Fanatec HeadShot ControllerFormer staff writer - April 29, 2007
Category: Input Devices
Price: $99.99 USD
Germaneering. That’s a nice little play on words that Fanatec has copywrited to describe what they feel is the level of quality that they put into developing their products. We all know that over the years there have been some exceptionally well engineered products coming out of Germany such as the world famous Beamers (BMW for those not in the know).
Fanatec makes what they call: "Professional input devices for serious gamers, including handheld controllers, steering wheel/pedal kits and mouse/mouse pad kits." Personally, I have never heard of them before, but from what I hear, they make a very popular steering wheel for the Playstation. But today, one of their products has made its way to my desk, so I guess I can give it a little test drive. The product in question is the Fanatec head$h0t controller. At first look, it appears to be your standard fare mouse and mouse pad combination. I am thinking to myself here, a mouse is a mouse is a mouse, right? Well, as I found out, looks can indeed be deceiving. My mission here is to see if they meet their goal of a well engineered product.
What I have before me is what looks like a small clear suitcase, which they call the weapons case, containing the mouse, mouse pad, driver CD, a quick install guide, a power adapter for the built-in USB hub, a USB cord, and the cable support arch. Seeing as it comes in this case, it will be quite handy for the individuals whom like to go to lan parties and take their secret “weapons” with them.
The mouse itself has a coiled cord on it with the USB interface and uses the latest generation hi-grade precision laser sensor to give you precise control (up to 4000 dpi). It also has six buttons (Nine if you count the three position clicks of the center wheel) and a five way scroll wheel. Seven of these buttons can be mapped with extended functions, or macros. That gives you a total of 32 possible button mappings! That sounds like an awful lot to try to remember, to me. With the cord being so short, it may be difficult to use this in a different setup unless you are willing to use a USB extension cable with it. Also included in the package is what they call PlasmaGlyde mouse feet that attach to the bottom of the mouse to make it slide on the pad more easily. The mouse is also adjustable in its width which is great for my wide hands. To adjust the width, just flip the mouse over and loosen the two screws with a coin or screwdriver, then spread the mouse apart to fit your hand, and re-tighten the screws. That means no more cramps from trying to grip my mouse during long gaming sessions.
The mouse pad itself, called the aURa mouse pad, has several non-slip high-injection mold TPR rubber grip pads on its bottom side to keep the pad stationary on your desk. I know this is helpful because I have been in situations where I get carried away during a firefight and have had my pad move around on me. On the back of the pad there is a high speed USB 2.0 hub built and attached to the top, is an illuminated cable arch to provide strain relief for the mouse cord. This arch is attached to the pad by a simple plastic twist lock. Simply connect the USB plug on the mouse to port number 1 on the back of the pad, connect the included USB cord to the port marked “USB”, and connect the power adapter to the 5 volt jack. Ports 2 and 3 are there for you to connect any USB device of your choice such as an mp3 player or flash drive. The mouse cord connects to the top center of the arch.