Every one in a while, a device comes along that completely changes the way you play games. The inclusion of the analog stick allowed for full 360 degree control in 3D games, disc-based formats greatly expanded the storage capacity and depth of games and motion controls brought gaming to a whole new audience. All of these innovations were for consoles, but PC gaming has, for the most part, remained unchanged over the years. To this day, little compares to the versatility and precision of a good mouse/keyboard setup. While the Manticore from GX Gaming may not revolutionize what you expect out of a gaming keyboard, it does make great strides towards combining so many different features into one attractive package.
There are lots of great gaming keyboards out there in the world, but most of the great ones will cost you upwards of $100 or more. The Manticore combines relative affordability, with comfort, customization and variety into a heavy-duty feeling package that is great for a number of uses.
The great thing about the Manticore is that it can be used as an all-in-one keyboard. While it lacks portability, everything else is nearly perfect in terms of practicality. The keys aren't so small that they are difficult to press accurately, but there is less space between them than most traditional keyboards and it makes quickly typing and accessing keys in games very easy. The long horizontal strip below the space bar makes for an oddly comfortable wrist-rest and the large size means that you have access to all traditional keys and tons of macro options. The entire left side of the keyboard is decked out in eight different macro keys that are fully customizable from the interactive menu.
It is not a mechanical keyboard and appears to just be a traditional membrane architecture, but the comfort and design of the keys produce an adequate illusion of it being of a higher quality. The Manticore even features two USB slots at the top edge, providing quick access for things like a mouse or jump drive - a Godsend if your tower is in a hard to reach place. All of that being said, the true hallmark feature of the Manticore isn't its comfort and versatility, but the colors.
Each key is equipped with back-lit LEDs that are fully customizable, totaling over 16-million unique color variations. Furthermore, the keyboard itself is split into three separate color zones, which lets you monitor your finger placement using your peripheral vision - a skill that all PC gamers know too well. While it may seem like a novel feature, hardcore PC gamers that spend the time making sure their water-cooling lights and LED fans are in tip-top shape live for customization like this.
I often found myself switching between color schemes (up to 3 can be saved at a time and switched with the press of the corresponding profile button below the keyboard) based on the game or activity I was playing. For example, I rolled with some deep purple schemes while playing Saints Row IV, but have now switched to a solid Koalition green scheme while I write this review.
There are better keyboards out there, but it's hard to find something with so much versatility at this price (about $79.99). You can view more detailed information at the official website, but I know that I have fully converted over to using the Manticore as my keyboard of choice for not just gaming, but general computer use as well. Hey, that Scorpion on the space bar looks pretty darn cool, don't you think?
This review is based on review unit of the keyboard provided by GX Gaming.