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back to article Six of the best gaming keyboard and mouse combos

I would like to think my gaming skills make me invincible but if I ever do get pwned it’s always easiest to blame the hardware. In the case of the keyboards and mice I’m reviewing, it might be difficult to put forward a convincing argument that they are to blame, as they are all developed to make the very best of my gaming …

citóg

Article mentioned left handers once, would be nice to know other than the one that offered no lefty support how the others fare compared to each other?

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Re: citóg

Gave up using a mouse left handed about 25 ago when workstations with mice were rare, and I always had to change the system config to get them to work for lefties and was shouted at by righties when I left them that way...

It took me about a week to get used to the idea, and I've never gone back, mainly because I found it more useful to be able to type with my left while using the mouse in my right....

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Re: citóg

I'm right handed but started using left handed keyboards >10 years ago to deal with mouse RSI. Having the number pad on the left moves the mouse closer to the centre line and that killed the RSI almost overnight. It surprises me so few gaming keyboards move the keypad out of the way of the mouse, apart from lowering fatigue&physical stress it must give some performance advantage as well.

Given the shocking cost of normal left handed keyboards, when my small stock of spares all die that STRIKE7 (or some descendant with a detachable pad) will be very tempting.

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Re: citóg

I'm right-handed, but an accident of history led me to mousing left-handed, and that's what I still do.

(It was an obscure all-in-one computer that ejected 5.25 floppies from the right side, clashing with conventional mouse use.)

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Re: citóg

Another right handed left mouse one here. My dressage trainer made me switch the mouse to the left. Helped my riding and less back pain.

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Re: citóg

I've been using a razer deathadder left-handed version for two years now, works really well (also a Linux user, and it works without flaw there using razercfg to set profiles)

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Re: citóg

Steve,

quite, one is mostly* ambidextrous, I gave up using right-handed rodents circa 20 years ago due to to RSI, have used wacom tablets ever since.

The reaction from right-ies when I have the wacom pen in my left hand and a fountain pen in my right hand at the same time is truly a sight to behold...

* can write backwards with my left hand but not forwards for some bizarre reason

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Re: citóg

@Paul Shirley

Not a gaming specialised product, though mine (and yes, I'm left handed) gets used for games as well as everything else - but for my own RSI, this was absolutely unbeatable:

http://www.evoluent.com/

They do left and right handed, wired and wireless - but the real difference is the hand position. It, for me at least, totally removed the stresses compounding RSI. I commend a viewing, and consideration for those it might serve, to the house :-).

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Mushroom

Hmmm

I play FPSs with an cheap Logitech basic keyboard and a Microsoft mouse that's easily more than ten years old. They haven't impaired my play yet (although there may be a few iffy diseases brewing in the keyboard).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm @Mahatma Coat

"They haven't impaired my play yet ..."

OK, but you didn't actually say whether you started out any good ;)

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Re: Hmmm

This doesn't surprise me, recently I got so fed up with keyboards missing key presses I went for a Mechanical one. Build quality on keyboards for me has gone downhill and even the ones at work I tend to replace every few months when they start requiring a hammer to register certain key presses.

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Re: Hmmm

I use an old microsoft intellimouse optical i bought for $80 more than 10 years ago. Still the nicest scroll wheel I've found, and I've grown too accustomed to the size and shape to contemplate a different mouse. Pity about the awkward positions of buttons 4 and 5.

Keyboard was nicked from a Dell GX520, it's got media buttons and a volume knob, plus some internet buttons I don't use.

Mouse mat could end up a family heirloom, has to be at least 20 years old now. Probably what I should replace first, although I doubt changing any of my equipment would improve my gaming in the slightest.

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Re: Hmmm

I've always used a standard black Logitech keyboard with no frills. It might not be mechanical but the keys feel nice and firm and you always know if you've pressed them (not like some laptop or thin keyboards) and it is built to last. Had my current one for nearly ten years and it probably cost me under £5. I am curious about mechanical keyboards, and might eventually invest.

In terms of mice I find many gaming ones are just trying too hard. They're too heavy or too bulky or not particularly ergonomic. So long as it has a few extra buttons and scroll wheel and is fairly accurate, then it does the job. All of the gaming mice posted here look monstrous. I wonder if they're more about parting fools with their money in a similar vein to sports cars, rather than about actual usability.

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Re: Hmmm @Mahatma Coat

OK, but you didn't actually say whether you started out any good ;)

I started out great and have improved with practice :)

I still play Quake III quite often (yes, I am that sad) and can complete all but the final level on maximum difficulty. To me this says that $100s spent on special keyboards and mice is possibly not a good return on investment.

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Re: Hmmm

Don't know what you do to keyboards, but I'd say that's the exception rather than the rule

Mechanical parts are usually a point of failure in electronics

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Not an advert, but your selections are ridiculously overpriced. Review this one...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Black-USB-illuminated-LED-PC-Gaming-Keyboard-and-Mouse-Set-With-Iron-Weights-/141162993204?pt=UK_Computing_Keyboard_Mouse_Bundles&hash=item20ddf85634

£30 with clicky clacky keys that can be replaced with white ones to highlight those you want, 5 mouse buttons, DPI of 600/1200/1800/2500, smooth and responsive... Happily been gaming with it for over a year (I'm not the seller - but I think I might have got it from this guy tho).

Although, having said that, I did like the Mad Catz stuff but the price made me want to cry.

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That's not a mechanical keyboard. Cherry keycaps or GTFO.

Also no mention of N-Key rollover or similar.

You're right that the prices are silly, however. Still, these keyboards are aimed at people who don't know any better and are impressed by LCDs and the like. Keyboards from companies like Ducky, Filco are better but less flashy and a little less pricey (though still expensive).

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re: That's not a mechanical keyboard. Cherry keycaps or GTFO.

Buckling springs also count...

(possibly not most people's first choice for games though)

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Anonymous Coward

I have a Razor mouse. It's the perfect shape for me. Unfortunately the middle click only works 50% of the time and the crappy control panel thing now seems to require that I create a Razor account in order to change the mouse settings.

I have a Steel Series mechanical board. It is very comfortable to type on. Unfortunately it has a known defect that means you type "like this" and get "liiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkkeeeeeee ttttttthhhhhhhiiiiss". Their RMA process seemed to be simply to ignore my emails.

I have a Mad Catz (ex Saitek) joystick. The hardware is awesome. Unfortunately the drivers haven't been updated since 1862 and I have had to uninstall my USB3 controller for it work.

I have a Steel Series mouse mat. It's huge. Unfortunately you have to use it upside down otherwise the logo on the mat rubs off and gums the mouse up.

Gamer brands are 90% marketing and 10% quality, avoid them if you possibly can. You'll you'll do just as well with an IBM model M and an intellimouse 3.0....

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Anonymous Coward

"The crappy control panel thing now seems to require that I create a Razor account in order to change the mouse settings"

Whatever odious **** in marketing or sales dictated this sort of blatantly contrived and self-serving requirement ought to be shot.

Seriously, what an obnoxiously weaselish attempt to passive-aggressively force their paying customers into handing over their personal details by holding their paid-for hardware to ransom.

I remember hearing about this a few years ago. Are there still companies out there doing this? (Suspecting that the answer is sadly going to be "yes, lots".)

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Yup, I'm still running mine on an older driver version. I signed up with bullsh*t details, but found that the new driver was pants at any time, with the amount of calling home that it did.

So I won't be buying a Razor again. I don't find the tracking that good on the admittedly non-optimal surface I have, and the middle button is way too stiff. Also, since I have small lady hands, it's too big to be comfortable.

