Recently released for the PC gaming enthusiast, the GX-Gaming Manticore keyboard implements some of the most advanced keyboard technology available. From unique customizations to advanced macro recording, the Manticore seemingly meets most needs that any gamer would have and is compatible with nearly every game genre available. A keyboard is a tool to be used in order to give players an advantage over their opponents -- without crossing the line into cheating, of course. So for a gaming keyboard to be considered a value, the player has to feel the value, see the value, and take advantage of the benefits that the tool offers. The ultimate question presented when looking at the Manticore is: does the benefit exceed the cost?
Customization of the Manticore stretches from visual to reactive, as the keyboard comes with software that creates an easy-to-use interface for all of your programming options. The backlight options give users their choice of 16 million colors, but the setup of the keyboard is odd at best. There are three zones that users have control over, the first being the alphanumerical and function section, the second your arrow editing keys (delete, page down, etc), and the third zone being your number pad. Each individual zone is customizable in both color and rate at which the lights pulse, which means you can create a Frankenstein Monster-like setup of multiple colors and varying pulses -- though how anyone would find that attractive is a mystery. Instead users will probably opt for one color and no pulse, as it’s a Herculean feat to align the pulses of the three sectors to operate at the same time, an obvious oversight of the design.
Eight programmable buttons lie dormant on the left side of the keyboard until acted upon, and each of them holds the power to execute a simple command like zoom in or out, to other things like launching a particular program or acting as a media remote to play or pause video and music, or alter volume, though you will most certainly opt out of media control as those buttons exist exclusively at the top of the keyboard as well. For more advanced options in RPG or RTS games, heck even FPS games may benefit, the macro system is brilliant. By programming keystrokes and delays, if any, in between them, players will be able to execute masterful maneuvers with the press of a single button. World of Warcraft players, for instance, will find it easy to target, taunt, charge, and attack enemies with a single command in order to ensure the party healer isn’t struck down because your tank doesn’t know how to manage aggro.
Anti-ghosting is also a massive bonus, meaning users can press and use multiple buttons at once without worrying that any particular button or combo will cancel out another. Crouching in a shooter while hard-scoped, then tossing a grenade doesn’t cancel out the previous orders, which gives players the options of pulling off multi-button combos if they macros haven’t been setup in advance. Finally, GX-Gaming understands that most people tend to split time amongst a few games, rather than sinking their lifetime into just one. Because of that, three profiles are available, each with their own custom G-keys for macros or other settings.
The design of the Manticore is impressive, even boasting a palm rest for those players who enjoy marathon gaming sessions. At $79.99 (or less) the keyboard isn’t unreasonable, particularly for a gaming model, but there is a strange overall feeling to it. This can be attributed to the 3.8mm key travel, labeled as a benefit and noted to be the “optimal distance” for keys to travel to prevent unnecessary motion -- a key factor during gaming. The “optimal distance” benefit is something sold on gaming mice and even console controllers, so it’s not odd to see it here, nevertheless it takes some getting used to. If you’re looking for a gaming keyboard that will stand up to rigorous use and spreads its benefit across countless titles through all genres, the Manticore is precisely what you need.