Saitek Pro Gamer Command Unit-
Category: Input Devices
Price: $59.99 USD
The Saitek Pro Gamer Command Unit. Big name; small peripheral. The name barely fits on this small device, which sounds like it should be far more intricate than it actually is. When I heard the lengthy name I expected something that would rival the control panels found at Cape Canaveral. Instead I found myself using what looks like debris from a damaged ATM.
For the uninitiated, the Pro Gamer is essentially the left third of a keyboard torn off and given snazzy lights. It also has a small hat switch and three thumb activated buttons. This unit is intended for gamers who feel using the standard W, A, S and D combination is beneath them or perhaps just too easy. The Pro Gamer could make a welcome addition to your LAN gear as you could leave the keyboard at home and pack both it and your mouse into something as small as a medium sized sandwich bag.
Many gamers angle their peripherals “just so” and the Pro Gamer lets you do so regardless of how little space you have available to you. In this regard I could see it being rather useful for mobile gaming at either a LAN party or when using a laptop on the road. At the same time, when carting your PC off to compete isn’t it just as easy to slap your keyboard on top of your unit and bounce? A half a keyboard’s worth of space likely isn’t the clincher in deciding whether to take a car or a truck to your next gig.
Saitek is a well-known gaming peripheral company and I myself have reviewed a number of their products very favorably in the past. To date, I have dealt with the upper echelon in looking at the brilliant Flight Control Center and bombproof Eclipse keyboard.
The twenty-one buttons located around the Pro Gamer are all easy to use and the total number of commands can be multiplied using the mode button thereby giving you 144 button assignments. The mode button also alters the color that glows behind the keys when in various modes. The hat switch is a neat little feature that does have its uses, especially in tactical games that have the heads up display on the fly. On the flip side are pads that keep the unit stationed where it should be.
You wouldn’t want to attempt typing on it, but obviously that is not what this device is for. This is supposed to give the gamer an edge in the way you can manipulate the settings and move the device independently from a regular keyboard.
The build quality of the gadget is good but not as good as one may expect from Saitek. The quality is slightly lower than Saitek's own Gaming Keyboard. The buttons don’t have the same rounded feel with slick action. They are close but just not quite as good overall. The design looks as if you should be able to manipulate the palm rest up and down on the metal rods that attach it to the button portion but you cannot. Everyone who has picked it up off my desk has promptly tried to compress or extend it thinking that it is movable to some degree. It's as if I’ve glued a Rubick’s Cube together. People are so sure it should be manipulated in some form but aside from being able to assign the buttons this is not the case.