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Anonymous Coward

The STRIKE7 key action is horrible spongy rubber-membrane naffness. Not acceptable on a KB that price. I chucked mine and replaced with a Ducky Shine 3 which (gratuitously naff (optional)) lighting effects aside) is an excellent, compact mechanical keyboard. Clickety-click.

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I would really like a decent gaming mouse and keyboard

But I don't want my home-office to look like the bedroom of a spotty teenager.

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Re: I would really like a decent gaming mouse and keyboard

Allow me to recommend the Ducky Shine range of keyboards. They're not cheap, but mine looks simple, black and restrained. Turn it on and you get wonderful backlighting, mechanical keys (Cherry MX brown in mine), programmable macros etc. Turn it off, and it goes back to being a simple and clean-looking keyboard.

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Re: I would really like a decent gaming mouse and keyboard

+1 for the ducky keyboards.

Rock solid keyboards which are pleasant to type on. I could happily live without the back-lighting but whatever - it's easy enough to switch off.

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Logitech products last forever

Maybe in your reality. I had a succession of Logitech gaming mice, the right-click died on all of them. Now using a Mad Catz MMO7, even though I don't play MMOs (the extra buttons are still useful) which has lasted much better and is almost big enough for my hand.

None of the others even get close.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not a gamer but my mice travel a lot, and I have as yet to find a better mouse than the Logitech Anywhere MX (other than it's predecessor which is still in use by someone else in one of our offices).

When you pick it up it tells you if you have enough battery, and it even works on glass tables.

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Always wary of buying expensive keyboards.

I am not a nail biter and have rather hard fingernails so the keycaps tend to wear out very quickly. Especially the illuminated ones as they are usually coated over clear plastic. Looks very shabby then.

Amazingly, cheap keyboards just never seem to wear out like the expensive ones do.

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Re: Always wary of buying expensive keyboards.

>Amazingly, cheap keyboards just never seem to wear out like the expensive ones do.

Makes for great business...the expensive ones have higher profit margins.

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Re: Always wary of buying expensive keyboards.

However, the downside to that business model is ...once bitten, twice shy.

Ahhh another £5 keyboard it is then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Always wary of buying expensive keyboards.

I am not a nail biter and have rather hard fingernails so the keycaps tend to wear out very quickly

Sounds like you know the solution already :)

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One True Mouse

Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 2

The silver one, wired, with two large thumb buttons on the side.

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Re: One True Mouse

The Intellimouse Explorer 2 is indeed (in my view) an excellent mouse, and I have several in use. But they do have one key flaw - the USB connector wiring cable is rather weak, and liable to break with anything more than very light desktop use.

I did pick up a batch directly from the Microsoft Store a couple of years ago, but I'm down to the last few.

My main PC has the bluetooth variant, which avoids the cabling flaw (along with the matching MS keyboard), but that has also been discontinued (indeed, decent bluetooth keyboard/mouse combos seem incredibly rare). And mine is getting rather worn (the battery covers are held on with sellotape & blutack), and I'm dreading the day they finally pack up completely.

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K70 + RAT 5

Is my current setup. It's awesome. The K70 is a wonderful keyboard which meets my needs very well. I've had it a few months so far and it's still running fine. I love my RAT 5 mouse too. It's just so comfortable to hold once I had adjusted it to the right length.

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Re: K70 + RAT 5

Moved from an ancient Razer Diamondback to a RAT 5 a few months ago. I thought I was happy with my mouse until I used the RAT. It looks weird, but once adjusted fits my fairly smallish hands perfectly.

Next on the list is a new keyboard to replace my long-suffering Microsoft multi-media board. I was thinking a K70, so seeing a +1 for it here is comforting.

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Oh I love my K70

Lovely keyboard - but a thing of beauty.

I 'game' - but don't want some neon monstrosity. Matte black K70, Cherry reds, lights off - perfect.

My mouse is a Rat9. I *like* it, but ridiculously short battery life (daily swap), is a more than a little annoying. Next time, one with a tail.

