Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard

Written on:July 30, 2010
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Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard

  • Switchable key pad – Flexible design, choose right side or left side confi guration. Switch between standard key pad and macro pad in gaming mode.
  • Two-color adjustable backlighting – 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.
  • 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.
  • Mode switching – Manually toggle the keyboard from standard mode to either of two gaming modes. LEDs show the selected mode.
  • In-game Macro Record button – Record any sequence of keystrokeseven standard chat messages. Macros are stored on your hard drive and can be easily shared.

Powerful. Programmable. Gaming Keyboard. Ready for the next dimension in gaming performance, custom tuning, and action. Then grab on to the Microsoft SideWinderTM X6 Keyboard the powerful companion to the Microsoft line of award-winning SideWinder gaming mice. This breakthrough keyboard incorporates a host of powerful features, including a detachable key pad, in-game macro recording, a full media key set, automatic and manual mode/profi le switching, two-color dimmable backlighting, and much mor

Rating: (out of 89 reviews)

List Price: $ 74.99

Price: $ 45.00

Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000

  • Cutting-edge design and improved performance for maximium productivity
  • E-mail and Internet hot keys

Main FeaturesManufacturer: Microsoft CorporationManufacturer Part Number: B2M-00012Manufacturer Website Address: Type: Keyboard Keyboard/Keypad Connectivity Technology: CableKeyboard/Keypad Wireless Technology: Not ApplicableInterfaces/Ports: 1 x Type A Male USB

Rating: (out of 780 reviews)

List Price: $ 59.95

Price: $ 26.00

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8 Comments add one

  1. Timothy Ehlen says:

    Review by Timothy Ehlen for Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard
    I got this keyboard to replace my G15. I have had both G15s so this is my third gaming keyboard. In general the keyboard is very nice, but I suggest consider what game you want it for. I purchased the keyboard for Warhammer Online, to help me with the extreme number of keys that need to bound for your abilities.

    The first thing to be aware of, is the macros are driven by software driver. There is also a deficiency in the drivers that do not allow the macros to execute in games that require administrator mode in Vista. I know, I know this probably isn’t a deficiency in the driver but in the game software. All I care is it doesn’t work in Warhammer unless I disable User Access Control (UAC). Also this is a result of the decision to support macros via driver.

    Also the num-pad switching position is nice, but I haven’t found a use for it. If your hands must always be on the a,w,s,d for moving, then the number pad is too far out of reach to reach easily. I have yet to come up with a creative, and trainable solution but am going to keep trying. There has to be gold in there somewhere. (The num pad can be made to be all macro so I will probably start down that route.)

    OK Those are my negatives, the positives:

    The keys press firmly and nicely. The volume knob is very nice. And the dual lighting on the keyboard is very nice. I have a hard time finding these keys but I figure that is just a training issue, but the alignment feels different (I hit ~ a lot when going for the 1 key).

    It goes very nice with my MS Gaming Mouse, although I have not found any particular synergies. The Macro keys on the left are nice but I still find them hard to get to with a pinky if I’m required to work my movement keys.

    So all in all, a very good keyboard with a few issues with my play style and/or hand size (I have long fingers). I would give it 5/5 if weren’t for the driver issue that interferes with my play patterns.

  2. Paul of California says:

    Review by Paul of California for Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard
    I have the Logitech gaming keyboard, and have owned a number of keyboards, and this is by far the best. The simple reason is that it is a gaming keyboard that allows the number keypad to be placed on the left side of the keyboard.

    I am right handed, so this may seem a strange reason to recommend this keyboard, but ergonomically moving out the keypad puts the main part of the keyboard and the mouse closer together. You don’t reach far to move the mouse. For regular and gaming use this is a big win.

    As a gaming keyboard it is fine, and the keys feel adequate (not stellar). If Logitech made a keyboard with this break-off keypad design it would beat the Microsoft keyboard in most respects. But again, an adequate gaming keyboard with one really great feature.

    I also like the big round knob used for controlling volume versus the usual + and – buttons.

    Minor quibbles include the placement of the “Esc” key, I keep hitting F1 by mistake and that it has a non-detachable hand rest.

    But the detachable keypad for ergonomic reasons makes this keyboard a “must have”, and deserving of 5 stars despite minor problems.

  3. Brett Schandelson says:

    Review by Brett Schandelson for Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard
    I received this keyboard today and have had nothing but good experiences with it so far!!

    The back light is bright but not offensive; the numberpad/macropad easily switches between sides and removes completely when not needed; macros are easy to program, though the macro programing ui could be a bit better (software complaint – the hardware is great!); and it feels really well made. The different modes makes it easy to turn off buttons that annoy me during game play (windows key, app key) without remapping them or using custom keybinding software (I realize that this came with just such software, but the button on the keyboard itself is much easier!).

