One thing that is certain in the world of Xbox reviewing is that you can never be sure what’s next down the old gaming pipeline. In this case, it’s a keyboard designed to be as colourful as you’re ever likely to want. Coming from Trust, the snappily named GXT 881 ODYSS is a semi-mechanical keyboard. So let’s get it out the box and see what’s what, shall we?
First impressions are good, as the ODYSS feels sturdy and has a pleasing heft to it. I’m not a fan of the modern keyboards of these days – they don’t feel good in the hands – but this is a different beast. Indeed, as I type this review using said keyboard, the keys come with a nice feel, making a very satisfying clack as you type away. A big tick goes to Trust there.
The fact that I almost have to wear sunglasses while doing so also ticks another big box for the discerning gamer, as with the ODYSS in place making your office/bedroom/basement look like a nightclub from the late ‘90s is a cinch. You can program the lights on the keyboard to your liking too, which is a nice touch, choosing from a number of pre-programmed colour modes should you wish. You can pretty much set the lights to be exactly as you want. As you can imagine, having the important buttons highlighted helps when playing games in the dark, and I’ve found it best to have the traditional “WASD” keys glowing in a nice vibrant red, for instance, so I can instantly see where I need to put my fingers. Of course, pressing the right keys in the right order is a bit more of an ask, but that’s not the fault of the keyboard – I am an Xbox gamer after all.
So, having got all the buttons set up with the colours required, it’s pretty much a case of hooking it up to an Xbox and entering the world of the pro gamer. Having “liberated” a mouse from work (sadly, there are no colourful lights or fancy buttons on this one), I plugged the peripherals in and settled down. It was here that an immediate issue hit. The Xbox Series X that I’m testing this beastie on has three USB sockets, yeah? With external storage, a headphone dongle and a charging cable plugged in, all three of those ports are used. Admittedly I haven’t tried plugging in a USB mini hub, as frankly that would have required a degree of organisation that seems to be beyond me these days, but should you wish to utilise keyboard and mouse, gaining some free port access is required.
A cursory check of Google will show that a surprising spread of games support keyboard and mouse gaming on the Xbox, from out-and-out shooters like Call of Duty: Warzone and even the recently released Outriders, to more sedate fare like Gears Tactics. Having struggled to stay alive using a controller on the higher levels of Outriders, I made the decision to try the slower paced Gears Tactics title, as I felt I was less likely to be overwhelmed on a more tactical title.
Now, I have to state at the outset that I am to keyboard and mouse controls what the great Pee Wee Herman is to All-In Wrestling: all the components are there, but putting them together into anything resembling a coordinated manner is pretty much beyond my capabilities. I’ve been saying as long as I can remember (as long as I’ve been working in the world of IT, which is about 26 years) that as I look at PCs all day, every day at work, that the last thing I want to do when I get home is fire up another one, hence my loyalty to the world of Xbox. As a result, I’ve never played a game with a mouse and keyboard until this moment, and I have to say that the results weren’t promising. Again, this is no reflection on what Trust have provided with the ODYSS, as it has performed admirably and does everything that has been asked of it. In fact, the only faults in the system were very much carbon-based. Having spent the majority of my adult life getting used to controllers, first Sony and then Xbox, it is not the work of a moment to reconfigure my brain to use the advanced features of the keyboard.
However, if you’re more savvy than I, one of the claims that it has is that the ODYSS supports advanced anti-ghosting, and will happily register and cope with up to 19 simultaneous key presses. Well, I only have 10 fingers, and one hand was occupied with the mouse, so goodness knows how you press so many keys at once, but the few I managed together posed no issues at all for the keyboard.
The real pleasure with the Trust ODYSS though is found in the “feel” of the keyboard. It’s a hard thing to quantify, but the action of the keys leaves you in no doubt that you’ve depressed things significantly. The sound as you type on it too, when you’re not busy gaming, is very relaxing as well. Thankfully, away from the gaming lark, when you are in the work environment it’s possible to tone down the disco strobe effect, and while this is a product ostensibly designed for gaming, it makes a very good office keyboard too.
However, it is by playing games which makes for the most interesting experience, and I can certainly confirm that should you be able to mix it with the big players online, then the Trust GXT 881 ODYSS will be a reliable partner. If you are in the market for a gaming keyboard that is as happy to be hooked up to the Xbox as it is to a PC, then really you ought to look no further.
Personally, I’m not totally convinced that keyboard and mouse gaming will catch on – joke – but what this whole experience has shown me, however, is that there are some big-name console games out there with this functionality hidden away. In fact, this Trust keyboard has inspired me to attempt to play as many games as I can in a new way – look out for the results of my playtesting in the shape of some form of an article later in the year.
Huge thanks go out to Trust for giving us access to their GXT 881 ODYSS Semi-Mechanical keyboard for unboxing and review. If you wish to pick up the keyboard for yourself, you can grab it from GAME in the UK for £34.99.
Trust GXT 881 Odyss Semi-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard | UNBOXING and FIRST LOOK: