New Microsoft gaming keyboard lets you press 26 keys at once

A new Microsoft device is about to join the ranks of premium, programmable gaming keyboards. Due in March with a $59.95 price tag, the new SideWinder X4 Keyboard will bring gamers a full layout with macro keys, red backlighting, and if we’re to believe Microsoft, "the industry’s most advanced anti-ghosting technology."

How advanced, you might ask? Microsoft credits its Applied Sciences Group for the work, and it claims the technology allows the SideWinder X4 to register as many as 26 simultaneous key presses. (Extra cybernetic hands not included.)

In addition, the left side of the keyboard plays host to six macro keys and a switcher key, which will let users alternate between three different macro key "modes." Folks will be able to record macros on the fly in games and set them to repeat automatically. The SideWinder X4 software will also support application-specific profiles and automatically recognize opened applications or games.

Other perks include three brightness levels for the keyboard’s red backlight (which Microsoft will also let you disable, of course), plus a three-year warranty. You can head to Amazon.com now to pre-order the device. (Thanks to Shacknews for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • Joel H.
    • 10 years ago

    I still don’t understand why people use WASD instead of the superior EDSF. If you’ve got your right hand on the mouse, EDSF gives your left hand a better position from which to hit more of the keyboard.

      • Creamsteak
      • 10 years ago

      I mostly use it because it’s the default config and I have to change less. Tribes 2, as I recall had the E based config on by default, and I used that in that game as well.

    • BooTs
    • 10 years ago

    Gaming keyboards need to have the arrow keys & home/PgUp/PgDn/etc keys, and number pad, removed, or removable from the keyboard. Gamers motsly use WASD and a right-handed mouse – having the NumPad and Arrow keys in between WASD and the mouse makes your hand placement awkward. If you can keep your hands closer together you do less damage to your wrists imo. I started copying a roommate gamer from college who had his mouse directly infront of his keyboard to minimize this problem. I’d rather cut off the numb pad tho.

    • Ihmemies
    • 10 years ago

    Cool. Nothing new for those who are using 20 year old keyboards, like me. There are no limits with these after all.

    Kudos to Microsoft though, releases like these might make me upgrade some day after all ๐Ÿ™‚

    Edit: hopefully the wrist “rest” is removable without a saw.

    • kvndoom
    • 10 years ago

    Why is it…

    …that only “gaming” and “enthusiast” keyboards MS and Logitech have the standard 3×2 home-key layout

    …but just about everything else has that retarded vertical button layout?

    …MS still sells the Natural Keyboard Elite but discontinued the Pro?

    …the 4000 won’t get updated with a /[

    • archades
    • 10 years ago

    Pressing 26 keys at once is easy…Just ask my cat.

    • mav451
    • 10 years ago

    How bout something for ergo (Natural) users?

    • crsh1976
    • 10 years ago

    Brb, getting 16 more fingers.

    • Scrotos
    • 10 years ago

    Hey, maybe a replacement for my old Northgate Omnikey/101! It’s not just total keys that can’t be pressed simultaneously, it’s certain combinations, too, with cheap keyboards.

    I love that old Northgate, one of the best keyboards made and I don’t have to waste space with “windows keys”. Blah.

    Ran into “simultaneous keypress” issues all the time when playing Star Control 2 with a friend on the keyboard, just as an example, when playing at their house. But in my house? Northgate gave the best gamin’ experience! Yay!

    • Fragnificent
    • 10 years ago

    I just pre-ordered this, I’ve been looking for a decent gaming KB for ages.

      • henfactor
      • 10 years ago

      Not even gonna wait for a review?!? What if it turns out to have a rubber coating on the keys, or has lots of body flex?

      Personally, I like to try a keyboard in-person before I buy.

        • Fragnificent
        • 10 years ago

        Nah, it’s pretty hard to get samples for most stuff…there are almost no local stores left (only Microcenter, here) that carry this stuff. If I don’t like it I will return it.

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    perfect for when your 5month old just has an urge to smash things!
    here’s a keyboard junior!

    • omf
    • 10 years ago

    So they got the Home/Insert/Etc. keys right, but why the half-size F-keys???

    D:

      • fpsduck
      • 10 years ago

      It’s the inheritance from MS Sidewinder Keyboard.

      As an owner of Sidewinder keyboard, I do love typing on it.
      The keys are laptop-style so I don’t have to punch them hard.

        • TheBob!
        • 10 years ago

        That kills it for me. Can’t type on the laptop style keyboards to save my life. Idk why I just can’t get used to them.

    • liquidsquid
    • 10 years ago

    I want just to get the red backlight. Can’t see my black keyboard in dim light after looking at a bright monitor. Red is perfect not to effect vision too much. 26 keys? It would not be good for me, I was famous for making my teammates laugh over RodgerWilco through my temper and language, not to mention smacking the keyboard when really frustrated.
    Hmm, then the old ‘T’ edngedngjlq;e!@# response would be easy to hit and could get me back to playing that much faster.

    -Ls

    • Bauxite
    • 10 years ago

    N-key rollover for only $60? nice. As for 26, marketing BS in full effect: there is a limitation of the usb implementation of HID that puts it around 8-16 regardless of what they do, and I don’t see a ps2>usb converter.

