Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated USB Gaming Keyboard

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

Price: ~$89.99 USD (Ideazon Zstore)

A while back I took a look at the Merc keyboard from Ideazon, the makers of the popular Z-Board series of keyboards. Overall I liked the original Merc and enjoyed having the gamepad built into the keyboard on the left side and found it to be a good all-around keyboard. Today we are going to look at the next model up in this series, the Merc Stealth. Now at first glance it looks exactly like the original Merc, but you'll quickly notice that there are some improvements, let's see if they have made a good keyboard even better...

 

First Impressions:

Well, my first impression was, "Hmm, this looks like the Merc except all black", and if I hadn't read the details of the Merc Stealth briefly before it showed up, I probably would have been a little puzzled as to why I needed to review a keyboard that is just a different color than the original Merc, which I have already reviewed. Anyways, after I pulled it out of the box I immediately noticed it is significantly heavier than the original Merc (thanks to the backlights, extra USB ports and Headphone jacks I'm assuming). I was happy to see the extra USB ports and the headphone jacks, both of which are always handy and even if you don't use them regularly, they are nice to have in a pinch.

 

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Merc Stealth - Full View
numpad.jpg
Merc Stealth - Num Pad

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Merc Stealth - Gamepad

 

Now let's do a quick little visual comparison to the original Merc that we reviewed.

 

Merc Keyboard
Merc - Full View
Merc Numberpad
Merc - Num Pad

Merc Gamepad
Merc - Gamepad

 

So there you go, as you can see the setup of the Merc and the Merc Stealth are identical, which is a good thing for someone who has already been using the original Merc, but wants to add a few new options that the Merc Stealth offers.

 

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Merc Stealth - Option Keys
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Merc Stealth - Keyboard

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Merc Stealth - USB and Audio Jacks

 

As you can see in these pictures, there are a couple extra option keys (for Backlight Color and Brightness), as well you will also see that this keyboard has 2 USB ports, as well as a headphone and mic port on the top of the keyboard, other than that, they are exactly the same.

 

Ideazon Merc Specifications:

Taken from Ideazon.com

Illumination: Perfect for gaming in the dark

  • Astounding three color illumination in RED, BLUE and PURPLE
  • Choose your level of brightness (Subtle, Ambient, Intense, Off)
  • Illuminated characters on every key
Dedicated Gaming Terrain: Amazing touch and response for hours of comfortable gaming
  • Rubberized movement keys for superior response
  • Tilted 11 degrees to match natural wrist position
  • 34 gaming keys labeled and positioned for ultimate precision and control
  • Simultaneous key stroke response — no need to worry about phantom keys in the heat of the battle
Z Engine Software: Industry leading software allows gamers to easily customize every gaming experience
  • Programmable with easy-to-use drag-and-drop macro editing
  • Over 125 pre-defined key mapping layouts
  • Learn more about Z Engine
Control Center: Rule all your PC gaming peripherals from one hub
  • Two USB 2.0 ports to plug in mice and other peripherals
  • Gold plated audio jacks for headsets and microphones
  • Multimedia controls for in and out of game use

 

Specifications:

Model - ZXP-2000

Part Number - KW1NAE1-X1XP201

Product Dimensions - 21.1 x 7.9 x 1.1 inches (53.6 x 20.1 x 2.7 cm)

Package Includes - USB Keyboard, Installation CD, Documentation

System Requirements - Windows® 2000 (SP3)/XP Home/Professional or Windows® Professional x64 edition, Windows® Vista (32-bit or 64-bit), IBM PC or compatible system with 1GHZ Processor, 256MB RAM, 200MB of hard disk space

Additional Requirements - Available USB Port

MOD Files - For a list of games, click here

Warranty- 1 year (North America), 2 years (Europe)

 

Ideazon Merc Stealth Software:

The Merc Stealth features the same software that the original Merc came with, so I'm not going to go too in depth about the software because I covered that in the original Merc review I did.

But I will say this, the Z Engine software that comes with these keyboards is a great program, and it makes programming your keys simple, and also features a ton of pre-setup configurations that you can use, and as new games come out, they continue to be updated. Also they have a forum where users can post their own custom setups, so you will have a hard time not finding something that will work for you.

Also the Z-Engine software is Vista and 64-bit compatible.

For more information on this software, you can jump directly to that section in my original Merc review, or you can head over to Ideazon for a full overview of this software.

