Mouse and keyboard support for Xbox. *Sigh*
I won’t lie. My heart sank just a little when it was confirmed that mouse and keyboard support would be made available for my favourite console, blurring the playfield and ensuring that the Xbox to PC divide continued to close ever faster.
I mean, I don’t mind new ideas, and I don’t mind the Xbox ecosystem opening itself up to a whole new style of gamer like never before. But I’m old school and I like to see a proper divide sitting between the defining elements of console and PC gaming. Yes, I know that for many years the controller has been a viable option for those gaming on big rigs, but in my eyes console gaming means controller utilisation. For good or bad, no matter what the game.
But it’s here and that means – whether I’m comfortable with it or not – it just must be embraced. Thankfully Razer seem to agree, and the addition of the Razer Turret for Xbox One is perhaps the best temptation for any PC gamer wishing to cross the divide and come to the land of console gaming. After all, Razer owns the PC space, and that surely means they own the Xbox keyboard and mouse landscape too then?
Well, unsurprisingly, it does. In fact, as a mouse and keyboard combo goes, the Razer Turret for Xbox One is bloody brilliant.
Now, before I get into this any further you should know that I’m not one for tech specs, I’m not one for the finest of details and I’m not really one to care all that much for fancy gimmicks. All I care about when I’m gaming is whether or not my session at hand is comfortable, and whether or not the game and accessories I’m utilising work as intended.
However, that said, Chroma lighting. Wow!
Anyways, the Razer Turret for Xbox One is a mechanical keyboard and mouse combo that has been built with the usual attention to detail and quality that Razer demand. This means you’re getting the very best in class elements of a Razer keyboard, with mechanical green switches, a rather brilliant well angled wrist support and that iconic Chroma lighting that gamers around the world clamour for.
In terms of tactile feel and I’ve got nothing but good to say about the Turret. It comes in with a decent weight that is never too heavy to leave sitting on your lap for hours on end, and when in use the travel of the keys is nigh on perfect. Yes it’s clicky, but even my non-PC brain knows that the very best mechanical offerings click forever more, and it really is something you get used to very quickly. And if you don’t, then stick a pair of cans on your head and you’ll never hear the depress of each individual key anyway. Running as a pretty standard UK styled board is par for the course, and whilst there is no numeric keypad, I’m not really sure where and when one would ever need to be used. Besides, the exclusion of that just allows the perfect size and width of board to be used.
The inclusion of the dedicated Xbox button however is a brilliant touch, bringing up the Home tab wherever and whenever you want with ease. From there navigating around the menus is a cinch too and if I’m really honest moving through the somewhat cluttered, super laggy, in-dire-need-of-a-makeover Xbox Store is much preferred via keys than standard controller. In fact, for those times when I’ve just wanted to fire up the console to check out the latest DLC additions and new games on the Store, I’ve preferred to switch on the Turret as opposed to picking up a controller. That in itself says a lot.
With a lovely non-slip surface attached to the bottom side of the keyboard, the Turret is a gorgeous black beast of kit that does exactly as you would expect of any keyboard – just with a bit more sex and swazz. You see, it wouldn’t be a Razer product if it didn’t deal with a bit of fancy lighting and the Chroma integration with Xbox Dynamic Lighting in supported games is a bit of a stunner, allowing you to sync your lights in a multitude of ways. With 16.8 million colour options, and the ability to alter the effects via the Razer Turret App for Xbox One, personalising your gear is pure simplicity. It’s a huge shame to not have the stealthy Razer logo on the front of the keyboard found using that same lighting though. It would just make things stand out that little bit more.
It’s not just about the keyboard though and included in the whole Turret package is an equally as good mouse. With a retractable mouse mat sitting neatly in the bottom of the keyboard, pulling it out via a catch and discovering it locking in place means that lap-based keyboard and mouse gaming really is a reality. It helps hugely that this mat is magnetised to ensure that the mouse is sitting pretty whenever you need it, with the optimised tracking surface never failing to make its mark.
The mouse that sits on top is again Chroma’d up, with Razer’s advanced 5G optical sensor running a 16,000 DPI vibe, with a resolution accuracy of 99.4%. Now, if like me you don’t really know or care too much for figures, you still won’t be able to ignore the fact that those numbers are a big deal – whilst the mechanical mouse switches promise extended durability for up to 50 million clicks. Like I say, big numbers are coming out of the Razer camp and that just further enhances any luxurious VIP feel you have by using the products.
But hey, we don’t want to sit here in our living rooms gaming on our Xbox One with a keyboard and mouse attached via cables. And with the Razer Turret for Xbox One, you won’t have to. With a USB dongle plugging straight into the console, the rest of the action is handled by the magic of Razer, with their proprietary Adaptive Frequency Technology scanning and switching to the best frequency only when necessary so you have the most stable 2.4GHz wireless transmission possible. This ensures that setup and switching on the first, second, third and millionth time is done with ease, with the flick of a switch on the back of the keyboard and the bottom of the mouse ensuring connection to the console pretty much immediately. Not once has it dropped that connection either, with no single button press or mouse click missed by our beloved console.
You will however wish to download the Razer Turret for Xbox One App from the Xbox Store though. You see, it is here where you’ll spy the mouse and keyboard battery levels – although with a reported 40 hours of action and simple USB-C charging, you aren’t going to find them running out any time soon – and the ability to setup multiple profiles for different gaming scenarios.
These profiles let you personalise your Razer products to your heart’s content with the keyboard and mouse lighting themes played around with, whilst the Xbox Dynamic Lighting setting will see dynamic support taking hold within supported games.
But ah yes, supported games. It is here where the Razer Turret for Xbox One comes a little bit of a cropper. Although through absolutely no fault of its own.
See, for support for this kind of gaming to be in place on Xbox One, individual game developers out there need to switch on and utilise mouse and keyboard support. Going forward this can only be a good thing, but at time of writing there is little support for the hundreds of games available on the Xbox Store. It’s massively disappointing to see the likes of the brilliant Jurassic World Evolution and Cities: Skylines – games that have keyboard support written all over them – not wanting to play ball, but thankfully if Fortnite, The Sims 4, Minecraft, Bomber Crew or, weirdly, the utterly awesome Strange Brigade are your bag, you’ll be in luck.
At the end of the day, it is this lack of game support that allows me to say that I’m happy to leave mouse and keyboard gaming to the PC brigade. But similarly I’m not going to sit here and cut off my nose to spite my face, and no matter how much I wish the console landscape was dedicated to the standard controller scene – and Kinect for that matter, but we’ll leave that for another day – what Razer have done with the Turret needs applauding. Without a word of a lie, it’s a stunning piece of kit that can easily find a place in and amongst your gaming accessories, ensuring that those games which support the move work perfectly. Yes you don’t NEED it, but should you be down with the strategic tactical battlers out there, or wish to cause havoc with the lives of The Sims, you’ll not be disappointed with the Razer Turret for Xbox One.
Not one little bit.
Massive thanks go out to Razer for providing the Razer Turret for Xbox One for review purposes. If you’re sold on what it brings, head on over to Razer direct and pick one up.