Gamers who own a gaming keyboard might wonder if a gaming keypad can really add much to their gaming experience.
I have been asking myself the same question, too. So, I was keen to try the Razer Tartarus Chroma, a gaming keypad that comes with 25 fully programmable keys, an eight-way thumb pad and an ergonomic wrist rest.
The keypad has three rows with 15 keys. By default, these keys are mapped to the first three rows of keys of a normal QWERTY keyboard's left side - from Tab to R, Caps to F, and Shift to V.
The thumb pad is on the right of the keypad, next to where your thumb will rest when you put your left hand on the wrist rest. Above the thumb pad is the Alternate button. Below the thumb pad is a Space Bar flap.
The WASD keys for movement in first-person shooter (FPS) games are located smack in the middle - a boon for FPS gamers. With FPS games such as Battlefield 4 and Far Cry 4, the Tartarus Chroma makes movements so much easier than using a conventional keyboard.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
There are 25 programmable keys, comprising 15 main keys, eight directions of the thumb pad, the Alt button and space bar flap. You can customise each key for different functions in different games using Razer's Synapse software. Up to eight different key maps can be saved. Furthermore, the programmable keys are anti-ghosting. Ghosting refers to a situation when some keys do not work when multiple keys are being pressed at the same time. Having played different genres of games, such as action role-playing game Diablo III and multiplayer online battle arena game Heroes Of The Storm, I found that using the Tartarus Chroma really helped me during gameplay. I was able to access the correct keys without fumbling, execute moves quicker and kill my virtual enemies faster. The only downside is that the keys are membrane-based, and so lack the tactile response of mechanical keys. I also love its ergonomic wrist rest. My left wrist no longer ached like it used to when I was using my keyboard.
This keypad features a Razer technology called Chroma, which offers 16.8 million customisable backlighting colours. You can choose a static backlight, or cycle through different colours or set up a wave of colours moving from side to side.
I used the Razer Firefly gaming mouse mat ($99.90) in this review. It has the same Chroma lighting capability on its edges.