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Saitek PC Gaming Keyboard - Page 2 of 4


 

SST SOFTWARE
Saitek Smart Technology (SST) is a clean and intuitive program that allows you to record various keystrokes to each of the nine buttons in three different states (un-shifted, mode A and mode B). This provides you with 27 potential custom commands. Very elaborate macros can even be recorded with so much control that you can even specify how much time should elapse between key presses.

I'll not dig into the details of SST in this review as it's been well covered in many other reviews (see Google). Suffice it to say, SST works well, is highly customizable and is very well documented via HTML help files on the CD. I did have a few minor gripes in that some keystrokes that I recorded such as Windows Key + E, CTRL+ESC, and CTRL+ALT+DELETE either didn't work at all when assigned to a key on the Command Pad or had a noticeable delay before their resulting action took place. While gaming, however, I had no gripes at all as the Command Pad always worked perfectly.


SST System Tray menu

A really nice touch is that the SST software provides you with the ability to print out your configurations. So, if your system ever gets hosed you can at least have printed out backups of all your game configs.
 

Game Config Printout

IMPRESSIONS
It should go without saying that keyboard preference is a very subjective topic and no single keyboard will ever be a "one-size-fits-all". Now that we're clear on that I'll just let you know what my personal impressions were about this keyboard.

The RJ-45 connection between the Command Pad and the keyboard seemed like a curious choice. Some may wonder why a USB connection wasn't used and while I don't have an answer I would venture to bet that it's because the Command Pad will not function as a stand-alone unit.

Another curiosity is that the shift mode buttons on the Command Pad are not illuminated. This wasn't a big deal to me as I never used more than nine commands per game anyway.
 

Command Pad's RJ-45 Connector

In short, it's one of the best keyboards that I've ever used. Until I began using the Saitek PC Gaming Keyboard my favorite was the Logitech Cordless Elite keyboard (famous in the MX Duo package with the MX700 mouse). The Saitek keyboard has every bit the quality feel as the Logitech keyboard, if not more so. I particularly liked the feel of the key press action on the Saitek. It is a bit softer than the Logitech but not "squishy" at all. There is still very good response but with practically no noise. The Saitek PC Gaming Keyboard is one of the quietest keyboards I've used. The layout of the keys is also very standard so you don't have to adjust to any funky key placement.

The build quality of this keyboard was impressive. Despite how much the housing looks like brushed steel it is, in fact, plastic. I'm no materials expert but it has a very sturdy and durable feel to it. I'd compare it to the newer highly durable plastics being used on many of the current digital cameras.

There are four hex bolts (one on each corner) as well as many other retaining screws on the bottom that keep everything firmly in place. The hex bolts also add a neat industrial appearance to the keyboard itself. For those that don't know you can remove these with an Allen wrench (more on that in just a bit).
 

Hex Bolts On Corners

The blue LED lighting is obviously one of the calling cards for this keyboard and I naturally liked it. Saitek went a few steps further though by allowing you three lighting modes. There is a single toggle button that switches between an off mode as well as dim and bright modes. The difference between dim and bright isn't great but it is noticeable and the option is nice to have.

Volume And Brightness Toggle Buttons

The blue LED effect is well done. The lighting is very uniform and looks really cool. While it won't light up the characters on the keys (they keys are opaque), there is plenty of definition for all but the most blatant hunt-and-peckers out there to keep your bearings in a dark room. :)

Mmm...Glowy



Next Page: Disassembly

 

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