Turns out the previously rumored SideWinder X6 gaming keyboard with detachable numeric pad is real and coming. But what caught us off-guard is that a new mouse, the SideWinder X5, will be joining Microsoft's gaming hardware lineup at the same time.
But first, let's take a close look at the upcoming keyboard. Backlit keyboards are so BTDT (been there, done that), but the SideWinder X6 uses different LED colors to differentiate modes. When used as a standard input device, the keys emit a red glow, but press the bank switch button for gaming and the keyboard glows amber. The latter mode disables both Windows and context menu keys so that you won't accidentally exit to the desktop while in the middle of battle. There's even a dimmer switch to customize the brightness of the backlights.
At the same time, the SideWinder X6 in gaming mode transforms the numeric keypad into 30 programmable macro buttons. A macro toggle switch allows a total of 3 possible macro sets, making for 90 possible combinations. A cruise control feature does away with multiple button presses by giving "sticky key" functionality for up to 4 actions. The SideWinder X6 will be available in October for $79.95 in the U.S.
The SideWinder X5 looks, at first glance, to be almost identical to the original SideWinder mouse. However, the X5 is slightly smaller than its predecessor as, according to a Microsoft spokesperson, there was feedback that the first edition was too big for most hands.
Targeting the budget market, the X5 does not have adjustable weights, an LCD screen showing the current DPI setting, or even the cable stay accessory. The latter is a heavy box that holds the mouse wire in place so it doesn't flail about while gaming. The metallic scroll button in the original has also been replaced with a rubber one.
However, the X5 keeps the essential features needed by most gamers, including a 2,000dpi laser sensor, macro recording mode, and five customizable buttons. The SideWinder X5 will cost $59.95 and should hit U.S. stores in September.
(Via Crave Asia)