Reviewed: April 29, 2008
What's in the box
When you think of gaming peripherals, what companies come to mind when you’re looking for a new gaming keyboard or mouse? Saitek, Logitech, Razor? These are all great companies that provide gamers with the edge they need to beat the pants off their opponents. But one company I think most gamers overlook is WolfKing. Now I had heard of their products over the last year but I never had the opportunity to try out one of their gaming boards. That is until now. I just recently had the chance to review WolfKing’s newest product, the Warrior XXTREME for PC and Mac.
Aesthetics - 8
When I first pulled the Warrior XXTREME from its plastic protective shell I was at first awed and a little confused by its design. Part of the confusion came from the right pad which according to the box was a 47 key QWERTY keyboard.
At first look, I was like there is no way they fit a standard keyboard in this circle of keys. But they did, and did it well. But what really held my attention was the left pad area. I was shocked to see a near perfect if not perfect key layout. Every key that you would possibly need to play FPS and RPGs is located in that left pad.
The Warrior XXTREME is a cross between their classic Warrior gamepad and their Timberwolf keyboard, design wise. This also makes it the world’s first hybrid 2 in1 gamepad. This is both a blessing and curse at the same time, but I will get to that a little later on. The left side of the XXTREME features the same layout of the classic Warrior right down to the “K” key which is used for the “push to talk” feature in most RPGs or shooters.
There are several good things I have to say about the XXTREME, so I’ll jump right into them. First off as I hinted to above that I absolutely love the left side of this keyboard. It’s functional in its design and after a little bit of playing with it my fingers adjusted to the keys quite easily. Two big pluses for me are the vertical Spacebar and the added second Ctrl keys. The second Ctrl key is great for those gamers that have larger hands. The vertical spacebar feels even more natural than the one on my everyday use keyboard. Since I never used the original Warrior, this was a welcome surprise. I was also rather pleased with the set of buttons situated at the top of the keyboard. Here you have Volume controls for on the fly changing, something I always look for on a keyboard. The coolest buttons on this keyboard are housed in the little circular ring beside the volume buttons.
Here you have the Escape, Windows, K-Lock and Light buttons all decked out in chrome. The Windows button is conveniently placed away from that the keys that you will be playing with so you don’t accidentally hit it. I don’t how many times I have hit the Windows key instead of the Ctrl key on a regular keyboard while playing a game. It’s annoying and often can cause your game to crash. The K-Lock button is also a small savior when it comes to gaming. When this button is hit it will automatically keep you in a constant chat mode. That way there is no need to press the “K” key wasting precious seconds when you’re in the thick of battle.
The Light button turns the keyboard’s neon blue backlights on and is by far the brightest backlighting I have ever seen on a keyboard to date. The only problem with this is when playing at night you can’t read the letters in the keys. Yes unfortunately the keys themselves are not laser etched so, the only way to read the keys, if don’t have them memorized, is to play with the keyboard right in front of your monitor.
The Warrior XXTREME also features two USB ports on the top of the keyboard that can be used for whatever you need. On the downside to that they are only running at 1.1 instead of the modern standard of 2.0. Most of your devices will work such as some flash drives and removable hard drives, but at a much slower transfer rate.
Durability - 9
When I first pulled the XXTREME out of its packaging I was very impressed by its weight. Despite its slim look this is probably one of the heaviest keyboards that I use. This is a plus for me because I don’t feel like it’s going to snap in half on me if I accidentally drop it. The outer casing is made out of what feels like rubber. The top of the keyboard is painted in a shiny black finish. The keys are matte black like most keyboards and are big enough that you shouldn’t have any trouble hitting them even at night.
Needless to say I have put this keyboard to the test with games such as F.E.A.R., Guild Wars, City of Heroes, and Star Wars: Republic Commando and is still going strong. This really is an amazing piece of equipment.
Performance - 8
The Warrior XXTREME worked straight out of the box on my computer and a few others I tried it on. The Plug and Play interface takes care of care of everything so all you need to do is plug and go. The XXTREME configuration is set up to work with most games perfectly but there are a few times where you may have to manually adjust the key layout via the individual games option menus.
The only major downside I have with this keyboard it the right side gamepad. The second gamepad was designed to allow for one-handed typing, but this is somewhat impractical with the way the keyboard is set up. The top half of the gamepad represents the left side of a QWERTY keyboard and the bottom half the right side. I’m no speed writer but you almost have to relearn how to type with this keyboard. The idea is definitely there, but I rarely used that side of the board, unless I was typing quick three to four letter words or gamer short hands.
Value - 8
The Warrior XXTREME retails for around $80.00 dollars and is rather steep considering that most people will only use the left side more than anything. 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 Warrior XXTreme is perfect for traveling due to its strong construction and relatively compact design. If you don’t wish to spend this kind of money then I definitely recommend the original Warrior instead, but for those seeking something different I definitely suggest the Warrior XXTREME.
Overall – 8.5
In the time that I’ve used the Warrior XXTREME, especially while playing the title “Hard to Be a God”, I couldn’t be more pleased with the XXTREME’s performance and feel. I however would have like to have seen the USB ports being 2.0 and to have gotten more use out of the right side of the gamepad, but all in all I was impressed. Among my favorite things about the Warrior XXTREME is the vertical spacebar and the K-Lock features and the keyboard’s overall solid construction. I’ve yet to find a keyboard built better than the Warrior XXTREME.