Gamers are always looking for new devices that will help them win their games. For computer gamers there are many options: Game Pads, Joysticks, Keyboard/Mouse combo and now the Cyborg Command Unit from Saitek.
- Instantly switch between 3 modes for First Person Shooter, Strategy and Role-Playing games
- Backlit ergonomic keypad with laser-etched keys for total visibility in any lighting environment
- 4-way analog hat switch
- 21 buttons including space, shift function and 3 mode states for up to 144 programmable commands
- Adjustable thumb control area with 2 way tilt mechanism, slides forwards and backwards
Saitek has long been known as a premier maker of gaming controls. They make everything from joysticks down to gaming mice. About two years ago the they announced a new device called the Pro Gamer Command Unit. Recently they refreshed the Pro Gamer Command Unit made some changes and renamed it to the Cyborg Command Unit. This device is kind of like a mini keyboard with a joystick and mouse built in. The Command Unit gives you everything you need to play most games in one device.
The keys on the Cyborg Command unit are laser etched so that the back light from under the keys shines through so you can play even in pitch black.
There is an adjustable thumb control area that has a 2 way tilt mechanism. This means it slides forwards and backwards, and pivots side to side. This is very useful especially because everyone has different sized hands. Unfortunately, this thumb control area cannot be moved to the other side, so it only can be used by the left hand.
There are 21 buttons including space, shift function and 3 mode states for up to 144 programmable commands. This is obviously more than you will ever need for one game. You could use different modes for your favorite 3 games.
This is a very compact unit, it packs in a lot for its size. As mentioned before there are 20 programmable keys, 3 modes and a shift button which all add up to 144 programmable options for your games. In addition to the keyboard keys, this also includes two buttons on the thumb control area. The thumb control area is unique for Saitek devices because it is not ambidextrous. Saitek has normally tried very hard to make its devices usable for right and left handed people. Because the thumb control area cannot be moved to the other side it can only be used by the left hand. This is OK for right handed people who are used to using the keyboard with their left hand and mouse with their right hand. If you are left handed and switch the keyboard and mouse you may find this a little difficult to use. It would be nice if the wrist rest were also adjustable. If you have small hands you may find the distance between the keys and the wrist rest a little uncomfortable.
The keys are mostly black except for the W, A, S, and D keys which are silver. The numbers and letters are laser etched into the keys so that the light from the bottom of the keyboard can shine though. This makes it really great for gaming in the dark, especially if you have not memorized the position of the keys. All the keys are numbered and you will have to remember what number corresponds to what action.
Keys 2, 5, 6 and 7 have W, A, S, D and arrows printed on them so they are easier to recognize and configure. There is a small notch on the 6 key. This makes it a little easier to locate the position of the keys without having to look at them. It would have been really nice if notch was on key 8, because this corresponds to the F key on a standard keyboard and that is where the notch is on a normal keyboard.
The wrist rest has a red LED which lights up a red plastic stripe which is in the center of it. This is also were the shift key is located and you press it with the palm of your hand. I found the shift key difficult to use because I am not used to using my palm to hit buttons. Once I got used to it, which took a while, I found that it was clever to put the shift key here because it leaves your fingers free to press the other buttons.
The mode switch does more than just change the function of the keys, it also changes the color that is behind the keys. There are color dots next to each mode name that indicates the color that will shine through the keys. The three colors that are available are Red, Green, and Amber. The three modes that are available are user defined, FPS (First Person Shooter), and RTS (Real Time Strategy) modes.
The thumb control unit is somewhat useful as a mouse replacement. There are two buttons and a 4-way hat switch. If you prefer to continue using a mouse then you will probably not use this very much. For most games you will probably want to use your mouse. A good mouse is not only more precise, but it also reduces the amount of stuff your left hand needs to do.
The Cyborg Command Unit is also ergonomically designed so the device is curved to fit your hand. This helped to reduce the amount of fatigue that I feel after playing games for a long time. Even though they have tried hard to make this comfortable, your left hand will feel a little cramped and over worked. There is only so much that your left hand can do.
The Cyborg Command Unit is really useful. Because of the compact design you don’t have to move your hand all over a keyboard to reach the keys. It will take some getting used to, but when you do, your gaming is sure to go up a notch. I personally find this very useful when playing multiplayer games on the computer. I can use this while the other person uses the keyboard and mouse.
Installation is not all that difficult. You need to run the install of the drivers first and it will prompt you to plug in the unit. After it is installed you can test the keys and install separate programming software. With the programming software, you are given the ability to program each key to your hearts content. The only downfall to using the Command Unit is having to re-assign all your computer games to the new layout and picking out the best location for each command. This process can take a long time to figure out the best placement. The process is made easier if you use the built in W, A, S, D lettering on the keys 2, 5, 6 and 7.
The programming software that is included with the Command Unit helps make the key assignments a little easier. With this software you are able to assign any of the keys to any set of keystrokes. There are different assignments for each of the different colors and the shift button. I did notice one glitch in the software. You will notice from the screenshot that the first column is labeled ‘Blue’, but it should be Amber to match the new colors of the Cyborg Command Unit. Assigning keys to the ‘Blue’ column
work just fine with the Amber color.
If you play a lot of games where you need to type, like chatting in games, then you will find this more annoying than anything. Having to switch back and forth between this and a keyboard is very frustrating, especially because a keyboard already does everything you need.
As with all of Saitek’s products there is a two year warranty on the Cyborg Command Unit. This is decent, but I keep hoping that more companies will offer lifetime warranties.
The Saitek Cyborg Command Unit is going to have a hard time finding a niche that it fits into because it is trying to do what a keyboard and mouse already do. If you travel with your computer a lot and you find your keyboard too big then this might work for you. If you find a place for the Command Unit in your gaming and are willing to take the time to program all the keys to fit your games then you will enjoy this. For only $39.95 you can add a lot to your gaming without spending a lot.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|