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Re: Oh I love my K70

I want something with a discreet backlight, otherwise I'd use the same Das Keyboard (Cherry Red switches) I favour at work.

Why a backlight? So I can type/game/whatever without having the room lights on and disturbing my family if time runs away with me.

Would you recommend the K70 or should I (as planned) go ahead with a Ducky Channel model, again with the Red switches?

(I have a RAT9 at work - totally agree regarding battery life).

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I call shenanigans

I'm a daily reader of registers, but today was the day that my knowledge was great enough to sniff out shenanigans.

Page two, "Logitech...lasts forever". Hardly. the writers is either trying to flog Logitech input devices or doesn't actually use them to have a valid opinion.

Myself, I've bought Logitech due to their forward thought in their products, but I've been incredibly disappointed in the quality and longevity. I'm on my second G15 keyboard, the first lost all of its paint off of the main keys in 2 months and the second one, though the paint is decent, can't alt tab more than once and only half of the keys light up on the keyboard.

I'm also a not so proud owner of a G500 mouse. It's nice, being cordless and wired but it can't hold any profile memory beyond the 6 months point, and the software suite often bugs out and requires restarting to get my additional buttons to remember what they were told to do. even deleting the additional profiles and leaving only default doesn't prove fruitful. This is well documented on forums and Logitech does nothing to address product short comings. Even though the software has auto update, there are never any updates to solve the issues.

I've had two mx500 mice, both of them had failures to the main buttons after 2 years of use.

I've had multiple Logitech joysticks including their neat wireless one which would never calibrate with any sort of accuracy and always pulled to the left. The increments were HUGE so you could never aim accurately.

The best mouse I've ever owned was the two button roller ball from Microsoft and then the two button roller ball with scrolling wheel. I used that thing for over 6 years before being suckered into Logitech shinny additional buttons and side ways scrolling, oh and that no longer registers as anything as well.

My thoughts on Logitech are: they make mid level peripherals, spotty software that doesn't support the peripherals capabilities, better than the straight from china junk, if you actually use the item it will just brake down, stay away from it.

Apparently I gave Logitech the benefit of the doubt, over 5 times, but honestly your hundreds of dollars are better spent elsewhere.

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Re: I call shenanigans

Indeed. I had multiple Logitech gaming mice over the years and one gaming keyboard.

All the mice failed in exactly the same way, an internal break in the USB cable, probably because they are shipped with the cable folded up so tightly in the packaging that the cable's already damaged before you get to even use it. Assumably to make the packaging smaller.

The keyboard, just stopped responding one day. I swapped to Roccat products and not had any issues since.

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Re: I call shenanigans

I've heard not-so-good comments about a lot of Logitech gear in the last few years. My older Logitech gear is still in good condition and works like new, but I notice the newer gear has finish (wear) problems and the newer trackballs use no-name switches as opposed to Omron. In 10+ years, I've had 1 switch fail and no other problems. The two trackballs I bought in the last year both are exhibiting excessive wear of the finish, but no hardware issues, yet. I wouldn't touch their software with a 10 meter virtual pole, it's utter $#!^. That said, I will continue to buy the Marble Mouse (the symmetrical trackball). For me, it is far superior to any mouse, it fits my hand well, it's always in position, it doesn't cause wrist/arm fatigue, and you can swap it left/right handed based on the user. Its one failing is the lack of a (non-virtual) middle button and no scroll wheel. Both of which can be emulated with AutoHotKey (with varying degrees of success, depending on the game/software being used).

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Re: I call shenanigans

Page two, "Logitech...lasts forever". Hardly...

I had an excellent Logitech mouse and after about two years the right button died. I phoned Logitech UK up - luckily I still had the receipt from PC World proving it was less than three years old. So I emailed a copy of to them, and they sent me a brand new mouse.

Logitech (even here in the UK) hold to a three year warranty, and have great customer service.