    I wonder what kind of switches it has.

    You’d be surprised how many crummy keyboards are limited to 3 keys outside the letters and how often it can affect games when they only focus on masking a-z typing.

    • thermistor
    • 10 years ago

    #9 That means I’d have to be 11″ away from the keyboard to do those key ‘strokes’…heh…

    • StashTheVampede
    • 10 years ago

    Proper backslash, enter, home, insert and delete keys.

    /me weeps.

    • rUmX
    • 10 years ago

    I remember playing Street Fighter games on the PC/emulation with me and my bro on the keyboard. Lol some fun times. We couldn’t use more than 3 keys at a time or it’d lock the keyboard. I remember throwing fireballs and then holding down 3 keys and laugh as the balls hit.

      • Ricardo Dawkins
      • 10 years ago

      Well said. Everyone remember this. Good times when your lifemeter was 1 pixel and you had to do this type of tricks to stay alive. LOL

        • tay
        • 10 years ago

        Wow mad props for that trick! It never even occurred to me.

    • Jigar
    • 10 years ago

    On the serious note, Key emulation software coders will rejoice ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jigar
    • 10 years ago

    Crap, even if i include my both legs, i have 20 fingers , how will use the dam keyboard ๐Ÿ™

      • ludi
      • 10 years ago

      You mash it with your paws.

      • VILLAIN_xx
      • 10 years ago

      While you do that just include a face plant, it will cover the rest of the 6.

    • Kulith
    • 10 years ago

    It’s not as hard to reach 26 key presses as it sounds. Imagine 2 players, one using WASD/QE + tab, lshift, space bar + number keys for potions (or nades), and imagine player 2 using arrow keys, backspace/enter/rshift, and all the keys on the keypad.

    They probably wont use 26 keys, but then again I don’t want my doorways to be 6 ft tall juts because I’m 6 ft tall.

    • Peldor
    • 10 years ago

    This just in…

    MS will include a built-in macro for all popular FPS: smashing both fists down on the keyboard will post a in-game chat questioning the sexuality and/or paternity of the aimbot-luser who just fragged you…

    • shaq_mobile
    • 10 years ago

    id be stoked if this came in ergonomic mode. i like those ergo keyboards with the soft sensual leather to caress my sweaty skin.

      • dpaus
      • 10 years ago

      Well, now we all know how you voted in the “what pants do you wear to work?” poll.

      • Joshvar
      • 10 years ago

      Preach on, brother. The Ergo 4k is my favorite – because I go through them frequently enough that replacement costs matter ๐Ÿ™‚

    • d0g_p00p
    • 10 years ago

    You can finally play SF IV on the PC with a keyboard now.

    • jackaroon
    • 10 years ago

    So if you have six fingers and six toes on each hand or foot, and play with all of them, you can still do a key combination that also requires you to push a key with your nose and your dick, too. Finally!

      • jackaroon
      • 10 years ago

      I kid around but I do actually think it’s great to have the option to push more keys at once than I actually could. It’s better than the other way around.

        • Mystic-G
        • 10 years ago

        Well given that most PC games require one hand on the mouse and another on the keyboard, I’d imagine the most you could do efficiently is 5 key presses at once if it even called for that.

    • poulpy
    • 10 years ago

    WTF q[<26 simultaneous key presses<]q ?! Are we back to simultaneous hotseat gaming and nobody told me? Why not -say- 9000 then?

      • Peffse
      • 10 years ago

      WHAT 9000?!

        • lifecurbed
        • 10 years ago

        Vegeta, what does the scanner say about the number of simultaneous keystrokes?

          • Buzzard44
          • 10 years ago

          It’s over 9000!

    • Vrock
    • 10 years ago

    I was just saying the other day how much more fun PC gaming would be if I could only press 26 keys at once.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      It would definitely halt all those PC -> console ports. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sargent Duck
    • 10 years ago

    Can’t complain about the price. That’s a few more dollars more than what you’d normally pay for an average multi-media keyboard.

    In terms of functionality, it seems to offer gamers a little something extra without going overboard.

    The red light would certainly come in handy in the dark. I think this could be a moderate success.

    Of course, I won’t get one ’cause my next keyboard will be a clicky-clak one.

      • Draxo
      • 10 years ago

      my das just came in yesterday. cl icky cl icky

    • Sanctusx2
    • 10 years ago

    The ghosting thing sounds interesting, but it seems like they dropped a lot of features from the normal Sidewinder for this one. The knobs for volume control and backlighting seem to have been replaced with mere buttons. The number pad is no longer removable and the number of macro keys has been sliced in half. And they’re still using those awkwardly shaped and positioned Esc–>Function keys. Guess they figured the original had too many features?

    • Wirko
    • 10 years ago

    I want fully adjustable (not “3-level”) RGB backlight for $10 more.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      I can deal with 3 levels if it has an ambient light sensor that determines what brightness it should be at.

    • Creamsteak
    • 10 years ago

    In my price range with some features I could appreciate (the ability to hit a lot of keys at once and a few macro buttons, not the lights). I want to see a review of this.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    Because when Windows makes you really mad, sometimes you do that.

    • 5150
    • 10 years ago

    German kids playing Unreal rejoice.

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