Wolfking Warrior XXtreme Gaming Keyboard Page: 1
Introduction

We have pointed out in the past how easy it is to concentrate on the main components of your gaming system, and then skimp on the peripherals, when really these could be the items which win or lose a game.

It seems however, that most gamers have now firmly embraced this market, and this has only served to make manufacturers release more and more gaming input devices.

Today, I will be reviewing the Wolfking Warrior XXtreme, which is most certainly a more abstract take on a gaming keyboard. But at Overclock3D, we love variation and new ideas, so let’s see what this keyboard has to offer gamers.

Packaging

The packaging looks fairly standard from the outside, although no real information is given about the keyboard without reading the small print on the back. May I also add that there were more than 1 spelling or grammar errors on the rear of the packaging, which presents anything but a professional look.
 
 
Straying away from the standard “box” packaging, the Warrior XXtreme has a handle at the top, and a lid which opens up to reveal the keyboard, allowing a real look at what you are buying without damaging the packaging whatsoever. Given the bizarre layout of this keyboard, I think allowing the customer to see for themselves is a brilliant idea.
 
 

The keyboard itself is then packaged in a blister pack, and although this doesn’t really protect the keyboard that well, it isn’t the most sensitive of components, so this should be sufficient.
 


Package

The only thing included with the Warrior XXtreme is a small manual, which actually proves very helpful in teaching you how to use the keyboard (because let’s face it, it looks daunting!). It includes help with how to type, and a very detailed guide suggesting which buttons to use for which gaming controls. The keyboard requires no extra drivers, so there is no driver CD included.
 
Specifications

Let’s take a look at the features of the Warrior XXtreme, taken from the back of the packaging. Unfortunately, the Wolfking website doesn’t offer much in the way of a features list, with many of the main features being left out. There is also no technical data on their website (that I could find) so if you are into the jargon, you will have to get your fix from somewhere else.



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A Closer Look

As I have already mentioned, the Warrior XXtreme is a definite departure from the normal QWERTY keyboard. Although at first glance it may seem like an ergonomic keyboard, with the keys split over 2 halves, it is actually 2 separate sets of keys.
 

The left disc, features almost everything you would expect to find on a normal keyboard, with the exception of some punctuation, a backspace key and other minor keys. As you can see, the keys are arranged to make the standard WASD movement layout easier to control, as well as making the surrounding keys more ergonomically friendly for a gamers left hand. It is also worth noting that the keyboard has a US layout, in that the @ symbol is printed on the 2 key, and the “ symbol is printed on the ‘ key.

Even number and function keys are easy to reach, and the sheer amount of keys available should be more than any gamer needs.
 

The right disc however, is geared more towards typing, and is designed so that you can type with one hand alone. Although the order may look slightly baffling, it is in fact a QWERTY keyboard, with the right side placed under the left side. This disc also features cursor keys, and everything that was missing from the first disc. And that round circular button in between both discs is a space button, for easy access when using the right disc for typing.
 

The top of the keyboard features 7 further buttons. 3 of which are volume control, 1 is the escape key, another is a shortcut to start your internet browser, another activates the keyboard “Blue Moon” backlight, and the final button is “K-Lock”. This, as you can guess locks the K key, which is usually used for voice communications, basically meaning you are always transmitting your voice. I think this is an excellent feature which I can see being utilised by many gamers.

Finally the Warrior XXtreme features 2 USB ports on the top right of the keyboard, which I think is always a good feature to add, as USB ports can often be lacking with the wide range of peripherals available today.
 
 
 
 
The backlight is fantastic on the Warrior XXtreme. It is visible clearly in the day, as well as the night, and really helps during those late night gaming sessions.
 
 


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Usage - Gaming

Well since this is a gaming keyboard, I’ll start by reporting on how it copes in a game environment. I tested the Warrior XXtreme in Counterstrike Source and Unreal Tournament.

The first thing I found was how comfortable my hand felt on the keyboard. It seemed to fit very nicely. It really is amazing when using the keyboard to have all of your buttons within easy reach, and also to never have to look where you are reaching, as most of the buttons are big enough to press, without hitting others as well. I say most of them, as I feel that perhaps the buttons pressed by your little finger could have been slightly larger, as these were the only ones I had problems with, and after extended use began to find using these keys uncomfortable.

