Are Premium Gaming Peripherals Worth Your Money?

Gamepad: Saitek Cyborg Command Unit

Gamepads are a unique beast. Either you use one or you don't. In this case, there's no "low-end product everyone has" to compare higher-end gamepads against. Most gamers simply don't use one. However, there are those that swear by them, so it was worth a look to see whether they're essential for the games you're likely to play.

Saitek's offering in the gamepad space is its Cyborg Command Unit, a $30 USB device that offloads some commonly-used buttons, so that you can perform functions in your favorite games with a single hand. The Command Unit is clearly designed for use with your left hand, as the thumb stick is on the right side of the device. Next to the thumb stick, you'll find two programmable buttons, almost like left- and right-click mouse buttons. The wrist-rest of the Command Unit is extendable, so you can move it into any position that matches where your wrist naturally sits on the desk surface. The WASD keys on the Command Unit are silver and stand out from the others. Additionally, the whole gamepad is backlit in red. Four function keys span the top of the gamepad, and number keys are arranged around (and include) the WASD keys.

The objective when using any gamepad is to provide enough features that your left hand can be free of the keyboard entirely while gaming.

Saitek has made all 21 buttons on the Command Unit independently programmable, so if you don't want to use the WASD keys for directional movement, you can change them. That also means you can change the number keys to represent macro commands or any other in-game feature you choose. This is especially useful in MMOs and FPS games that rely heavily on key commands. The Command Unit can also switch between three programmable profiles on the fly, so if you move from your favorite FPS title to your favorite RPG title, a single switch on the gamepad also reprograms all of your buttons.

The Command Unit looks and feels as though it was designed for FPS players, and that's where I found it had the most use. Switching weapons using the number keys was incredibly easy and much faster than using a full keyboard, since I didn't have to take all of my fingers off the WASD keys to pick a new weapon. The thumb stick was perfect for twitch maneuvers like lining up a shot while sniping or gently nudging the direction of a vehicle while driving. That's not to say it wasn't as useful in Guild Wars as it was in Team Fortress 2, but the device felt more suited to TF2 and CoD4 than any of the other games with which I tested it.

  • liquidsnake718
    Ive been looking at the G19 for some time now, ever since it came out, but I am not sure if I should just go for the Sidewinder x6 or the G15 which is still good and at a reasonable 80-100dollars where Im from....
    Should I get it or wait for my next build..... x6? g15?
  • scorc25
    I recently just purchased a Saitek Cyborg keyboard. Very impressed with it, loving it the moment we touched. Ive used the first Saitek Eclipse, and then the Eclipse 2. The Eclipse 3 is out there; the Cyborg is basically just the gamer edition of it.
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries MERC Stealth
    Mouse : Roccat Kone
    Mousepad: Roccat Sota
    Headset : Roccat Kave
  • volks1470
    bah on fancy gaming peripherals. I'm still using a roller-ball PS2 port mouse and keyboard and they work great. Price? Free, because nobody wants cheap stuff like that!
  • fleeb
    I am waiting for Logitech G110. Looks nice and will not cost $200.
  • JimmiG
    Since I'm a flight simmer, I own both a CH Yoke+Pedals and a Saitek X52 Pro. I also bought an "A4Tech" laser gaming mouse - a discount brand but the mouse itself compares to any Logitech or Razer rodent...for half the price. For keyboard, I'm using a $10 no name corded keyboard :)
  • Fortunex
    I don't need the $100+ keyboards or anything, what REALLY makes a difference in my playing is how smooth the feet of the mouse are, and how comfortable the mouse is.

    I had a $10 cheap ass mouse, was the most comfortable mouse I've ever used, but then the cord wore down and it stopped working, and I lack the skills to fix it. Bought a Microsoft Habu, didn't like it at all. Bought a Logitech G5, love it. Bought a steelseries mousepad, OH MY GORSH. My KDR in games (particularly sniping in TF2, where headshots are near essential) nearly doubled. EVERYTHING is so much smoother when compared to my (what I thought was smooth) desktop. It just glides, no more rugged, scratchy mouse movements, it's amazing.

    For keyboards, I have a Razer Arctosa, which I bought because I LOVE the flat keys, and the low profile. No need for fancy backlighting or macro keys, I just want it to be easy to type with and the keys to not be curved.

    I'd advise ANY gamer who doesn't already have a mousepad to get one.
  • IzzyCraft
    Are they worth it eh not really

    Are they pretty just about every time.
  • cyb34
    I got a G15 v2 and a G9. They are worth every penny.
  • anamaniac
    Preiphereals are worth it.
    Full 7.1 sounds, 7000 DPI mouse, 9x 2560x1600 monitors, G(insert number here) keyboard, soft leather chair with fully adjustable tilt, proper desk...
    You could have a boring powerhouse, or a crappy computer but with all the fixings. It's nice having the extras.