The Sidewinder name is not unknown to the computer world, all PC gamers remember that Microsoft used to produce joysticks under this name. In fact, they were pretty good, of solid quality and they were quite easy to find. Having the good reputation, Microsoft decided to produce gaming keyboards as well. We are going to review the Microsoft Sidewinder X6 model, let’s take a quick look at its features, taken directly from Microsoft’s website :
- Switchable key pad
Flexible design, choose right side or left side configuration. Switch between standard key pad and macro pad in gaming mode.
- Two-color adjustable backlighting dial
Keyboard keys are red, and key pad and Macro keys are amber in Game mode. Lighting dial adjusts the brightness of the keyboard and key pad.
- Macro keys
Up to 30 programmable keys that can allow up to 90 programmable options with an assigned gaming profile.
- Mode switching
Manually toggle the keyboard from standard mode to either of two gaming modes. LEDs show the selected mode.
- Cruise Control
Use Cruise Control to continue an action without having to hold down the key or keys assigned to the action. You can use Cruise Control with up to four keys at a time.* (* Cruise Control does not work with programmable macro keys.)
- In-game macro record button
Record any sequence of keystrokes—even standard chat messages. Macros are stored on your hard drive and can be easily shared.
- Device Stage
Quickly and easily access common tasks, including product information, registration, settings and more for popular devices such as cell phones, cameras, printers, and mouse, keyboard and webcam products.
- Automatic profile switching
When a game or application profile is assigned using the software, the keyboard detects the game or application you are running and applies your custom profile to the application.
- WASD gaming keys
Have front-face lighting for enhanced visibility.
- Media keys
Play/Pause, Previous Track, Next Track, and Mute.
So, of course its illuminated, has macro keys and a detachable numpad. What? Yes thats true…But more on that later.
Packaging and features
The Microsoft Sidewinder X6 comes in a red box. Inside you can find the driver cd, the manual and the keyboard itself.
So the keyboard has a detachable numpad, which can be placed at the left or the right hand side of the keyboard, or it can be also removed if it is not needed by the user. Here is what it looks like without the numpad.
The software supplied allows you to completely customize the macro buttons of the keyboard and generally suit it to meet your needs as a gamer. There are a total of 27 macro buttons to be customised, including the ones at the numpad, that can be increased using the bank database button (3 banks) and also a cruise control button that is used to keep a button pressed without having to push it all the time. Furthermore, there is a Macro record button and of course the media buttons.
There are also two big knobs at the upper right side of the keyboard that allow you to adjust volume and the illumination intensity.Generally, the keyboard is well made, quite heavy and the buttons have a nice feeling when typing.
Keyboard Illumination and Verdict
The Microsoft Sidewinder X6 looks impressive at night, with or without the numpad. The illumination is sufficient, without being disturbing. As mentioned before, you can increase or decrease the illumination level by the large knob on the upper right side, which is very useful if you find the illumination annoying.
The buttons are easy to distinguish, although the escape button feels a little bit weird.
We found the Microsoft Sidewinder X6 to be a useful tool for the hardcore gamer, as it offers everything needed for gaming. Many may find it a little bit overpriced (it costs around 60-70 euros), but it is totally worth the money.
(+) Great build quality
(+) Decent customisation
(+) Detachable numpad
(+) Adjustable illumination
(-) Escape button
Thus, we give the Microsoft Sidewinder X6 a rating of 8.5/10 and our Editor’s Choice award.