Alien­ware (fi­nally) moves into PC pe­riph­er­als

Alien­ware is wad­ing into the fierce world of PC pe­riph­er­als with its new gam­ing key­boards and mice. HAY­DEN DINGMAN re­ports

Tech Advisor - - News -

It’s sur­pris­ing that Alien­ware doesn’t al­ready have a lengthy lineup of pe­riph­er­als. Sure, there are other com­pa­nies that only make bou­tique PCs – Ori­gin, Fal­con North­west – but they seem con­tent be­ing known for their niche. Alien­ware’s al­ways had such a dis­tinc­tive aes­thetic, and aimed at main­stream ap­peal.

So the ques­tion in our mind, as Alien­ware un­veils its AW568 Ad­vanced and AW768 Pro key­boards and AW558 Ad­vanced and AW598 Elite mice, is: “What took so long?” Not that Alien­ware hasn’t tried be­fore – if you dig through the depths of the In­ter­net you’ll find ref­er­ence to the TactX, a key­board Alien­ware

sold for a hot minute around 2010. It’s nowhere to be found on Alien­ware’s site nowa­days though, with Roc­cat the pre­ferred pe­riph­er­als part­ner for the last lit­tle bit.

We’ll see whether this at­tempt goes a bit bet­ter. All four de­vices are cer­tainly Alien­ware’s style, all hard an­gles and RGB LEDs. You can eas­ily imag­ine these sit­ting next to an Area 51, with the same chrome and black look.

The ques­tion, though, is whether those out­side Alien­ware’s bub­ble will want to buy in. The mice are both re­spectable and rea­son­ably priced, if un­re­mark­able. With one listed at £44 and the other at £89, Alien­ware’s crash­ing into the same crowded bat­tle­field as ev­ery other com­pany.

And with the same fea­tures. On-the-fly DPI switch­ing, nine but­tons, RGB light­ing, the works. Both are es­sen­tially the same mouse, but the AW598 Elite mouse also in­cludes swap­pable side grips, an ad­justable palm height, and five on-the-fly DPI set­tings in­stead of three.

No word yet on what sen­sor Alien­ware is us­ing, nor are min­i­mum and max­i­mum DPI set­tings listed, but we don’t ex­pect any­thing too out­side the norm.

The key­boards are more ques­tion­able. They look at­trac­tive, with the lower-end AW568 en­cased in all black and the AW768 in a chrome/black mix with the Alien­ware type logo em­bla­zoned on the bot­tom right edge and an RGB LED rib­bon across the front of each.

Es­chew­ing the stan­dard Cherry MX switches though, Alien­ware’s opted to in­stead use Kai­hua/Kailh Brown switches on the AW568 and RGB ver­sions of the same on the AW768. This al­lows Alien­ware to un­der­cut

on price – in­deed, the AW568 is a mere £84 and the AW768 lists for £119.

But not ev­ery Cherry MX knock-off is made equal. We’ve tested far too many at this point, some which we love and oth­ers we loathe even though the dif­fer­ences are al­ways rel­a­tively mi­nor. Kailh ad­heres the clos­est to Cherry’s de­sign, and is thus solidly in the mid­dle. There’s no real ad­van­tages over Cherry switches, and the usual qual­ity con­trol is­sues, as well as ques­tion­able long-term dura­bil­ity.

It’s also strange that Alien­ware’s opted to only sell Browns. Lin­ear switches – Blacks and Reds – are tra­di­tion­ally used for gam­ing key­boards, whereas Browns and Blues are more for typ­ing. We’re not sure if that will change down the line, though we sus­pect it prob­a­bly will.

We also have some con­cerns about the light­ing. Or rather, in the case of the AW568 key­board, the lack of light­ing. There’s that afore­men­tioned RGB LED rib­bon on the fac­ing edge of the AW568, but that’s a purely dec­o­ra­tive ad­di­tion – it doesn’t im­prove the typ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at all, and no back­light­ing on a £84 key­board is a bit hard to stom­ach.

At the time of writ­ing four de­vices were sched­uled for re­lease in early July.

Alien­ware AW768 Pro Gam­ing Key­board

Alien­ware AW958 Elite Gam­ing Mouse

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.