I recently got a new keyboard for my birthday. Well, actually my wife got me a keyboard: Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which I promptly returned. I am not a fan of ergonomic keyboards, because they flare the elbows when you write…and I have used normal keyboards my whole life, so my fingers are kinda used to them.
Anyways, I returned it and did some research. I wanted something that:
- Looked like a gaming keyboard
- Could do macros
- Had media buttons
That’s a pretty short list and I could even do without the “looking like a gaming keyboard”, but the other two were more or less set in stone.
I finally decided on Microsoft’s X4:
It looks the part: It has two huge knobs for red backlighting and master volume and is all black.
It does macros: It can record macros on the fly (up to 30) and you can set the keyboard up for 3 different states, so you have in effect 90 macros you can record. Macros are essential for having an “Oh shit”-button or automating some things you do all the time while in town or on the AH. Running a macro is indistinguishable from pressing the keys by hand for Blizzard, so you won’t get banned for using them.
It has media buttons: It has pause/play, next/last number, mute and volume.
It has fancy stuff: It has a detachable num-pad you put on either side of the keyboard. You want a num-keypad on the left? Just move it! You can lock down pressed keys. It has a calculator button right over the num-pad keys. Why the last thing isn’t more prevalent is beyond me.
It feels great: It has a slight mechanical/clicky feel to it, but the keys aren’t huge. In essence it takes the best from laptop keyboards (low, but not too low profile) and the best from mechanical keyboards (the feel and click of the keys).
The only downside to it, is that you can’t raise the keyboard. It lies almost flat on the table, although with a slight slop from the back to the front. I used to have it raised pretty high, but have easily adapted to the flat keyboard. It is actually better ergonomically to have it flat on the table, so it is a sacrifice I was willing to make.
The below youtube review gives a pretty good impression of the keyboard.
So if you need a new keyboard, give Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Keyboard a spin. I like it quite a bit.