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General: Merc Stealth and Reaper Edge Review

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com's own Hardware Junkie Jeremy Star takes a look at two of the newest gaming releases from Ideazon: the Merc Stealth Keyboard and the Reaper Edge Mouse. Star was a fan of both products, going so far as to call them the "best gaming keyboard/mouse combo of 2007".

The Merc Stealth looks like a keyboard that had the Insert – End keys chopped off and a big old gaming pad attached to the left side. The number pad doubles as the Insert key group with the press of a function button. I imagine that this was done to save a little desk real estate, as the Merc Stealth is already larger than a normal keyboard.

The gaming keys are arranged around a central movement keyset of AWSD. The movement keys are large, rubberized buttons, and the rest of the gaming keys are placed so that you can get to them without taking your fingers off of the movement keys. The whole gaming section is tilted slightly down and slightly to the left to position your hand more comfortably.

The whole keyboard is done up in shades of black and grey, and looks fairly sharp when you take it out of the package. When you plug it in, however, it really starts to look good, as all of the keys are backlit. Not only are they backlit, but you get to choose what color and level of lighting to use. The Stealth gives you a choice of red, blue, or purple backlighting, and there are also three different brightness choices. (Or, if you prefer, you can turn it off completely.)

Read the whole review here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

Comments

  • SorninSornin Richmond, BCPosts: 1,133Member

    The problem with the Merc Stealth is and always has been that it combines a gaming keypad and what is basically a regular keyboard into one monstrous package that is hard to lug around (gamers move gear around a lot!). This results in a so-so effort, though I do understand what they are going for.

    A friend of mine has an original Merc, and both of us did not like the angle nor the elevation of the gaming part. This was in part solved by the Fang gamepad, which is essentially a detached version of the Merc's gaming part. Even in that one, the button layout feels cramped and the fact it is ambidextrous even when all serious gamers I know, even lefties, play like right handers makes it less comfortable than other solutions.

    The best gamepad, in my opinion, is still far and away the Belkin Nostromo n52. I actually have the Belkin n52te, which is a minor upgrade that adds backlights, on pre-order and am excitedly anticipating its arrival this January.

    It does not have a full keyboard, but in FPS matches you do not need one. In MMORPGs, you just put the gamepad next to the keyboard and, when you actually do need access to more keys (for chatting to those not on Vent, everything else you can easily map), you have them. It is far more ergonomic as the elevation and curves fit one's hand beautifully. The palm rest part can be positioned in two places for people with different sized hands as well, which is nice. The biggest thing, though, is that your thumb can do so much when you use an n52/n52te.

    It has fewer keys, but you can make state changes on the fly, so you could go from a healing layout to a solo layout to a PvP layout. The nice thing is that because of this, the thing does not have excess keys that are hard to reach.

    Anyway, before anyone drops money on this I recommend checking out Belkin's offerings which are universally praised above the gaming keyboard offerings of others.

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  • wilcoxonwilcoxon Edina, MNPosts: 80Member

    I didn't see anything explicit in the review.  Is the Reaper Edge able to assign arbitrary keys to the buttons?  The original Reaper ended up being a $50 doorstop due to only being able to configure the buttons for certain (generally business application oriented) functions.

    Active: CoH/CoV, Warhammer (beta,live)
    Retired: Anarchy Online, Archlord (beta), Auto Assault (beta), Dark Age of Camelot, D&D Online (alpha,beta,&live), Dungeon Runners, Everquest, EVE, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings (beta), Vanguard (beta), World of Warcraft
    Looking forward to: Fallen Earth

  • KanaxaiKanaxai San Jose, CAPosts: 120Member Uncommon
    I love my merc stealth! I was one of the VERY lucky few who won one in the MMORPG contest actually. Even if I had not won, I would DEFINATELY go to the store and buy one. It is very comfortable, and for people who dont like the lights, YOU CAN TURN THEM OFF. I recommend it to anyone.
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon

    How can you call any keyboard a gaming keyboard without macro capability?

    Right, you can't.   Another wanna be gaming keyboard bites the dust.

  • phluuxphluux Hagerstown, MDPosts: 211Member

    I have the Merc Stealth as well and love it. The only thing I don't like about it is the modified numpad.

  • jeolmanjeolman livingston, LAPosts: 44Member

    until they give users the ability to do macros, and allow mouse commands to be assigned to the keys, a gaming keybord it is not.

  • wilcoxonwilcoxon Edina, MNPosts: 80Member

    Originally posted by jeolman


    until they give users the ability to do macros, and allow mouse commands to be assigned to the keys, a gaming keybord it is not.

