Microsoft is able to distinguish the Xbox One from other consoles by embracing keyboard and mouse support. The peripheral producer Razer is trying to make a leap by offering his own set with the Turret keyboard and mouse combined specifically for Xbox One, and we got our hands on CES 2019. It has many ideal features that we would expect from PC gaming information , although some design choices may prevent it from being the best solution for Xbox One.
To put it in general terms, Razer Turret is a wireless bulletin board designed to carry the PC controls on the console, while being comfortable to use in a sofa or in a living room. Some design decisions have made the turret a sensible hardware, like the ten-key layout: it does not seem to lack much functionality on Xbox One by omitting the numeric keypad. At about four pounds (or 1,800 grams), the unit itself does not weigh much, helping to avoid the feeling of something pressing on the knees. Finally, the wireless mouse that is packaged looks a lot like the Deathadder, Razer's flagship mouse, which fits like a glove for right-handed people. Both the keyboard and the mouse are conveniently connected via a single 2.4 Ghz dongle, occupying only one USB port.
An important feature of the turret is the use of the Razer green mechanical switch, which has that tactile and distinctive feel (similar to the Cherry MX Blue switch). For those who do not know, mechanical switches offer a more tactile feel than keystrokes, as each key operates on its own distinct switch: it makes the inputs consistent and responsive to the soft touch of standard membrane keyboards. Furthermore, it would not be a Razer product if it did not have RGB lighting; both the mouse and the keyboard have a full range of 16,8 million colors for backlighting through the company's Chroma system.
It's also a key to the dedicated Xbox dashboard where the right CTRL key would be easy to access. One thing you might expect is to navigate with the mouse cursor in the dashboard, but flipping through the menus is, unfortunately, relegated to the directional keys. It's not Razer's fault, just a current limitation of a limitation on Xbox One.
Where it falls short is in the integrated mouse pad. The surface is smooth, similar to a good mat with a hard surface, and flows easily in and out of the right side of the keyboard. However, the surface and the mouse are magnetic, and the thrust and pull of the magnets create an unnatural feeling that can compromise the precision expected from PC-based controls. Magnetism helps keep the mouse in place when you take your hands off it, and the top right corner of the pad is so magnetized that it will hold the mouse even when the whole set is sitting upright . But as a result, sacrifice the free flow of scrolling and lifting of the mouse (which you will often do since the mouse pad is on the smaller side) due to the resistance. Of course, you do not need to use the integrated mouse pad, but it is the only realistic option when the turret is used as a lapboard in a living room type setting.
Although we can not talk independently about battery life, Razer says the keyboard can last up to 43 hours without backlighting and 11 hours with the default backlight setting. It is said that the mouse works for 50 hours without lighting and 30 hours with it, after a full charge. A USB-C port is located at the top right of the keyboard for charging.
As for equality in competitive games, the burden is on developers in the way they want to implement keyboard and mouse controls. Some games may filter matchmaking based on the control scheme, but they can very well give players the ability to match them to anyone if they wish. While it's important to have precise control and perhaps get a slight edge in games like Fortnite, Warframe, and fit well on upcoming games like Gears 5, the $ 250 Tower price may be a difficult sell. Pre-orders are open on Microsoft Store and units should be available by March 31 of this year.
For more information on CES 2019, be sure to take a look at our stories about everything related to the game related to the show like the announcement of AMD Radeon VII, the NXVID RTX 2060 revelation, or Phil's comments Spencer at AMD's press conference or go to our sister site CNET for a broader CES coverage.