Input Devices: The Thread

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Leon, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Leon

    Leon A Smooth-Skin

    680
    Oct 10, 2008
    Keyboards and mice aren't given nearly enough attention when most people decide to choose a computer or build their own. Honestly, it's how you interface with your shiny box, so this is important stuff. What are the devices you love, the devices you hate? Do you enjoy minimalism, ergonomics, ricer bullshit that looks like it came from a bad SciFi movie? Let's discuss!


    Most people are content with cheap keyboards and mice as long as they do their job, and that is fine. I, however, like to obsess over bullshit and so have developed a fetish for input devices over the past few years.


    As far as keyboards go, I used to stick to generic rubber dome boards. I once bought this $10 Labtec board when my old Gateway board "died" (really just got too dirty and sticky for me to bother cleaning it - my treatment of my hardware was deplorable in those days), and that, I believe, was the beginning of my keyboard obsession. That Labtec board was such an incredible piece of shit. It could only seem to support two simultaneous keypresses at a time and the domes aged horribly within a year and a half. The feel became totally inconsistent - some keys are noticeably more stiff than others. Terrible. Get what you pay for, I guess.


    Eventually I replaced it with an A4Tech mini keyboard (no numpad, nonstandard layout). This one was also a cheap piece of rubber dome shit, but I had no idea what I really wanted in a keyboard and was attracted to the uniqueness of the thing. It was small, and I like small devices. So small, so petite, so... So dainty...

    Uh, sorry. Moving on.

    The typing experience on this board wasn't much better than that of the Labtec, but it didn't age as badly. I traded it to a friend for a generic 104-key Dell board from the days when they used that vaguely purpleish dark gray plastic. I never really used that board, though it was much higher quality than the two boards I've already listed. Instead, I got a Kensington SlimType keyboard.


    This was getting closer to what I sought in a keyboard. The keys were a little snappy and had low travel due to being scissorswitches like those on laptops. The layout was close to standard, but more compact. The board itself had a nice weight to it and overall was just very nice for $32. But I wasn't content. Maybe I didn't want snappy keys, a minimalistic layout, and spartan features? Maybe I wanted to go to the other extreme...


    So I did. Logitech's G15 v2. Backlit keys, programmable macro keys, built-in LCD display, media keys... I used this board for about two years. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking. It was fairly standard as far as being an actual keyboard, and the extra features were nice. The novelty wore off eventually, and I gradually lost interest in its extra capabilities. It was inferior to the first version, as well - less simultaneous keypresses, less macro keys. It was huge, too. God damn was it huge. And it wasn't particularly well-built, either.

    So after my tryst with a keyboard that could have been the illegitimate ass baby of a Gundam and a neon sign, I set out to find the keyboard that would last me. High quality keyswitches, anti-ghosting, small form factor and no-frills, no bullshit. After a month of researching, I now knew what I wanted - a mechanical keyboard. I could remember using an IBM Model M in school, and recalled with glee how I enjoyed the snappiness of the keys and the clickity-clack of their action. The feel, too. Oh my. But I was more interested in more modern mechanical boards, and with the help of this thread at overclock.net and the folks at Geekhack, I was able to decide on the keyboard for me.


    The Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless Tactile Touch NKRO.
    It isn't much to look at, but it has everything I want. Small form factor, mechanical switches that shall last for years and provide a wonderful feel, full n-key rollover (no ghosting whatsoever - can register every single key at once over PS/2), a slight bump in the key travel near the actuation point, and unless I bottom out a key it's relatively silent. It has a good weight and the whole thing just oozes quality. It even comes with a snazzy red ESC keycap.


    $121, and completely worth it. I have no doubt that I will stick with this board for years to come.
     
  2. MutantScalper

    MutantScalper Dogmeat

    Nov 22, 2009
    Usually I'm pretty stingy when it comes to basic stuff like the keyboard and mouse. I really try to get the maximum mileage out of the stuff I have and usually succeed in this. Recently my old mouse, a pretty good model from Logitech, passed away so I got a new one, a newer Logitech. Not really brand conscious but they make solid mice for an ok price. Hmm, sounds like a commercial.

