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Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Review - Initial impressions

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just bought this keyboard from Amazon.co.uk

Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Keyboard (UK Layout) - £32.48

41oX-tqT22L.jpg

And I thought I would post some of my first impressions on here (partly to test out with some extended typing wink.gif ). A couple of nights ago I spilled a whole glass of Dr Pepper over my keyboard and just couldn't clean it well enough to make it work properly, the keys just kept sticking down. Besides, it was more than time for an upgrade anyway.

I was looking for something specifically with backlit keys and macro functionality. I would have preferred wireless, but they tended to be very expensive. My other alternatives were:

However I decided to go with the Sidewinder because it was good value and I generally like the Microsoft keyboards/mice.

It arrived to me from Amazon very promptly and upon opening the familiar packaging, this was unearthed.

450

The box was really high quality and gave an initial good impression from the start, very solid with a nice weight to it.

450

and upon opening we find two things, the keyboard and the cd/manuals box:

450

The keyboard itself has a glossy finish on the body which shows up fingerprints quite readily but also appears to be quite easy to clean. The keys themselves have a nice satin finish with the letter, number, function and arrow keys having dipped tops and the rest having flat tops.

There is one windows key, one drop down menu key, the six macro keys and a whole host of added functionality buttons along the top. From left to right these are:
  • Bank Switch Button (3 different banks)
  • Macro Recording Button
  • Play/Pause Button
  • Back
  • Forward
  • Mute
  • Volume Up
  • Volume Down
  • Backlight Level (3 levels plus off)

450

The keyboard gives a nice glow in the dark but it's not overwhelmingly bright. Honestly, I can't see a time when I'll turn down the brightness of the keys from the top level, but maybe for some it's good to have that bit more choice.

450

Upon inserting the CD it starts to install the Micrsoft Intelltype Pro software. This software allows you to do some quite cool stuff. First off you can change the default functionality of a lot of keys for different banks. This means that you can load a gaming profile with, for example, the windows key disabled so that you won't accidentally exit out of a game ever again! You can also add this functionality to start when a specific program opens (e.g the game in question) to make it easier.

542539539539

And also you're able to set macros here as well:

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One important thing about the macros is they also record how long you press each key and the gaps inbetween. I know this probably isn't news to a lot of people but I didn't realise that this would be the case until I tried it out, I thought that it would merely send the keystrokes in the right order! The fact you can edit these as well means that you can speed up macros or slow them down as you please. This is a great feature, in my opinion. Having been a power user of Autohotkey before, I was dubious as to the functionality and usefulness of these macro keys but I'm really impressed. They're easy to program, accurate and they're easy to use, what more could you ask?

The three banks mean you can have up to 36 macros programmed in at a time - excellent! Some other standard stuff worth mentioning, the keys feel snappy and have a nice weight and sound to them. You're always sure when you've fully pressed a key, and for the touch typists out there the layout is good. One minor issue is that I often find myself pressing too far to the left of the keyboard, so things like Ctrl-C become S6-S, or Alt-Tab becomes Windows-S2. If you don't get what I mean this picture should illustrate:

504

While this is something I will most certainly get used to quite fast, it's definitely worth noting. Interestingly, on the far right of the keyboard above the numpad is a calculator key. This key, as you have probably guessed by now, brings up the calculator. A nice touch, and it can be reprogrammed to bring up anything else (or do one of the many things offered by the software). However, one little niggle is that a second press doesn't close the calculator. If felt this was a shame as you have to move your hand all the way to the other side of the keyboard to press alt-f4 or take your hand off and use the mouse to close it. Minor, but a niggling annoying in my head.

In summary

Pros
  • Keys feel and type great
  • Great value for money
  • Backlight not too bright and not too dark.
  • Lots of functionality
  • Great macro keys


Cons
  • The glossy surface is a bit of a dust/fingerprint magnet


Overall I would give this a 9.5/10 for being such good value and so easy to use.

Check back here for periodic updates as I continue to use this keyboard. I shall be using it for more gaming once my exams are over so I'll really get a chance to test the macros and ghosting out.

