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Are Premium Gaming Peripherals Worth Your Money?

Gamepad: Belkin n52te

Belkin's n52te gamepad is the company’s most recent entry to this market, where it has happily led the field for years. When considering gamepads to include in the roundup, the Belkin Nostromo n52 came highly recommended, and when Belkin offered up its $70 n52te for testing, it seemed to be a good opportunity to get familiar with the flagship. The n52te exudes style, with an ergonomic wrist rest that leads smoothly up to the blue backlit keys, all laid out in a uniform fan-pattern directly under where your fingers would naturally fall. The thumb stick lives exactly where you’d expect, and just under the thumb stick is the profile key that lets you choose between the three programmable profiles at any time.

The wrist rest is adjustable, so if you find it a little too close to the keys by default, you can move it back a bit so there's more space for your fingers to stretch out. The thumb stick is also customizable, and you can remove the stick and use the sensor underneath as a directional pad. All 15 keys are programmable. While the center keys have arrows on them to indicate their primary purpose, there's nothing about them that forces you to use them that way, unlike the raised silver keys on the Saitek Cyborg Command Unit. The keys on the n52te are low-rise and backlit with a bright blue light that shines across the backplane and through the keys.

The n52te is expensive, but if you're a gamepad fan, it could be worth the money. It worked seamlessly in every game I tried, and was especially easy to get used to in World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. The game controls allowed me to map several in-game functions to the programmable buttons. The n52te was also useful in FPS titles and multiplayer action games. After about 10 minutes of configuration, I was off and away, completely forgetting that the keyboard was even on my desk.

In the end, it's clear that you don't need a gamepad to play your favorite games. If you're not used to one and you don't see how one would be useful for you, a gamepad likely won't even improve your gameplay. The Saitek Cyborg Command Unit and the Belkin n52te were both easier to use than I anticipated, and the n52te specifically was comfortable and enough fun that I could see myself using one regularly. I could certainly understand why some gamers swear by them, but you're not going to give a novice a gamepad and instantly turn him or her into a professional gamer. If anything, you're going to confuse a gamer already used to the feel of a keyboard.

With that said, if you're a gamer who already loves to tweak the key bindings in your favorite games, or if you're an avid MMO or FPS player who likes to change your key layout so the most often used spells, weapons, and macros are close to your fingers at all times, a gamepad may give you the level of configuration you want in a small, fun to use package that keeps your hands from constantly flying across a keyboard.

  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries MERC Stealth
    Mouse : Roccat Kone
    Mousepad: Roccat Sota
    Headset : Roccat Kave
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • fleeb
    I am waiting for Logitech G110. Looks nice and will not cost $200.
    Reply
  • 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 :)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • IzzyCraft
    Are they worth it eh not really

    Are they pretty just about every time.
    Reply
  • cyb34
    I got a G15 v2 and a G9. They are worth every penny.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply