* Azeron did send us a Compact Keypad for free to review.
The Azeron is a keypad that aims to upset the traditional mouse and keyboard gaming market by revolutionizing the control scheme gamers are used to. By combining the traditional keyboard button gameplay with a joystick and mouse gameplay, users can expect to have their usual WASD fingers freed up for ability and weapon binds as their thumb controls all of the movement.
The Azeron isn’t the first keypad to attempt overtaking the keyboard, but it certainly is the one making the biggest splash on the market in recent times. Whether or not it’ll take off is yet to be seen, and although its design is fairly unique it isn’t without its downfalls. Let’s take a look at the top 10 pros and cons of the Azeron Compact Gaming Keypad.
10. Pro – Design Options
Azeron offers two variants, aside from the compact. Both of which include all of the same design options the compact has. For starters, left handed mouse users can opt for a right handed design for the Azeron. You can also choose between a flat or curved palm rest, depending on what’s comfortable for you during a long-term gaming session.
In addition to this, the Azeron can come with customized coloring and nameplating for further personalization. We here at Gamingtoptens.com went with “GTT” on our nameplate and blue keys. After experimenting with both palm rests, settled on the curved version for more comfortability.
9. Pro – Build Quality
We’ve been using the Azeron Compact since the end of August and have had no issues with the build quality whatsoever. The lifespan of the Azeron is going to be a big player in whether or not it manages to become a mainstream peripheral since keyboards, even poor keyboards, that were produced all the way back in the 90’s are still being used today with equal efficacy as when they were released.
Although its current age is young, the Azeron, so far, is showing to be a product that can last.
8. Con – Bit of a Learning Curve
For mouse and keyboard users, there’s just no getting around it. When you want to move forward with your middle finger on the “W” key, the Azeron will punish you by clicking on a keybind meant for something else. As stated, all traditional movement is dedicated to the joystick, and the sheer ingenuity of the Azeron’s design means that it will also throw keyboard users off tremendously.
For people who are new to gaming as a whole, the Azeron won’t mess with your (undeveloped) muscle memory, but it will no doubt be harder to pickup habitually than a traditional mouse and keyboard will be due to its intricacies.
7. Pro – Customization
Once your unit is received, you can adjust every single aspect of it to your liking. From key length, switches, the height of various mechanical pieces, etc. The Azeron is built for customization, which is perfect since getting the thing to actually fit your hand is, obviously, a necessity.
The degree to which this pro has raised our appreciation for the Azeron can’t be understated. The fact that Azeron, as a company, took extra steps to streamline the fitting process for their keypad is much appreciated, and will save many users the headache of having to send units that are the wrong size back.
6. Pro - Thumbstick
The thumbstick is a key player for the Azeron, no pun intended. The joystick movement it provides is the entire crux of revolutionizing keyboard gameplay. Since WASD movement steals three fingers from its users, a joystick saves the lot of them by taking the thumb off the spacebar and dedicating it to movement, with your other three fingers saved for other binds.
Not only this, but thanks to the nature of the Azeron’s design, which no contemporary keyboard has even tried to match, a single finger can be used for three or more keys, depending on the variant you snag. This effectively means that, while a keyboard is a 1 to 1 match for finger to keybind, the Azeron is a 1 to 3+ finger to keybind pad. Essentially, the Azeron is three times easier to use than a keyboard for those with the muscle memory to make the most of it. And with a joystick, the Azeron can also function where keyboards and mice can’t: in games that support simultaneous input. Games that do not support joysticks can have their WASD movement binded to the joystick via WASD mode.
5. Pro – Software
The Azeron’s included software has some features that increase quality of life for users. Namely, its profiling system allows users to store keybind setups in the on-board memory to allow for quick swaps between game genres. Additionally, these profiles don’t include any controller emulation, which means they are always compatible with any PC game.
All versions of the software are on Azeron’s website for anyone to download, free of charge.
4. Con – Pricing
Since the Azeron is trying to oust the Mouse and Keyboard gaming style, it wouldn’t be fair to pass over its cost in comparison to the latter. A mouse and keyboard that both function well for gaming can run you, at its cheapest, around 30 to 40 dollars (sometimes less!).
The Azeron Compact, in its current form and without any extra customization, will run you a minimum of $150. That’s quite a lot for something that is a “cheapest option available”, and that price doesn’t even take into account the cost of a mouse on top of it. Another point worth making is that a keyboard, even for someone used to the Azeron, is still going to be the primary peripheral for typing. Whether for media browser or article writing, the Azeron just isn’t going to compare to a keyboard unless its user has never used anything else, which is an unlikely scenario, to say the least.
3. Pro – Responsiveness
The switches included with the Azeron combined with its overall design make for very, very snappy gameplay. The Azeron is wired through USB connectivity, and will make for 1MS response times or less. Additionally, the fact that its keys are moved to completely surround your fingers means you aren’t moving to a key before pressing, you’re actually just moving to press. This might not seem like much, but when you’re used to having to move your hand around a lot (hello WoW players), this change in gameplay is so relaxing it makes you want to play fast paced games just to spam click as much as you can get away with.
The switches themselves have a satisfying, light click to them which makes gaming with the Azeron comparable to gaming with a mechanical keyboard that has Cherry MX Blue switches that are just as clicky, but much quieter. The comparison isn’t 1 to 1, but it’s in the ballpark, for what that’s worth.
2. Pro – Less Desk Real Estate
Sometimes, the simple things are what makes a difference, and when we got our own Azeron, we didn’t expect the smaller amount of space it takes up compared to a keyboard to matter, but somehow that effect just adds something pleasurable to a gaming experience.
More room for coffee in the morning or notes when watching your VODS back over. It ultimately looks a lot smoother and futuristic, as well, which will add a nice amount of energy to a Cyberpunk fan’s room.
1. Pro – Overall Use
We started this article mentioning the Azeron’s attempt at overthrowing the keyboard in gaming situations, and, to be blunt, the Azeron is the better gaming peripheral in an objective sense. The design itself is just better, flat out (no pun intended.) Your left (or right) hand is free to handle more keybinds than with a keyboard, your movement in joystick enabled games is more precise than with WASD controls, and you still have the benefit of the mouse for FPS games and MOBA’s, where mouse control is essential. The Azeron, ultimately is an incredible invention that does have its place in the market.
In every objective sense aside from cost, the Azeron is the superior gaming peripheral over the keyboard. The real question is whether or not the gaming community decides that it’s worth replacing their well-known keyboard setups for something that, today, seems so alien. Another issue is the infrastructure that Azeron is currently producing under which causes their product to be 200 to 300 percent more expensive than some gaming keyboards. If the stars align and both of these things come to pass, we could see a surprise revolution in gaming roll over in the next five to 10 years.
Either way, the Azeron has our vote. To cop and Azeron keypad check out the Azeron website!