E3 2011: Razer

E3 2011: Razer

This years’ offering at E3 by Razer contained a little of their current offerings with a little of some interesting new devices. I’ll be highlighting their new products, including new mice, keyboards, headsets and even discuss the Switchblade project, which holds much promise. Fans of the Portal or Star Wars franchises will be catered to quite nicely with the peripherals on offer.

My first introductions to Razer’s new offerings were to the new Star Wars: The Old Republic branded product line. The stylish items include custom keyboards, mice and headphones. They all glow in some fashion, transitioning through the colors of the rainbow.  The 5.1 surround sound headphones will apply mood lighting to your shoulders, changing based on what’s happening in your game. The keyboard and mice will glow in much the same fashion. What sets the keyboard apart is the built in adaptive keyboard and LCD touch panel. While the touch panel is useful for looking cool, it can also serve as a mouse touchpad in a pinch. The similarly cool ten-key dynamic keypad provides direct access to your abilities in-game while showing their icons off in the keys. There are non-dynamic, less cool macro keys flanking the other side of the keyboard. The mouse will include a ten button thumb pad. It pairs nicely with the also-faction branded mousepad.

All three of the Star Wars branded peripherals have interchangeable factions between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. The keyboard will retail for$199.99 and the headset is $129.99. The mouse and mousepad will set you back $129.99 and $49.99, respectively. The gear releases when the game does; slated for the end of 2011.

The Hydra is a new controller from Razer that sports two handheld controllers. Built for the PC, it looks much like Sony’s Move or a Wiimote and Nunchuk pairing. Razer says the Hydra’s magnetic motion sensing system allows for extremely precise movement tracking down to the millimeter. This edge in translating your movement results in very cool ways to manipulate objects. In the Portal 2 demo I saw, cubes were being manipulated in odd ways and dimensions, unlike anything ever seen on a console. In the right hands, at least. As it seems, the learning curve is steep. One Razer rep told me it will take a week to get used to the controller. Hands-on first impressions can attest to that.

The Hydra bundle retails for $139.99. It comes with the Portal 2 Limited Edition PC game and the Sixense MotionPack DLC.

The Switchblade project is what piques my interest the most. Not for what the product does, but for what it can do. It will run Windows 7, and is intended as a standalone device. It has a touch screen with 45 of those sexy dynamic adaptive keys on display in the keyboard mentioned above. The device looks like a small Optimus keyboard netbook with mini HDMI, USB 3.0 and a touchscreen. There’s nothing in that sentence I don’t like. It’ll provide gaming on the go with Wifi and 3G connectivity.

The key to all of the sweet Switchblade information to take away? It’s still just in the conceptual phase. Switchblade isn’t even its final name. It’s not in production yet. I hope all of the lofty goals in the feature set of the concept make it to the final shipping product. Besides the likelihood of breaking your wallet, it’ll be one desirable piece of tech.

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