The vertical space bar is fantastic, and I particularly like the placement of the O and B keys, which I ended up binding to throw grenades, as I felt they were wasted when being used only to access the buy menu.

The keys themselves are quiet, and soft to press, yet still feel robust. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into the design of these keys, and rightly so, since they are obviously the most important part of the product.

I expect this keyboard would also be extremely useful in RPG’s, because although the action may not be as fast paced, these games often have binds for most letters on a keyboard, and having access to all of these with 1 hand would be very useful.

So overall, for gaming the Warrior XXtreme would definitely be a good investment for a serious gamer, especially those who find themselves looking down at the keyboard when pressing certain keys, or have to move their hand away from WASD to perform certain tasks.
 

Usage – Typing

When I first saw this keyboard I was extremely interested to see how I would cope when I was forced to type on it. I would love to say that I’ve written this whole review on it, and although it looks daunting, it’s actually quite easy to master…however this is just not true.

I think that 1 handed typing would be brilliant, but there are a few problems which prohibit the Warrior XXtreme from allowing this to happen.

Firstly, I had no idea where each key was. Even though it follows a basic QWERTY pattern (as mentioned earlier, the right hand side of a QWERTY keyboard is on the bottom of the left hand side here), I still could not master typing quickly and efficiently, and was reminded of how painful it is watching my Dad type, as he raises a solitary finger above the keyboard and circles it looking for that oh so elusive P key.

I am sure that with time, somebody could learn to master 1 hand typing with this keyboard, however I neither had the time nor patience, and I doubt that many of you will either. The keyboard also lacks many buttons such as page up/down, scroll lock, insert, print screen, home and end, and while these may not be the most vital keys, you can't help but feel you are missing out on something for your money.

Another major problem however, is the lack of a shift key on the right hand disc. It cannot be truly 1 handed typing if you have to reach over every time you wish to insert a capital letter. There is a caps lock key at the top of the right disc, but that isnt ideal, and there isn't even a caps lock light.

Like many gamers, I often proceed things I say with a smiley face :). I found that when typing with the Warrior XXtreme, I had to press shift on the left disc, the colon is on the right disc, and the close bracket symbol is back on the left disc. It certainly wasn’t an easy task to carry out.

The right disc could probably be used for simple IM messages without much trouble, but there is absolutely no way that this keyboard could be used for any sort of serious typing outside of a game.

My other qualm with the Warrior XXtreme is that it lacks any media buttons, or any macro buttons. Almost every other “gaming” keyboard available has programmable macro keys, and I think that it is a must for a serious gamer. Although the absence of these functions means that the keyboard requires no extra drivers, I’m sure a lot of users would like to see these features included. Personally I think using the right half of the keyboard for this, would have been a better option than the alternative set of keys.


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Conclusion

I think that the left disc serves its purpose as a gaming pad brilliantly. It makes using a WASD system a lot easier, and puts extra functionality at a gamers fingertips. The right disc however does not serve its purpose well, which makes summarising the Warrior XXtreme rather difficult.

Due to the advantages during gaming, I would probably recommend buying this keyboard, and keeping your other keyboard for typing, however This Product prevents me from doing that.

Wolfking also make a  “Warrior Keypad”, which is basically just the left disc on its own, without the added set of keys on the right.  I would definitely recommend this product to any serious gamer, however it makes it rather difficult to recommend purchasing the Warrior XXtreme.
 
With the Warrior XXtreme pricing in at £49.98 and the Warrior at £19.98 (both from After Hours), I know which I would buy.

In conclusion, Wolfking have made a fantastic product, but unfortunately tried to expand on it, and I don't think the final product can be called a success when it is possible to purchase the successful half of the Warrior XXtreme for less than half the price.
 
The Pros
 
+ Gaming side is fantastic
+ Keyboard looks smart
 
The Cons
 
- Typing side doesn't fulfill its purpose
- No media or macro keys
- Better product is availalable for cheaper
 
Thanks to After Hours for the review sample
 
 
  
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