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n50 Speedpad
I can compare the n30 Gaming Mouse with other mice I've used over the years, but the n50 Speedpad is something completely different. The n50 is half keyboard, half gamepad, and all black. Looking at it, I almost wonder if the Speedpad should be mounted on the arm rest of a black leather armchair instead of sitting on my desk.

Like most input devices—keyboard, mouse, gamepad, or otherwise—the Speedpad is all plastic and pretty light. The USB cord that connects the controller to a PC is long enough for just about any reasonable PC/desk setup, and there are a total of seven rubber feet to keep the controller anchored firmly to your desk. Unlike keyboards, however, there isn't anything that lets you adjust the tilt of the Speedpad—a feature that might go missed if you prefer your keyboard on a slant.

The Nostromo n50 Speedpad

Developed with an eye towards comfort, the Speedpad is adjustable so far as you can remove a plastic wrist pad.



Those of you with smaller hands may find the Speedpad more comfortable without the wrist rest, because it does lift your hand away from the keys a little. This removable plastic pad is nothing more than a spacer that lets you adjust the unit for different hand sizes. Belkin probably would have been better off with something made of foam or gel if they wanted to make the pad really comfortable.

The Speedpad is primarily designed for first-person shooters, and as such, the virtual WASD keys are the most important. Belkin even puts a little ridge on what would be your down arrow so you can easily get your bearings on the keypad without looking down.

It's the little things that count

To make the Speedpad a little more versatile, there's also a throttle wheel for the flight and driving sim crowds.

Full throttle control

In another nod towards the sim crowd, the Speedpad has an integrated an 8-way directional pad for thumb control. The d-pad is perfectly placed, and quite useful in even first-person shooters since each direction can be bound to a unique key.

Up up, down down, left right, left right...

As if the wealth of buttons on the Speedpad weren't enough, additional keys are available as part of what Belkin calls 'shift states.' Shift states are as simple: assign a button to one of three possible shift states, and then use that button in conjunction with another key on the Speedpad. It's sort of like having three levels of capitalization for a given letter.

For more complicated games, shift states can certainly come in handy, and Belkin helps you out with three colored LEDs right on the Speedpad to let you know which shift state you're in.

Light indicators illustrate different shift states

With so many different control formats, you might expect the Speedpad to be a pain to set up. Is it?