    What exactly do you mean by macros?  I can assign pretty much anything I want (including what I would consider macros) on my Zboard and Fang (so I'm assuming you can on the Merc as well).  At any rate, I've never found anything I wanted to assign to my Fang that I couldn't.

    Why would you want to assign mouse commands on the keyboard?  I'm honestly curious.  I've never seen any games where I would even want to do this.

    Active: CoH/CoV, Warhammer (beta,live)
    Retired: Anarchy Online, Archlord (beta), Auto Assault (beta), Dark Age of Camelot, D&D Online (alpha,beta,&live), Dungeon Runners, Everquest, EVE, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings (beta), Vanguard (beta), World of Warcraft
    Looking forward to: Fallen Earth

  • sweetdreamssweetdreams Nowhere, FLPosts: 137Member

    hmm. funny this review came up, I actually ordered this keyboard and just a regular Ideazon Reaper Gaming Mouse a few days ago.. 

    I was searching for probably two hours looking for a good combo and felt comfy with it. I don't want any more wireless keyboards and mouses. that's what I currently have and I hate how the signals can get interrupted and f* up what you're doing in your game

  • WiznumbWiznumb Walker, LAPosts: 52Member

    #1 worst feature is the number pad they murdered.

    I know they didn't want to make the keyboard any larger, but damn the number pad is combined with the arrow keys & the insert/home/page up.....etc.

    I'd also like to point out that the custom directional keys are kinda large, and due to that if pushing the keys at the wrong angle they are harder to push as if the keys aren't sitting correctly or they're making friction with the shell of the keyboard.

    Just wanted to comment because I bought the keyboard and returned it a week later.  The lighting is great, but the wacked out number pad and lack of macro keys made this an easy return for me.

    THE MODIFIED NUMBER PAD IS A MUST POINT OUT FOR ANYONE USED TO DATA ENTRY AND/OR NUM PAD USERS.

    I like the G15, but the new one is only orange.  Sadly all my components are blue . . . and when you spend enough on a nice setup . . . you want it to match.

    I'm actually using the Saitek Eclipse II and the Razer Death Adder, and couldn't be more happy with the setup.  Working at a retailer I get the freedom to try it all out first.

  • ZorvanZorvan nowhere, CAPosts: 8,912Member

    Originally posted by Wiznumb



    THE MODIFIED NUMBER PAD IS A MUST POINT OUT FOR ANYONE USED TO DATA ENTRY AND/OR NUM PAD USERS.

    Who buys a gaming keyboard to do data entry?

  • bezadobezado Palm Harbor, FLPosts: 1,148Member

    Nice! I am looking to upgrade and I have the Zboard and Mx1000.

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  • jeolmanjeolman livingston, LAPosts: 44Member
    Originally posted by wilcoxon


     
    Originally posted by jeolman


    until they give users the ability to do macros, and allow mouse commands to be assigned to the keys, a gaming keybord it is not.

     

    What exactly do you mean by macros?  I can assign pretty much anything I want (including what I would consider macros) on my Zboard and Fang (so I'm assuming you can on the Merc as well).  At any rate, I've never found anything I wanted to assign to my Fang that I couldn't.

    Why would you want to assign mouse commands on the keyboard?  I'm honestly curious.  I've never seen any games where I would even want to do this.

    What I mean by macros is the ability to chain a series of key strokes together with a set time delay between each keystroke (like my nostrome N50 does).

    Since I see you are a fellow COH/COV player from your signature, an example would be to hit one button and have the macro execute to turn all of my brutes shields back on after a detoggle. That is just one example of many I can think of.

    As far as the mouse clicks go, I have played a few game that have had functions tied to a mouse click, and it could not be changed in game, but my mouse will allow me to re assign the buttons to be keystrokes. if I have a device that allows me to program mouse clicks to the keys on that device (like my nostromo N50 does) then there is no game that I cannot set up a likable key assignment .

    If you read the forums at ideazon, you will see these are features that have been requested by more than just myself.

  • ZodanZodan TamperePosts: 564Member

    One thing which always puts me off with these keyboards is that the layouts are not very ergonomic, personally I work fine with WASD and then remap keys Q, E, R, T, F, G, Z, X, C, V, B to my own needs and use also numbers 1-6 with great ease - as I see there ain't even half the keys needed in the layout - hire me and I'll make you a proper layout with enough keys!

