The Weapons Locker: Out of the Box, the Aula Excalibur GamePad SI-881 [w/VIDEO!!!]
Here we are again, folks. I've been remiss in getting back to doing hardware reviews on a regular basis, but here's to correcting that in 2018. I've been going around the 'WERkz slowly but surely and re-capping a lot of my gear that is stuff that was just review units. The things that I did not really choose, but things that just wound up in the lab for various reasons. I gathered all that stuff up over the course of several hauls to Best Buy for trade-in or recycling over the holidays. And then set my sights for 2018 on really digging in and making some personal choices about the kind of gamer that I wanted to be and the experiences that I wanted to have this year.
I've used gamepads of this ilk for some time; I'll put my finger on 2006 as the likely year that I believe I procured a Belkin n50 Nostromo gamepad. Since then, I've also used a Razer n52te, a Razer Tartarus Chroma, and, of-late, a Deebol 46-key Professional GamePad. I was sold on the notion the first time I saw the Nostromo in pictures. With about nine years of service under its belt, my n52te had started to delaminate its coating. It was time for it to go and to cast my eyes about for something new. I got the Deebol, but I was too itchy to see how the Excalibur played.
As I mention in the video, one of my concerns is the stiffness of the Hot Keys. It takes a solid amount of pressure to actuate them. I don't see reaching across with my left hand. I've been contemplating reaching across with my right hand, which would require me to take my hands off the mouse. I have a bunch of trial-and-error coming up to figure that out. And the cable isn't braided.
But...other than those two minor issues, the Excalibur is one of the better constructed gamepads I have seen in 11 years. I do like the addition of the custom macro keys and hot-keys, as well as the inclusion of the standard 12 Function Keys from the regular keyboard. The angle of the gamepad, the arc of the top rows...very slight deltas in the shape and feel of another straight-stick keyboard are rational reasons to do a double-take when you see this peripheral. Time to take it out for a test-spin. See you guys soon!!