Ideazon had a hefty hit with PC gamers a few years back -- the innovative Zboard keyboard, which offered different keysets for specific games. It was rather clunky, but it succeeded in making PC gaming slightly friendlier -- the Battlefield 2 keys were certainly very handy. Now Ideazon's back with the altogether sleeker Merc Stealth keyboard.
Instead of a swappable keyset, the Stealth has an extra-wide chassis with special gaming keys built into the left side. These are basically a second set of the keys you use most when playing FPS-type PC games, such as W, A, S, D, Shift, Space and so on, but in a much more user-friendly design. It means you still use the key presses that are hard-wired into your shooter brain, but with less RSI and fewer mistaken keypresses. The W key, for instance, is exactly above the S, unlike on a normal keyboard, and both are much wider than your run of the mill key.
Other features include a backlit keyboard so you can play in the dark -- very cool if you're playing something scary like F.E.A.R. -- which can change colour at the press of a button. Red, blue and purple lighting is available for your customisation delight. Ideazon also bundles a very easy-to-use software tool to assign functions to each key, which brilliantly includes mods for dozens of the most popular games.
Testing the Merc Stealth out on a few of our favourite titles, we found the gaming keys responsive and very comfortable. The build quality is very high and (although obviously we haven't been hammering it for months) we imagine it'll last a good deal longer than a bog-standard keyboard would.
The only downside we could find was that the design has squashed the right-hand side of the keyboard together, so the cursor keys and those you'd normally find above them (Insert, Home, Page Up and so on) are all part of the number pad. This can be irritating if you plan to use the keyboard for more mundane pursuits.
The Ideazon Merc Stealth is available now for around £50. -Nick Hide