There is a new gaming generation coming, and it is not like its grandfathered predecessor. The days of good ol’ IBM keyboards, and no mouse for playing first and third-person action games is long gone. The laziness of today’s gamer is getting harder and harder to satisfy everything must be ergonomic and be able to be rested on your lap. Why? You former Doom players may ask? So you can put your feet up on the desk and kickback of course. Keyboard cables have gotten longer, but we lazy gamers want more. We don’t want to drop and smash our keyboard peripheral every time we shift our enormous ass, do to numbness.
Well for the lazy gamer there is hope in the horizon I am going to be pitting two lazy gamer peripherals against each other. The Classic Belkin Nostromo SpeedPad N52 and the newer possibly improved Command Unit Keypad Controller.
Let’s get into the meat of this review I am interested to see how a circa 2004 gaming peripheral will stand up to the daunting “new and improved” technology, of the Saitek Cyborg.
Closer Look: (The Controllers)
Both of the controllers offer similar options. The Belkin Speed pad offers a D-pad, whereas the newer Saitek offers more of a joystick styled experience. The one thing that is notable on the Belkin Nostroma Speedpad n52, is its scroll wheel.
Drivers And Software:
The true test of hardware’s value is the configurability. The best way to integrate features is with great drivers and software. The one thing that both controllers offer is the ability to customize the controller and save profiles for future use.
BFeatures (Belkin Nostromo n52 Speedpad):
- Captures all the advantages of the critically acclaimed n50
- Cranks up the juice with advanced options to dominate your game
- Combines keyboard and gamepad into one small, easy-to-use device
- More tools for customizing your game than ever
- Designed with an intuitive nature and stylish versatility
From the Manufacturer
Built to conquer your enemy, the Nostromo SpeedPad n52 captures all the advantages of its critically acclaimed predecessor, the n50, and cranks up the juice with advanced options to dominate your game. It puts keyboard and gamepad functionality into one small and easy-to-use device, delivering more tools for customizing your game than ever. Using feedback from hundreds of gamers, our engineers designed the n52’s intuitive nature and stylish versatility to give you easy access to your arsenal of deadly maneuvers. So start programming up to 104 functions now–and watch how dangerous you become.
Built to conquer your enemy, the Nostromo SpeedPad n52 captures all the advantages of its critically acclaimed predecessor, the n50, and cranks up the juice with advanced options to dominate your game. It puts keyboard and gamepad functionality into one small and easy-to-use device, delivering more tools for customizing your game than ever. Using feedback from hundreds of gamers, Belkin’s engineers designed the n52’s intuitive nature and stylish versatility to give you easy access to your arsenal of deadly maneuvers. So start programming up to 104 functions now and watch how dangerous you become.
Features (Belkin Nostromo n52 Speedpad):
- Instantly switch between 3 modes for First Person Shooter, Strategy, and Role-Playing games
- Backlit ergonomic keypad with laser-etched keys for total visibility in any lighting environment
- Adjustable thumb control area with 2-way tilt mechanism slides forwards and backward
- Brand Name: Saitek
- Model: PZ31A
- Item Package Quantity: 1
- Hardware Platform: PC
- input_device: Command pad
- form_factor: External
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- button_quantity: 20
- Width: 5 inches
- Height: 5 inches
- Depth: 5 inches
- Weight: 1.80 pounds
- Warranty: 2 years warranty
I will be testing both of the units using Tabula Rasa by NCSoft. Tabula Rasa provides a great testing platform because it combines both third-person shooter action-oriented gameplay with the leveling and grinding of an MMORPG. These 2 types of games are what these controllers are designed for. This goes without saying of course, but by far the laziest gamers are MMORPG and FPS/third-person shooter gamers. Before you go getting your nooses and pitchforks to string me up take a step back and think. Have I ever called in sick to work because I was up till 4 am leveling or partaking in a death match with my buddies? Deep down you know it’s true but that’s ok I myself am not innocent of these statements. That my lazy friends; is why I am reviewing these controllers, and not someone more apt to go to the gym and actually do something physical.
I must say the controllers are a lot easier to use than your standard keyboard. They definitely make it easier to kick back while playing. As for the winner; I do like the Belkin for its raised palm area it seems to support my hand a bit better. I must however say I like the Saitek better for the feel of the keys they seemed a bit less stiff than the Belkin n52. The scroll wheel didn’t make the MMORPG or the third-person shooter experience any better when using the Belkin n52. So this clearly isn’t the game to give the Belkin a leading edge over the Saitek for its lack of a scroll wheel. The joystick/d-pad on both units didn’t help any with gameplay, in fact in my opinion I don’t think I would use either while playing any games. If I was to choose one over the other it would be the d-pad on the Belkin and this is based purely on comfort. Neither of the units made this gaming experience and better compared to a standard keyboard other than the fact they are less cumbersome. My overall skill did not improve enough to justify the cost of either of these units.
Over all Scores:
Belkin Nostromo n52 Speedpad:
Saitek Cyborg Command Unit:
Being that we are dealing with an older version of relatively new technology, I figured I should bring out a classic. Seeing as how all the high-end games these days are morbidly violent, I wanted to mix things up by using a robot-based third-person shooter. Why robots? Because robots can be rebuilt; younger crowds are getting into gaming along with families as a whole. So while we do have to use a lot of violent games here at OverclockersHQ in most of our reviews as benchmarks; I wanted to use a few games that are action-oriented but you won’t end up killing thousands of people in one sitting. This should keep the chances of your 8-year-old pointing a gun at you and laughing maniacally to a bare minimum. Remember guns don’t kill people, creepy children, playing violent video games do. So in theory, if a child is told it’s only ok to blow up robots, he should in theory only end up partially destructive and somewhat of a science nerd in his teen years. Destructive nerds are the most entertaining if Myth Busters on the Discovery channel has taught us anything.
Due to this game’s fast pace and sub-twitch shooting properties, it tests these controllers to their full potential. Both of the controllers performed a little better on this test than the last. I must say I liked the feel of the Cyborg a little more than the Belkin on this test. While I would not say they improved my gameplay compared to my g 15 they did definitely outperform their MMORPG scores.
Over all Scores:
Belkin Nostromo n52 Speedpad:
Saitek Cyborg Command Unit:
This is the part of the review that is most important to the consumer. Would I spend my own hard-earned money on either of these units? The answer is in short yes. Why you may ask? Even after all of the downside, I mentioned about these two units they still have a use. They are well designed, the led’s on the Cyborg are pretty, and the bragging rights to pull it out at a lan part are pretty much worth it. They are much easier to cart around than a keyboard. The one I would have to choose over the other is the Saitek Cyborg. While I liked the feel of the Belkin more than the Saitek’s keyboard is much nicer to use. The d-pad was a lot easier to access than the joystick on the Saitek but d-pads serve no purpose in today’s gaming world.
As a closing thought, I will say I will be reaching for my Logitech G15 Gaming keyboard over the Belkin Nostromo n52 Speedpad and the Saitek Cyborg Command Unit. I do however have to say I will be using the pads when I go to a lan party. I do recommend these gamepads for anyone that is interested in a new pc gaming feel.
- Palm rest fits a little nicer
- D-pad is a much better fit for my hand
- Scrolling wheel
- Multi-color led’s
- Two easily accessed thumb buttons
- Keys have a nicer feel
- D-pad is not forward compatible
- No Led’s
- Stiff Keys
- Palm rest was not high enough
- Poor joystick design
The Winner Is: The Saitek Cyborg Command Unit
Special thanks to Amazon.com for both of the Controllers