Space Devilfish

Review

posted 3/12/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
Aside from having a very unique name, Idizm’s Space Devilfish also has the benefit of featuring a very unique and ergonomic design that looks to replace your keyboard. Does this necessarily equate to a good product or should it be tossed into the bin of failed innovations? While you may want to hold on to that keyboard for a little while longer, we suggest you take a moment to notice this innovation.

You may be wondering about the strange name and from our best estimates, it was meant to coincide with the design. In some ways the device looks like a flattened sting ray which in some parts of the world, is called a devil fish. Oddly enough this design proved to be pretty ergonomic and as a whole, really comfortable and familiar.

The Devilfish is meant to cater to your left hand while the right hand is occupied with your mouse. While this product may seem to be marketed more towards FPS fans, there’s actually a use for it outside of the fun and gun realm. Each of the unit’s 36 buttons can be programmed to do a wide array of things. From single-key inputs, to text macros, to keyboard inputs, it essentially provides you with shortcuts for all of your favorite keyboard functions. Best of all, every individual button on the unit can be programmed to do anything you’d like in any program you’d like.

The unit itself is constructed of plastic and although it felt weak and cheap at first, it turned out to be pretty durable. We “accidentally” dropped the unit on our hardwood floors a few times throughout the duration of our review and it survived relatively unscathed. Because it is constructed of plastic, it’s relatively lightweight and won’t prove to be too much of a burden. The underside of the unit contains plastic clamps that are made so that you can wear the unit on your thigh. While the unit can also be placed on a table, we found that wearing the unit was actually the most comfortable way to go.

In a bold move, the unit features force feedback functionality. We had a difficult time getting it to work properly in many of our games so we can only imagine its effect. It’s a real shame too; our thighs could have really used a nice vibrating massage.

The unit connects to your PC via-USB and can actually work in conjunction with your keyboard. This means that it doesn’t override the functions of your keyboard. So let’s say you’re using your Devilfish in Medal of Honor and your buddy types you a message. You’re still able to lean over to your keyboard and type him a message without disrupting the Devilfish.

The layout of the unit itself is very FPS friendly. The buttons that were meant to replace the WSAD keys have been expanded and laid out in such a way as to be more comfortable for your fingers. The forward and backward keys, the O and the T, are oriented vertically to give your fingers a better feel for the movement. The arrangement of the surrounding buttons were nice enough to cater to more advanced functions of first person shooters, such as the lean, reload and activate functions.

In order to map out the buttons you’ll have to boot up the included profiler function. Essentially you tell the program which game you want to program the buttons for and enter it into its memory. After that, mapping out keys is as simple as clicking the button on the virtual layout of the unit and assigning it a function. What really hurt this program was the lack of included presets. We would have really loved it had the designers decided to add further support by providing their own presets for popular shooters such as Unreal Tournament 2003 or Medal of Honor Allied Assault. Without the inclusion of presets, you’ll have to program each and every individual function for every game you wish to use the Devilfish with. As you’ll soon find out, entering the usual WASD walk/strafe functions for every single game becomes frustrating rather quickly.
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