Ideazon Merc Gaming Keyboard

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Product(s): Ideazon Merc USB Gaming Keyboard w/ Gamepad
Provided By: Ideazon

Price: ~$34.99 USD (~$38.02 CDN) (Pricegrabber.com)

 

Every gamer is different, and if you look around a LAN party, you'll see that no 2 gamers have the same setup. Some gamers go with the traditional mouse and keyboard approach, while some gamers go with some pretty unique setups. Today we are going to look at an all-in-one setup from Ideazon, the Merc.

Ideazon is very well known because of their popular line of Zboard keyboards, but today we are going to look at another keyboard they produce, the Merc. The Merc is a standard USB keyboard, but also features a integrated and dedicated 34 button Gaming section, as well as multimedia controls and dedicated hotkeys. Basically the idea behind the Merc is to eliminate that gamepad that is taking up precious desk space with an all-in-one unit.

Let's see how the Merc performs...

 

First Impressions:

 

 

Box of Merc
Front of Box
Merc Keyboard Bundle
Contents
Merc Box Backside
Back of Box

 

As soon as you get the Merc out of the box, you're probably going to say/think the same thing I did, "Huh, that's not really any bigger than my old keyboard". I was half expecting the Merc to be this huge long all-in-one keyboard, but really its only about 3 inches longer than the keyboard I was already using. After a quick test of the keyboard and gamepad, I was pretty happy with the feel of the keyboard and the layout of the gamepad, it feels very natural.

 

Merc Gamepad
Gamepad Area
Merc Keyboard - Left
Left Side of Keyboard
Merc Keyboard
Standard Keyboard Area

 

Merc Keyboard
Keyboard (Full View)
Back of Merc
Back of Keyboard
Merc Feet Raised
Keyboard Feet

 


More Impressions:

As you can see from the pictures, everything is pretty standard, the keyboard is your standard QWERTY setup, and the gamepad area is the same setup as Ideazon's Fang gamepad. The keyboards feet give you a 9 degree tilt.

The multimedia keys also feature 3 quick keys so you can assign them to your favorite programs and then be able to launch them with the click of a button. 

 

Merc Media Keys
Multimedia Keys
Merc Numberpad
Num Pad

 

As you can see from the pictures, everything is pretty standard, the keyboard is your standard QWERTY setup, and the gamepad area is the same setup as Ideazon's Fang gamepad. The keyboards feet give you a 9 degree tilt.

The multimedia keys also feature 3 quick keys so you can assign them to your favorite programs and then be able to launch them with the click of a button. 


Ideazon Merc Specifications

Taken from Ideazon.com

With its dedicated gaming terrain, superior feel and sleek ergonomic design, the MERC™ Gaming Keyboard brings you the ultimate in performance for all types of game-play.

 

 
Dedicated Gaming Terrain
MERC's dedicated gaming terrain combines 34 gaming keys, a deadly central butterfly layout, three thumb keys and 11 weapon keys.
 
Sleek Ergonomics
Sleek ergonomic game pad tilts 11 degrees to match natural wrist position while providing hours of comfortable gaming.
Core game commands are labeled for quick access, including run, walk, jump, crouch and reload.
 
Multimedia Controls & Hot Keys
MERC features multimedia keys and programmable hot keys.
 
Enhanced Keyboard
MERC also has an enhanced QWERTY keyboard for game-play banter, chatting with friends or standard PC functionality and Windows® shortcut keys.
 
Powered by ZEngine™ Technology
Supplies gamers with pre-defined key layouts (a.k.a. MOD Files) and the ability to easily switch between them for today's top PC gaming titles.
Windows® 64-bit USB drivers available

 

 

 

Ideazon Merc Testing

 

Testing of a gaming keyboard is one of the more fun things to test, since the only way you can get a good feel for it is by playing games, basically it's a great excuse to get a little fragging in.

I used Battlefield 2142 to test out the Merc, mainly because I'd been playing 2142 with my old gamepad (Nostromo Speedpad), and I was really interested to see the comparison between the two. As for the everyday applications and use, I basically used it for everything (Including writing this review).

The setup of the Merc was easy, incredibly easy. My old Nostromo Speedpad took me a while to setup with each new game, so I was expecting the same with the Merc, I was wrong. Setup of the Merc took me about 5 minutes max, I installed the software, opened it up, and loaded a profile, made a couple "minor" adjustments, and bang! I was ready to play.

