Published: 6th February 2010 | Source: SteelSeries | Price: £104.99 |
Having disposed of our comprehensive packaging the SteelSeries 7G is laid bare. A quick glance shows why the box was so huge, with the wrist rest being a very substantial effort. Often a rest is either so stubby that it doesn't actually help with the positioning of your wrists and so is more of an aesthetic device, or it's so flimsy it is more of a hindrance than a useful aspect of the product.
SteelSeries have circumvented this normally problematic aspect by producing a wrist rest that surrounds the entire keyboard. No longer do you have to choose between simplicity or practicality. It slips over the top of the keyboard with no fastenings needed, and has a gradual enough gradient to improve your typing comfort. Taking the rest of to reveal the 7G in its naked state we see how compact the design is.
Measuring a standard 480 x 250mm it makes great use of the real estate it has by filling every corner with a key. The simplicity of the layout is very pleasing after some of the busier keyboards that we've seen recently. Completely devoid of lights, LCD screens, a plethora of macro buttons, marching bands and it doesn't make the tea. It does type like a dream, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Turning the keyboard upside down two things are readily apparent. Firstly the excellent "thigh holes" that allow the 7G to be used on your lap comfortably. I'd never thought of these before, but the moment you see them you wonder why every keyboard doesn't come with them. A brilliant addition that genuinely works. Secondly the very large rubber pads on the four corners of the 7G ensure it wont slip. Given the weight of the keyboard you'd have to be a hippopotamus to get it to move anyway, and the really sticky and large pads on the bottom ensure that it definitely wont.
Finally we take a very close-up look at how crisp the lettering is on the keys and how efficiently SteelSeries have utilised the space available.
Opening the bag that appeared conspicuously at the top of the preceding photographs we find a few of the add-ons that SteelSeries provide. Firstly is the ubiquitous manual, this time coming complete with instructions more comprehensive than I've found on some far more complex devices, so kudos to SteelSeries there. It also comes with the key bindings that the go-to gamer of the moment, SK.SpawN uses, should you feel that settings rather than practise are the key to victory. Pun ahoy.
Secondly is the general advertising leaflet, although in keeping with the tangible quality that exudes from every fibre of this keyboard it's not a flimsy piece of photocopied paper. Also provided is a large SteelSeries sticker should you wish to advertise your loyalties. We can also see the PS2 to USB adaptor, should you require it, and the braided cables which are so fabulous they will be looked at below.
On the right is the back left corner of the 7G, with two USB ports and a microphone and headphone jack. Always useful if you've got your own settings on a thumb-drive and your own choice of headset at a LAN, or just like having things to hand at home.
The cables are nothing short of stunning. At just over 6 foot long they are the perfect length to fit round even the largest of case and desk arrangements, whilst never being stretched. All four of the cables, a USB for the ports, a PS2 connector and the two sound cables to re-route the audio and microphone to the rear of the keyboard, are gold-plated and not just barely enough to count as gold-plated on the blurb, but a really quality gold finish that's very difficult to photograph and do justice to. It's unlike anything on a lower-priced model.
That's not even the best part though. Easily the best part is the braiding. The cables are braided with an incredibly dense weave in a really deep black and is as soft as a kittens tummy. Both ends of the braid are finished in great quality too without the "meh it's done" you see on lesser braiding efforts. For a manufacturer to be able to supply such wonderful quality really shows how far the industry has come along.
Just to show that all four cables have been braided to the same exceptional standard, and because a picture paints a thousand words, here is a last look before we test.