Keyboard Master WK9200 Hunter Gaming Keyboard ReviewFormer staff writer - June 29, 2004
Category: Input Devices
: Keyboard Master
As a gamer I am always on the look out for something to improve my skills in first person shooters, so when I was contacted by Keyboard Master�s to take a look at their new gaming keyboard the WK9200 Hunter keyboard I happily accepted. If you haven�t heard of keyboard master�s before you really need to take a look at there product line up. They offer some very unique and great looking keyboards. You won�t find anything from Logitech or Microsoft that has the stylish looks that keyboard Master�s offer. Marketed towards the gamer will the WK9200 improve your skills in games? Read on to find out.
One of the first things I noticed about the WK9200 was the size, it�s a monster. Going from the compact Zippy aluminum keyboard to this monster felt a little awkward. This keyboard also looks strikingly similar to the Thermaltake (TT) gaming keyboard, that�s because they are the exact same keyboard, but where the TT is all jazzed up and imho ugly, the WK9200 toned down styling looks much better than what TT is offering. To get the WK9200 up and running you have a PS/2 connection with about 6 feet of slack more than enough length for the average user. There is also a optional PS/2 to USB connector, but its not included in the standard package.
Going in for a closer look, we see that the arrow keys are not tightly grouped together like most other keyboards. While playing games this really got on my nerves, as I had to reach farther to press the keys. On the left side we have a large scroll wheel that functions the same as the scroll wheel on a mouse. We also see a set of hot keys; this is just one of the groups of the over thirty hot keys featured on the WK9200. In this group we have hot keys that allow back, and forward for web browsing, we also have Copy, paste, mark, and close keys. There is also a hot key to switch between multiple apps. These keys will come in handy in an office environment more so than for gaming. There is also a function lock key more on that later.
Along the top we have another row of hot keys, these are set up for both Microsoft�s Office suite and web browsing. On the left side we have hot keys to quickly open Word, Excel, Power point, Calendar, and calculator. There is also a log off key and search key grouped with the office keys. In the middle we have a large jog dial for volume control, and the usual play, stop, forward, and backwards keys found on most multimedia keyboards. On the right side we have the web browsing keys which include forward, backward, stop, www, email, favorites, and refresh. There are also keys to shutdown the system or go into sleep mode, and log off users located under the multimedia keys on the right side. Again I stumped on why this keyboard is marketed towards a gamer, it seems to be setup more for the office than for a gamer.
Underneath the keyboard we have the accustomed feet to elevate the board for a more ergonomic fit. I know I can�t stand for a keyboard to feel likes it laying flat on the desk, as its just plain uncomfortable to me. There are also rubber feet on the front and the back to keep the board from sliding around on your desktop. On the far left of the keyboard we have the LED lights to show if the scroll, caps, and num lock are engaged. The red light shows if the function lock is engaged, once the function lock is engaged you can�t accidentally turn the number or scroll lock off.
The software included is very much needed if you want to use the thirty plus hot keys included with the keyboard. Being the typical man that I am I tossed the instructions to the side at first. Firing up a game of Counter-Strike, and getting into some major fraging I kept getting kicked back to the desktop anytime I pressed the scroll wheel on my mouse. Very soon I figured out why. The included software utilizes the scroll wheel when pressed, and while playing games you will get kicked to the desktop anytime the scroll wheel is pressed. Thankfully after reading the instructions you have to option to turn this feature off. Also all of the office and web keys located on the top are programmable, so if you don�t want to use the preprogrammed keys you can easily set them to open any application or favorite web page. Sorry for the picture of the screen as I couldn�t get the print screen button to work at all.
I'm coming away with mixed feeling about the WK9200, it's a great keyboard for office applications as you won't have to reach for the mouse to do simple things like cut, copy, and paste. This will surely increase productivity for the user in an office environment, but for a gamer this keyboard didn�t offer any useful features over pretty much any other keyboard. In all of my testing I didn't once use the scroll key for gaming, but it came in handy while surfing the web and browsing forums. One thing I really liked about the WK9200 is how quiet the keys are, while typing at a frenzied pace or having a major frag fest anyone around you will not get annoyed at the constant sound of keys being pressed. Will the wk9200 give you that extra edge in games I would have to say no, but if your looking for a solid keyboard with tons of features the WK9200 will fit the bill nicely.