Gaming peripherals are really close to any serious gamer, but then, there are a few popular brands that they relate to. Genius is one brand that’s been in the PC peripheral space but hasn’t really got much traction in the gaming space. Now, it has launched a couple of gaming oriented accessories, out of which we’re looking at a keyboard. This one’s called the Genius Imperator, exactly the same name as Razer’s popular gaming mouse, which, of course, is a bit odd to see. Nevertheless, we continue taking a look at what is a very affordable gaming keyboard priced at just around the Rs. 3,000 price bracket.
Design and build quality
Unlike all the other makers who bundle in stickers to make the customer feel special, the Genius Imperator comes with no special goodies. The first thing you notice is that the keyboard is larger than the typical plain keyboards in the market. It’s black, presumably to give it a very aggressive look that gamers adore. When you touch it, you soon see that it’s not a lot different from the other mainstream keyboards. The fonts of the keys are slightly different – a bit gothic styled, but that’s not of much use considering most proficient gamers don’t look at the keyboard while typing. There’s some attempts to make the keyboard look like it was made for gamers, for example, the small scorpion logo on the spacebar and the large GX Gaming branding on the palmrest.
Looks decent, but we wish it were solidly built as well
The build quality itself isn’t too good. The plastic used feels cheap, light and flimsy. It’s a membrane keyboard, so the keys feel light but also cheap. There are some additional customisable function keys for RTS games as well as some multimedia keys. The customisable keys have the texture and resistance that you’d typically find on a cheap landline telephone. The multimedia playback keys are glossy, but they’re pretty hard as well to press.
Fixed palmrest on the Genius Imperator
There are aesthetic problems as well. For example, the indicators for the Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock keys are red, not evenly lit up and are pretty bad to look at – not something you want from a gaming keyboard you’ve spent quite a large sum on. Then, there’s the palm rest which honestly isn’t bad. It’s comfortable but is made of the same plastic as the rest of the keyboard, with a fine texture on it. There are two clips at the back of the keyboard that act as a stand to raise the back of the keyboard, which do the job reasonably well too. There’s some attention on the USB cable that runs to the PC too; it’s sheathed and very long, so it’s convenient.
Feature wise, the Genius Imperator is a standard membrane keyboard with six customisable keys that are lined up along the left side of the keyboard. There are the basic multimedia buttons on the left top right above the function keys. And then, there are the three M1/M2/M3 keys for profiles. The keyboard supports 1000 Hz refresh rate. The drivers are where you can choose to set up the keyboard for the different profiles.
Macro creation using the drivers
You can also record macros, and it’s quite easy to do this. Time delays are also recorded along with keystrokes and mouse clicks. Those macros can then be assigned to one of the six customisable keys. The multimedia keys and the profile switch buttons throw up indications on the screen in the the form of on-screen alerts. This is handy when you switch profiles.
Keyboard layout is easily configurable
The user interface of the software could have been better designed, though. However, it’s not limited in terms of functionality. There are options to disable the Windows keys, so you don’t accidentally press the key while playing games. You can swap functions of practically any key on the keyboard, which is a neat feature.
When it comes to using the keyboard for typing, the keyboard works just fine. The spacing on it is as good as most other keyboards. The feel of the keyboard is also light, but being a membrane keyboard, it’s likely to get harder as dust and grime starts collecting in between the keys. There’s very little travel in the keys as compared to some of the newer mechanical keyboards, so it’s not the best feeling if you were going to be gaming on it.
Verdict and price in India
Feels just like any other mainstream keyboard
Priced at Rs. 3,020 in India, it’s not exactly cheap and we’d suggest you keep a distance from it, unless you’re getting an incredibly good deal for a fraction of its price. For the price being asked, one would expect a much sturdier product with more features. There are more renowned brands selling products in this price range. For all practical purposes, apart from the additional keys and the customisability, the Genius Imperator is as good as any other sub-Rs. 1,000 keyboard out there. In fact, you can easily find one of the TVSE Gold mechanical keyboards which although noisier, offers a much better typing experience.
Updated 18 May, 2013, 5:40 pm IST
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