Good carpenters need good tools; good gamers need proper equipment! I'd been contemplating upgrading my input devices for an upcoming rig. However, funds being ever the problem, this idea was shelved. Till a colleague at work started harping at me to accompany him to Lamington Road to pick up a new gaming mouse. This fellow is a newbie at Digit and fancies himself to be quite the Quaker-of the modern kind, that is. Excerpts of what we saw at aforementioned hallowed Road follow.
Joysticks are becoming pretty rare and Logitech's latest Attack 3 Joystick was not in stock with the distributors. Typhoon's Eagle-Max is available for as little as 2,000 bucks. There is a trio of brands making gamepads-Frontech, Zebronics, and Typhoon. Zebronics' Zeb 50JP is a decent-looking gamepad, with dual analogue sticks and 12 programmable buttons. It costs Rs 1,300. Typhoon's basic gamepad with six programmable buttons costs Rs 800. Frontech's Fantasy Pad JIL 1736, priced at Rs 1,000, has elongated handles that make it look something like the PS3's concept "banana" controller. The Josh stick (Frontech's joystick offering) is priced at Rs 1,850.
The Logitech MOMO wheel costs Rs 4,850-a sweet deal if you play racing simulations all the time. Saitek is another brand I was aware of, but to my dismay, one guy said their products are extremely rare. For those into a lot of button-mashing games, Microsoft's X360 controller is available for Rs 1,200. It saves your poor keyboard the hurt (and the long-term wear and tear) while button-hammering on games like Prince of Persia and Mortal Kombat. While the force feedback is gimmicky, the feel of the unit is good.
Zebronics has a racing wheel priced at Rs 2,500, but with no force feedback and the trouble it takes getting it to stick to your Desktop, the MOMO seems worth the premium if you're a serious racing fan.
Now for the old school keyboard mouse legion of gamers… Logitech's G15 is a superb keyboard. Backlit keys, 18 macro keys, and a well-laid-out design mean the G15 is definitely for you if "4,500 bucks" doesn't cause an "ouch!" It also has a LCD that dishes up all essential game data, and will also serve as a pop-up window. Razer's Tarantula (which we recently spent 30 Days With) is another option, but isn't really worth the price (1,300 bucks more than the G15), considering it has fewer macro keys, no LCD, and that the regular keys aren't backlit. There is also the Logitech G1-a combo of optical mouse and keyboard. This kit was just about to hit the market and was un-priced when we checked-it'll be out by the time you read this.
Logitech's G11 (a G15 minus the LCD) is another "to be out soon" product, and wasn't available for pricing during my visit to The Road.
Logitech's G5 (Rs 2,900) is a 2000 dpi (500 Hz polling frequency) laser mouse-ultra accurate, and quite comfortable; it has weights provided to lighten or weigh up the mouse according to what you're used to. Its infrared counterpart, the MX518, is available for as little as Rs 1,500 now-a killer mouse with extra buttons and a 1600 dpi sensor. There's also the cordless G7 for Rs 4,200. It has hardware identical to that of the G5, only it's wireless.
Zebronics has a gaming keyboard and mouse combo, but aside from the flashy colours and the CounterStrike theme, this looked like a regular keyboard. The combo costs Rs 1,200; the optical mouse bundled is IR-based (800 dpi).
Razer has two offerings for the discerning camper. The Copperhead has the same hardware as the G5. This one is smaller, and if anything, even faster than the G5 (albeit only by a tiny margin). It's more suitable for those with smaller hands, and you'll have to check both out to decide which to buy. The Copperhead has backlit side stripes (available in three colours) and costs Rs 4,500. The DeathAdder is the other offering-1800 dpi on an infrared sensor, and a much more comfortable design than either its laser sibling or the Logitech trio. Price = Rs 4,000 = three MX518s!
Microsoft's Habu is the last contender for the gaming mouse. It costs Rs 4,000, and is basically a Copperhead in DeathAdder guise. The 2000 dpi sensor in a much larger body makes the Habu more controllable (and less twitchy-geek speak for not-so-controllable) in my opinion.
Looking at the options available, my friend and I picked up an MX 518 each. We got the dealer down to Rs 1,425 apiece. At the end of the day I just couldn't resist the allure of the G15-I guess all those shimmering lights got to me. I ended up paying Rs 4,200 for it.
Playing Warcraft 3 is a wonderful experience… I could now play with the lights off (keyboard backlighting is brilliant), and the macro keys really helped map complex unit selections. The extra spacing between keys is also a good thing. I've yet to subject the MX518 to some serious action, and am awaiting the weekend when I'll get to use my friends as frag bait!