Scythe Co.'s Ergo Diver Keyboard

This could perhaps be the most interesting keyboard I have ever reviewed, OK, it's the only keyboard I have ever reviewed, but before I introduce you to Scythe Co.'s Ergo Diver, let me introduce you to… the one and only… the eternal… Ronnie James Dio! (cue music)

Ergo Diver
You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what's becoming of me
Ride the tiger
You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
Oh don't you see what I mean
Gotta get away
Ergo Diver
Shiny diamonds
Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
Something is coming for you
Race for the morning
You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light
Oh we will pray it's all right
Gotta get away-get away
Between the velvet lies
There's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life's a never ending wheel
Ergo Diver
You're the star of the masquerade
No need to look so afraid
Jump on the tiger
You can feel his heart but you know he's mean
Some light can never be seen
Ergo Diver!
Ahh Ergo Diver!
Ahhhhhhhh Ergo Diverrrrrrrrrrr!

Now if that doesn't trip you out I don't know what would! How did Dio know twenty years ago in 1983 that Scythe Co. would release a crazy new keyboard geared for the hardcore of the gaming world? Of course I am referring to the FPS'ers and the MMORPG'ers out there, because that's who Scythe Co. targeted with the Ergo Diver keyboard, available in white and black.

When I first saw the Ergo Diver I was intrigued because as far as I know, no one has made a special keyboard for gamers that still functions as a regular keyboard for typing things like words or TPS reports. The Ergo Diver has all the normal keys, such as the usual 26 letters and all the requisite punctuation, but they are all in weirdo locations.

Upon closer investigation I decided that the keyboard just wouldn't work any better than a regular keyboard, because if your fingers are on the arrow keys there are no other keys around that you can reach.

Upon even closer investigation I discovered the hidden magic in the Ergo Diver keyboard. If you move your fingers about 5 cm (I love the metric system) north-north-east of the arrow keys and back to the oh-so-holy WASD position, you discovery a veritable abundance of keys for your fingering needs. On a normal keyboard your pinky realistically only has access to 2 keys, shift and control (caps lock doesn't count because the LED is annoying), but on the Ergo Diver it's another story completely! I'll be damned if there aren't like 5 freakin keys for your pinky to mess around on: Escape, Control, Tilde, Tab and Shift.

It might take some remapping of your traditional config file to get used to this key layout. For example you will have to replace the Tilde with Print Screen for your console button if you want to keep the familiar key stroke. Oh, it has blue LEDs too for all you case moding bad boys out there.

When my room mate first saw the Ergo Diver keyboard he was excited because he wanted a small portable replacement keyboard for the keyboard on his laptop. This might be an appropriate use for some of you. For those of you out there who are looking for a brand new all purpose keyboard I suggest you look elsewhere. For those of you who use the arrow keys for moving in FPS's you will not even notice the lack of buttons around the arrow keys on the Ergo Diver. For those of you with a few extra bucks and a desire to drastically improve the efficiency of your pinky finger I highly recommend the Ergo Diver keyboard from Scythe Co. Ahhhhhhhh Ergo Diverrrrrrrrrrr! For impracticality yet awesome pinky action, me and Ronnie James Dio give the Ergo Diver keyboard a 7/10.

SLRating: 7/10

Now all they need is an optional key conversion package for IRC.

 

Ergo Diver Mousepad

The Ergo Diver MousePad was one of the better products we received from Scythe Co.. If you have used a RatPadz or Everglide mousepad, then you will be familiar with this style of plastic mousepad. These pads differ from the more traditional rubber mousepads, in that they are made with a very hard, stiff plastic. They generally have the advantage of a lower coefficient of friction on the surface, so that the mouse moves easier. Here are the features of this mousepad, taken from Scythe Co.'s site:

Features:

Description:
The pad is square, with a curve cut out of the bottom for your wrist. It isn't as large as a RatPadz or Everglide pad, measuring 20cm x 20cm, or about 8" x 8". The top surface of the pad is rough to the touch, with many small bumps in the texture of the pad, which are supposed to help the precision of the mouse. The pad is farly lightweight, yet stiff enough that it doesn't bend at all. It also has nine rubber pads on the underside, which prevents it from sliding around quite well. We received three colors - black, blue, and green - all of which look good on your desk alongside your other peripherals.

Results:
I used the mousepad over a period of a few weeks in order to get a good sense of what it felt like, and to get adjusted to it. Because Scythe Co. included Teflon tape pieces with the mousepad, I decided to put them on my mouse over the existing pads on the bottom. However, because my Logitech optical mouse has 5 pads on the bottom, I took a fifth tape piece from a second mousepad package. So be warned, if your mouse has more than four pads on the bottom, you can't really put Scythe Co.'s on without making the mouse unbalanced. I don't really think these Teflon tape pieces are any better than the stock ones on most mice, so it's not a problem they didn't include enough. I only tested this pad with optical mice, as I don't own any ball mice anymore - although I'm sure the results would be similar on a ball mouse.

When I first started using the pad, I felt like I was consistently losing control of my mouse. The mousepad was so slick that I had to hold the mouse back when moving it, so that I wouldn't lose control of it completely. However, this was a good problem, because it meant that once I got used to the pad, I could move the mouse much quicker than with my old rubber pad. I found that I could push the mouse on the pad and let go, and it would slide all over it; I could also spin it in circles, and it would keep spinning around when I released it.

However, after using the mousepad for a few weeks, I found that the mouse no longer glided as well as it did initially. I inspected the surface of the pad, and found that a good amount of dust and dirt had built up in the rough surface. I followed Scythe Co.'s suggestions for cleaning, and sprayed some Windex cleaner on it, and wiped it off with tissue paper. This cleared the surface up completely, and returned it to a like-new state.

I started by testing the pad with Quake III, which seemed like a good game to use a product like this, because it is very fast paced and requires twitchy aiming. Initially, I couldn't play at my usual skill because I was having trouble keeping the mouse from flying off the edge of the pad. Nevertheless, in ten minutes I was used to the pad, and I was playing better than I ever had. I'm not usually one to advise buying new hardware to increase your skill in games, because I think skill comes through practice instead of the computer one is playing on. Yet, I felt like I could move the mouse much faster in Quake, and this seemed to be helping me out quite a bit, as I could simply aim at people and move around quicker.

Since then, I have been using the Ergo Diver MousePad exclusively, both in various applications in Windows, and in RTS and FPS games. The pad has worked well, giving me increased pointer speed, as well as increased precision.

Conclusion:
The only complaint I have with the Ergo Diver MousePad is that it is smaller than competitors' pads. While I don't find myself running out of area on it, I think that this is because I use a high mouse sensitivity in Windows and in games. If you are a person who is most comfortable with low sensitivity (pointer speed) in either Windows or in games, then this mousepad may not be the right one for you. However, if you prefer a higher mouse sensitivity, or if you don't mind occasionally picking up your mouse when you run out of real estate on the pad, then this would be a good pad for you. I wouldn't recommend it if you're not a gamer, because this pad only really starts to shine when you are doing something that requires quick mouse movement, such as an RTS or FPS.

Matt's Moment:
I also have been using this mousepad for a good month and I absolutely love it! I don't mind the small size at all.

Pros:
- Mouse moves very smoothly on it.
- Many rubber pads on bottom keep pad from moving.

Cons:
- Smaller than other plastic mousepads.
- Requires cleaning every few weeks (although this is also true of other plastic pads).
- Only included four Teflon tape pieces, when my mouse originally had five.

SLRating: 8/10

 



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