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on 13 January 2015
Brilliantly made, with comfortable tactile keys, and the adjustable backlight is perfect… it's just much too bulky with that number pad on it though.
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on 27 April 2013
Packaging:
Very well presented box, very well packaged, features etc detailed on sides and back.

Build Quality:
Absolutely 5 stars, the keyboard is solid with a nice glossy finish that amazingly doesn't get dirty easily or attract dust, the keys are very responsive, have a reasonably low "drop height" so you don't have to mash each keypress, and unlike the more expensive mechanical keyboards the typing 'loudness' is relatively quiet, personally I cant stand the loud clickety-clack of some keyboards so I find this a major advantage. The wrist-bar rest cannot be de-attached, but I don't view this as a hinderance and it provides excellent grip and support. The clips on the back are thick and don't look to be the sort that will break easily, which is definitely a major plus point.

Software:
Non existant as such, literally plug and play and use the keyboard properties from control panel to customise the (very customisable) keyboard. The macros etc are easily setup, but to be honest I haven't actually found a use for them yet. The keyboard has 3 seperate profile options for easily switching if you want program/game specific differences on your keyboard, and utilisation of 6 different macros per profile.

Layout:
Ive been using the keyboard for a week and i'll be honest it takes some getting used to, the key issues I found was based on "unfamiliar" key positioning and size, at first was that the Escape key is not at the top left instead the profile button is, causing me to not cancel out of programs and instead, infuriatingly, switch profiles, then having to select that key again twice and move across to the actual in-laid escape key. The same applies with the S1-S6 keys down the side, presumably intended for macro-commands yet can be programmed to do anything, frustratingly you find yourself pressing S6 instead of Control, S2 instead of Tab etc. The function keys (F1-F12) are rather small, sacrificed in size to accommodate for the quite frankly unnecessary media control keys. The Caps Lock key is very small thus dropping the WASD keys in a slightly cramped layout, with me having to disable Caps Lock so as to stop pressing it.

Bear in mind these critisisms may just be teething issues, but it has taken me I would say around 30 hours of use to get fully adjusted to the slightly irregular layout and key size, and even now during games I find my hand drifts off where it should be if I move my 'guide' fingers off WASD, the dents on the W key cannot be felt and you need to visually reposition your hand.

Key features:
Up to 26 simoultaneous keypresses: Well considering the average human doesn't have 26 fingers (anyone who types as much as me I bet wishes they had!) seems a bit overkill, but in reality they don't mean 'any 26 keys' they mean commonly used combinations such as WASD etc can be used in addition to 3-4-5-26! other keys, for gaming this is an absolutely OUTSTANDING feature, and will actually improve your skills on any game, particularly MMO's or any key-heavy program/game.
Backlit Keys: Absolutely gorgeous backlit keys with 4 brightness settings (one being OFF), to be honest your only ever gonna use brightness 3 and Off as the brightness 3 isnt exactly bright enough to be overpowering, so a simple on/off option would of sufficed, the ability to change the colour would of been great but the Red is aesthetically pleasing.

Durability:
As I have only owned the item for 1 week, it is unfair for me to give an accurate response on this yet. Based on the build quality I think it should be fine.

Cable:
A meter and a half in length I believe, standard USB 2.0 connection, reasonably thick and as far as I can tell, good quality cable and connection.

In summary:
An absolutely incredibly good keyboard for the price, Im hoping it will last for many years infact, and even if anything does go wrong after 1 year I'd gladly buy another. While the layout is somewhat frustrating at first when switching from a more conventional layout I think that once your hands have got used to it it will actually work BETTER than a standard layout (less distance therefore less strain, convenient placement of keys) All in all I have basically no critisisms other than that, I give the product 9.6/10.
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2010
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.
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on 13 February 2014
Bought as a xmas present I use one my self for internet computer.Solid keyboard and well worth the money.Some nice features and is a very good buy.The person it was bought for is extremely delighted with it .So basically a good all rounder..
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on 22 December 2010
Having owned many Microsoft periheral products in the past, including keyboards, and after reading the review here I was finally tempted to purchase this keyboard.

The finish and look of this keyboard is excellent, and would look great with almost anyones gaming rig. Macro programmability on the fly is quick and simple, and works well. All the function keys and media keys are well positioned for my use, and integrated nicely with the rest of the layout.

