This article gives a brief overview of the new Steelseries Shift gaming keyboard.
The aim of the makers in creating this keyboard was to produce a unit that would be suitable for most types of computer gaming, whether it is single player shoot-em-ups or MMO.
For the manufacture of this keyboard Steelseries have chosen non-mechanical keys with 4mm of actuation travel and good tactility, some gamers may view this as a step backward given the current trend to produce high quality mechanical keyboards, but the makers have used heavy duty silicone under the keys in this model which increases the life expectancy to a claimed 15 million keystrokes.
Steelseries have also used a balanced keys, that is to say different sets of keys require a varying amount of pressure, with the dedicated gaming and qwerty keys requiring the least as these get the most use.
The macro switching on the Shift is also well designed in that any key can be programmed in several different ways, and the Shift manages to put the macros in several layers that can be switched alternately, using the layer keys that are mounted at the top edge of the unit, LED’s tell the user which layer is active, the user can choose which key clusters can used for the macros.
Media keys are well presented on the left hand side of the unit. Twin USB ports are provided on the Shift, one of these is powered, it also comes equipped with headphone and microphone sockets with gold-plate connections.
Like its predecessors the Steelseries Shift also has support for dedicated extra keysets that can be purchased separately and easily installed by the user. There is no illumination on this model which may be a negative for some gamers who like to play in the dark. To enhance user comfort the Shift has three-position adjustable feet which should ensure the gamer gets the optimum angle to suit them.
The shift is only suitable for Windows operating systems as at present there is no support for Mac OSX.
If the user is looking to renew or upgrade their current keyboard the Shift is definitely worth consideration, although lacking the displays and backlighting of competitive models, the speed and performance of this model should be taken into account, of course the key layout and macro settings will take a while to learn, but even the average gamer should have little trouble with this.