Reviewed: February 22, 2008
What's in the box
In todayís gaming market there are a lot of peripherals to make our gaming experiences more enjoyable. Most of these products are fairly pricey, but they get the job done. To us gamers this is a small price to pay to lay the smack down on the bad guys. Saitek is one such company that thrives on the gaming industry and has produced several award-winning products since the companyís start in 1993. This year Saitek evolves with another line of PC hardware known as the Cyborg Range Series. This new line is not to be confused with the prior releases that hold the Cyborg name. The subject of this review is the Cyborg Command Unit for the PC.
Aesthetics - 9
Before this review, Iíve been doing all my gaming on my trusty Saitek Eclipse keyboard. I have used my Eclipse keyboard on many a sleepless night of gaming. When I first got my hand on the Cyborg Command Unit, I had my doubts about how well a device nearly half the size of my current keyboard would feel let alone function. Iíve been using the Command Unit for about a solid week now every time I load up Star Wars: Republic Commando, Guild Wars and Dawn of Magic.
The Cyborg Range Series is supposed to be the Ultimate Man-Machine Interface in gaming and I couldnít agree more. The Command Unit definitely has the whole ďcyberĒ look going for it in its weird but functional design. The unit comes in all black with grey WASD hotkeys and a tri colored Mode switch for on the fly command sets. The upper keys are backlit and laser etched to provide you with easy visibility in the darkest of nights. Each command set is easily recognized by its own color. Red is for RTSí (real-time strategy), Yellow for FPSí (First Person Shooter) and Green for RPGs (Role-Playing Games).
The Command Unit also sports an adjustable thumb area that slides forwards and backwards as well as pivoting up and down for maximum comfort while gaming. This is particularly nice because not everyone has the same hand size. What may be comfortable for you is a pain for someone else. On the right side of the device is a thumb screw that once loosened allows the thumb area to move. Simply loosen, move to desired location and tighten the thumb screw. The only problem with this is that it is rather hard at times to loosen and tighten to screw as it is rather small.
I am rather pleased with the HAT switch on the thumb area, especially when playing games like F.E.A.R. The defaulted command set for the FPS mode sets the ďGĒ or Grenade key to UP on the HAT switch, making it a breeze to lob a grenade on the fly or in the middle of a firefight. The HAT switch also replaces the traditional arrow keys or similar configuration for RTS and RPG camera controls.
Durability - 9
For the week that Iíve been using the Cyborg Command Unit, Iíve pretty much put this puppy to the test. After a weekís time the keys are sound and nothing appears to be loose in anyway. On the same not all the keys including the Shift Key and HAT switch are very responsive. The button on the thumb area that is defaulted to the Space bar is awkward sometimes as the area pivots depending on how hard you hit the key. All I can say is this is one sturdy piece of equipment.
Performance - 9
The Command Unit works straight out of the box for basic operations for any gamer, but to get the full use of the devices potential you want to install the included software. The install process is painless and doesnít take that long to install. The Profiler Program that is bundled with the device may be daunting at first for first time users of these type of control units, but you can pretty much pick on it pretty quickly.
The three main command sets are defaulted to work with pretty much every title you can think of for RTSí, FPSí and RPGs. But fear not, for the gamers that like to customize their own profiles you can create and edit you own. The Shift key located on the palm rest allows you to double up your key commands for a total of 144 commands via the 3 modes.
Value - 9
The Cyborg Command Unit retails for around $40.00 dollars and is well worth the money. Every time I load up a game on my PC, I hardly touch my main keyboard, except to hit the escape key or to type. The Cyborg Command Unit is perfect for traveling and getting you a little LAN party action. Iíve been to a few LAN parties and trust me the backlit keys were a total savior.
Overall Ė 9.0
In the week that Iíve used the Cyborg Command Unit, Iíve learned to appreciate it. If you donít currently us a gamepad of some sort then you are so missing out. Among my favorite things about the command Unit is the ability to program my own profiles and the handy HAT switch on the thumb area. The three different backlight colors were a big plus when I wanted to know which mode I was using. If you donít own a game pad, then now is the time to get one. The Cyborg Command Unit is you one-stop gamepad destination.