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 Post subject: An FPS Gamers Review
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:46 pm 
I've noticed two main issues regarding gaming and the Deck keyboard. The first issue deals with the lack of adjustable feet, and the second with the long key throw distance.

The keys have a heavier feeling weight to depress and a longer travel distance to the base. For typing which is a quick release single key depression, the keyboard excels and has the best action I have ever felt. The keys literally pop up under your fingers and the longer key throw eliminates accidentally bumping the key next to the one you intended to type.

In contrast to regular typing however, gaming often requires long key hold depressions of several buttons in combination. The extra effort required to depress and then hold a key down actually left my hand a little fatigued after only 30 minutes or so. On a standard keyboard I can play 3-4 hours without any hand distress. The fatigue is a combination of two factors, namely the extra key weight resulting from a stronger spring tension coupled with the lack of elevating feet on the bottom of the board.

On a normal keyboard, the back edge is elevated by an inch to an inch and a half by feet resulting in a more ergonomic angle to depress and hold the keys near the top allowing you to apply greater pressure to the keys from the tips of your fingers. Without elevation, you have to stretch your finger out and use the ball of your finger pad to press and hold a key. Pressure is strongest when delivered from the tip down from a slightly bent finger, but the lack of keyboard rear elevation forces you to use a finger position that offers the worst angle for finger strength resulting in the hand fatigue I noticed.

To correct the lack of feet, I placed an inch and a half thick soft back book under the bottom back edge of the keyboard and then tested playing CS:S. I found the fatigue was all but eliminated. Simply adding feet to the board would solve the hand fatigue problem.

The second issue for gamers is reaction time, particularly for competitive FPS gamers. The long throw keys, basically the distance from the beginning of a key depression until the time the key stroke registers, feels slightly longer than a standard keyboard. While this may be something that can be overcome with usage and by “retraining” your fingers, it does still contribute to a slower overall reaction time.

The rest of the features of the Deck keyboard are without a doubt best in breed. The brightness of the LED’s is unmatched. The durability of the board itself is unsurpassed. This is no cheaply made keyboard. Everything about the Deck lends itself to the feeling of using a superior keyboard including the little extras like the LED’s in the USB connector head.

This keyboard will not help you score an FPS kill any better than a standard keyboard, but that is offset somewhat by its superior quality. If, like many gamers, you have a modded case and you’re looking for a complimentary small form factor back lit keyboard then this is the board for you. It simply is the best looking option available.

However, since the board is primarily marketed towards gamers, it needs to perform as well as it looks before it can really fulfill its potential as the best premium gaming keyboard on the market. When paying a $100+ for a gaming keyboard, I not only expect the best possible construction and great looks, but functionality that enables me to perform my gaming tasks better than I would be able to on a standard keyboard.

Had the board included feet, a shorter key throw, and game specific functions such as a key macro recorder, then $100 would be more than a fair price, however, lacking these functionalities makes the board, even with it’s exceptional qualities, seem overpriced.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:12 pm 
Sorry for the double post, no edit fuctionality :(

Keep in mind that I am not returning my Deck. I still feel that the board could be better for the price specifically regarding gaming (besides the LED's how about some innovation that makes FPS killing a little easier?), but I am happy enough with it to keep it.

Like I said it looks great and the small form factor allows that much more room for a low sensitivity mouse user with small keyboard desk tray. I really like the key placement, and overall I enjoy having the board. Typing on it is fantastic.

I wanted to clarify my previous post as one of my clanmates pointed out that it seemed very negative. My intention was only to point out the items that I though could be better, but I would like to temper that with the fact that these were the ONLY TWO items that I found.

Would I recommend a Deck? Yes I would. However, I also wanted people to understand that as far as gaming goes, it's a pretty straight affair and has it's own issues.

Still, it should say a lot that I am keeping my Deck and am happy with the purchase, even if the price is on the high side for what you get.

A Deck keyboard is really is a form over function question right now, but given time and more development I could see this board being a must have companent of any high end gaming rig.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:20 am
Posts: 55
Thank you for purchasing a deck and we appreciate the review. We are keyboard experts and I want to share with you why we did what we did.
Issue 1: No tilt feet. THe industry standard is 0-2 degree w/ tilt feet up and 7-9 with tilt feet extended. The Deck keyboard is 7 degree. This was chosen by our focus group to be the ideal angle. We did not make it adjustable because of the overwhelming 7 degree preference and to reduce the cost. To be "ERGONOMICALLY" correct it would actually tilt the opposite way. The front edge would need to be higher than the rear. If you are familiar with the Microsoft Egrgonomic keyboard you will know that they put the tilt feet under the front edge so that your hands are relaxed down and not up.

Issue2: The long key throw. The industry terms are "Full Travel", "Pre Travel", and "over travel" A keyboard is considered full travel if total travel is 0.11-0.16". Most laptops are .11". Most standard 104 key keyboards are .16". The Deck keyboard uses the Cherry MX keyswitch which is .157". Normal Pre travel is half way through the actuation the switch makes contact. Over travel is only on rubber blanket keyboards in which you can compress the rubber at the bottom of the actuation. You can not do this with a Cherry switch. This keyswitch has long been known as the Golden standard for keyboard keyswitches. With this comes a higher cost. Most consumer keyboards need to be as cheap as possible and use a rubber blanket technology that although inferior has become what everyone is used to.

There IS method to our madness and if anyone is not satisfied, we do offer 100% money back on the unit price.

thanks again for your honest review,
Deckspert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:23 pm 
Thanks Deck guy. That's an excellent and informative response.

I am so used to using low quality keyboards that its hard to recognize when I finally had some quality under my fingers. Seriously though, to be fair to you, I also should have added that I have had my Deck all of 24 hours.

I bought the FIRE and am happily keeping the board, and a clannmate bought the ICE and seems very happy as well.

I'll ask him to post his opinon too.

As a side note we are very competitive gamers. We have played Day of Defeat in CAL, UGL, and TPG and we are currently seriously playing NS and CS:S. We'll contimue to use our Decks and post how they play long term.

Thanks again for the explanation deck guy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:05 pm
Posts: 10
Great review, and an excellent response. Nice work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:09 pm
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I would have to agree with everything the Rawlins said. I bought a Fire Deck from thinkgeek and it is one of the best keyboard I have ever used. The travel of the keys wears out my hand playing Painkiller and Quake 3 due to the heavy duty springs. if the travel was a bit shorter the board would be perfect. I haven't had it for more than a few hours so maybe I will get used to it. I am used to my old Logitech Elite keyboard. So far I give it an 8.5/10. I am going to the LAN party this weekend and I'll see how it fairs there.


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 Post subject: your review
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:52 am 
good explanation. keep up the good work.

walko


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