The X4 has a sleek design, and, at 48cm long, is no wider than most standard keyboards. This means it's ideally suited to both hardcore gaming and everyday computing -- which is a massive thing for me as I need a keyboard which does both reasonably well.
Like most SideWinder products, the X4 has a red backlight for gaming in low-light conditions, and a key along the top of the keyboard allows users to cycle though several brightness settings. I would have preferred blue or the ability to choose blue or red but that is reserved for higher end products and at this price I cannot grumble. The keys themselves have a pleasing bounce to them, and the travel distance is deep for a compact piece of hardware such as this.
The X4 has six macro keys, each of which can store three macros, allowing you to program 18 macros in total. A key at the top of the X4 allows you cycle through each bank of six macros. On-the-fly macro programming is simple enough just hit the record key, then the macro key you wish to assign the macro to, and finally plug in the keys you want recorded.
Although the keyboard will work as soon as you plug it into your computer's USB port, installing the included software lets you play around with the more advanced settings which is where being a gaming keyboard comes in. You can customise the media keys; programme macro banks to automatically associate with certain programs; and set up macro repeating, so that macros continually repeat until you stop them.
The keyboard input time is around 2 milliseconds so pretty quick.
The Microsoft SideWinder X4 is a decent piece of gaming kit that effectively doublesas a gaming keyboard and an everday typer. At the current price its a perfect balance between price and featurs and is onyl let down by the uncomfortable wrist rest, though that is down to personal preference I suppose.