IO Gear sent over their latest in the gaming mice and keyboard selections for us to check out, and that we have. This review even being penned, er, typed on the Kaliber keyboard. It's gonna be used for more than nailing enemies in Battlefield 1, right?
Consider this our take on their lineup in a collection of mini reviews below.
The RETIKAL was the first mouse I started the IO Gear test drive with, finding its comparatively wide berth to be a funky design choice that I got used to, but can't say whether it ever grew on me. The structure is such that your ring finger has a platform to rest on, a button which by default will double-click with a single click. This one also supports up to five different user profiles, or game profiles, which can be cycled via a button sitting below the DPI selector.
I did like the silicon pad on the left side as a thumb rest, and overall found the form factor to be functional, aside from the unique choices with a third clicking button on the right side. There's also a Sniper Button near this padding, which toggles DPI for aim-down-sight precision in games, serving as an interesting feature that helps it stand out from the crowd. The build has a nice matte feel, as well, with a good weight that feels solid in the hand. It's priced at just about $35, which seems expected for a component trying out some new ideas.
As far as my personal history with gaming mice go, I haven't been more frustrated with them than the FOKUS. The placement of buttons on both the left and right side for toggling browser pages and audio, respectively, finds them positioned in an area where your hand will likely rest, applying enough pressure to accidentally perform unintended selections. I unplugged the FOKUS within minutes, due to accidental selections while browsing the web.
Returning to it for a bit of gaming, I found the ergonomics to be the most uncomfortable of the lineup, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Despite it being the costliest offering of the three mice (ringing in around $50), it was also the least palatable thanks to poor button placement and a strange metal platform at the bottom which is too short to do anything more than give a sensation of the mouse being stuck on something. The build here is a light plastic body which tends to feel cheaper than it probably is.
This was my most preferred offering of the Kaliber line, possibly due to its design lining up closely with traditional mice and my expectations of what a mouse usually is. The form factor is similar to the FOKUS, with secondary buttons on the left and right sides, defaulting for web browsing and volume control, but the placement is far more practical. Buttons have a nice click to them, and options are simplified below the scroll wheel with an up and down arrow for DPI adjustment.
The build on the FOKUS lies somewhere between the other offerings, with a sturdy plastic body that has more weight than the FOKUS with a slightly matte feel. if I were to recommend a mouse of the three, it'd be this one for taking the no-nonsense route and being the most affordable at about $25. Price aside, even, it's the one I preferred to use of the offerings.
IOGEAR Mice – Driver Support
While each mouse has a default configuration, IOGEAR provides software support for configuring drivers, button layout, and even toggling off the obnoxious LED lights which remain on by default. As one who's usually stuck with Logitech mice, I've appreciated not having to turn to supplemental software to adjust the audacity of a peripheral, but IOGEAR's software is nonetheless available and allowed for satisfactory customization in their mice lineup. Users will appreciate fine-tuning settings such as customizing the exact DPI and myriad of preconfigured button assignments.
HVER Aluminum Gaming Keyboard
Right off the bat, the build of this keyboard is a statement. Set upon an what appears to be an aluminum slab, there's a nice weight and aesthetic in the industrial finish.
The board also features a handful of LED colors to cycle through, although the keys' lettering comes out a bit unflattering when highlighted, appearing a little rough around the edges. As for the actual keys, the board suffers from a slightly mushy feel in keystroke returns. This is less apparent when playing an FPS, but in writing or using hotkeys, there can be some trouble in consistent strokes. While functional, it's preferable for keyboards not to require mindfulness in simple tasks, but the HVER tripped me up a few times — a generally harmless inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless.
This keyboard is overall fine, committing no major sins, but for about $35 there are better solutions that better serve end users. There is no driver support to be found on the IOGEAR website for the HVER, which is a positive for no-frills folks, but hindrance to anyone hoping to customize their keyboard.
IOGEAR has released some well-to-do components in the past, and the Kaliber peripherals seem to run just shy of something worth owning unless you're looking for some snazzy LED stylings. The mice in particular seem to default to a "breathing" pulse with varying designs, similar to the power light on older MacBook Pros. It's an interesting look, but one for players hoping to deck out their desk. I'd personally prefer substance over style, but in a world where one must outdo the other, IOGEAR's Kaliber gaming line steps up to the plate in style.