Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard Review
Reviewed by: Desja
Reviewed on: January 31, 2008
Your dad decides that the family needs a new PC. So dad runs off to the local electronics based merchant and buys a slapped together package that includes monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a wonderful $20 printer for free. Popping in your favorite game just to see if the factory assembled, mass produced computer made from the cheapest components will actually run it. A smile creeps across your face as the computer boots into the game, "it actually works!" you say with glee. After three hours of gaming, how does that generic keyboard feel? You go to bed holding your wrist dreaming of WSAD keys ripping your arms off. To date, there are a large number of manufacturers producing gaming based keyboards; they all boast of more comfort, more options, and so on and so forth. The Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard is one of these.
In our tests today, we will see how comfortable the Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard truly is, what customizability it offers, and how functional it is for everyday tasks. Will it be the solution for your gaming keyboard blues?
The retail box of the Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard is very professional looking. There is plenty of information on the customization ability of the keyboard and the specific features it offers. There are detailed pictures of the keyboard’s multiple LED colors which I am looking forward to. As much as I said in the past, I love blue, but sometimes mixing it up is nice.
The Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard comes packaged in a plastic bag with the accessories dropped in loosely. Not as nice as some of the other keyboard packaging I have seen in the past, but it is functional. It comes shipped with a driver disc, manual and limited warranty.
The back of the keyboard has more extras than most. The Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard has two heights for the feet depending on your comfort level. and you can change the heights accordingly. It also has non-slip rubber feet so you won’t have to constantly reposition your keyboard when playing a game.
Now let's find out what kind of options the keyboard offers us.
Well we checked out the back, let's get back to the front as I don’t see much of a point admiring the back of a keyboard any further. Besides typing upside down is quite difficult and serves no purpose. Let’s see what kind of feature and options the Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard has as opposed to everyday standard sized plain keyboards you use normally.
We will start from the far left. The Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard’s main selling point is the keypad used specifically for gaming, designed for ease of reach, and use of key buttons, while playing your favorite PC games. The design is also for comfort purposes because playing games for hours with a standard layout can be hard on your wrist and forearms. Above the keypad are your media buttons, volume, and media player options like play, pause, stop, skip forward and back. There are also key features like the brightness and color of your keyboard LEDs, as well as the z and I, II, III buttons for opening your control panel and three banks of profiles.
Next to the gaming keys you have a standard sized keyboard. To the right of the keyboard is the trouble area for me. The arrow keys, number keys, home, end, page up, page down etc. keys are all in one spot and the only way to switch between the navigation/editing keys to get to the numbers is to hit num lock. We will see if this is a problem during the testing.
The top of the keyboard has some neat feature which I liked to see. A microphone and headphone port so that you don’t have to reach around to the back of your computer to plug your headset in. There are also two USB 2.0 ports next to the audio plug-in, which is great for thumb drives, your mouse or whatever else you like to plug in that’s USB based.
Now that we have seen all of the features, let's see them in action by popping in the USB cable, CD and starting it up.
Installation for this keyboard couldn’t be simpler. Remove previous keyboard drivers, put in CD and USB cable, and keep clicking next till you're done. There isn’t much for options during the installation, as the configuration is where things get a bit more complicated.
After installation you can start to configure your Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard. You can individually map your key bindings yourself to customize them specifically for your style of gaming.
Another very cool option is going to tools and selecting "Check for Ideazon mod/devices updates." The mods option is awesome; Ideazon has a whole list of today’s top games for you to choose from and all the key mapping is done for you. Ideazon's mappings are very intuitive. Below I have the mapping for Tabula Raza and Call Of Duty.
Let's check out the specs and features next.
Specifications & Features:
Illumination: Perfect for gaming in the dark
- Astounding three color illumination in RED, BLUE and PURPLE
- Choose your level of brightness (Subtle, Ambient, Intense, Off)
- Illuminated characters on every key
Dedicated Gaming Terrain: Amazing touch and response for hours of comfortable gaming
- Rubberized movement keys for superior response
- Tilted 11 degrees to match natural wrist position
- 34 gaming keys labeled and positioned for ultimate precision and control
- Simultaneous key stroke response — no need to worry about phantom keys in the heat of the battle
Z Engine Software: Industry leading software allows gamers to easily customize every gaming experience
- Programmable with easy-to-use drag-and-drop macro editing
- Over 125 pre-defined key mapping layouts
Control Center: Rule all your PC gaming peripherals from one hub
- Two USB 2.0 ports to plug in mice and other peripherals
- Gold plated audio jacks for headsets and microphones
- Multimedia controls for in and out of game use
I will be testing the Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard against the Logitech G15 Keyboard and a standard Microsoft white box keyboard. I will do a range of tests, from gaming to typing and see which one truly stands out.
