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Flexiglow Keyboard & Gaming Mouse
Written by Scott Harness   
Monday, 28 March 2005 19:00

articles.jpgFlexiglow Keyboard & Gaming Mouse

Looking for some input devices to bring to your next LAN party? We look at some illuminated devices that also get the job done.

Manufacturer:
Buy: (US) & (UK)

Office applications, surfing the web, gaming, just a few tasks that you might do regularly on your PC. Control for these applications is more than likely a mouse and keyboard combo. Since we are going to be using those items each time, does it not make sense to spend a little time choosing the right equipment you will be comfortable with and will do the job well?

So why not have a little fun with your choices too? There is no rule that says you must buy a beige mouse. Plenty of manufacturers offer alternatives these days, including , who have sent us there 800dpi optical mouse and their 101 Key xRaider keyboard from their xRaider lineup.

 

xRaider Gaming Mouse

• Easy-Grip rubber coated buttons
• Illuminated Scroll Wheel with built in calibration control
• Funky changing colour illuminated status light
• Extra long USB cord (1.8m)
• Translucent exterior housing
• Slick easy glide Teflon Feet

The box for the xRaider Gaming Mouse allows you to see the mouse upfront, and has the info you will need to know printed on the rear of the box. Opening the package we find the mouse itself, a USB to PS/2 adapter plug and a draw string black bag for LAN party transportation.

The mouse is a 3 button mouse (mouse 3 is the scroll wheel itself) plus a scroll wheel. There is a nice definite 'push' presence and click to the buttons which gives you a nice feedback; you know if you clicked or not because you can feel it. The actual main two buttons themselves are a continuation of the mouse top itself which means that regardless of how you prefer to grip a mouse, your fingers should reach far enough to the buttons; the actual push part are almost the same length as my fingers. Both are adorned with the xRaider tribal motif in silver on the black to match the silver of the mouse housing.

The rear of the xRaider Gaming Mouse has a transparent and backlit xRaider logo which cycles colours every few seconds. The mouse interior, sides and bottom are translucent and have a blue/red glow to them; blue from the backlight of the mouse wheel and the red from the bottom red LED. You certainly have plenty of eye candy with the xRaider products and the xRaider Gaming Mouse is no exception.

xRaider Keyboard

• Full size keyboard
• PS/2 interface
• Blue EL Back Light
• Translucent white keys
• Excellent key feedback
• Palm wrest
• Compatible with Windows 98, XP, NT, ME 2000

Like the xRaider Gaming Mouse, the Keyboard Box allows you too see the keyboard upfront. To be perfectly honest, there isn't a whole lot to say about the xRaider Keyboard that pictures couldn't tell you.

Like the EL Illuminated keyboard we reviewed before from Flexiglow, the xRaider Keyboard is black with white translucent keys, backlit buy a blue EL glow. It's about there that the similarity ends though, since this is a full size keyboard with a standard layout.

You don't have any extra 'multimedia' keys or anything like that, although you do have an On/Off switch for the EL blue glow. Speaking of blue lighting, Flexiglow have also changed from the standard green LED's on their EL keyboard to matching blue LED's on this xRaider keyboard.

The rear of the keyboard has retractable legs at the rear the same as you would find on any standard keyboard. Also at the rear we have this gripping channel which you can use to dictate which side you want the cable to exit from; the rear left, rear middle or rear right. The front of the keyboard features two hinge mounting points for the included wrist wrest. While there isn't anything overly 'special' (aside from the obvious blue EL lighting) about the xRaider Keyboard, it does compliment the rest of the xRaider lineup nicely.

Testing

Testing items such as a mice and keyboards is a very subjective thing however we can hopefully include enough information for you to make an informed purchasing decision. I usually use an Intellimouse Explorer V3 for my day to use and gaming, and while it is a little large for my hands, I have become accustomed to it.

The xRaider mouse fits my hand beautifully and since it is symmetrical you should find that all but the largest hands will find it comfortable as well, regardless if you are left or right handed. Extended play with the xRaider in comparison with the Explorer (and at the possibility of being disgusting) yielded less sweating on my part which could be seen as a bonus by many although since the grip for the xRaider is more rubber like than the plastic, you are more likely to keep your hand in the exact same place for longer. That should probably be seen as a plus point, and indeed it is, but the trade off is that at least when you do sweat while playing with the Explorer, since your hand is going to slip a little more often, you at least don't get to build up sweat under your hand like with the xRaider.

Ok enough grossness, accuracy with the xRaider is great; the mouse itself skates like it's on a cushion of air, and there is a noticeable difference in the smoothness of movement on the screen in comparison with the Explorer V3. I know some folks will find the movement too fast, both on the screen (which can obviously be adjusted) and off the screen with the mouse itself (harder to adjust) but I personally like the quick accurate movement. I really do like gaming with this mouse, although since it won't stop on a dime it did make snap 'reaction shots' a little erratic until I got used to it.

The keyboard works like any keyboard should basically, although I did find a few of the keys to be a little stiff at first. Thankfully they loosened up after a few days solid use. There isn't really much to report here on its use either, aside from the eye candy it operates the same as any standard keyboard should. I'm typing this review on the xRaider Keyboard right now and it is working without issue.

Final Words

The are both good components although the obvious star of the show here is the Gaming Mouse. In the looks department it is pretty good, although I do think that perhaps the rear cycling LED should have a switch of some kind to dictate a singular colour or the cycling of the colour; it can get a bit tiresome/distracting to the eyes now and then. That said, there is a good chance you will have the palm of your hand covering it anyway. The overall package is pretty complete; you not only get the mouse itself, but also a USB to PS/2 adapter and a black carry bag for the mouse. In use, the xRaider is a very fast' mouse; it glides effortless across surfaces, which is personally how I like a mouse to be. I usually tape up the feet of my Explorer V3 to get added 'slickness' but this isn't something you will need to do on the xRaider Gaming Mouse. I like the fact the main two buttons are in fact one piece and part of the top grip of the mouse meaning that regardless of how you hold it, your fingers should always be long enough.

I would have liked to have seen a couple of side buttons on the mouse though, as I know a few folks like to keep the mouse wheel free for changing weapons/zooming while using a side button as an alternative firing button. As for the keyboard, I think that Flexiglow should have added the multimedia keys from their previous EL keyboard to this one as well, although it works just fine as a standard keyboard.

If you are looking to add some lighted components to your setup then the are worth a look.

Pros: Fast mouse - both on the screen and on your mousepad, Blue LED lit scroll wheel, Red LED lit mouse bottom, Rear xRaider logo cycles colours, Nice one piece grip including the two main buttons, accurate, Carry bag included for the mouse, Nice EL glow from the Keyboard, Standard Keyboard layout – not a compressed laptop keyboard layout, Wrist rest for the Keyboard.

Cons: Some may find the xRaider mouse too fast - all down to personal preference, Keyboard is otherwise standard - designed to compliment the xRaider lineup rather than add something to it.

Bottom Line: Items such as your Keyboard and Mouse are in constant use and while many companies offer 'fun' items with lights and other gimmicks, not all of them make sure the components perform properly as well as look good. The xRaider items do perform properly and look good too.

Questions? Comments? Discuss this review in our Forums.

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