So, having introduced all of these potential weaknesses in the run-of-the-mill keyboard, surely I am also going to offer up a solution to these woes, right? Well, yes, of course I am. Thanks for asking!
For the last few days, I have been using a SteelSeries 6Gv2 gaming keyboard in both my gaming, such as it is, and my day-to-day work. The 6Gv2 is designed to provide increased durability and performance in a reasonably sized keyboard in a way that will appeal to all types of users, which is to say that it hasn’t got all of the lights and decals of a more traditional gaming keyboard. In fact, it looks right at home in a professional office environment.
As I did before, I will talk about durability first. Obviously a week isn’t a long enough period to have used any of the keys millions of times, although with my poor typing skills I think the backspace key is already into the hundreds of thousands. But I can say this: it feels durable. It strongly reminds me of the old IBM keyboards that came out with the early IBM office computers. Back then, men were men and keyboards were considered to be durable office equipment. Plastic was used for 8 track tapes. Those days are long gone, of course, but I still fondly reminisce about the good old days when a keyboard could double as a personal defense weapon. They were particularly popular in the Bay Area because they were the one thing in the office that wouldn’t move in an earthquake. I’m telling you, those things were tough! I’m tempted to take the 6Gv2 out to the batting cage and hit a few fast pitches with it, just to see what would happen. I won’t, though. I like it too much and I’m not sure that is precisely the kind of gaming it was designed for. But given the preponderance of metal materials used in its construction, I'll bet it could handle an inning or two.
Within the office environment of a Fortune 15, pounding fists into keyboards is worth an express ticket to HR-ville so I haven’t really tested the proffered resistance to fits of temper. I have, though, had a great deal of time to get a feel for the increased performance, albeit primarily in the areas of tactile feedback and faster response. I’m a heavy typist and the low-quality keyboards normally provided to me are unsatisfying when new, and often non-functional soon thereafter. On the other hand, the feel of the 6Gv2 is phenomenal as compared to the mushy response of the typical keyboard. I can bang away on this thing like a chimpanzee with no ill effects.
A lighter typist would probably appreciate the lighter and shorter stroke required to get a response from a key; in fact, I asked one to try the keyboard for awhile and she raved about the light touch she was able to use. She will also be thrilled that I referred to her as a “lighter” typist - she has completely unwarranted concerns over body size issues. I’ll refrain from clarifying that I meant a lighter touch on the keyboard, though. I like to spread good cheer whenever I can, especially if doing so doesn’t require too much emotional, fiscal, or physical effort.
SteelSeries goes to pains to point out that they did not include a Windows key. This is a feature that I can truly appreciate having myself inadvertently brushed the Windows key (obviously the most responsive and sensitive key on the keyboard because, well... just because) and found myself cravenly and ignominiously having retreated from the bloody battlefields Firstpersonwaristan to the sanctity of my Windows desktop. I feel the need to be precise about this subject, more precise than SteelSeries is in their marketing materials. Frankly, at first I was disappointed to hear that there was no Windows key since, to me, this keyboard is a dual-use item and I do use the Windows key. Fortunately, SteelSeries only removed one of the Windows keys. The one on the left of the space bar has been replaced with a function key that allows the use of the volume and multimedia keys that are placed on the F1 through F6 keys. The Windows key on the right side of the keyboard is still there, and lucky for me, that is the one I used anyway.
Which brings up my final point about the SteelSeries 6Gv2: they are making a mistake in marketing this as a purely gaming keyboard. The 6Gv2 is in fact a terrific office keyboard! It fits nicely on my desk, it’s heavy enough to stay where I put it, it’s a pure joy to type with, and it will outlast most of the computers it currently is, and will someday be, attached to. It streets at slightly over $100 which is well within the budget of most offices, and in my experience it is worth every penny for people that spend their entire working day smacking away at a keyboard.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Do you really need a gaming keyboard? I sure didn't think I did, right up until I tried a SteelSeries 6Gv2. Gaming demands aside, the 6Gv2 is a great piece of office equipment. It brings back the days when a keyboard was a robust part of the PC suite, not a cheap, plasticy afterthought.
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