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6600 CPU
- Asus P5B motherboard
- 2GB Kingston PC2 5300
- Gigabyte EN8600GT (nVidia)
- 450w PSU
- Windows XP Pro SP2
- Logitech G15 gaming keyboard
- Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
- Logitech G5 gaming mouse
When I first installed the Ideazon, I put on COD 4. the COD 4 mod was awesome; all of the buttons were in reach. I had to take some time and train myself not to reach for the "WASD" keys. After some training, I finally got used to the gaming pad, and the key bindings were very nice. To be honest, I dislike the "G keys" on the Logitech as I found little use for them and all they do is make the G15 mammoth and cumbersome. The Ideazon got my vote for FPS shooters over the MS and Logitech keyboards.
Next, I decided to try Tabula Rasa, a new MMORPG from NC Soft. I must say, the mod for this game was good as well. One thing I do like about the "G keys" on the Logitech is the macro ability; I can complete menial tasks, like hunting in World Of Warcraft, with one keystroke. I would say Ideazon is at the top of its game when it comes to MMORPGs; Ideazon has the full Zboard line, which is a big seller to WoW, Guild Wars, and Liniage II players. Most MMORPG players that like the Zboard will like this keyboard. One thing I would suggest for future keyboards; use either Wifi or Bluetooth and make the gaming pad detachable. I am a lean back and put the keyboard in my lap kind of guy when playing games. I hate big keyboards because I am constantly smashing them on the corner of my desk. Having something smaller that attaches and detaches would be incredible. Wolf King made a separate pad gaming keyboard, but only had the pad. The last thing I want is to have to swap back and forth between keyboard and game pad, especially if you have to chat.
Next up is the most important thing for me. I am a web developer and spend hours typing either HTML news blogs or reviews for my websites. Having a comfortable keyboard that is easy to use for editing is #1 for me, gaming comes second. The Ideazon all-in-one panel styles number pad made me want to smash my head against a wall; doing PHP coding and HTML only being able to have numbers or delete at one time frustrated me like you would not believe. The ideazon got a low mark on this one, but it was never designed to be used for coders or writers. Gamers can still type l33t, n00b, and lol quite easily.
The comfort level of the Ideazon was the same as the G15, the keys had a very similar response. I like the feel of them both a lot more than a standard MS keyboard. I still love the old Fuji and IBM keyboards that have the positive click sounds when you were typing. But they are old now, so I had to move on. PS2 is slowly being phased out with the migration to USB.
I have to say, the Ideazon did pretty well in these tests as far as gaming goes, but I can't say it's better than my G15. The price difference is not enough to make me step over a Logitech keyboard and grab an Ideazon. Ideazon has done its homework and is making better and better products all the time.
Now we are down to the nitty gritty. Was the Ideazon Mercy Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard better than a standard keyboard? For gaming, yes, it was about 100 times better. It has cool features and pretty colors, making it more than worth your while if you are a FPS gamer or MMORPG player. It is bridging the gap between uber geeks and violent teenagers alike.
As a gaming specific keyboard, it does all of the things you would expect from it. The ability to customize the Merc with preset gaming profiles is huge. The ability to plug in a headset to the keyboard makes fumbling around the back side of your computer to plug in said headset a thing of the past. Changing the keyboard's LED lighting to suite your mood or overall look of your system is an added bonus. Overall, it is an above average keyboard. It is specifically designed as a gaming keyboard and performs well in this capacity. If you are looking for a dual purpose keyboard, this is not a productivity style keyboard and may take some getting used to the intricacies of using it in this capacity. So check out the Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard, it's worth a try for sure.
- Multi-Colored LEDs
- Game Pad Keys
- On The Fly Profile Change
- LED Brightness Control
- Game Mods Pre-Installed
- USB and Audio Integration
- Heavy Gauge Shielded Cord
- Editing Keys Integrated With Number Pad