The Merc by default did not have a BF2142 profile, so I loaded up the included profile for BF2 (Key setup is basically the same), and went with that. I later discovered that you can download new "Mods" thanks to the Z Engine software (A Mod is a fancy name for a Key Setup or profile) , which has a Mod for BF2142. Ideazon has over 100 Mod's available on their website, as well as a forum community where users can post their custom Mods. More information about the Z Engine and Mods can be found here.

As you can see in the below picture of the Z Engine software in action, everything is pretty straight forward, you load up the Mod you want, it shows you what keys are assigned to what, and if you need to change something, it's as simple as the click of a button.

 

zboard.jpg
Z Engine Software

 

The Z Engine software works great, it allows you to load pre-made Mods, make custom macro's, modify existing Mods, etc. The Z Eninge software is also included with other products from Ideazon, such as the Fang (Which we reviewed Here), as well as Ideazon's popular Zboard series. Also, the Z Engine software is Vista and 64-bit compatible.

Basically testing went very smoothly, and I was very impressed with the Merc. Anytime you change keyboards or gamepads the hardest part of the change is trying to get rid of all the habits you've picked up using other products, and anytime you change setups you're going to be a bit slower for the first while until you get used to the new setup. After about a week of using the Merc I was feeling pretty comfortable, and I'm pretty much back to the point where I was with my old setup, I'm pretty sure with another couple weeks of use I should be even quicker than I was before.

The gaming performance was very good, and that's primarily the market that is going to buy a keyboard like this. The everyday use of the Merc was also very good, and I really had no problems using it for things such as word processing or internet surfing, it's a nice soft feeling keyboard and it definitely can do-it-all quite easily.

The only thing that messed me up was that the Page Up and Page Down keys, as well as your Home and End and those types of keys are shared with the number pad. These keys are shared in order to save a bit of space (As you can see in the picture below), which makes sense on a gaming keyboard, majority of gamers don't need to use the number pad very often, so it's definitely a logical choice to combine the buttons, it just takes a while to get used to it when you're used to the home/end keys having dedicated buttons, but it's nothing that I can't get used to.

 

Merc Numberpad
Number Pad

 

 

Ideazon Merc Final Thoughts:

 

Changing to a new keyboard/gaming setup is never an easy task, but with the Ideazon Merc I can definitely see myself taking the time to make the transition. I've been using a Nostromo Speedpad for a couple years now so I'm pretty used to it, but after using the Merc for a couple weeks, I can definitely say the transition was a whole lot easier than I was expecting. Sure I'm a little slower still with the Merc, but old habits are tough to break, and after about a week I was getting pretty used to the Merc, and I can see myself getting as good and possibly even better (If that's possible) with the Merc.

One of the nicest features of the Merc is that it's truly an all-in-one keyboard. It's nice to have everything in one unit, and it's really not that much bigger than your standard keyboard. Having the gamepad integrated is actually very handy, especially when you need to write a quick message to the other team bragging about that last headshot, or how everyone on you're team sucks and thats why you're not on the leaderboard. Also you've got your multimedia controls which are always a nice feature to have.

The setup of the Merc was simple, in fact, it was really simple, I was easily up and running in less than 5 minutes, something my old gampad couldn't do. The quality of the Merc keyboard is also very good, some gaming keyboards aren't all that great for everyday tasks, but the Merc is definitely able to do it all. Its a nice soft feeling keyboard, and can type an essay as well as it can frag. At the end of the day I really have no complaints with the Merc.

The only thing that threw me for a loop is that the Page Up/Page Down/Home/End keys are shared with your Number pad. Not really a big deal for most people (Unless your an accountant or something), just something that's different from standard keyboards and takes a bit to get used to.

Anyways, I've got no problems giving the Merc our "Top Pick" award, its a great all-in-one keyboard at a great price, and if you're looking for a new gaming setup, you definitely need to check this out.

 

Pros:

  • High Quality Keyboard
  • Space-Saving All-in-One Design Very easy to setup (Good Software)
  • Reasonable Price

 

Cons:

  • None

 

BCCHardware.com Rating
Quality:
10/10
Performance:
9/10
Software Pack:
10/10
Stability:
N/A
Features:
10/10
Value:
10/10
Total Score 9.8

TopPick

 

I'd like to thank Ideazon for allowing us to review the Merc. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.