Are Premium Gaming Peripherals Worth Your Money?

Keyboard: Microsoft's SideWinder X6

Microsoft’s newest gaming keyboard is the SideWinder X6 , an $80 low-profile offering with red backlighting under the main key bed and orange backlighting for the macro keys on the left side of the keyboard. The X6 has media controls along its top edge and two knobs for controlling system volume and backlight brightness. The X6 was the only keyboard I tested that unfortunately couldn’t change backlight color.

The bank of programmable keys on the left side is switchable, just like the Logitech G19, so you can program one key up to three times. The SideWinder X6 also comes with a detachable numeric keypad that can connect to the left or right side of the keyboard. When not programmed, it works simply as you'd expect. But when activated, all of the keys are programmable, so you get the benefit of even more custom keys.

The X6’s low profile and chiclet-style keys are stylish and definitely fun to use. They give a softer kind of click, similar to a laptop keyboard blown up to desktop size. However, because the keys are closely spaced and low-profile, I often had to look at my finger placement to make sure I was in a proper position. This was especially problematic when moving my hand to press the programmable keys on the left.

Among its best features, the X6 has a series of textured rubber feet that keep the keyboard from skating around smooth desk surfaces. Actually, it’s pretty difficult to move the X6 without picking it up. In strange contrast, though, the detachable numeric keypad lacks textured feet, so it feels almost like it flops around a bit next to the main keyboard. 

The programmable keys were outstanding while playing MMOs and RPG-style games that could make good use of them, but the uniformity of the keypad and subsequent finger placement issues would occasionally put a damper on trying to sneak into position undetected while playing an FPS. Pressing the wrong key at a critical moment can be a little frustrating, especially when you’re going toe-to-toe with an opponent in a multiplayer match.

  • 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.