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Re: I call shenanigans

I had a Logitech G7 that lasted me 3 years before the batteries started failing, followed by a G5 that lasted 4 years, but when I came to replace that I found they no longer make an equivalent mouse - they all have ridiculous grips, where is the classic "large logitech" shape of the mx518, G5/7?

Instead I went with the G400, which seems the current closest. It's cheap and nasty and breaks with any moderate amount of abuse. I've been through three of them in a year and a half (two warranty replacements). At least it is cheap, £25 or so.

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Cherry Keys

Interesting to see that many of these keyboards are using Cherry mechanical keys.

They look a bit pricey though, however there is a benefit to using quality components and I can testify to the longevity of the Cherry keys; my 16 year old son is a keen FPS player and his weapon of choice is an ancient Cherry keyboard that is older than he is (my wife stopped using it about five years ago because it is beige and it took up too much desk space, she's had two keyboards since then).

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"Logitech products last forever... I want to be sure I’m not going to have to replace my mouse for the next five years, I find Logitech is a safe bet."

Unfortunately I find the opposite. If I want the right mouse button to die within 2 years then Logitech is the brand of choice. Not that I can find a decent alternative who make mice that don't look like the demented offspring of a Geiger Alien and a T-1000 so I'm usually stuck with them.

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No love for Mac gamers

I'll lay money that none of the above have support for the Fruity One (stop sniggering!). Whilst only an occasional gamer, I'd love a decent keyboard/mouse combo that I could use. My son gave me his old CM Storm Inferno mouse (he knackered one of the buttons) which beats the pants off of a Magic Mouse for gaming but it's infuriating not to be able to makes use of those lovely extra buttons.

As for keyboards, don't get me going on Apple's keyboard, which is gorgeous to type on and use for my "normal" activities but is about as much use as Anne Frank's drum kit when it comes to mashing WASD. Playing Half Life 2: Deathmatch with my son is an exercise in futility. The bugger keeps sneaking up on me and shooting me in the back. I mean, what way is that to treat your old man?

=:~)

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Re: No love for Mac gamers

While not a mac user, I am a Linux user, so equally unable to program keyboards that require win soft, but I can recommend a keyboard called "Xtrfy XG1-R LED" (rebranded skydigital korean board), the macro keys are entirely programmed with the keyboard itself, not software, which means they'll work fine for both Linux and Mac. Also it doesn't have any win-logo keys, which floats my boat. Been using mine for like half a year now, works really well, love typing on it (love red switches).

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: No love for Mac gamers

I have a Logitech G19 (not the S version) and it does support the Mac. I also have a Logitech wireless mouse (can't remember the model number) which has 7 buttons which I use with my Macbook Pro all the time.

Looking at the review, I feel that it was very lacking, I don't remember it mentioning the programmable keys, or the powered 2 port USB hub built into the back of the keyboard.

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Re: No love for Mac gamers

Ooh, ooh! I see a G19S in my future! Just checked and it has Mac support.

Just don't tell 'er indoors—she'd give me serious verbals for dropping £150-odd on a frickin' keyboard.

=:~)

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Not enough buttons!

Had a Razer Naga, the buttons became unreliable - a click became 10, and holding the button down was read as mashing it.

Replaced it with a Logitech g600.

Keyboard-wise I use a basic cheap keyboard, but have a pad for my left hand so I hardly have to touch the main keyboard. Originally a Nostromo, now a Logitech G13 - the little LCD is invaluable for it's temperature readouts. Shame LCDStudio was discontinued.

I hadn't intended to go all Logi, it just turned out that way.

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The best gaming keyboard I've ever used

The best gaming keyboard I've ever used is a 1985 IBM model M with a UK key layout. It has indestructible keys that consistently respond to the same amount of pressure, it has no windows key that you can accidentally click.

I'm thinking of giving it this upgrade to make it officially a gaming keyboard...

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