Oh, hello there. I didn't see you come in. Or maybe I did, and just chose to keep fondling this sexy box here before me, caring little for what was happening in the world around me.
Seriously, is that not the most gorgeous looking box you ever did see in your life? As you can tell by the picture, I'm going out of my usual realm of power supply reviews to look at a keyboard today. While we at the site have indeed looked at a keyboard before, and a real expensive one at that, this is the first time I personally have done it.
Our subject for this review is the Sentey Cobalt Pro, also known as the GS-5910. Mostly targeted at the gamers among us, it promises a few extra features to make day to day life easier.
Now, I consider myself a writer. Sure, I might dabble in other things like storm chasing, photography, and loudspeaker design; but the majority of my life is dedicated to pushing buttons on a flat piece of plastic all day long. As a result, I am not easy on them. My hands are huge and heavy, and to any keyboard I happen to be using, they are merciless. I have been through more keyboards than I even want to think about.
That said, I'm not as picky as you might think I am. As long as all my systems use keyboards with identical layouts and switches, I'm mostly happy. I can get used to switch differences pretty easily. My biggest gripes about keyboards? I hate when they don't last. I hate when the lettering wears off. I hate when buttons stick on the way down. I hate when they cost a bunch of cash for fancy features like built in LCDs and extra goodies but add no feeling of quality to the design. I'm looking at you, Logitech.
Control the field of battle. True overlord. Ultra high end. Ultimate victory. These are but a few of the marketing points found on the box, and they make bold promises. Custom tailored, eh? We'll see about that. The main rig's got an Azio Levetron Mech5, which is pretty much the very definition of custom tailored. It will be interesting to see how this one compares with that one.
Ah, lookie here. Some specifications. I'll just reprint them all in a table for easier readability.
Sentey Cobalt Pro - Specifications
Cherry MX Black
Full via PS/2; 6 via USB
50 Million Times
45g Actuation Force
Number of Keys
104 US Layout
128k On-Board Memory
Individual Blue LED on Each Key (4 Levels of Brightness)
Volume Control, Play/Pause, Skip Tracks
10 Programmable Macro Keys (Thru Software)
USB and Audio Hub
2 High Speed USB 2.0, 1 Mic and 1 Audio Ports
Heavy Duty Braided 1.8 Meters
Gold Plated USB and 3.5mm Jack Connectors
Soft Black Matte
44.45 x 14.48 x 2.54 cm (17.5 x 5.7 x 1 in.)
1.7 kg (2.8 lbs)
Windows 7®, Vista®, XP®
Like most of the gaming keyboards I see out there, including the Azio in the other room, this one uses the Cherry MX Black switch. It's actually just about the oldest of the Cherry MX switch types, and likely the most common.
Basically, the switches Cherry makes in the MX line come in two kinds - linear and non linear. The linear ones are represented by the Black and Red colors to name a couple, and have a smooth feel all the way down to the bottom. Black takes more force to press than Red does. Super Black and Linear Gray take more force than Black, and are often found in space bars. There are more types than this, but you get the idea.
The non linear switches come in another whole rainbow of colors. Brown, Green, Blue, Clear, to name a few. These are the tactile feedback switches. Blue is intended for typists like me, and usually found in keyboards I can't afford. These are the loud clicky ones intended to emulate the old buckling spring switches of yore. The others all differ in the amount of tactile feedback and actuation force they give you, so my advice when picking out a specific kind of switch is to just go somewhere you can try them all out. You don't want to be ordering hundred plus dollar keyboards on a whim and finding out you don't like the key switches they use.
Like I said, I'm not that picky. I'm doing fine with Black switches. I think I would like the Blue ones more, but am not about to order three hundred smackers worth of new keyboards to find out.
Now, some have said that for typists like me, the capacitive switches found in the likes of the Topre Type Heaven are more palatable than any of the Cherry ones. Those use a spring under a membrane. That may well be true, but there's a problem: I'm a writer. Here's some advice for keyboard makers: if you're building keyboards for freelance writers, don't count on them moving very fast if you price them at a couple hundred bucks each. There's a damn good reason I only got my first mechanical keyboard a year ago, and that reason has a lot to do with the cobwebs in my wallet. The Levetron happened to be on sale for just over seventy bucks, and I jumped right on that deal.
Moving on, the box shows us three pictures on this side. We see the detachable wrist rest, one of the Cherry switches with LED, and the USB/audio functions.
I like wrist rests. My hands are nearly nine inches long, and sometimes I find these helpful. The Azio doesn't really have one, which was a pain for me, but that keyboard is so large to begin with I'm not sure it matters that much. That said, I expect this one to be more comfortable for me. We'll see.
Time to unpack the box and get a look at this thing.
Or not. Looks like we have another box. Let me unpack this box.
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