If my fiancé was writing this review she would say, “it’s ugly and noisy” and that would be that. Aesthetically it has to be said, the combination of metallic red base and blue LED lit keys is definitely going to be an acquired taste for some.
What it certainly does have going for it, is that it is tiny. As it has no frame you sacrifice common keyboard luxuries such as a number pad for something that barely takes up any desk space. This is known in the keyboard world as a TKL (TenKeyLess). I personally would rather have the number pad. I hit nothing but air a few times when doing standard life events, such as internet banking without the number pad in place.
The blue LED’s are only broken up by white WASD and Arrow keys. If blue isn’t your thing, then look elsewhere because the best you can do is lower the/increase the brightness of the keys. The white WASD keys feel like a bit unnecessary because in gaming terms you don’t often have to look down to find them, but I can see how they will help re orientate those that do need a quick peek to get back on track.
For something so small, you don’t need to worry about it being so light that it flies all over the desk as and when you have an especially intense game of Overwatch. The Ultor is weighty and it really surprised me when I unboxed it and found that I was face to face with such a heavy bit of PC Apparel. What the Ultor is lacking in extra keys, it gains with a Function key, and a number of extra abilities as a result. These range from increasing your USB response rates to specific macro keys.
To make use of these macro keys the Ultor has its own software which you can download here. The Software itself is a cheap and cheerful system that gets the job done. It’s nothing super fancy The HUD splits the keyboard in by giving you three tabs to focus your customisation. The first allows you to remap the main keys and set up to 5 profiles. The second tab is where you can set your 6 Macros. Lastly the Advanced tab allows you to adjust LED brightness and most of the other functions that can also be achieved with hotkeys.
To actually input a Macro, you need to use the Macro Manager found in the bottom right hand corner of the editing suit. It seems pretty basic which is certainly a bonus for a beginner, but there is no hint of a tutorial so Speedlink are definitely under the impression that you know what a macro is, and what you are doing before you consider their keyboard for purchase.
For those of you who aren’t in the know, Macros simplify a series of long and complex commands into one button press. This is quite often used for games where a quick save isn’t an option or RTS games where you may find a specific unit or building hidden behind a few inputs.
With that in mind, I’m not sure this is the best selling point to part ways with your hard earned £94.99 on Amazon (let us know what you use macros for in the comments below!). So does is the Ultor going to turn you in to a world beater in the realm of esports? How the hell should I know!?
All I can say is that I certainly wanted to believe that my key presses were more responsive and that even Neo would struggle to dodge the number of bullets I side stepped. To really delve in to the nitty gritty though, I think you would need to line up 5 or 6 keyboards and have a programme running on each registering the time between presses etc etc. Sadly, folks I am not nerdy enough to set this kind of experiment up, but I am intrigued by the results that could be found!
As for typing it took me a while to adjust to the Ultor. The keys are comfortable enough, but I do struggle to string a sentence together with no typos. Here’s my first sentence with the Utlor: FGirst test hoew does iit feel tpo type? Weird.spelling erros galore! As you can see, not great (but I nailed galore). Each key press reminded me of the L or R button on a Game Cube controller, it felt like there were 2 levels of depression. However, in actuality, the key press registers what you are trying to do about half way through the press.
I’m not used too full on gaming keyboards and I felt like I had sat down to game with a typewriter. Upon some research I discovered that the Ultor uses RED switches under the keys which apparently are quieter than Brown or Blue Switches. If this keyboard is quiet, the other 2 must be causing daily Tsunamis on unsuspecting islands in the pacific with every keypress! I’m not sure if it is just me but some of the keys seem to feel stiffer than others. The problem is, every time I think, did I just struggle to press that key, I’ve moved on to far to realise which one it was.
The Speedlink Ultor feels like the perfect match for someone who is delving into the world of gaming keyboards for the first time. There is nothing overly fancy to scare you off. The accompanying software is basic but that is good for the unaccustomed gaming keyboard user. This may stem from the fact that Speedlink aren’t the best known gaming keyboard. If this is the card, they are playing it seems smart to make something affordable and simple to build a fan base before mounting a bigger challenge down the line.