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Purpose-built peripherals
The Aegis 3 includes a couple of peripherals from MSI's Interceptor gaming line in the box. The DS4200 keyboard and DS-B1 gaming mouse are decidedly budget-oriented input devices, but that's not really a bad thing. As I mentioned before, the Aegis 3 we're reviewing is kind of an entry-level gaming PC, so having entry-level peripherals suits it just fine.

The Interceptor DS4200 keyboard is a full-sized gaming keyboard with RGB LED backlighting and "mechanical-like" membrane keyswitches. MSI claims that the experience of typing on the DS4200 is "very close" to a mechanical keyboard, and I actually have to agree. The keys have a very clearly defined breakpoint much like a tactile mechanical switch. I found the MSI's switches especially reminiscent of Cherry's MX Brown switches. Also like mechanical switches, they don't actually require you to bottom out to register a keypress. The key switches themselves have Cherry MX-compatible cross-shaped stems, so you can change out the keycaps if you like.

Naturally as a budget keyboard the DS4200 doesn't have any kind of programmability or macro functions. It does have media keys, and the popular "gaming mode" that disables the Windows key. It also comes with a palm rest, although I have to say that I would rather MSI have just let me save the space on my desk as the palm rest is too low to really use anyway.


Image from MSI promo materials

My biggest complaint with the Interceptor DS4200 is actually in its backlighting function. Note the picture above. If you're versed in RGB LED-backlit hardware, you would likely assume that the picture is capturing the keyboard in the middle of a "wave" shifting color pattern. That assumption would be incorrect. When I say that the Interceptor DS4200 is an RGB LED-backlit keyboard, I only mean that in the strictest possible sense: the pattern you see above is fixed. You can manually alter the backlight brightness, but there are no other options. You can't configure the color, you can't make the colors shift or animate, and if you turn the backlight off the keys are essentially unmarked.

Worse still, MSI left off the right-side Windows and Context Menu keys in favor of placing the Fn key and a quick brightness toggle there. I think the Fn key's home on the right side of the keyboard is a mistake, because it means you can't easily use one hand to use the media controls while gaming. The quick brightness toggle key is redundant given that there are also brightness control functions on PgUp and PgDn. I also have to nitpick at the placement of the backslash key immediately to the right of the quote key. I'm used to a double-width enter key with the backslash key above, and this keyboard caused me no end of mis-keys when I attempted to press Enter.

These are all pretty minor complaints, though. The mix of colors on the Interceptor DS4200 is pleasing enough, and for a basic keyboard like this it's arguably more interesting than having a single-color backlight. I understand that having the backslash key directly to the right of the quote key is common in the UK, and perhaps other European countries. Again, it's not a major issue, but it certainly takes some getting used to.

The Interceptor DS-B1 mouse included with the Aegis 3 carries a similarly no-nonsense mission. In essence, this is a very basic five-button optical mouse with red LED accents. MSI claims it has a "gaming-grade" sensor, and I beg to differ. I didn't have time to properly disassemble the mouse, but my best guess is that it makes use of a decidedly non-gaming-grade PAW3529DH sensor from PixArt (or a close relative). But is that a problem?

Well, not really. The Interceptor DS-B1 does have a touch of angle snapping, but it's minimal. While gaming with it, it performed acceptably. Besides the standard five buttons and wheel, there's a sixth button on top to toggle the DPI through three hard-coded settings. MSI doesn't explain what these settings are explicitly, but in my informal testing I figured that they're probably 400 DPI, 800 DPI, and 1600 DPI. Like the keyboard, it has no software, and no programmability. I don't think that's a problem, though.

A small door on the bottom of the mouse twists free to reveal eight two-gram weights that can be removed. With the door and weights removed, the mouse weighs just 81g, and with the full set installed it comes out right at 100g. In either case it's pretty light, so I'd say the difference is more down to adjusting the center of mass than the weight. Overall, the Interceptor DS-B1 mouse slides smoothly on its PTFE feet and tracks reliably. Considering that it goes for just $15 on Amazon, I think it's a fine rodent.

The Interceptor peripherals aren't going to impress someone used to fancy Corsair, Logitech, or Steelseries hardware. Still, taken as a pair, they're a whole lot nicer than what you typically get with a budget PC. That's particularly true for gamers who can make use of the responsive keyboard and sensitive mouse. As this is a gaming PC, I'm glad to see suitable peripherals in the box.