So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
SteelSeries 7G gaming keyboard
A rugged keyboard designed to stand the test of time
- Keys are comfortable to use and well suited for gaming
- Robust, no nonsense industrial design that is also stylish
- No retractable feet and high design means that wrist rest is mandatory
- No Windows key or dedicated media buttons, or features such as coloured LEDs
The SteelSeries 7G is a high quality keyboard that is comfortable to use. Considering the price, it would have been nice to see more features on it.
Price$ 135.00 (AUD)
Danish peripheral manufacturer, SteelSeries, has several different keyboard offerings aimed at gamers, but the 7G is its top of the line product. With a strong design, large wrist rest and gold-plated plugs, the keyboard has the premium hardware to match the premium price tag. The 7G is designed to last a long time, and it was noticeably rugged during our tests. It should be suitable not only for typical gamers, but also for the rigours of professional gaming.
Back in black
The 7G comes in a black exterior that is relatively nondescript. The keyboard itself has no extended borders or wrist extensions, though it comes with a dedicated wrist rest. Although the wrist rest is removable, most users will likely make use of it for the simple fact that the keyboard stands quite tall. If the wrist rest is not used, the user will likely be forced to type with their hands in mid-air. This is because the keys are located so high it can be difficult to rest the wrists down on a tabletop. The user can use a third-party wrist rest with the 7G, but the included one is of a high quality and feels comfortable to use.
The included wrist rest is significantly deeper than those found on other mainstream keyboards. Fortunately, the generous depth means that users will have no trouble finding a comfortable spot to rest their wrists. The wrist rest is made from the same plastic as the keyboard, so users that want added cushioning will likely prefer to use the 7G with a third-party option. The only downside of the large wrist rest is that wearing a watch or bracelet is not practical, as it ends up getting pressed against the surface. With smaller wrist rests it is possible to avoid touching the wrist rest with a watch or bracelet, but the size of the 7G one makes touching unavoidable.
Keep it simple
Despite being a premium product, the 7G is surprisingly modest when it comes to features. There are no multicoloured LEDs, physical customisations, or macro keys, which competing gaming keyboards tend to have as standard. What it does come with is two USB 2.0 ports, as well as a headphone and microphone jack. The connections for all of these are held within a single braided cable. The keyboard comes with a gold-plated PS/2 connector, as it's often viewed as the superior way to interface with a PC, though users who want to make use of USB connectivity have access to a gold-plated adapter as well.
Since the 7G does not feature any dedicated macro or media keys, it compensates by implementing a function key instead. To retain the keyboard’s traditional layout, SteelSeries has removed the Windows key and replaced it with a function key bearing the company's logo. Pressing this key in conjunction with the F1 to F6 keys provides the user with some common multimedia functions, though the removal of the Windows key can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse. During gaming, it's not uncommon to accidentally press the Windows key and get booted out of a game to the desktop, so the removal can be a benefit from that perspective. However, people who use keyboard shortcuts to navigate Windows will likely miss the key.
The real star of the 7G is the keys, which are mechanical and require additional force to press down. A softer feel may be comfortable for word processing, but during gaming a player is likely to rest their fingers on the keys for a moment before actually pressing down. The additional force required to press the 7G’s keys means there is less of a chance that the player will hit the wrong key. While these types of mechanical keys are great for gaming, it will take some time for users to get used to typing on the 7G outside of games.
The 7G is a surprisingly heavy keyboard that weighs over 1.4kg, though this is unsurprising when one considers the tough nature of the plastic exterior and the oversized wrist rest. The weight alone is enough to keep the keyboard stationary, though further stability is ensured through four rubber strips fitted under each corner.
The 7G does not come with any retractable feet, so the user only has the option to place the keyboard down in one orientation, namely slightly tilted. This is likely to give adequate room to plug devices into the USB ports and audio jacks, though users who prefer to use keyboard in a flat orientation will have to make do with this single choice.
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