Thanks for now.
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
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My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
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post #2 of 16
Nice review, it really is a great keyboard for the price, really glad I got mine after I spilled pop on my G15. Definitely agree about the glossy surface being a magnet for dust and prints, but I don't really look at the keyboard often to notice tongue.gif.
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
256 GB Western Digital SSD 1.5 TB Seagate HDD LG NZXT HAVIK 120 
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Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 21.5'' Acer S211HL 1080p LED & 19.5'' Emachines Corsair Vengeance K70 Corsair CX Series CX750 750W 
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NZXT Phantom Logitech G500s Mionix Propus 380 Sennheiser PC 350 SE  
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post #3 of 16
Ive had mine for over a year now and still love it. I have it paired with the original Sidewinder mouse too.

I originally bought a Sidewinder X8 to pair with this board but that is a huge piece of crap and the scroll wheel died in 3 days of light use. That is the only bad Sidewinder product Ive owned.
ENTERPRISE
(14 items)
 
VOYAGER
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3820 @ 4.3GHz ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME EVGA GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(OCZ Agility2 60GB SSD) (WD Black 2TB) ASUS Blu-Ray - ASUS DVD-RW Phanteks PH-TC14PE Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 23" VH236H Microsoft SideWinder X4 - IBM Model M 1391401 Corsair HX 1000W Antec Eleven Hundred 
MouseMouse Pad
Microsoft SideWinder SteelSeries 4HD 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600k  ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION (B3) EVGA GTX 760 SC 2GB  G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(WD 160GB) (WD 2TB) LG Lightscribe - ASUS DVD-ROM COOLER MASTER HYPER 212+ Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung Syncmaster 2333T Logitech LX300 Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Thermaltake Armor + 
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Logitech Wireless Cloth Pad 
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ENTERPRISE
(14 items)
 
VOYAGER
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3820 @ 4.3GHz ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME EVGA GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(OCZ Agility2 60GB SSD) (WD Black 2TB) ASUS Blu-Ray - ASUS DVD-RW Phanteks PH-TC14PE Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 23" VH236H Microsoft SideWinder X4 - IBM Model M 1391401 Corsair HX 1000W Antec Eleven Hundred 
MouseMouse Pad
Microsoft SideWinder SteelSeries 4HD 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600k  ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION (B3) EVGA GTX 760 SC 2GB  G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(WD 160GB) (WD 2TB) LG Lightscribe - ASUS DVD-ROM COOLER MASTER HYPER 212+ Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung Syncmaster 2333T Logitech LX300 Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Thermaltake Armor + 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech Wireless Cloth Pad 
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post #4 of 16
I also love my sidewinder, but it gets so grimy really fast which really sucks. I'm amazed at all the gunk that is generated by my fingers, its kind of creepy.
Webcrawler
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Webcrawler
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by .:hybrid:. View Post

I also love my sidewinder, but it gets so grimy really fast which really sucks. I'm amazed at all the gunk that is generated by my fingers, its kind of creepy.

Haha you're making me wonder what state your keyboard gets in! All I can say is it can't be as bad as how it feels after you cover it in fizzy stuff doh.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain318 View Post

Ive had mine for over a year now and still love it. I have it paired with the original Sidewinder mouse too.
I originally bought a Sidewinder X8 to pair with this board but that is a huge piece of crap and the scroll wheel died in 3 days of light use. That is the only bad Sidewinder product Ive owned.

Which sidewinder mouse do you use now? I've been looking at the mice and I am wondering which one to get ph34r-smiley.gif
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
Reply
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manticorp View Post


Which sidewinder mouse do you use now? I've been looking at the mice and I am wondering which one to get ph34r-smiley.gif

The Original thumb.gif
300
Its simply called the Microsoft SideWinder Gaming Mouse
ENTERPRISE
(14 items)
 
VOYAGER
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3820 @ 4.3GHz ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME EVGA GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(OCZ Agility2 60GB SSD) (WD Black 2TB) ASUS Blu-Ray - ASUS DVD-RW Phanteks PH-TC14PE Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 23" VH236H Microsoft SideWinder X4 - IBM Model M 1391401 Corsair HX 1000W Antec Eleven Hundred 
MouseMouse Pad
Microsoft SideWinder SteelSeries 4HD 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600k  ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION (B3) EVGA GTX 760 SC 2GB  G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(WD 160GB) (WD 2TB) LG Lightscribe - ASUS DVD-ROM COOLER MASTER HYPER 212+ Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung Syncmaster 2333T Logitech LX300 Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Thermaltake Armor + 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech Wireless Cloth Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
ENTERPRISE
(14 items)
 
