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Razer Lycosa – Just another keyboard?

It looks like yet another keyboard but there are some interesting facts about the Lycosa waiting to be unfurled. Read on to find out what new tricks Razer can teach an old dog.

We have seen several manufacturers come out with keyboards for gamers over the past few years. Some, like the Everglide DKT or Saitek Eclipse, seem little more than keyboards with backlighting. And so the question lies –  When does a keyboard really make the transition into a gaming keyboard? Almost all the keyboards for gamers thus far possess some form of bling but even that can be found in el’cheapo multimedia keyboards we see in the back alleys. Others are unique in offering interesting layouts like the WolfClaw or the Ideazon Merc which feature a seperate left section to be complemented by the regular keyboard layout. Yet perhaps one of the more promising features to arrive at gamers’ doorsteps of late are the inclusion of macro keys. So where does the Razer Lycosa we have in the labs today stand? Well, a little of the first and last as you will see in a while.

Glossy keyboard comes in an equally flashy box.

Oooh…  Shiny!

The Razer Lycosa comes with a nice gloss black trim and at first glance, looks like a usual 104-key keyboard. However, looks can be deceiving and we will soon find out what is installed in the keyboard. The keys are made of the same material as the buttons on Razer mice – a satin textured rubbery material – and the letterings are translucent to allow them to be backlit. Although the keys may looks like laptop keys at first glances, they are actually using soft-dome membrane mechanisms rather than scissor mechanisms. The wrist-rest is pre-attached to the keyboard via screws allowing for a sturdier joint than the usual clip-on units. It can be removed if so wished but requires the use of a screwdriver.

Hooking it up

Not just a single USB plug on the other end of the cable.

Hooking up the keyboard would normally be a matter of plugging in a USB or PS/2 plug. On the Lycosa however, it’s a different story. The other end of the cable extending from the keyboard splits into a pair of 3.5mm stereo plugs and a pair of USB connectors. It would appear that after taking over Everglide, Razer has assimilated some of the features found on the Everglide products. In this instance, it’s the bundling of the microphone, line-out and one USB extensions together with the USB cable required for the keyboard. This allows gamers to easily connect their headsets and mouse to the keyboard without having to reach into the back of the chassis. That said, it would be nice if Razer could integrate USB audio and a hub on the keyboard itself instead of just having pass-throughs. Upon powering up, all the keys are lit and on the top right hand corner, we spied something different about the keyboard.

Rub it the right way

Multimedia "keys".

Whereas most manufacturers place multimedia buttons on their keyboards and even Razer did it with the DKT keyboard, the Lycosa doesn’t use buttons/ keys. Instead, what you’re looking at is a touch sensitive panel. There are the usual suspects for playback and volume controls but the other two keys do more than what you think. Wondering where we found two other keys on the panel? Continue reading the next page for more.

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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