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Jaron

Anyone Use Gaming Keypads?

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I'm not talking full keyboards, I mean gaming keypads like the Nostromo and G13. Right now I'm mainly looking between the Logitech G13 and the Razer Orbweaver. I'm leaning toward the Orbweaver but I have some questions/concerns about each that I'd rather have answered before I buy one. I've searched the forum, but nothing has answered the specific questions I have. The biggest problem is that I can't find any in local stores to get a physical feel for them.

 

Concerns about the G13:

Default Hand position. - I'm not sure I like the idea of having the "home row" at the top. It seems it would be better to have your fingers on the two middle rows so that I can reach up and down for the extra keys. I'm not sure how you're supposed to get to the bottom row of keys, unless they're intended for your thumb.

Analog Stick - From the look of this, it would appear that it hits the side of your thumb rather than the pad. Does anyone find that placement/angle awkward to use?

Non-Adjustable - Pretty self-explanatory.

 

Concerns about Orbweaver:

Cost - I'm not keen on spending $130 if I don't have to. And If I get one I want the Stealth model, because MX Blue switches are far too noisy, and right now that's only available direct from Razer, meaning no sale prices.

How Adjustable Is It - I've looked at a Tartarus, but the palm rest can only be fully extended or retracted. There's no halfway distance. Is this the same case on the Orbweaver?

Synapse - I've read a few horror stories about Synapse being online only and about having to log in every time you want to use it. How bad is it? Also I've read that Logitech Game Software conflicts with Synapse. I've got a Logitech MX Revolution mouse that uses the older SetPoint software. Will Synapse cause problems with it?

 

As I said, right now I'm leaning for the Orbweaver ( the Tartarus is ok, but I really want that fourth row of keys. ) I've tried a Tartarus at a store and I like the placement and angle of the hat-switch ( compared to the flatter look of the G13, ) and I like the space bar paddle ( just flick your thumb down without worries of hunting for a button. ) The Orbweaver also looks more adjustable to fit my hand. And finally I like that the "home row" is in the middle of the pad, not at the very top ( I'm not sure how Logitech figures is the best way to use that bottom row of keys on the G13. )

 

However, if the Orbweaver messes up my mouse, I'll go for the G13 and hope for the best. The best I can think of now is to buy a Razer Tartarus from a local store, install the software, and see what hppens. If it breaks my mouse, then I return the Tartarus and order th G13.

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I have been using the same Nostromo n52 now for a decade. I literally can't play games without it anymore.  I have never used the keyboard to play ANY MMO- the n52 is all I know.  I have a friend who bought the G13, and he immediately disliked it once he got it home and began trying to use it.  I've not heard of the other one you're considering, but I haven't looked at them since my 10 year old n52 still works brilliantly.

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From what I've read, it seems the older Nostromos were better than the newer ones, so still using one over 10 years seems to confirm that. It's since been replaced by the Tartarus ( you lose the scroll wheel but gain another key. ) I've got an old MS Sidewinder Strategic Commander I'd love to use, but the drivers don't work for anything past WinXP.

 

I could get a used Nostromo off eBay, and that would let me use the older legacy drivers instead of Synapse and risk mousing conflicts. But then the question is how long those legacy drivers will still work if I want to keep the thing even five years.

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Well, I got a Razer Tartarus last night from Best Buy and I started messing around with it.  It will take a little brain reprogramming, but I like the results so far.  Synapse hasn't caused any problems with SetPoint and other than another process running in the background I haven't noticed anything bad about it.  It's not the fastest software to set up, but it seems pretty robust.  You can even have a normal Windows profile and map things like Windows shortcuts, application launchers, even Windows 8 Charm bar tasks.

 

I finished mapping Lion's Arch on a few of my characters to get a feel for the thing.  Then I went through the story instance to retake Claw Island without looking down at my left hand once.  I really like how it arranges the keys in a normal grid, not in offset rows like a normal keyboard.  It makes it much quicker and surer to return your fingers to "home row."  I've put numbers 1 - 5 on the top row ( though they run R-to-L so it's a little different, ) and the six movement keys on the bottom two ( I sometimes use Q and E for turning, but I might drop those and go exclusively to the mouse for that. ) This leaves four keys on the edges for Inventory, Hero panel, Map, and F and weapon swap is on the other thumb button.  I used the hat-switch to swap to different key maps to get to skills 6 - 10 and F1 - F4 on the keypad.  But I found that was a little cumbersome since that required shifting my hand a bit.  So I mapped  Shift, Ctrl, and Alt to my mouse and mapped 6 - 10 in the game to Shift+1 - 5 and F1 - F4 to Ctrl+1 - 4.  With this I can hit every key needed in combat without changing key mapping or profiles. ( I just wish you could map keys for specific dodge directions. )

 

My one complaint about it so far is it's almost impossible to hit the hat-switch corners without going through the adjacent positions first.  My old Sidewinder 3D Pro joystick also had an 8-way hat and I never had this problem.  I think it just has a longer throw than the Tartarus.  It means I lose four keys I was planning on, but I can work with it.

 

This encourages me about the Orbweaver, and I could definitely use the five extra keys.  I see a few of the normal ones on eBay for about $80.  I might get one of the loud ones then swap the MX Blues for Browns to get it quiet.  Now I just need to price out MX switch singletons and where to get them.

 

Jerron, in searching the forum before posting this thread I see you were considering a Nostromo a few years ago.  I can honestly say that a keypad is a nice addition if you have the disposable income for one.

Edited by Jaron

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Well, I traded in my Tartarus for the Orbweaver Stealth a few weeks ago.  I don't regret it ( much. )  I do like having the extra row of keys.  But even more I like the size adjustments.  The wrist pad has multiple stops forward and back and so does the thumb section.  The palm rest can be set to full tilt back or forward, or left floating to rotate with you.  The backlighting is much more subtle: the Orbweaver has individually lit keycaps while the Tartarus lit the whole pad so it filtered through the gaps between keys.

 

I'm still not a fan that it cost so much. :(

 

This has pretty much assured the next mouse I get will be a Razer.  Logitech still hasn't released anything that can replace my MX Revolution.  Meanwhile the Synapse software lets multiple Razer devices communicate together so hitting a button on one could swap the keymap on another.  Logitech mice are much more comfortable for my hand than Razer, but for that extra functionality I think I can live with it.  I will really miss my MX scroll wheel though.

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I have a Logitech G13 gaming pad and a G300 mouse.  Through the Logitech gaming software they can modify each other and share profiles as well.  It makes things very nice.

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