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Gamers can command the keyboard

Today’s games require dozens of keyboard shortcuts in order to be played correctly. But, the only problem is trying to remember all the key combinations. GARTH HOLDEN tries out the Razor Ananzi keyboard and finds it is a great device for the serious gamer.

Are you an MMORPG junkie? Do you spend as much time in Azeroth as you do at your day job? Maybe you know Tyria better than your own neighbourhood? If you spend a lot of time performing the same string of button presses, or know how horrible missing an ability or miss-pressing your keys can be, this keyboard could be your saving grace.

So you use 1-0 for your basic commands, with alt+1-0 for the next 10, right? What about alt+shift+1-0? Or alt+shift+ctrl+1-0? Unless you are a contortionist, or you play your MMOs without a mouse, this probably isn’t the most efficient key combination. What if you forget which does row two and which controls row four of your hotkeys? The Anansi has seven ‚”thumb modifier keys‚” situated just below the spacebar. If you don’t need that many rows of spells or abilities, the keyboard uses a piece of software to allow you to change what various key presses do. Thorny issues of whether you are breaking any ToS or EULA by using these features aside, you can teach your keyboard to use one button to enter in a series of key presses, complete with delays down to the millisecond. Personally I thought this would be great for say, popping a shield, drinking a healing pot and activating a trinket, but there seems to be some contention about the use of these features. Use your own discretion kids.

At this point I should point out that this keyboard isn’t really left-handed friendly, as the thumb keys sit exactly where you want to rest your wrist.

100+ programmable keys

Maybe you have a pile of programs that you keep running on your machine? Set M1 to open your e-mail, or the ever-handy calculator. The usefulness of the keyboard isn’t limited to MMORPGs. In Dota 2, I had a macro that made T7 activate Lifestealer’s Rage and Armlet of Mordiggian for six seconds, allowing for an intense burst of damage. You can also switch between profiles at the touch of a button, reducing the time you need to switch between your healing setup versus your DPS key presses.

Mood lighting, baby

Because this is a gaming keyboard, you can disable the pesky windows key by pressing the function button and F11, which puts your keyboard into gaming mode. Now if only it disabled work as well. Keeping with Razer aesthetics, the Anansi has a 16 million colour backlight, which can be set to either slowly move through a range of colours, or make it glow to suit your mood or the rest of your computer’s lighting scheme. For all this lighting power, the Anansi uses two USB ports, something to be kept in mind, depending on your peripheral count. The backlit keys shine through a custom font, adding that little extra of feeling of something unique.

Extra large, slightly alien

The Anansi feels massive. At 515mm wide by 190mm high, this keyboard is not built for sitting on a retractable keyboard tray. I found the footholds to not offer enough resistance on my wood desk, but it sticks in place on my glass desk. At a hefty 1020g, this isn’t really a problem unless you push weights as often as you grind dailies.

As with any slightly different layout or setup, allow time for acclimatisation. One thing I noticed, is that I reorient my hand by finding the left CTRL button, which is generally the key at the bottom left corner. Instead of pressing CTRL though, my hand would be resting over M5, which was one of my macro keys. Needless to say, this can lead to disasters in a dungeon, so get used to the keyboard in a safe environment before trying to main tank that new hard dungeon.

Get a keyboard that works as hard as you do. The Razer Anansi costs about R1000, and it will make you a much better gamer (maybe)!

* Article courtesy of

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