The Microsoft Sidewinder X4 keyboard boasts a super-slim design and tons of features to make gamers everywhere jump into some fast paced games. Being an avid gamer I was excited to get this keyboard in my grubby little hands for a test drive. Let’s jump in and check out how the Sidewinder X4 held up to our challenge.
– Super slim design
– Advanced anti-ghosting capability
– Mode Switching
– Automatic profile switching
– Programmable macro keys
– In-game macro record button
– Automatic macro repetition
– Backlit keys
– Media keys
The Sidewinder X4 is a glossy black keyboard with an ultra slim design. It has a contemporary look which could be paired up with any fancy-looking computer system. It matched really well with my office space and fit well in my slide out keyboard tray. The X4 is designed with a bit of a tilt that keeps your wrists comfortable when typing. The X4 is a very light keyboard that does not feel clunky when you need to move it. The connection cord for the X4 is not braided and could see some damage over time if you were rough with your system.
One complaint I have with the design of the X4 would be the key backlighting. The eerie red backlight has three different brightness settings and, even so, was never bright enough for me. There are plenty of times where I am gaming or working in the dark and need that little bit of extra light. I found myself having a hard time locating keys at times.
Installing the Sidewinder X4 was easy and painless. After placing my keyboard where I wanted it and routing the cable I just plugged the USB connector right into an available port. Since I am running Windows 7 it picked it up right away and installed the necessary drivers. To get the most of the X4’s features you will want to install the software that comes with it. Install time for the X4 took around 5 minutes total.
One of the big features in the Sidewinder X4 is its anti-ghosting technology. Most people are going to say ‘I have no idea what this means’. For you non tech savvy gamers, the easy explanation is that you can press all kinds of key combination without fail because each key is scanned on its own. No more macros messing up because your keyboard can’t recognize what is going on through all your key-mashing.
So the big question is does this really work? The answer is yes, yes it does. The anti-ghosting feature works really well and I was able to hit all kinds of keystrokes and macros with a really fast response time. During one test I was able to fire off 3 macros and use a push to talk button in the middle of one fight. While this wasn’t a full keyboard test it was pretty impressive that there was no lag in response time.
I am a MMO gamer and macros are a key for high level playing. Setting up the macros is really easy using the included software and I had no problems hitting what I needed on the fly. The great thing about the X4 is that you can set up different profiles depending on what games you play. The Sidewinder X4 offers gamers up to three profiles to create and switch between on the fly. The profiles also auto switch so if you enter a different game it will recognize that profile. I tested the profile switching going from a MMO to a FPS and it worked great. Very easy to use and very fun for every level of gamer. If you wanted to switch profiles mid game for different events it is easily done via the keyboard.
For non hardcore gamers you probably wont use the macro or profile features quite often. Fear not fellow gamers this keyboard is still great for the casual gamer. The response rate from the keyboard is fantastic and it works great for all user levels. As standard with most gaming keyboards these days there are media controls along the top of the keyboard to control your media files. I did find that the caps lock button was way too close to the main keyset for my large hands. There were plenty of times where I found myself hitting that caps lock key while typing only to have to go back and erase the ‘yelling’ words. A little bit of spacing between the main keyset and the side keys would have been nice. If you have small or normal sized hands this should be no problem for you.
The Sidewinder X4 keyboard is a great keyboard for all levels of gamer. If you are a hardcore, tournament-gamer you are going to love all the options as well as the quick response rate and anti-ghosting technology. For casual gamers, the keyboard’s ease of use will have this sitting on your desk for a long time. Microsoft’s Sidewinder X4 is a solid product and a welcome addition to the gaming keyboard market.
*DISCLOSURE: Microsoft provided GamingShogun.com with one Sidewinder X4 keyboard for this review.