    Right now I'm looking for a new keyboard. Really only have two criteria, that it's 'laptop-like', meaning low silent keys and that it's durable. That's about it, haven't yet gotten around to getting one though.

    Edit. Haven't gone cordless yet and don't intend to, don't really see the point.
     
  3. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    I used to pay little heed to input devices and their fancy features, mostly settling for cheap keyboards and mice, as long as they were sufficiently large and spacious for comfortable use. I've used countless keyboards over the years, though my favorite has always been a no-name, beige keyboard that came with my 386 in 1994. It was such a simple, minimal device, yet incredibly comfortable and reliable - it served me without a hitch for the next five years.

    In 1999 I was on my third/fourth computer, and with it came a new keyboard, a cheap Key Tronic model that would have been as great as my previous keyboard were it not for one minor flaw - the Windows keys, which only seemed to steal real-estate from the once-huge space bar, without doing anything exceptionally useful.



    My next system came in 2002, which is also the time when PC users started to become fashion-sensitive. This meant that anything beige was a major no-no, and silver was the color of the moment. What followed was a long line of pretty silver-black-grey keyboards, none of which could boast exceptional comfort, key layout or reliability. They were functional, without too much non-standard shit (beyond the usual multimedia buttons), but unremarkable.

    Recently I decided I wanted a keyboard with macro buttons and back-lit keys, so I bought a Logitech G110. I'm quite happy with it - in fact, I'd say it's the best keyboard I've used in years, perhaps even better than my beloved beige baby from the '90s. It also goes beautifully with my current mouse, but more on that later. I could have also gone for a G15 or G19, I suppose, but they have that God-fugly LCD display and are quite pricey compared to my G110, so I think I made the right decision.



    As for mice, I've always been a bit pickier in that department. For many years I used mostly cheap piles of plastic that came with my computers, but in 2000 I went out all the way and got myself the original Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer - the first optical mouse available. What an awesome mouse that has been - dead-on accurate, sturdy (it's been 10 years and it still works like a charm!) and comfortably heavy, though always a bit too fucking huge for my hand.



    Last year, however, I treated myself to a new mouse - Logitech's flagship model, the incredibly badass G9x. It is an amazing mouse by any measure, though it does have one annoying issue - namely, the cable is stiffer than my cock in a room full of pre-teen models. It's so irritating at times that I'm actually contemplating getting one of those mouse bungee thingies, even though last thing I need is more shit taking up space on my desk.

     
  4. Leon

    Leon A Smooth-Skin

    680
    Oct 10, 2008
    Mice!

    I became interested in "premium" mice long before I became interested in high-quality keyboards. Again, I used to stick to the generic and OEM stuff, occasionally flirting with trackball mice and the like, but around 2004/2005 I become interested in the flashier side of computer mice. It started with a Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 4.0.


    Good ergonomics and features, average button feel, and the horizontal scrolling was neat and quite novel to me at the time. But that vertical scroll... Whatever was Microsoft thinking when they made this scroll wheel with no detents? It's smooth! The whole scrolling motion is completely smooth! How the fuck am I supposed to accurately switch weapons or whatever else in a game? "To hell with this thing," I thought, "I've heard good things about it's older brother, the 3.0."


    And it was better, aside from the really wonky side buttons. The travel was just far too deep, but easily fixable by adding some thin material between the button and the switch itself. This one is actually the reincarnation of the original 3.0, which was discontinued sometime in the early 2000s, and colored silvery white instead of silvery gray. The scroll wheel is top-notch, the ergonomics are great, but the cheap feeling of the buttons and the low sensitivity (400dpi) wore on me as, over time, I came to realize that I am a high-sensitivity kind of guy. I understand that this mouse is considered a "legend" among the CounterStrike crowd, but they're fucking nuts anyways.