    All in all I love this thing and can’t wait to play more games with it!! If you’re in the market for an illuminated gaming keyboard that provides plenty of options, this is the one!

  4. Bradford Schmidt says:

    Review by Bradford Schmidt for Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard
    I’m going to say right out that I’m not a heavy gamer. I do play occasional games, but plenty of other reviewers have covered the pros and cons of this keyboard for game use; what I haven’t seen are a lot of reviews for general use.

    When I recently built a new computer, I decided to treat myself to a back-lit keyboard. I write quite a bit at night, don’t like keeping my office lights on, and, while I can touch type, I do need to be able to see function keys, the number pad, music controls etc,. The sidewinder is on the (rather short) list of keyboards that have this feature.

    But while I bought it for the backlighting, I’m keeping it because as a keyboard on ANY terms, it’s great. Key action has just the right resistance and clickiness; it feels great and is never annoying. Travel is less than any other keyboard I have, though more than a laptop, and the keys don’t stick up annoyingly far; they are flatter than other desktop keyboards I’ve worked with. The action is also firm and not spongy at all: stroke feels positive and reminds you that you are using a well-built keyboard. So for me, it’s an “A” in ergonomics.

    As for the unique features, the back-lighting is great, and fully adjustable from off to bright-but-not-obnoxious. Some folks have complained that you can’t change the color, but I personally like red, and find color changing keyboards a bit gimmicky (and just one more thing that can go wrong). The vertical row of six keys on the left are fully programmable using the Microsoft software (download only, strangely – if you don’t have a fast connection you’ll be waiting a while as it isn’t included on a CD). Each can hold two macros (you switch from one set to another with a small switch at their base) and they are lit in yellow-orange to make them easy to delineate quickly. There are also three different keyboard profiles that you can set up and select based on use. I find ALL of these features useful, even when not gaming, particularly the programmable macro keys.

    So overall, if you’re looking for a nice looking keyboard with great action (really – I like the action on this keyboard more than ANY other keyboard I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a few), think back-lighting would be useful, and, like I, find the occasional delays and connection problems associated with wireless desktop sets an irritant, I’d urge you to give the Sidewinder a shot. For me, the gaming capabilities are just a great bonus to a wonderful keyboard.

    Highly Recommended.

  5. Noel Ang says:

    Review by Noel Ang for Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard
    The Sidewinder X6 is solidly built. The variable keyboard illumination is sharp, and the use of an analog dial for volume control dial was a sound and welcome usability decision.

    Unfortunately, as a keyboard billed primarily for its “gaming performance,” it suffers significantly from ghosting issue that makes it unsuitable for a certain style of gaming: The keyboard is unable to process many 3-keypress combinations, such as CTRL + W + R. If you’re a touch-typist comfortable with and reliant on key chording, this keyboard will disappoint you.

    The problem appears to be with the hardware, because it occurs whether or not you use the keyboard software support specifically intended for it.

    I found the keyboard so good in all other respects, that I found this crucial design flaw severely disappointing.

  6. Charles Chen says:

    Review by Charles Chen for Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000
    As a software developer, I am literally attached to my keyboard. On a typical day, I’ll spend anywhere between 5-8 hours typing, so it’s of critical importance that the keyboard I use is comfortable. As most programmers and typists can attest, the Microsoft Ergo series of keyboards is the best keyboard for prolonged use.

    Having used the Ergo keyboards in some form or another for the past 4 years (most recently, the Wireless Elite set), I must say that this keyboard is a step above.

    To begin with, the construction is very solid. There is far less flex in the plastic and the keyboard as a whole compared to my Wireless Elite. The wrist pad is made of a nicely textured faux leather material with a tiny bit of padding. It feels rather durable (not to mention comfortable). It’s a good addition as one of my main gripes with the MS ergo keyboards was that it was hard to fit one of those gel wrist rests around the curved base of the keyboard.

    Compared to previous MS keyboards that I’ve owned, the keys on this keyboard are very well damped in terms of the sound the produce. It’s very muted, even with my hard strokes. One thing that will take some adjusting to is the increased curvature (along two different planes) between where your pinky and index fingers rest (A,F and J,;). Whereas the older keyboards have a relatively flat incline, this keyboard has a slight curve (concave). In addition, there is also a very subtle curve across the keyboard as well (a horizontal curvature), which seems a more natural fit for the shape of hands. Also of note is the fact that some of the keys have changed shape. Whereas previously, MS had kept the striking surface consistent across the different keys (even at the edge), this keyboard has several keys along the ridge that have different striking surfaces.

    Interestingly, this keyboard also features the return of the front riser (available on the older versions of the MS ergo keyboards). Actually, in recent months, I’ve been doing exactly this, but with my own ad hoc methods 🙂 This is a much better solution. The riser is easily removable for those that prefer the standard configurations.

    Note that this keyboard is *USB only*, which means that it may be incompatible with some older motherboards. Not a problem for me as I’m using it with a newer laptop. The keyboard does come with software for the programmable keys and extra functions, but it’s plug and play right out of the box with WinXP.

    I also appreciate the new forward and back buttons for use with web browsing (work with no drivers). The zoom slider in the middle of the keyboard, however, seems inapproriately used. It would have been much more useful as a scroll slider instead.

    Sizewise, it takes up slightly more surface space than my wireless elite, but is much, much thinner.

    My only complaints are that the space key is a little bit stiff out of the box (maybe it’ll loosen up a bit after usage), the distance from Ctrl to the number keys seems to have increased a bit (on the scale of millimeters, this is important for those of us hitting Ctrl+F5 quite often ;-), the Delete key is now the same size as the other keys in the cluster (which some people may prefer, but I need to adjust to due to the extra large delete key on the Wireless Elite set), the Enter key is slightly smaller (by 3-5mm), and the key response is not as “soft” as say the ones I recently sampled on the MS bluetooth keyboard, but still very comfortable.

    Overall, a very high quality keyboard. If you can wait, there is sure to be a wireless version coming soon. But anyone that spends a significant amount of type working with computers will be able to appreciate the new layout after 1-2 days of adjustment to the new curvature. I’m very happy with my purchase and would highly recommend this keyboard to my fellow programmers 🙂

    UPDATE: In the past few days, I’ve had an inquiry into whether I’m still satisfied with the keyboard. The answer is a big, bold *YES*. As I was telling a colleague, this keyboard simply rocks. I can type hours on end without pain. My “seat of the pants” impression is that I also type _faster_ with this keyboard. As I pointed out above, I think that most people will have to go through a period of adjustment to really feel comfortable and fall in love with this keyboard, even if you’re coming from a previous Microsoft Ergo series keyboard.

  7. Neilisa says:

    Review by Neilisa for Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000
    I’m one of the many who have been typing for years; from college where I earned money as a typist, to secretarial work, and now as a software engineer and a part-time writer, so needless to say that my keyboard is basically a constant companion.

    From years of typing I’ve come to learn my likes and dislikes of keyboards. I was one of those who ordered the very first Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard as soon as it came out, and I fell in love with it. After seven years, my faithful keyboard finally gave up the ghost and so I was forced to purchase another.

    I was at first lured to purchase a different brand name ergonomic keyboard because it was cheaper, and boy did I regret that decision. Some of the keys were moved from their standard positions, the ENTER key was much larger, which meant the SHIFT key was smaller and the back slash key was moved to the last row. The spacing between the number keys was wider so I had to readjust my reach, and, to make things worse, the keys kept sticking. The whole layout was not to my taste.

    In contrast, this keyboard is perfectly suited to me. The keys tap much softer which means my fingers don’t absorb as much shock when I’m typing. I type over a 100 wpm and when your fingers fly over the board, they tend to tap harder. The keys are also laid out exactly how you would expect them to like any other keyboard. The shortcuts are my favorites where some are pre-set with others that you can set yourself.

    Basically, I have no complaints. I’m very happy with my purchase.

  8. Greg Broiles says:

    Review by Greg Broiles for Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000
    I just picked this up this afternoon and have been very pleased with it so far. I used it to replace a Microsoft Natural Elite keyboard. The wrist/palm rests feel very nice, and I like the fact that the keys are quiet – I’m trying to train myself to take notes while on the phone using the computer instead of using a pad of paper, and I find that loud typing while I’m talking on the phone can interfere with my hearing the other person, and with their perception of my attention. The software does seem relatively Spartan but to be honest I’m not a big user of customization features, so it doesn’t impact my use of the device. In the past, I haven’t even bothered to install keyboard driver software. The zoom feature works nicely in Firefox, I don’t use IE much.

    So, for my use – standard typing for many hours/day, minimal use of special features – it’s a great keyboard. I’m glad it’s got the older-style cursor key/insert-delete-scroll key setup, rather than the setup used on the Natural Elite, that I never did really become accustomed to.

    Chances are pretty good I’ll buy another one to use at home this weekend – I am really happy with this, enough so that I’m ready to give up the old ergo keyboard I’ve got at home that doesn’t have the negative tilt but does have the arrow-key configuration that I prefer.

    I realize that split keyboards are interesting to a minority of the population (and everyone should use what works best for them) – but if you’re one of the split keyboard people, I suggest giving this one a try.