IOGEAR’s Keymander puts the precision of mouse and keyboard onto your favorite console

WRITTEN BY: Josh Smith

There’s an ever-present battle raging between PC gamers and console gamers over whose platform is better. Ridiculous, I know. But it exists and for those who spend even a moderate amount of time in gaming community, it’s something we can’t get away from. PC gaming enthusiasts will argue that visuals will never be as impressive, nor controls more precise than on PC hardware. Console gamers argue that the barrier of entry is lower and cheaper on consoles and that there’s no need to worry about hardware becoming outdated.

I told you it was ridiculous.

Thankfully, the minds at IOGEAR have stepped in to render at least one of those arguments moot. It’s no secret that using a keyboard and mouse while playing games, particularly shooters, will give you more precision. Faster aiming, precision handling, and faster shots (for semi-automatic weapons) gives you a leg up on the competition.

If you’re on a console, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, or Xbox One, you’ve formerly been stuck with just the controller in your hand. Well, no more. With the Keymander, PC gamers need not fear the loss of precision when moving over to play a console game. Which is inevitable because all PC game enthusiasts have friends who have been trying to get them to buy a console for months now.

I’ve used hardware like this before, in my quest to try and be better than my opponents without actually being better than my opponents. The Keymander has the simplest setup that I’ve encountered, with a complete setup taking less than five minutes. Simply put, you plug in the keyboard, mouse, and wired controller to the appropriate port -- easily distinguishable, by the way -- then connect the Keymander to the PC and console.

That’s it. You’re done.

After downloading the Keymander UI and updating drivers (another quick, easy step), you’re left at the mercy of the hardware. And it works really, really well. You can save and load multiple profiles for each of your different games and consoles. To customize them, it’s a selection on the UI, then you’re presented with a layout of the controller showing which button corresponds to which key on the keyboard or mouse. Again, changing your button layout is just a click or button-press away.

I’m not extremely excited about the “turbo function” within the button mapping. Using the Keymander might be seen as a little “cheap” by some gamers as it is, to include a function that isn’t inherent to a controller is cheating. The ability to calibrate and adjust sensitivity on the fly is fantastic, and quick-loading profiles is a brilliant touch, but that turbo option still feels extremely dirty and may result in being banned from some multiplayer game servers.

If you don’t mind the cables, there are six of them that run into the Keymander, there’s very little downside to the $99.95 hardware. Bridging the gap between PC and console gaming is something that every developer strives to do, regardless of whether it’s hardware or software. IOGEAR has done it with their Keymander. It’s clearly not equipment for casual gamers, but for those who tend to fall into their digital space, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better.

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