SteelSeries Merc Stealth Gaming Keyboard
Manufacturer: SteelSeries Part number: 64049
- Bottom Line:
- The SteelSeries Merc Stealth gaming keyboard updates an already innovative design by adding lights and a USB hub. Though the design may not be for everyone, the Stealth Merc should satisfy gamers who want more than just a unique key layout.
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CNET editors' review
price range: $199.99
- Reviewed by: Jeff Bakalar
- Reviewed on: 08/12/2010
- Released on: 01/15/2010
The good: Separate game pad area isolates keys in a game-friendly (first-person shooter) design; improved rubberized keystroke feedback; software lets you tweak key mapping as much as you want.
The bad: Game pad keys take some getting used to.
The bottom line: The SteelSeries Merc Stealth gaming keyboard updates an already innovative design by adding lights and a USB hub. Though the design may not be for everyone, the Stealth Merc should satisfy gamers who want more than just a unique key layout.
Replaced my Zboard and is a vast improvement
by Mergatroid Mania on December 16, 2010
Pros: The gaming keys of course.
Cons: Cannot program the brightness or colour of the back lights.
Summary: I owned the zboard for several years and basically wore it out. I found this keyboard at a local computer store and just about wet myself. What a great idea ...
Summary: I owned the zboard for several years and basically wore it out. I found this keyboard at a local computer store and just about wet myself. What a great idea this keyboard is.
Personally, I don't see any point behind purchasing a gaming keyboard that does not give you specialty gaming keys. Might as well use a normal keyboard.
If you walked into a game arcade and saw the keys some video games were using they might look similar to this. The gaming keys are large and unlike what the cnet reviewer would have you believe they are well placed and easy to get used to.
From the cnet review: "the combination of convex and concave round keys are too close together and feel too similar to each other".
I hate to have to mention this, but on a regular keyboard (and most "gaming" keyboards for that matter) all the keys are exactly the same and packed together for typing. So, how the keys on the gaming section can be considered "too close together and feel too similar to each other" I fail to understand.
The backlights on this keyboard help a lot, and I believe they are well worth the "extra $40". However, I was disappointed that you cannot set a default colour (other than red) and intensity (other than max). Instead they give you two keys, on for adjusting the intensity (3 stages) of the backlights or shutting them off, and one for changing the backlight colour (red, blue, purple (pink if you ask me)). However, when you cold start your PC the unit will always come on with the red backlight colour and maximum intensity.
The keys are very easy to program, but if you don't like programming gaming devices you can use their pre-made templates that can be downloaded from their site. Personally, I usually like my keys set up a little differently than other people so I make my own templates or modify those provided.
I use this keyboard for every game I play. FPS (I still love playing Serious Sam 2 on my LAN with my buddies, and Borderlands is awesome with this keyboard). I also use it for MMORPGs and it works very well.
It is great for typing, basically like a normal keyboard. Note that the six keys above the usual cursor keys (insert, delete, home, end, page up and page down), and the cursor keys themselves have been integrated into the numeric keypad to save space. This works great for me, but people doing data entry a lot may not want this keyboard (unless they don't mind getting used to it).
It has pretty much standard multimedia keys that will work in any program that is currently active (selected). So, if you have multiple programs open these keys will control whichever program you are currently working in. There are two USB ports that are handy as well as a mic and headphone jacks nicely placed out of the way on the back of the keyboard
If you are a serious gamer and like trying new things you might want to give this keyboard a try. If you are a casual gamer and find yourself hunting for the keys you need to press for your favorite game, you also may want to give this keyboard a try. I really liked using my old Zboard keyboard with the standard gaming keyset. This keyboard is basically the same thing with better keys, backlights and no custom keysets that were poorly laid out anyway.
After owning this keyboard for a couple of years I still like it, however I think they should update it with a colour LCD display (like one of the newer Logitech gaming keyboards) or they could make an attachment with a display on it that can be clipped onto the back to the keyboard.
All in all, I still have to say this is an excellent gaming keyboard and from what I have seen available on the market, my personal first choice.
1 out of 1 users found this user opinion helpful.
Had it for a Year, Not one problem.
by TheDonovan81 on January 11, 2014
Pros: Nothing Has come of the keys, used it for a very long amount of time for over 6 hours a day and still functions perfectly, none of the keys has rubbed off or anything appearance wise has gone wrong.
