for $195, and Tt eSports Poseidon Z keyboard for $70.
Thermaltake's "Tt eSports" division has been steadily expanding its arsenal of gaming accessories since the brand's launch. After reviewing the Poseidon Z keyboard -- the first Kailh-equipped board we've tested -- it's fair to say that Tt eSports has potential in the gaming market. The brand has primarily centered its strategy upon affordable products to the competitive and streaming crowd, mainly offering products like LAN backpacks (for keyboards), mouse pads, headsets, eSports team jackets, and now keycaps.
We're reviewing Thermaltake's "Tt eSports Metal Caps" accessory today, a collection of mechanical keyboard keycaps to provide a sturdier, more resolute feel to key presses.
Computers can get gross. We've already posted disturbing, NSFL before-and-after photos of preventative maintenance for extremely dusty, uncleaned PC internals; now it's time to look at the only component to accumulate more human filth than the inside of a power supply -- keyboards.
Luckily, cleaning keyboards isn't overly difficult by comparison. Sometimes. Then again, we've all seen the decade-old boards that are caked in brown fuzz, and I'm not so sure I'd even bother cleaning something like that.
Mechanical keyboards have the advantage of easily-removed keycaps and wider spacing between the keys. With the right tools and about 30 minutes of time, a dirty mechanical board can be restored to mostly pristine conditions. In this quick guide, we'll cover the basics of cleaning a mechanical keyboard by removing the keycaps, applying some putty, compressed air, and adding a bit of elbow grease.
That's a big claim for Logitech to make -- "today [we] introduced the fastest gaming mouse ever made," the email read. The company has been in the gaming mouse business for a long time now, to the point where it almost seems like they've got an evil headquarters for devious device testing. Actually, Logitech has a Switzerland-based test facility with some of the most sophisticated mouse and keyboard testing methodologies and equipment we've ever seen.
The new Logitech G402 "Hyperion Fury" mouse tracks at a reported 500 IPS (inches per second), making it one of the fastest -- if not the fastest -- gaming mice we've ever seen. This puts the G402 at 200 IPS above the G502 Proteus Core that we posted about in April, and then later got hands-on with at PAX East. The company notes that the mouse took over three years of R&D to achieve its tracking speeds and precision.
The mechanical keyboard market seems to become more crowded each day. Recently, Tesoro made their keyboards available in North America, adding yet another brand to the myriad of boards on market. One of these keyboards is an RGB-backlit keyboard with Kailh mechanical switches, shipping under Tesoro’s branding as “Lobera Supreme” -- the Lobera being a mythological sword.
In the beginning, there was ENIAC. It was programmable and it was good… OK -- so it was large, bulky, couldn’t play anything fun, and had no use for any of these featured items, but without it we wouldn't be here today. This week we are focusing on peripherals with a CLC at $58, 4 case fans for $5, a laser gaming mouse at $40, and a Plantronics 780 for only $45. Continue to check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds for more interesting deals throughout the week. Also subscribe to our YouTube channel for build tips and product reviews as they happen.
We've been recommending Plantronics' GameCom 780 headset alongside our PC builds for a few years now, generally calling it the "best value for gamers." The 780 has fluctuated between the $50 and $80 price range, and at either end of that spectrum, it has always dominated as a high-endurance, high-performing solution for gaming audio and input. Our original review 780 is still functional, and that's after nearly two years of constant use -- the longest time I've ever had a headset last.
Plantronics recently contacted us about a GameCom 788 refresher of the original 780. There haven't been any changes to the audio drivers and underlying audio tech, so it's all aesthetics and marketing. The 788 ships alongside updated Windows 8/8.1 compatibility, joined by most of Plantronics' other audio products.
In this review and hands-on with Plantronics' GameCom 788, we look at the headset's sound quality, build quality, comfort, and usefulness in gaming.
We're back with another mouse review, this time from a manufacturer not usually (or ever, really) known for their gaming mice: Rosewill. Admittedly, this review comes in part because of an urgently needed mouse replacement caused by the mechanical failure of a certain Genius Deathtaker, so anything that can left-click is a definite improvement, but we'll try to give some honest pros and cons.
Mechanical keyboards prevailed during the early days of the world's post-typewriter transition; some of IBM's earlier pieces -- like the buckling spring Model M -- have now become highly sought-after items in the world of keyboard enthusiasm. Mechanical keyboard evangelists would likely point-out that we didn't know how good we had it, but with time, membrane and other cheap keyboards rapidly became the norm. As gaming and PC hardware interest has kicked up, we've seen a revitalized focus on high-quality mechanical keyboards; this was discussed in more detail in our recent Rosewill RK-9100xBBR Apollo review.
Of late, we've primarily discussed keyboards using Cherry's somewhat ubiquitous MX switches. The MX switches are best-known for their color coding -- blue liked by typists, brown and red switches often celebrated by gamers, black for medium stiffness, and so forth. Although MX is arguably the most prevalent in today's marketplace, what with Corsair pushing it so hard (and Cooler Master... and Rosewill), there are plenty of other switch suppliers out there. One of them is Kailh ("Kaihua"), who've been making some of the most accurate Cherry MX clones since Cherry's patent expired. When we met with Thermaltake about their new Poseidon Z keyboard this year, we were told that they were "manufacturing their own switches" for the new keyboard -- ultimately, this meant that the company would be sourcing supply from Kailh. Not quite in-house, but Thermaltake staff were proud of themselves for deviating from Cherry. I can't say I blame them -- competition is a good thing.
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