VOYAGER
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3820 @ 4.3GHz ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME EVGA GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(OCZ Agility2 60GB SSD) (WD Black 2TB) ASUS Blu-Ray - ASUS DVD-RW Phanteks PH-TC14PE Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 23" VH236H Microsoft SideWinder X4 - IBM Model M 1391401 Corsair HX 1000W Antec Eleven Hundred 
MouseMouse Pad
Microsoft SideWinder SteelSeries 4HD 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600k  ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION (B3) EVGA GTX 760 SC 2GB  G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(WD 160GB) (WD 2TB) LG Lightscribe - ASUS DVD-ROM COOLER MASTER HYPER 212+ Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung Syncmaster 2333T Logitech LX300 Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Thermaltake Armor + 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech Wireless Cloth Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ah right sweet, seems like they don't make it anymore frown.gif looks similar to the Sidewinder X5? Microsoft SideWinder X5 USB Mouse (ARB-00003)
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
Reply
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
Reply
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manticorp View Post

Ah right sweet, seems like they don't make it anymore frown.gif looks similar to the Sidewinder X5? Microsoft SideWinder X5 USB Mouse (ARB-00003)

I get the feeling the X5 isn't built aswell. The X8 sure wasn't mad.gif
ENTERPRISE
(14 items)
 
VOYAGER
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3820 @ 4.3GHz ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME EVGA GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(OCZ Agility2 60GB SSD) (WD Black 2TB) ASUS Blu-Ray - ASUS DVD-RW Phanteks PH-TC14PE Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 23" VH236H Microsoft SideWinder X4 - IBM Model M 1391401 Corsair HX 1000W Antec Eleven Hundred 
MouseMouse Pad
Microsoft SideWinder SteelSeries 4HD 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600k  ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION (B3) EVGA GTX 760 SC 2GB  G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(WD 160GB) (WD 2TB) LG Lightscribe - ASUS DVD-ROM COOLER MASTER HYPER 212+ Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung Syncmaster 2333T Logitech LX300 Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Thermaltake Armor + 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech Wireless Cloth Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
ENTERPRISE
(14 items)
 
VOYAGER
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 3820 @ 4.3GHz ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME EVGA GTX 680 4GB w/Backplate G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(OCZ Agility2 60GB SSD) (WD Black 2TB) ASUS Blu-Ray - ASUS DVD-RW Phanteks PH-TC14PE Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 23" VH236H Microsoft SideWinder X4 - IBM Model M 1391401 Corsair HX 1000W Antec Eleven Hundred 
MouseMouse Pad
Microsoft SideWinder SteelSeries 4HD 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7 2600k  ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION (B3) EVGA GTX 760 SC 2GB  G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR3  
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
(WD 160GB) (WD 2TB) LG Lightscribe - ASUS DVD-ROM COOLER MASTER HYPER 212+ Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung Syncmaster 2333T Logitech LX300 Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Thermaltake Armor + 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech Wireless Cloth Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain318 View Post

I get the feeling the X5 isn't built aswell. The X8 sure wasn't mad.gif

Hmm...oh well, I've been using a real simple 5 button Logitech mouse for about 5 years now and I'm still happy with it...I just feel like I should upgrade wackosmiley.gif

382
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
Reply
My Current Setup
(15 items)
 
An excellent keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 860 Dell 0T568R Nvidia gtx 560 ti 448 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair force 3 120gb Western Digital Generic CD/DVD drive Stock 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 ultimate Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Samsung Syncmaster p2450 Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouse
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Stock XPS8100 Logitech wireless MX 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 16
I love the x4, wish they would make a blue LED version. I know there is a DIY guide, but I don't trust myself with that haha

Sold my x4 to my brother, and purchased the Roccat Isku because I wanted blue LEDs, a longer wrist-rest (hands are too long, couldn't use the Sidewinder's wrist-rest), and the "thumbster" buttons.

In all honesty, the x4 is a better keyboard than the Isku, and costs easily 2-3x less. I really miss the dedicated calculator button haha, by far the most used feature in my experience.
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