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Microsoft Reclusa review: Microsoft Reclusa

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The Good Comfortable wrist rest. Good key response. Programmable keys.

The Bad Macros only allow 16 instructions. Extra USB ports function at 1.1 speed.

The Bottom Line The Reclusa is an excellent keyboard, with good tactile feedback -- however in its target market the Logitech G15 thoroughly dominates.

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8.5 Overall

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The Reclusa is Microsoft's second pairing with gaming company Razer. The first resulted in the Habu -- an evolved version of the Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 which though brilliant on the hardware side, was initially marred software wise. No such curse for the Reclusa, which came out of the box working just fine.

Design
The Reclusa is a typical qwerty keyboard in layout, but this is where things stop being familiar. For one, the keys are backlit by a blue glow, ensuring that nocturnal typers can see what they're hitting.

Ten customisable keys are available (five for each side), as well as a pair of jog dials that can be assigned however you wish through Razer's software.

At the top of the keyboard is a piano black surface that holds the Microsoft logo and the LEDs for caps lock, num lock and scroll lock. Beneath this it looks slightly unfinished, as if at some stage the design team had thought to include keyboard overlays -- leaving holes in the plastic where they might have been affixed. This doesn't spoil the overall aesthetic of the board, but the theory is supported by the plain surface surrounding the keys, as if it was supposed to be covered. A wrist rest is supplied should you wish to plug it in, and is quite comfortable.

Features
The customisable software isn't just limited to assigning a single entry per key -- it has the ability to assign macros. A macro is a series of instructions that can be issued by an individual action, in this case the pressing of a single key can equate to the pressing of many. This can be useful for programmers, gamers, and no doubt to ordinary consumers as well who wish to simplify complex tasks. The Reclusa's macros are unfortunately limited to 16 entries per key including the down and up stroke of a key, so disappointingly a mere eight key presses can exhaust your quota. This is highly limited in the face of something like Logitech's G15, which is seemingly limitless in its macro length.

If left unassigned the aforementioned left and right jog dials will function as a scroll wheel and volume control respectively, the other customisable buttons offering media player and internet browser control.

Profiles are available too, meaning you can save up to five different sets of custom settings. You can even set chosen profiles to activate automatically when you load a specific application or game.

Two USB 1.1 ports are offered at the top of the board. While more USB ports are always welcome, making them 1.1 relegates these to the use of peripherals only; external hard drives and the like would be painfully slow.

Performance
After making the Reclusa our default keyboard for a while, it was hard to go back to our original clacky digit pounder. It is a wonderful piece of hardware, with sleek aesthetics and good functionality. If you're a hardcore gamer though, we'd recommend you check out Logitech's G15 instead.

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