Gear: SteelSeries 7G Keyboard
With Christmas just around the corner we continue to pump out gear reviews to ensure you have all the information you need to gift yourself or friends. So just how well does the SteelSeries 7G Keyboard hold up against the industry juggernauts?
The keyboard is an essential part of PC gaming. This device becomes like an extension of your hand and after a while, your fingers naturally find the grooves and the vast number of buttons fades away, leaving you at one with your gaming device. Like most items in PC gaming, there are many variations of a keyboard out there. For some it is important to have extra keys for assigning skills, others like low profile design and some just want aesthetics and lights. Though no keyboard is perfect, most know what demographic they are aiming for, which is why I find the Steel Series 7G so confusing, what it does right works well however it does not really a stand out in any major way and its lack of unique special features made it a curious product to review. Here are my thoughts.
The 7G has a lot of its focus aimed internally, the keyboard uses mechanical switches as opposed to rubber buttons which will not only dramatically increase the life of the keyboard but also gives strong and sturdy key presses for those that need precision when gaming. These gold plated switches are super durable and won’t corrode like metal or break like the classic scissor style plastic keys. Also, these heavy duty keys do deserve credit for being one of the quietest mechanical keyboards I have ever used, though the sound is still audible, it is nothing to the usual hard clacking sound of the more well known brands.
Like most Steel Series products, the 7G also has a decent amount of work put into performance too. In one of the oddest moves I have seen in a long time the 7G has made use of the the old PS2 port on a desktop computer which after doing a little research shows that it almost entirely remove maximum key presses which means no more beeping and freezing during intense shoot outs or complex command giving moments. Even with its single USB connector the keyboard is still capable of providing 2 USB ports and also a mic and headphone input for ease of access. Plus, for those without a PS2 port, the pack comes with a USB adapter to give you either option.
For most of us, a keyboard is a dual use device, it is one half of our gaming kit but it is also what we use for typing too. This is the first problem I have with the 7G, its large shaped keys play hell with the speed of my typing and high profile nature made long term use a pain for anything apart from gaming, even after several weeks of constant testing the keyboard gave me nothing but frustration while working. On top of this it’s palm rest slots over the top of the keyboard and does not attach in any way, meaning that if you like to work on your knees or have a slightly uneven table the palm rest becomes more of a hindrance than a useful attachment and needs to be removed, leaving you with an even more uncomfortable keyboard without it. Even with its intended use of gaming the deep presses required to make the keys work never felt quite right and after a few weeks of use I yearned to return to my faithful old one.
As a keyboard, the 7G is far from the worst one I have ever used. However I have a hard time suggesting it as a viable option based on its price range. One could grab the Logitech G510s or the Razer Deathstalker for the same money and though the 7G would probably out last either keyboard, both alternatives offer more function and versatility by far. This being said, those with a love for RTS (Real Time Strategy) games or similar titles may want to consider it to help avoid sticking keys in difficult moments of micro-management but I personally found this keyboard unwieldy and awkward to use. The 7G has some great talking points but as a whole it lacks style or a targeted customer type leaving it a strangely uncomfortable in its own skin. Not a good buy.