If I have one complaint, its the overall size of the keyboard. Perhaps I should have considered this more carefully in my purchasing decision. However, I do find the key spacings cramped for my large hands. Prolonged typing or gaming, can cause muscle strain on my fingers and around my knuckles.

Products ergonomics is a very personal thing, and this shouldn't distract you from the great functionality and built quality of this keyboard. My only counsel is if you have large hands, long fingers or a combination of the two, like myself, see if you can 'try' one in a store first to make sure its a good fit.

For the average gamer, I can heartily recommend it.
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on 16 December 2012
I have been using this keyboard for a year now and have been very happy with it.

Probably the best feature is the Anti-Ghosting or N-key rollover that accurately reproduces a lot of keys pressed at the same time which is not the case with 95% of the keyboards on the market.
This might not be an issue for typing a text (two keys at a time is enough) but it can be important for playing games where easily four keys need to be pressed at the same time.

Considering it is made from plastic, it is probably as rigid and durable as it can get.

The multimedia keys sure come in handy. Some people will also find the macro and profile functionality important and useful, as for me I have hardly used them though.

The oddest about the layout is the position of the AltGr key which is located further to the right extending the space bar. This can be unusual, uncomfortable and annoying if you have to use it regularly. It is not an issue for me however since I have mapped my CapsLock key to be the AltGr key which is a lot more ergonomic anyway.
In the beginning, I used to hit the profile key instead of escape but I got quickly used to the correct location.

The pressure point and touch and feel of the keys is great in my view and I can't see any sign of wear, i.e. them getting mushy or anything so far. Also they respond really - with a rubber dome keyboard you always have to bottom out, of course, but it doesn't quite feel like it when you do...(?)

Sure the glossy surface is smugded easily but with one wipe of cloth it is back to normal.
Other than that, the design is really appealing. The backlighting is best in low light giving the right amount of illumination without distracting. During the day it's more like a faint pinkish glow but since it can be turned off, this is not an issue.

Especially at this price point it is simply a great keyboard for gamers and everybody else.
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on 7 May 2011
I spent quite a long time looking for a keyboard that was similar to the one I already had (and old DELL one) so I wouldn't need to get accustomed to the new key sizes and layout etc. I looked at the G15, G11, G110, some Saitek's amongst others. This stood out. Great value for money.

The macro keys on the right are handy and don't get in the way at all. They are also very easy to assign using the software that comes with the keyboard. With six keys and three different banks it gives you a total of 18 different functions you can assign to the left of the keyboard.

The keyboard response is very good, the keys go in a good distance and you know for sure when a key is pressed. It also features anti-ghosting which is fantastic for frantic online FPS games. It sends exactly what you hit and when you hit it, no more movement lag.

The extra media keys are also a highlight, play/pause, skip back/forward, mute, volume down/up. They are all very nifty if you need to hit something quick. They "Calculator" key above the numpad is a nice little thing for those quick calculations.

The back-lighting is one of the main reasons I purchased the board and it works like a dream. In the day time you can just turn it off. When the lights go out and you don't want to keep your room lit you can select from 3 different intensities of red to choose from and all of them make the keys very easy to see.

My only problem is that the board seems to be a bit of dust hound, especially on that glossy surface in between keys. Nothing a soft cloth won't take care of though. Does not warrant removing a star.

All in all this is a great keyboard that works well from everyday emails to online gaming. Would buy again if it broke.
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on 23 September 2010
Bought this, my first "gaming" keyboard about 2 weeks ago for just over £30 from Amazon.uk.

It's a good-looking black keyboard with three levels of brightness (& off) for the red-lit keys, adjustable by a special key on the keyboard (easy to find in the dark as it's the top-right key on the top-edge of the keyboard). The letters are painted white which are easy to see in the normal lighting - it looks more like a standard keyboard when the LEDs are off, which I liked. Also at the top are a set of standard multimedia controls: volume up, down & mute, play/pause, prev track & next track, all totally customizable through the Intellitype keyboard software which works through the control panel and is quick to use, efficient and is not a graphics/resource hog. However setting multiple keystrokes (eg: Winkey+D)through the menu was a bit tricky but easy enough after reading the Help.

