The series continues as we move away from the headset and get into the primary piece of equipment that any PC gamer needs: the keyboard. Specifically the Razer Marauder Gaming Keyboard.
The first thing that sticks out with this keyboard is the size of it. It is compact, which means less space is taken up on your desk, giving you more room to work with for whatever needs to be on your work/game space. While everyone has their own preferences as to design and layout of a keyboard, Razer has designed this to work for everyone, whether you are gaming or simply in need of a durable keyboard that will last you for any reason.
The keyboard itself is quite durable and sturdy, having actually survived a tumble from my desk accidentally as I shifted things around in order to connect it up to my system. The keys themselves have laser-etched symbols on them which light up blue if you opt to plug in the second of a dual-USB connection, one of which uses the same strong braided wire that the headset used. While you can keep the second plug out of the system if you don't want it to light up, it is extremely difficult to read the keys otherwise. It seems like an option, but it really is a necessity, which means you will need two USB connections on your system that are side-by-side on the tower due to the cable design at the end of it. It could be considered a mild inconvenience, but that would be stretching to look for a problem.
The primary addition to this keyboard that Razer has added is what is known as the APM (Actions-per-minute) system, basically providing performance statistics back to you in real-time by changing the hues of color to give you an optimal gaming experience and environment. Of course, what gaming keyboard wouldn't be complete without adding in macro programming, which can be done on-the-fly and is quite accurate.
As for general use, I have found that the keyboard is quite comfortable. The keys themselves have a soft, smooth feel to them, but are very sensitive, and I cannot stress this enough. Typing up reviews and news pieces on our site has been a challenge as pressing a key for just a touch too long can result in not just a double-stroke, but a triple-stroke. It is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. I did not experience this when I was actually playing a game, thankfully, so it seems to be limited to document typing.
One part of the layout that I like is that there is an ergonomically designed wrist rest that will help avoid muscle cramping and pain in your joints. It's very subtle, but a great design that you may not even notice right out of the box. While it seems to work a little better when you don't elevate the keyboard using the stands underneath the keyboard itself, it still does well if you prefer to have it elevated.
There are a couple of design issues that I have with the condensed keyboard which are mainly unavoidable given the design. The biggest one is the movement of the cursor keys into the numerical pad. The issue with this is that if you want to use the cursors, you have to turn off the Num Lock and vice versa if you want to use the numerical pad. Also, the standard six-key combination that includes Insert, Delete, Home, etc. are all on the top part of the numerical pad, which also are disabled if the Num Lock is on. If you can get by these little problems, then it's smooth sailing.
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