Wolfking WARRIOR XXTREME Gamepad/Keyboard ReviewSagittaria -
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The Wolfking WARRIOR XXTREME is designed for heavy duty gaming, so I'll throw everything I've got at it, by playing Team Fortress 2 - a fast-paced First Person Shooter, and Eve Online - a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. I'll also throw in a little bit of text-based game chat, since this gamepad has an entire section of keys devoted to typing.
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2400 MHz @ 3528 MHz (441x8, 1.54V) Rev. B2
- Motherboard: eVGA 680i SLI T1 (P31 BIOS)
- Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2 x 1GB DDR2-800 @ 882 MHz (4-4-4-12 1T 2.250V)
- Video Card: eVGA 8800GTS 640MB AR @ 580/1750 MHz, Rev. A2
- Power Supply: Etasis ET850 850W
- Hard Drives: 2 x Western Digital Caviar SE 80GB in RAID 0
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200.11
- Optical: NEC-3550A IDE DVD±R
- Optical: Pioneer A06 IDE DVD±R
- OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Business 32-bit
After playing with the WARRIOR XXTREME for a couple days, I can say that I was definitely overwhelmed when I first played Team Fortress 2. After 45 minutes, I began to get a pretty good feel for the layout of the keyboard, though it was still slightly awkward. For example, getting to some of the keys on the left hand side - like Control and Shift - actually became a workout! My ring and pinky fingers had to travel much farther than on a standard keyboard from the W, A, S, and D keys. I soon got used to it, after a little trial and error.
So, first off - did the gamepad help? Yes, it actually did when I played Team Fortress 2. I felt a small, but noticeable difference in terms of response time. The keys on the WARRIOR XXTREME are not as cramped as those on a standard keyboard, and followed the movement of my fingers much better. In Eve Online, the difference was not as drastic. Eve Online is not as fast paced as TF2, but even when I'm in the red, I just didn't see any real difference. On the whole, I believe the WARRIOR XXTREME performed much better than a regular keyboard - represented by the following graph.
I found the WARRIOR XXTREME's comfort factor to be mind-blowing. Again, the keys are set up according to the movements of your fingers - and I felt much more relaxed. I actually gamed for a couple of hours straight on through, with none of the soreness or stiffness in my fingers that's common when I'm using my standard keyboard.
I must describe a few of my experiences with the WARRIOR XXTREME gamepad - the good, and the not so good. I liked that the entire left side of the gamepad was copied straight from the original WARRIOR, which was a great keypad. However, this board has a larger, overlapping QWERTY arrangement of keys on the right side - and honestly, I did not find much use for it. I tried typing in-game, but found it extraordinarily difficult. I was literally hunting for keys in the middle of firefights - and eventually gave up a number of times and grabbed my normal keyboard. Outside of games, it was almost impossible to type for extended periods without yelling in frustration. Even if I actually learned where all the keys were located, I would still only be able to type with one finger.
I also discovered that the WARRIOR XXTREME's USB ports only support USB 1.1 transfer rates, which means that almost all modern USB devices will be capped at ridiculously slow speeds. This has been true for many of Wolfking's keyboards - including the Wolfking Timberwolf. I ran my Sandisk Cruzer Micro 2GB USB Flash drive from my motherboard's USB 2.0 port and compared those speeds with the results from the WARRIOR XXTREME. I used HD Tune to measure the transfer speed difference between USB 1.1 and 2.0, and the disparity was quite dramatic.