    The MX Revolution. A Cadillac among mice. 800dpi, which was good enough for me at the time, and being my first wireless mouse and just chock full of features, I really loved it. The ergonomics were very good, and I spent many hours just toying with the extra wheel (more like a rocking switch, but whatever) and the "microgear" wheel that could change from a ratcheting action to a free-spinning action with the flick of a finger. Really great mouse, but I felt like moving on to another after it began to show some wear.


    So I got a G9 not long after I got the G15. Adjusting to a "claw" grip was odd at first, but became something I quite prefer nowadays. And this mouse is truly the king of claw-grip mice. The features were kind of a step down from the MX Rev, but I liked the fact that it was wired instead of wireless (no more lag!) and the adjustable sensitivity (200-3200dpi), interchangeable grips, weight system, and onboard profile storage was just super. The wheel is nearly identical to that of the MX Revolution, but you have to manually switch between ratcheting and freespin via a button on the bottom (wtf?). The way the grips had a slight looseness to them also started to piss me off, too. So...


    I ended up replacing it with an MX518 since I began to long for the feel of an optical mouse. These fancy laser mice were just too damned twitchy for my liking. A fleck of dust and your cursor became epileptic. Not so with a good ol' optical! And boy, the MX518 was just dandy. Good feel, nice buttons, decent-enough feature set, and the tracking and sensitivity (400-1800dpi) wasn't half bad, either. I just wish the wheel was better. It's kind of loose on every MX518 I've tried. I still use this mouse occasionally, but I have essentially replaced it for daily use.


    The G500 is my current mouse, and I'm satisfied with it. I also got it for free. The shape is just slightly different from the MX518, and it has a satin feel on top which prevents my hands from feeling sweaty, and a slightly rough texture on the sides, similar to one of the grips of the G9. Also like the G9, it has onboard profile storage and a manual-switch microgear wheel, but thankfully the button to change the wheel action is on the top of the mouse. The sensitivity is superb (200-5700dpi), and it doesn't seem to exhibit much the twitchiness I've found to be typical of laser mice. Overall, it's like the lovechild of the G9 and Logitech's kidney bean-shaped mice like the MX518/G5/G7. Overall, very nice, but I may move on in a few months.


    You may be interested in that Kensington SlimType, then. It sounds just like what you're looking for. The only durability issue I had with it is that the chrome band around the edges can wear off after about half a year or so. I believe there are similar models on the market made by iRocks that are nearly identical but lack the chrome band, if you care to look for them.
     
  5. MutantScalper

    MutantScalper Dogmeat

    Nov 22, 2009
    Thanks for the tip, sounds very much what I'm looking for.
     
  6. Leon

    Leon A Smooth-Skin

    680
    Oct 10, 2008
    And now that I think of it, if you want a fancy one the Logitech Illuminated is also a scissor-switch board. It has backlit keys, a rubberized wrist rest, media/function keys, a very thin profile, and some other doodads. You can get it for about $60 nowadays.
     
  7. Aphyosis

    Aphyosis Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    473
    Nov 4, 2009
    I'm running a G15V2 and a Wireless G7 at the moment.

    The mouse is dying and the keyboard isn't particularly nice to type on but i haven't got around to replacing them because of a limited budget and the fact I've come to rely really heavily on both the macro buttons in games and the LCD screen.

    Initially i didn't really use the screen, but now i have;

    -Both my 4870's core clocks, fan RPMs, temperature and usage displayed.
    -CPU cores 1 - 4 Usage displayed
    -CPU temperature and fan speed
    -RAM and Virtual memory usage.

    Honestly, i really like having the information.

    Unless i can find a keyboard with a screen and macro keys, i'll probably use this until it falls apart. The mouse however, is a different story. I really liked using it. Fit my hands perfectly, ample sensitivity. Good battery life. All the buttons are responsive and tight.