 

Ideazon Merc Stealth Testing:

Like I had mentioned in the original Merc keyboard review, the only way to test a keyboard is to really use it on a daily basis, so I did. The original Merc took me a little while to get used to thanks to its different layout of the num pad, as well as the gamepad section took me a few hours to get a hang of. Fortunately for me I have been using the Merc on my test rig for a couple months now, and have grown quite used to it, so when I hooked up the Merc Stealth, it felt very nice and familiar. The feel of the keyboards are pretty much identical to each other and I didn't notice any big change going between the original Merc and the Merc Stealth.

At first I was a little unsure of the backlit keyboard, sure it's kind of neat and its nice and flashy to have sitting on your desktop to impress people, but honestly, is it really necessary? The Merc Stealth isn't the first keyboard to make a backlit keyboard, but backlit keyboards are becoming more and more popular. I was kinda skeptical whether it was really something I'd find useful, that was until I used it a couple times in low light situations. Now, I'm a good enough with my typing skills that I normally don't look down at the keyboard much, but I sure found it handy with the illuminated keys when I was fumbling around looking for the print screen or page up buttons, and quickly realized that the illuminated keys were not just a gimmick, but actually very handy to have if you use your computer in low light situations.

In the pictures below you can see the LED illumination in action, you can easily choose between blue, red, or purple with the click of a button. Also all 3 colors feature 3 levels of illumination, or can be turned off completely very easily.

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Merc Stealth - Blue LED
purpledark.jpg
Merc Stealth - Purple LED

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Merc Stealth - Red LED

 

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Merc Stealth - Gamepad
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Merc Stealth - Num Pad

 

I noticed a couple other changes on the Merc stealth. First of all the main keys on the gamepad (Up, Down, Left, Right, Run, Crouch, and Jump) all have a bit of a grip on the keys now. I never noticed my fingers slipping off the original Merc, but the extra grip on the keys that you use most is definitely a welcome addition. I also noticed that the bottom of the keyboard has a bit more grip to it also, which prevents it from slipping around on your desk. Once again I never noticed the original Merc slipping around on my desk, but I sure did notice that this keyboard grips a lot better when you try and slide it around. Both of these features are minor, but both are a great improvement also.

 

Once again I will repeat what I had said about the Merc in our original review, the biggest problem you are going to have when you first get this keyboard is that you have to unlearn the setup from your old keyboard/gamepad, at first you are going to feel a little awkward using it just because it's different. But after a few hours of use, you will notice that it feels pretty good and that it's a very functional keyboard. While this keyboard might not be for everyone, I believe it's a very good choice if you're looking for a high-end gaming keyboard that can also function in everyday tasks.

 

Ideazon Merc Stealth Final Conclusion:

At the end of the day this is a pretty nice keyboard, sure its a little bit longer than the average keyboard thanks to the attached gamepad, but that attached gamepad sure makes things nice when you want to jump into a game quickly. The illuminated keyboard and extra USB ports and headphone jacks make the already good Merc to the next level.

The biggest problem majority of people are going to have with this keyboard is the price, it rings in at a hefty ~$89.99 USD. Luckily if you like the setup of the keyboard and aren't so interested in the new features, you can go with the original Merc for ~$39.99 USD, so at the end of the day you can decide if the extra USB ports and Headphone jacks and illuminated keyboard is worth the extra $50 or so bucks you'll have to spend to upgrade to the Merc Stealth. Now ~$90.00 USD may seem steep for a keyboard, but you only have to do a quick search in your favorite web store to realize that if you want a high-quality brand name illuminated keyboard, you're going to have to spend a few dollars, the cheapest illuminated keyboard on the market currently is going to set you back at least ~$60 USD, so the Merc Stealth at ~$89.99 USD with a built-in gamepad isn't that unrealistic. Still a lot of people will laugh at spending that kind of money on something like a keyboard, and those are the people that probably still have their original Packard Bell PC keyboard that they bought 15 years ago, so I guess it's all about your personal preferences.



At the end of the day I have no problems recommending the Merc Stealth, just like I did the original Merc, I think they took an already good product and added a few new features to make it even better. The price tag on this keyboard isn't exactly cheap, but you are getting a nice flashy, functional keyboard with built-in gamepad, so the price tag doesn't bother me as much as I originally thought it would. This keyboard is just as well-suited for a marathon session of BF2142 as it is for writing a term paper, it's got a nice feeling to it and doesn't feel like other cheap keyboards on the market. I have no problems giving this product our "Top Pick" award.

 

Pros:

  • High Quality Keyboard
  • Space-Saving All-in-One Design
  • Great Software that continues to be Updated with New Games

 

Cons:

  • Price (~$89.99 CDN)

 

BCCRating

 

TopPick

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