Back Lit Keys!
Cons: The Only real problem i have with the keyboard is minor, the size. having the game pad thing seems very useless thus i have never used it and don't think i ever will.
Summary: Been Beaten in rage, clicked the keys more than a one hundred thousand time and still works like new, a keyboard for gamers who value a good keyboard at a ...
Summary: Been Beaten in rage, clicked the keys more than a one hundred thousand time and still works like new, a keyboard for gamers who value a good keyboard at a decent price.
Also bit of a conflict... PLEASE do not listen to people who say the keys rub off, unless their using industrial strength sandpaper as fingers there is not way the keys rub of (or the enamel) maybe its just older versions or something but this does not happen!
by strtmknx on August 14, 2012
Pros: Lighting, on board jacks, gaming pad.
Cons: The media keys sometimes seem like they don't want to control media player.
Summary: I noticed a few people beating on the Merc series. I owed a non-stealth Merc for 2 years with no problems. It's even pretty simple to pull apart and ...
Summary: I noticed a few people beating on the Merc series. I owed a non-stealth Merc for 2 years with no problems. It's even pretty simple to pull apart and clean thoroughly. First, about breaking keys as someone has complained about the keys breaking, usually, keys aren't pressure sensitive, if you don't jam your finger down hard enough to permanently blind someone, you likely won't have this problem. As for the coating coming off of the keys, it happens with use. However, with my basic Merc that I had for 2 years, I never had any of the keys fade in any way. For those that experienced problems with bugs, maybe your driver installed incorrectly or you installed the wrong one. Back-lights stopped working after a short period of time? Guess what, lemons make it through in mass production. It happens. Cars, computers, everything, they'll always be a few bad ones that make it past the QA guys.
TL;DR It's an awesome board. It won't last forever and if you are rough with it, that's especially true. It's not made of steel, so don't think you can mistreat it and the lighting and keys will work forever. However, for comfort, ease of use and design, this board rocks. I can't use any other board for gaming now. :D
Promises much but fails to deliver! a very poor board!
by diggrave on August 8, 2012
Pros: It switches on has 3 different coloured led's which have 3 dimmable presets, customisable keys
Cons: usb's not powered so are basically useless. never, ever, got microphone port to work, buggy software, rubberised cover on gaming keys comes off. gaming keys broke at 12 months, got it replaced then it broke again at 6 months!
Summary: Do yourself and your bank balance a favour as this is a crappy keyboard. The gaming key stems (wasd)are weak and break because the stems are even thinner than ...
Summary: Do yourself and your bank balance a favour as this is a crappy keyboard. The gaming key stems (wasd)are weak and break because the stems are even thinner than the one's on the typing keys, though the surface area of them is bigger. This is a huge design fault and means that when (not if) they break, you can't even swap it out for another key, nor can you buy them separately from Steelseries. I will NOT be buying another board from this company for the above reasons and I recommend you to do the same and go elsewhere.
Worst built product ever
by JoshAdams53 on March 2, 2012
Pros: Good for gaming
Cons: Half the keys didn't work after the first day.
LED lights didn't work correctly after first day.
Collects a ton of dust.
Summary: If you're looking for a good gaming keyboard, keep on looking. This keyboard would be great if it decided to work. Quality is something you think would come with ...
Summary: If you're looking for a good gaming keyboard, keep on looking. This keyboard would be great if it decided to work. Quality is something you think would come with a $90 keyboard but I guess not. So buyer beward
Great keyboard with one fatal flaw
by Caffanatic on March 30, 2011
Pros: Backlit keys; Gaming keypad; USB ports; good ergonomic design
Cons: Backlit keys (cheap materials)
Summary: This was a keyboard I'd been very happy with and very enthused about - right until the black coating started to wear off the keys. They've apparently used ...
Summary: This was a keyboard I'd been very happy with and very enthused about - right until the black coating started to wear off the keys. They've apparently used some cheap grade of plastic enamel to mask (or silkscreen, whatever it's called,) the letters and digits on the individual keys. Now I have a clear view of which keys I use most frequently, because instead of backlit letters, I've got big window-blobs of light with the little white plastic key plunger doodads behind them. If I were one of these expert typists who never need to look at the keyboard this would not be a problem - but I'm not, so it is.One other downside I forgot to mention is that the Stealth does not have a dedicated Delete key - it's piggybacked on the "1" digit on the numeric keypad, which means you have to toggle Num Lock off and on to use it. Not a major negative but an annoyance that could be easily designed out of this unit.