    Unfortunately with age the mouse has lost accuracy to the stage sniping in games is virtually impossible at any sort of conventional range and the battery life has degraded to needing a change every 6 - 12 hours of use. Finally, the teflon feet have worn out, the edges catching on my mousepad. More than happy with the purchase though, this mouse has last me probably about 4 years.

    I'm actually very tempted to buy a replacement G7, but I've been looking at some of Razers products, so at the moment I'm still making up my mind.
     
  8. Dead Guy

    Dead Guy Senate Board Director oTO Moderator Orderite Board Cop oTO

    Nov 9, 2008
    This is one of the best mice I've had.



    EDIT: Wow what a shitty gif I found...

    The best part is that it was produced before people started thinking having a wheel as a middle mouse button was a good idea, and completely stopped making mice with just a middle button that didn't fucking roll around! I like my wheel as much as the next man, but not when playing counter strike for example.

    The worst part is that it was made before optical mice became standard. It had very good sensitivity, but tended to clog, as they do.

    It also didn't fit completely naturally into your hand, but it was ok.

    Since I decided to retire this mouse I've been looking for a mouse without a wheel. They don't seem to make them anymore. It's amazing.
     
  9. SharkClub

    SharkClub Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 6, 2008


    The basics are all I really need. :lol: Plus, I really like this keyboard, it feels great to use and almost every other one feels uncomfortable (I hate ones with little wrist-resting things), too bad it has key ghosting.

    HE QUIK BROWN FO JUPS OER HE LA DOG
     
  10. Ratty Sr.

    Ratty Sr. Ratty, except old Moderator Orderite

    Apr 23, 2003
    Since someone mentioned mouse pads, I'd like to say a word or two on that subject as well. Mouse pads were a necessity for mechanical mice, obviously, but when I got my Explorer with its superb optical sensor, I found that I no longer really needed one. However, in recent years expensive gaming mouse pads have become all the rage here in Croatia, so I decided to get one along with my G9x. Picking the best possible pad had been quite an arduous process, but in the end I managed to find the perfect one for me - Razer Sphex.



    The Sphex is quite unique compared to other pads: it has glued underside and sticks to desk surface much better, it is larger than average and, most important, it is extremely thin - possibly the thinnest pad on the market. Seriously, check this shit out:



    As a result, Sphex is very comfortable to use - you don't even notice it's there, yet it ensures near-perfect grip for the mouse. The only potential issue is that its stickiness and frail build make it impractical for carrying. However, that's not a problem for me, since my peripherals never leave my desk, but it might pose a problem for LAN party animals.
     
  11. Puokki

    Puokki Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    471
    Jun 4, 2008
    Anyone remember what the mice were before laser/optical mice? I do, since I have to use one until I can a) find a way to get more USB-ports on shittier-than-shit PC, or b) find a working non-USB mouse.
     
  12. Leon

    Leon A Smooth-Skin

    680
    Oct 10, 2008
    Well, you could always get one of Logitech's other LCD boards if you absolutely must have the screen. The G510 if you want to have a G15 v2 on 'roids, or you could try a G13 if you want more of a supplement to a keyboard you find pleasant to type on.

    I liked the screen a lot as well, but came to find it to be more of a distraction than anything after a while. As for macro keys, I've made my own AutoHotKey script to turn my function row into media keys and macros, and to turn the navigation key group into a "virtual" numpad all by turning one of my Windows keys into a sort of "Fn" key like on laptops, so I'm really not missing anything with this tenkeyless board. You can use AutoHotKey with any keyboard out there, as well, though it requires a little bit of basic script writing to set up how you like.

    Razer seems to have some serious quality control issues. I've heard of many of their mice dying within half a year, and a friend of mine who has one of their fancy keyboards found that the rubberized coating on the wrist rest turned shiny after about two months and actually began to flake off around the half-year mark. Their stuff is usually pretty comfortable, but they seem to build as cheaply as possible.

