Looking like a cut-down keyboard stuck together with a D-pad from a console controller, it’s design and function is not going to immediately have peripheral manufacturers quaking in their boots…but it should.
Let me explain…
Installation (on XP) is a breeze –as soon as you plug the n50 into a USB port, it’s recognised as a new input device and can be used (albeit in a basic fashion) even without installing the bundled controller management software. The fun really starts when you install this software (the Nostromo Array and the Loadout Manager) and start setting up your controls for your favourite games.
The Array software allows for single or multiple keystrokes and macros (including time delays and/or repeats) to be assigned to each button, plus the directions on the D-pad (including the diagonals). This means that if you wanted a single keystroke on the n50 to enable you to switch to a specified weapon, fire it, switch to another weapon and then send a pre-programmed message to your team mates then it is theoretically possible –you just need to set it up. All your most used key-commands can be assigned to easy-to-reach keys to suit your needs and playing style.
The Loadout manager allows you to manually set which profile you wish to use as you might have a different set-up for each game you play, or it can automatically handle assignation of profiles when you start a particular game.Read more ›
In use the SpeedPad is good. It takes a little while to wean yourself away from the traditional wsad setup, and you miss having a row of keys "down" from asd for crouch and other functions. The shifting is handled well, with clear LEDs to remind you what mode you are in if you get confused but overall I think the gamepad needs to have three if not four rows of the main five keys instead of two. It could also do with a dedicated Shift key, or maybe a notched slider affair (Something like the mode switch on an X45?) because once you start assigning shift functions you are eating into the available controls.
I have set the Gamepad up for Planetside, and it works well 90% of the time. The trouble only starts if I need to do something like change ammo type while holding the crouch key - unless they are in the same shift range then it is impossible. Of course you are going to want crouch in your standard mode, and you are unlikely to need change ammo type so much as to put it in the same mode.Read more ›