Wireless gaming keyboards might be nice for decluttering your desk, and to a sure extent even a satisfactory instrument for taking part in games in the lounge – offered you don’t thoughts balancing a tough mouse mat in your knee, that’s. There are, after all, additionally full-blown lapboards for these of us who’d quite relax on the couch than sit up at our desks to play our favorite games, however they’re additionally huge nice issues that take up a heck of quite a lot of house.
Corsair’s new Ok83 Wireless keyboard, then again, goals to be one thing of a melding between the 2. Billed as an ‘entertainment keyboard’, the Ok83 Wireless helps each Corsair’s ultra-fast 1ms 2.4GHz wi-fi tech and Bluetooth 4.2, however comes with a built-in analogue stick, contact pad, mouse buttons, and even L and R bumper buttons on the highest and rear. Could this actually be the last word lounge keyboard? Here’s wot I believe.
From the outset, the Ok83 Wireless makes an excellent first impression. With its plain, wise font, sturdy aluminium body, curved edges and easy white backlight, that is in all probability about as lounge pleasant (and thus non-gamer pleasant) as compact, tenkeyless keyboards come – particularly once you take a look at a number of the different entries in our best gaming keyboard record. It’s correct tiddly, too, measuring simply 381x125x28mm and weighing a mere 480g.
That’s infinitely extra preferable to the humongous, to not point out wired, Roccat Sova lapboard I’ve been utilizing not too long ago when taking part in games on the TV (a separate evaluate of which can come shortly), and it makes interacting with our lounge PC a lot extra pleasurable.
The built-in contact pad and devoted proper and left click on buttons are splendidly responsive for normal desktop duties and negate the necessity for that additional mouse and mouse mat (particularly when the contact pad additionally helps as much as four-finger Windows 10 gestures for straightforward scrolling and the like), it’s simpler to retailer away, the cats can’t chew or journey over any wires dangling throughout our espresso desk, and it’s additionally rather a lot simpler to set down and extricate myself from if I must shoo stated cats away from scratching the couch (which they do A LOT).
It’s additionally acquired a battery lifetime of as much as 40 hours with the LED backlight turned off, in keeping with Corsair (or 18 hours with the brightness set to low), and fees by way of a easy 1.8m micro-USB to USB cable that comes within the field, so you possibly can keep on utilizing it whereas it fees. Did I point out it additionally has a quite beautiful quantity curler that controls your PC’s grasp quantity? That’s a godsend when your TV’s linked to a soundbar that has its personal tiny, typically discovered down the again of the couch distant, and for me is one other large plus level that makes the Ok83 Wireless so beautiful to make use of.
But is it really any good for taking part in games with? Well, sure and no. I ought to notice that, as its ‘entertainment keyboard’ moniker implies, this isn’t simply supposed for PC games. Corsair say it’s additionally suitable with sure good TVs (all Samsung fashions from 2016 onwards, plus any TV working Android or Amazon’s Fire OS), media streamers (together with the Amazon Fire TV field, Nvidia Shield and Apple TV, however not Roku gadgets sadly) and Android, iOS and macOS gadgets. In these circumstances, the Ok83 Wireless could be very a lot supposed as a one-stop store for straightforward, intuitive menu navigation, taking the trouble out of getting to fiddle about with numerous contact controls or irritating remotes. And it does that brilliantly.
But I’m primarily involved with the way it works for taking part in games, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that, at first look, the Ok83 Wireless isn’t precisely finest fitted to something that actually requires ultra-fine mouse controls or the precision of twin analogue sticks. Trying to play Doom, for example, was completely diabolical at first. The contact pad merely wasn’t massive or responsive sufficient to behave as a makeshift mouse pointer, and it all the time felt like my thumb sat only a bit too excessive to hit the suitable and left click on buttons accurately – which I think about will likely be much more of an issue for larger-handed people.
I had barely higher luck as soon as I’d remapped the fireplace button to the L button on prime of the keyboard, because the Ok83 Wireless’ underbelly has been moulded inwards to accommodate this type of over-the-edge facet grip. With your forefinger sitting on prime, my remaining three fingers sat fairly naturally simply contained in the boundaries of the little nook housing the R button. Again, although, even my tiny digits had been brushing up in opposition to the sting of this indent, so I can see it being one other potential drawback space for anybody with full-size man arms.