A dedicated record macro key allows you to record and store keyboard macros to the keyboard without going in to the software, which is useful for in-game recording as well as being convenient. There are six dedicated macro keys on the left with a macro bank button and indicator LED above them, for a total of 18 macro keys. There is also a "calculator" button above the numpad which loads the Calc program, although again this can do whatever you like if you want to change it.

Gaming-wise, it is low latency, has superior anti-ghosting capability - registers up to 26(!) keys pressed at once apparently - and has performed well as a gaming keyboard.

Otherwise it's a fairly standard keyboard, all the usual keys are there. The F keys are a little thin as is the ESC key, although there is a small gap between it and the F keys so I can find it when reaching into the recessed keyboard tray and can't actually see the top keys (the other top keys are grouped so finding those should be fairly easy as well). The key-travel distance is about half that of a standard keyboard, no where near as shallow as some laptops but noticeable - I quite like this but may not appeal to everyone. The keys don't click.

The keys have a smaller surface area than normal and this has taken the most getting used to for me as I have large fingers and found it a bit annoying at first. I think this is the only potential negative I can find with this keyboard, although it probably just takes a bit of getting used to if coming from a standard sized keyboard. I would have perhaps preferred the macro keys along the top (and a smaller wrist-rest, something I don't use) leaving more space for wider keys on the keyboard itself rather than a bigger keyboard as it a good size already at 48 x 20cm.

The wrist rest is solid and gives a nice finish to the keyboard and is not very big (although I would have preferred it even smaller). It also does not detach but that might be a good thing as I appreciate the solid feel it gives. That's it, for the money 5/5.
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on 8 January 2013
I often use my desktop PC in the evenings and used to have difficulties finding some of the keys working in subdued lighting. I'm not a touch typist and until recently I did not realise that there were such a thing as a backlit keyboard. After reading a few reviews decided to buy this product because the reviews were positive and it was cheaper than a number of the other options.

I have no idea what anti-ghosting means, I do not use the keyboard for gaming, and although I understand keyboard macros I have no intention of setting any up. Briefly the heavily promoted features of this keyboard are all irrelevant to me. On the other hand it feels very robust, my wife and I find it easy to type on and being quite heavy it stays in one place on my work table.

The backlighting is very effective on all keys except the left hand shift key (the final "t" of "shift" is not properly lit) but the designer missed a real trick on the num lock, caps lock and shift lock indicators. The lights are easy to see but their labels are effectively invisible which is why I've only given the device 4 stars.

Installation was easy - I ignored the CD that came with it, took the battery out of my cordless keyboard and plugged the new keyboard's USB cable into a spare USB port at the back of my desktop. A few seconds later I was offered the option to install support for the keyboard's advanced features, which I turned down. It works just fine without these extra features which I assume to be the macros and support for gaming, whatever that means.

Don't be put off buying this by the blurb about its clever features - if all you want is a keyboard with backlit keys then this will do the job.
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on 26 November 2012
I'm only going to keep this review short and list the advantages and disadvantages, because I'm sure people don't want to read through paragraphs of nothing but text!

Advantages:
- Very nicely packaged and much more than I'd expected for the price
- The keyboard is a perfect size of around 18 inches in length, and easy to use with small hands like I have
- The red lighting behind the keys looks really cool in low lit conditions and offers three levels of brightness
- The keys aren't too tall and clunky which is just how I like them, they feel really responsive and do give a bit of a click when using them, definitely not the quietest keyboard I've had
- The surface of each key is very smooth and not sticky, this is ideal for gaming when switching fast between keys
- The space bar is solid, ideal for gaming when you apply more pressure to the left side of the space bar
- The programmable macro keys are very useful
- The wrist support at the front is a useful and effective addition too
- The raising supports on the underside are well balanced and secure, the keyboard doesn't slide along surfaces

Disadvantages:
- The red lighting behind keys isn't so great in a normal lit room. I find that creating a shadow and blocking the light over keys makes the red stand out much better
- The shift key near the W-A-S-D keys is small, and for gaming its better to have a large one in my opinion, but I can easily adjust
- It feels very weird having the programmable macro keys on the left hand side, but again, this just requires getting used to it
- Keys are every so slightly wobbly when you shake them for side to side with your finger, but not too much of a problem
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