The whole point of having backlit alphanumeric keys is being able to see at a glance what they are. Merc had a great design for this keyboard, but they skimped on materials and workmanship, having the effect of giving it roughly a one year shelf life. This is a computer keyboard, not a can of soup, and it's called "SteelSeries," which is now an annoying irony.
If they had made these key caps out of something durable like metal (per the name's pretensions) - or even a respectable grade of enamel, I would not be forced into the market for a new (non-Merc) keyboard right now, and the price I paid for this thing might have been justified. Shame, shame on Merc for giving a production green light to a keyboard built with junk materials. Guys, if you're going to build it, build it like you mean it. I don't have time for this kind of nonsense.
Updated on Mar 30, 2011
The perfect fps gaming keyboard
by eezZzee on September 26, 2010
Pros: The gaming keypad is amazing and certainly improves my gaming in fps. I no longer have to hut for the keys. the back lit keys means that in low light i can see the keys well. It has excellent key press response times. its great for multi key presses.
Cons: The lights could be a tad brighter.
Summary: I'm 6ft3 with huge hands and fingers who loves playing fps. When i use a standard qwerty keyboard for playing games i often hit two keys at once. I ...
Summary: I'm 6ft3 with huge hands and fingers who loves playing fps. When i use a standard qwerty keyboard for playing games i often hit two keys at once. I don't miss hit keys with this bad boy and its improved my game. I never have to look at the keys when playing with this because the gaming key layout is perfect.
Great gaming keyboard (I use for WoW mainly)
by velesot365 on January 19, 2010
Pros: Lots of games pre-programmed into keyboard. Nice feel to keyboard and buttons. Light up keys awesome. 2USB slots on keyboard huge bonus.
Cons: Can't get the multimedia keys to work for other programs(designed for media player, works with iTunes if open to itunes)
Summary: This is a awesome keyboard! You can customize almost anything and have multiple user saved set-ups. The illumination is both practical and very pleasing to the eye. Lots of games ...
Summary: This is a awesome keyboard! You can customize almost anything and have multiple user saved set-ups. The illumination is both practical and very pleasing to the eye. Lots of games pre-programmed into the keyboard. Two built in USB ports in keyboard is very good. Built in headphone and mic jack on keyboard is also a plus. I am using this keyboard entirely for WoW and internet browsing. As far as Wow goes, after only 1 night of playing I have almost totally adapted to the new layout. The only things I am not 100% thrilled about are... I would like the background lights to be brighter and the multimedia keys should be able to work with other music playes (like iTunes). The keys do work with iTunes but only when it is the active window. If you have itunes open but are using another program they will not do anything. If you want a gaming keyboard then this is a definite keyboard to consider.
- Manufacturer: SteelSeries
- Part number: 64049
- Description: The SteelSeries Merc Stealth gaming keyboard features 34 dedicated gaming terrain keys, making it easier and more intuitive than ever to walk, run, jump, crouch and move directionally in games. The gaming terrain keys, tilted at an 11° angle, are ergonomic and comfortable even during long gaming sessions. SteelSeries Merc Stealth supports simultaneous keystrokes and features a number of hotkeys for multimedia, navigation and other one-click controls. The keyboard features two USB 2.0 ports, gold-plated microphone and headset jacks all connected through a gold-plated USB connector.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Device Type Keyboard - Wired
- Interface USB
- Form factor External
- Depth 7.9 in
- Width 21.1 in
- Height 1.1 in
- Ergonomic Design Yes
- Input Device:Connectivity Technology Wired
- Hot Keys Qty 34
- Features Anti-ghosting ,
- Hot Keys Function Multimedia
- Cables Included 1 x USB cable - 6 ft
Cable(s) / Peripheral(s)
- Cable(s) Included 1 USB cable Integrated 6 ft
- Slot(s) Provided None
Software / System Requirements
- OS Required Microsoft Windows 98,
Microsoft Windows 2000 / ME / XP/ Vista
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