The drawback with adopting this type of grip, nevertheless, is that your thumb then gravitates towards the analogue stick as a substitute of the contact pad – which might be tremendous if games robotically recognised the analogue stick as it’d do on a controller, however as a substitute it’s important to allow the Ok83 Wireless’ particular gaming mode.
You see, these controls I described above – the analogue stick for menu navigation and so forth – are literally the Ok83 Wireless’ media controls for streaming music and video, which is the keyboard’s default mode when the Fn Lock button is switched off. To allow gaming mode, it’s important to be sure the Fn Lock is turned on – one thing which isn’t remotely apparent from simply trying on the keyboard itself and requires cautious studying of the instruction guide to determine (and don’t even get me began on all the opposite Fn button combos required to allow its numerous different supported gadgets).
With gaming mode activated, this will flip the analogue stick into a conventional mouse pointer, and thus, my means to play Doom skyrocketed – though I nonetheless needed to flip the game’s mouse sensitivity RIGHT down so I wasn’t overshooting my targets by 157m each time I attempted nudging it left and proper.
It is a bizarre sensation at first, gripping this factor like an extended, flat, overgrown controller, however as soon as I acquired used to it, I used to be stunned by how first rate the expertise was. I don’t assume it’ll ever totally change a correct controller – for me, no less than, the analogue stick was just a bit too large for my girly thumb (its raised edges too low and clean to supply a good quantity of grip as I moved it back and forth) and its rear moulding additionally wasn’t fairly deep sufficient for me to get a correct grip on it.
But should you actually don’t need to quit your WASD controls, particularly for extra conventional mouse and keyboard games similar to Civilization, Pillars of Eternity or Divinity: Original Sin II, it’s positively serviceable when you’ve acclimatised to having an analogue stick as a substitute of a mouse.
Taking Civilization VI for example, I used to be capable of transfer models fairly comfortably across the map utilizing the analogue stick and R and L bumper buttons with out feeling like I used to be always wrestling the cursor into place, however it was additionally simply as straightforward to modify to the contact pad and decrease mouse buttons once I did want a bit extra precision, similar to altering the settings within the menu.
The Ok83 Wireless can be match for laid again 2D indie games, too. I performed an enormous chunk of Night within the Woods on the Ok83 Wireless, which actually solely wants the WASD keys more often than not, and it was good. Much higher than sitting with a large lapboard on my lap, and infinitely preferable to draping lengthy controller cables throughout the room, too.
Fortunately, as with all Corsair peripheral, the Ok83 Wireless provides fairly a beneficiant provide of customisation choices so long as you don’t thoughts downloading their iCUE software program onto your PC. I’d advocate spending a little bit of time doing this, as it’ll in all probability prevent quite a lot of stress and problem than attempting to faff round with numerous in-game settings.
For instance, in addition to personalising or disabling contact pad gestures and choosing a static or pulsing gentle impact, you may also modify the contact pad’s default pointer pace and analogue stick sensitivity, plus invert the X / Y axis as normal. There are additionally choices to calibrate the analogue stick should you discover it wants re-centring, and you may also fine-tune its useless zone as properly – which is the world the place the stick thinks it’s centred. Likewise, you may also inform it to disable further capabilities when the Fn Lock is switched on, such because the contact pad, Shift+Tab, Alt+F4 and the Windows key.
There’s rather a lot to love in regards to the Corsair Ok83 Wireless, however on the finish of the day I believe it’s only a bit too fiddly to warrant a wholehearted suggestion, particularly when it’s going to set you again £100 / $100. That’s a hefty sum of cash for one thing that by no means really feels prefer it’s succeeding at changing both a lapboard or a controller, and it additionally requires quite a lot of effort and time to set it up correctly, whether or not it’s by way of iCUE or within the games themselves. That’s not very residing room-friendly, the place I’d argue lots of people probably trying to make use of it, similar to youngsters, dad and mom or non-gaming companions, would simply count on it to work as they’d count on straight off the bat.
Don’t get me unsuitable. There are bits I actually do like in regards to the Ok83 Wireless, significantly the entire not having to fret about frantic pets getting caught up in any wires once they’re chasing one another by way of the lounge half. But as a lot as I most popular utilizing it to the Roccat Sova or a wired Xbox controller, there have been additionally a number of occasions once I thought, ‘You know what, I really wish I had a proper mouse right about now,’ or, ‘Why am I not just using a controller?’
As compromises go, the Ok83 Wireless is a reasonably good one for many who need the benefit of wire-free gaming with a little bit of onboard mouse management, however finally it’s a compromise however.