"Not up to par!"1.5 starson by Shoktronic
Pros: Low profile keys
Cons: Too many (read below)
Summary: OK let me first say that I was very excited to see a newer updated version of the beloved n52. I have been a loyal fan of the n52 for many many years now and would not be able to game as well as I do without it. When Belkin released the n52 they opened up a new era of gaming and made gaming better hands down! No longer were we bound to keyboards and mouse only with the occasional support of a joystick. We now had the freedom to game how we saw fit.
So with the release of the n52te I was excited and had a posative outlook for it's future. It was being hailed to be more precise and at a level worthy of tournament players. Well I unfortunatly have to disagree and make a public expression of my disappointment. This is truely a sad day for me. After a long wait it arrived and after the shine of the new black plastic diminished I saw what I had, something less than spectacular. The device has some good points, though the bad outweigh it.
Here is a breakdown of it along with some pictures for illustration.
1 - Key profiles reduced for more comfort. The new keys are easier to press, have a better feel and are very responsive in comparison to the n52.
2 - Removeable thumb button. This is appealing to many gamers who are looking for a joystick type control.
3 - Onboard memory. It is a nice feature to have your profile saved directly to your gamepad, though it's use will be non functional for most gamers. Mostly those who travel to Lan events where they will be using a "generic" provided system will benefit from this option.
1- Removeable thumb button. While a good choice a bad design. The button is very hard to remove almost boardering breaking the directional pad. Additionally the hole left behind will most surely get fouled up over time and lead to other problems.
2 - Mouse scroll wheel. While attractive when lit up it's performance is lacking. The wheel itself is a soft rubber that is very slick and after a few hours becomes difficult to control. The mouse also has major issues with precision. The wheel has play in the scroll function of almost 1/4 inch. You can roll the mouse back and forth without activating the scroll ability. The n52 in comparisson was much more defined and precise.
3 - Non slip palm rest. While it is coated in a soft to the touch rubberized coating it is still very slick. The origional n52 support is actually more non slip being a tectured plastic than the newer version. They are also exactly the same shape so the older n52 support will work with the n52te. The coating is also similar to others on the market that with use will eventually wear away. Not sure if that will be covered under warranty.
4 - Non slip base. The base comprised of 6 posts supported on rubber pads is actually less desireable than the n52. The base is now unstable leading it to tip during extreme moments of play. With a smaller surface area in comparison to the n52 it actually is more suseptible to movement than the n52's one piece rubber base design.
5 - Thumb buttons. Both the smaller circle and #15 (space bar) have mediocre response and are somewhat difficult to press compared to the n52. The #15 also has a larger dead zone than the n52 ever did.
6 - Editor. While flashy looking it's interface is less than desireable. The screen is now much smaller compared to the origional profile editor. It is very dark and sometimes hard to distinguish areas on the screen. Both the help and macro editor feel clunky and do not offer any additional benifits to gamers in comparison to the n52. The fonts are also very small and difficult to read. While you do have additional functions & commands, they are geared more for the PC user. Such additions are "close window", "run", "open explorer", "previouse track", "volume". These are not options I feel that a gamer desires.
7 - Keypad layers. Sadly the n52te only has 3 where as the n52 had 4. Most gamers such as myself must now try to refigure gaming since another layer previously used is now no longer available.
8 - Polling rate. While this device is "Powered by Razor" I could not see any performance gains compared to the n52. You can select from 3 different polling rates (125hz, 500hz, 1000hz) as well as override autoswitching.
I am truely saddened after receiving this new device. Like I said I had high hopes for it but it seems they missed a lot of what gamers were asking for and substituted their own ideas. For the cost difference my opinion would be to stick with the n52. The possible benefits of the n52te to not justify such a hefty price tag for the lack of performance. Hopefully they will offer additional support for this and perhaps make a design change to correct some of it's shortcomings. While this also is the first release of the software I can only hope that they will add additional features to the menu and make it a more user friendly interface.
I also would suggest that in the future Belkin put together some type of panel of gamers and review their ideas with them. I am sure this was a major budgeted item and it seems a shame that with all the research and development that this is the final product.