The Sidewinder X6 is one of Microsoft’s first gaming keyboards. Compared to a regular, basic, Dell one, it’s quite the fancy spectacle, with back-lit keys and a detachable keypad! Now, let’s take a look at the packaging.
The keyboard is in a standard cardboard box. I don’t know how I can further describe cardboard boxes, maybe I can say it’s a rectangle? The design is pretty nice looking, but how much time do you honestly spend looking at cardboard boxes? A minute? On the inside, you can see they stacked the detachable keypad on top of the keyboard instead of packaging it attached. Good on them for saving space, somewhat. Well, anyways, carrying on.
The instructions are very straightforward; plug the keyboard into any available USB port. Simple. Of course, if you want to use the macros, then…
Software must be installed! And you can do that by using the conveniently given CD. Except, by the time you’re going to read this, that CD will be long outdated, and newer, more improverific’d software will be down loadable. The CD makes a great coaster, however.
The keyboard itself looks very stylish. Simple, sleek, effective. With a ton of extra buttons, of course, like any gaming keyboard would have. Does having extra buttons classify it as a gaming keyboard? Seems like it. You might notice the health warning on the keyboard; it sternly reminds you to not eat the detachable parts, loose keys, or the keyboard itself. And to not overuse the keyboard as a potential health hazard. Probably best to avoid carpal tunnel altogether. One of the nice features is the detachable numpad. When attached, it holds itself pretty sturdily, so you don’t have to worry about dismantling it during intense mind-numbing numpad action. But the numpad is a terrific idea in general; if you’re right handed and want to use your left hand to access the numpad keys, then it will be placed very conveniently. The same will hold true if you’re left handed, though for the majority of us right handed people, we will want it to stay where it is on the right hand side. Not only that, you can detach the keypad altogether and have a lightweight, compact keyboard! Hooray for portability!
With the adjustable key knobs, you can program how much backlight glow there is. For us nocturnal creatures, let it be said that the less, the better. If you like brightly lit things, then let there be glowing light! Aesthetically, it looks great with the backlit amber tint. But using a computer in the pure dark is horrible for your eyes.
With the Sidewinder, you can store a heck load of Macros, and quite easily too. Just hit the record button, press the key that’s being recorded, press the keys you want to record, and press the record button again. Voila, macro created. I’d like to mention the portability again; the Sidewinder does not store macro information, so all your saved combination’s do not carry over to other computers when you mobilize with your keyboard. This might be quite the annoying factor if you want to travel around with it a lot.
If any reader has Windows 7, you might not appreciate this next part.
As you can clearly see, it says no extra software necessary. Great! But wait, what happens when I try to install with the normal, bundled CD software?
Implosion! Chaos! No, it’s just a simple error. It’s fixable, but I don’t want to waste time looking for the solution; Google has a history of people complaining about this, and luckily, solutions have popped up. It’s annoying having to go fix something that clearly says it’s compatible. Oh well. Just a minor hitch.
I would recommend the Sidewinder if you feel like you need a detachable keypad, appreciate nice back glow, don’t need any more ports or jacks on the keyboard, and need a healthy amount of macros. It’s around $50 retail, so you might want to consider that when picking out a keyboard.