    Just my 2copper for the gaming keyboard developers - go back to basics and use normal keys instead of oddly shaped keys which you can't hold your fingers on :)

  • daelnordaelnor Manteca, CAPosts: 1,569Member

    I have the merc and I love it for gaming. The only thing I don't like is the numpad on the right. It is a confused jumble of shite.

    I also have the n52. I use to use it a lot for crafting macros in DAOC back in the day, and I played with it for pvp set ups etc, but found I was more comfortable doing things manually. (I tend to type pretty fast...especially repetetive motions and combos that you use for gaming.

    I'd recommend the board to anyone that games, especially MMO's. If you really need to macro your moves 12 steps ahead of time, you're either lazy or maybe should go play a console.

    D.

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  • TwiZzoTTwiZzoT Farmington, WVPosts: 90Member

    I don't know much, but the that mouse is way nicer than my $15 wal-mart one!

  • AkopianAkopian Layton, LAPosts: 17Member

    Is there a state mode that will change all the keys to a different set up on the fly?  The packaging never made this clear to me.   My first experience with a left-handed game keypad type controller was the Strategic Commander by microsoft a while back.  It tried to be a bit more than just a keypad, and was kind of clunky, but it had these keys that  you could hit during a game that would shift the entire keymapping of the device on the fly.  It was a good feature that multiplied the number of keys that could be mapped.  I didn't see that in this product, so essentially, it looked like just a reorganization of a few keys on the keyboard.

    What stopped me from buying this little extra bit of equipment was a careful examination of the layout of the keys.  I think I still have access to more keys with my left-hand on a normal keyboard than I do with this contraption (or its counterpart the Fang).  I can hit F1-F5 without even thinking about it on my keyboard comparing with 7-11 on the Stealth.  1-6 are pretty much the same except I have to reach further to get to them because on the Ideazon version because the WASD keys are so much larger.  Also I can use the tilda key.  On my keyboard, I can easily hit r-f-v-t-g-b to the right of WASD, I can hit z-x-c-v, I can hit control or alt (never use that windows start key, and on the left I can hit tab and shift. 

     

    On most games when I hit tab or shift I can hit a whole different set of keys for all the ones I named above (for example control r, alt r, or shift r).   On most games (but not all), all that means a whole new set of assignments are possible.  Furthermore, a game like EVE allows combos like control-shift-r, control-alt-r, and shift-alt-r.  Some of those combos are impossible for certain keys (control-alt-v doesn't work so well for me), but still, there are yet more keymapping possibilities.  Some games I can play entirely with my left hand on my existing keyboard.

    Finally, I'm using a Microsoft Natural Elite because I don't get pain in my wrists when I use it.  There isn't a gaming keyboard yet that is made with that kind of ergonomic curvature sadly.  Between aching wrists and a keyboard that looks cool but doesn't give all that much apparent advantage, I will do without the pain.

    What I would like personally is a keyboard with the curvature of the Microsoft Natural Elite with a mode change button that is easily accessible on my mouse to switch between a "control" state, a "shift" state, and an "alt" state and combos of those three.  Then I could just hit the little button and poof, I would have a whole new set of "control" keys or whatever with just the press of a button.

    My wish is for something like this Stealth with an ergonomic keyboard and a mode or shift/alt/control shifting function built into it somehow or mappable to a mouse button.  That would make me very happy.  Does such a thing exist?

     

    Edit:  On little thing that is kind of nice that nobody I saw mentioned was the 2 usb ports on the keyboard.  That seems convenient to me though I know it is offered by other keyboards as well.

  • oren_koren_k toronto, ONPosts: 2Member

    You can. In the ZEngine software there is ability to create what they call 'Layers'. You set up the layers with mapping as you wish and assign a key that toggle between your mapping layers.

    This is what you asked for, right?

  • teammasterteammaster sdsdsd, NEPosts: 4Member

    Okay,Let's enjoy it!  Come  on!

  • Max1muzMax1muz HelsinkiPosts: 18Member

    I'm still waiting one as a winning gift from MMORPG.... its about 3 months now? ....

  • koira1koira1 Posts: 229Member Uncommon

    same here brother in waiting ^^

  • AkopianAkopian Layton, LAPosts: 17Member
    Originally posted by oren_k


    You can. In the ZEngine software there is ability to create what they call 'Layers'. You set up the layers with mapping as you wish and assign a key that toggle between your mapping layers.
    This is what you asked for, right?

    That's a big part of what I was looking for.  It makes the whole setup much more attractive to me, though there were some other things in my post that I was also looking for (like an ergonomic gaming keyboard).  Thanks a bunch for your answer though.  A big help.

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