    A story about Razer's keyboards that I find amusing - they have recently introduced a mechanical board called the Black Widow, which has a lot of people interested for its ~$80 price tag. They claim that it's specifically tailored for gamers and the switches are the result of three years of in-house research and development. The sad part is that the switches are just Cherry MX Blue switches which have been on the market for many years, and that the board itself is an slightly altered and rebadged model produced by iOne, a company with a history of shoddy soldering (though this may have improved in recent years).

    You can still find mice on the market that can be attached via PS/2 by using a USB->PS/2 adapter. The Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 comes to mind, in fact.
     
  13. Empty09

    Empty09 Still Mildly Glowing

    205
    Nov 26, 2009
    I don't know how other people do but how does one afford to buy expensive keyboards and mouses like that?
    My keyboard is average/normal one but my mouse was a birthday gift and is called RedBull Racing Trust?? (I guess).
    It behaves like a mouse, looks like a mouse, it only has 2 extra buttons on the left which I find kind of useful as I got used to press them since they have "Back/forward" function assigned to so it makes internet browsing uber-fast, like I want it.
     
  14. Hoxie

    Hoxie King Queer oTO Orderite

    May 19, 2008
    While the keyboard isn't bad, maybe a bit clunky sounding at times, that mouse annoyed me to no end. I don't know what it was, but the wheel *never* wanted to actually stay at a level roll. So if I barely even nudged upward, it would scroll up, then I nearly had to give a down roll and a half for a down-scroll sometimes.
     
  15. Mutoes

    Mutoes Mildly Dipped

    518
    Feb 5, 2008
    Im using the cheapest labtec keyboard i could find from the local mart, not really satisfied with it, makes a lot of unnerving rubbery sounds when typing. Also the key sensitivity is rather bad.

    My mouse is mionix saiph 1800, which ive found to be quite good for its 30e price tag. But as allways with mice, cant really recommend it without testing since i think comfortability is the most important aspect when buying a mouse.

    And mouse pad is just 9e steelseries qck. Im quite happy with it. It doesnt slip when gaming (which is pain with most of the cheap mouse pads and main reason i got it) and rather large, i dont think anyone needs larger pad for gaming or otherwise. Also it doesnt seem to go bad from hand sweat or constant wrist rubbing, ive had it for 5 months now and no signs of use yet in it.
     
  16. DexterMorgan

    DexterMorgan A Smooth-Skin

    647
    Aug 6, 2008
    This was my first serious keyboard/mouse set (as opposed to junk I was using before that).




    Later I got this:



    Nowdays I'm only using my laptop so this one it is:



    And I love it to death.
     
  17. Starseeker

    Starseeker Vault Senior Citizen

    Jul 25, 2003
    I got the Logitech Max Revo, and I enjoy it. I had a good experience with the old Max 500 ( I think that was the model name), so I got this one.

    Anyone ever tried the Max Air or one of the trackball mouse? I've been thinking about getting something that's easier on my wrist.

    I would prefer a scissor switch keyboard, but alas, I use a desktop replacement these days.
     
  18. Aphyosis

    Aphyosis Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    473
    Nov 4, 2009
    I'd be keen, but my free time is fairly limited now. Just started a new job and i have other thing's I'm doing at the moment, so i doubt I'd have the time to set it up.

    Oh wow, i didn't know that. I have a couple of friends with Razer mice that they absolutely swear by. Guess I'll have a long look online, because frankly i love this G7.
     
  19. Hellion

    Hellion Antediluvian Lurker

    450
    Jun 20, 2003


    The Logitech G19. I won it in a PC magazine competition, lucky me. This keyboard is the epitomy of awesomeness.

    Coupled with the Logitech MX518 mouse mentioned above, my gaming has never been smoother.
     
  20. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    main mouse is a microsoft trackball, over 10 years old

    main keyboard is a microsoft multi-media keyboard natural i have had for over 10 years

    main fps mouse is a microsoft optical

    tertiary mouse is an old artist style 11 button trackball