Ratings: Ease of Use, Performance: 22/25, Look & Feel: 23/25, Features & Software 23/25, How much I enjoy 24/25
Ideazon manufactures several keyboard and gaming controls with an eye toward the gamer and their peculiar needs. Not that gamers are peculiar, its just that we are a finicky lot for the most part. A keyboard designed for a specific game is not for everyone but this definitely makes gaming easier and more fun.
The Zboard is a really different keyboard that has a removable keyset you can change out according to your gaming or general computer use. The base is a keyboard sized board with rubber buttons that accepts the keyset. The different keysets are made according to the game types they are for.
The Zboard keyset for the general gaming that comes with the Zboard has the numbers and F keys about where they are for a normal keyboard but the letters are moved to the right where your number pad would normally be. There is a large “butterfly” design of keys used for movement and several specific keys for gaming that are on the left of the board for gaming.
These special gaming keys are designed into the keyset and when you click the keyset into the Zboard it automatically sets the program for the keyboard to the Zboard default settings. This means no messing with changing programs when you want to start gaming, simply pull the tab on the right side of the keyset up and lift out the keyset. Insert the left side of the gaming or other keyset into the left side of the Zboard and set the middle and then the right sections down. Click the tab into place and your keyboard will set up automatically.
If you want to change the default settings of any of the keys or macros it is a simple matter of going into the Zboard program and following a few simple steps to change keys, add delays or do a host of other changes to your keyboard settings. You can create whole new setups for specific games using the default settings or you can download preset configurations from the Ideazon site for many of the popular games.
The Zboard comes with the regular standard keyset that is a standard keyboard layout. It also comes with a Zboard gaming keyset that has a common gaming setup and a CD with drivers and the Zboard program that loads into your desktop tool tray. You change settings and such using the Zboard program and it automatically detects what keyset is in the Zboard and sets the keys accordingly. This means a very quick way to change from regular typing on your computer to gaming using the default settings for each keyset.
Once you set any particular key settings and assignments you can set that configuration as the default and when you plug in that keyset your Zboard will automatically use those settings. This means quick changing on your keyset and having the key assignments you want quickly to get right into the gaming.
I received the Zboard and a Limited Edition Battlefield 2142 keyset and am very impressed. The Zboard and the standard keyset are almost identical to a regular keyboard with very little changes to spacing. I have found that almost all keyboards have a little different spacing when it comes to the spaces between the key groups like the letters and the number pad or the help keys like the arrows and such. There is a bit more room between the letter keys and those two areas of keys due to the hinge between the three parts of the key set on the standard and other Zboard keysets.
The gaming keyset is nice and identical to the Limited Edition keyset I also received except that the Battlefield 2142 keyset has many of the key assignments labeled for the game in particular. The general gaming keyset does not label the things like squads and battle communication on it. The Limited Edition keysets are nice for the games that you are really into and play quite often. I have found that the regular gaming keyset is just as good but it is nice to have the particular key assignments for a game you play often spelled out for you on the keyset.
Using the Zboard and keysets along with the program for controlling the keysets is very easy. Installing the keysets takes about ten seconds and the hardest thing I have with it is remembering to install the keyset before gaming. A few times the keyset will not change to the proper default keyset configurations when I have installed the keyset while the game is running. I think this has to do with Windows Vista not recognizing the keyset while the game is running, it is no big deal and the keysets work very well once I restart the game.
I have not only played Battlefield 2142 but several other games such as Quake 4, Theatre of War, and Shadowrun and found the Zboard to work very well for all of them. I have not found any keys that stick or are a problem as long as you do take a little care when installing the keysets. Sometimes if you don’t set the keyset in properly you can get some of the rubber buttons stuck into the base and it means for a stuck key when your trying to push on that key. You just need to pop out the keyset and check the rubber cones under the keyset on the base and if you see any stuck into the board just wiggle it out.
The Zboard works very well for first person shooter and many third person games. The Limited Edition Keysets make the gaming even better by having the keys labeled for the games default key settings. The Zboard with its Limited Edition Keysets will not exactly make you the best gamer on the internet but you will have an easier time playing as the keys are laid out logically.
I highly recommend the Zboard gaming keyboard for a better time gaming. The Limited Edition Keysets for games such as World of Warcraft, Battlefield 2142 and Everquest are available as well. Check out the Ideazon website for more keysets and other gaming peripherals.