I hadn’t heard of Sharkoon before I was sent one of their FireGlider gaming mice to review, but they quickly made a believer out of me with the mouse’s excellent combination of a low price and clever design, delivering a mouse that dispensed with fancy features to focus on the essentials.
At CeBIT, Sharkoon – and their host exhibitors, Wave Computer – again impressed me. They’ve got a new line of peripherals coming out soon, including three keyboards, three mice and three mouse pads.
Let’s have a look at the gaming mice first. The flagship product is the Sharkoon DarkGlider, which boasts a massive 6,000 DPI sensor and 10 programmable keys. The DarkGlider is dressed in a matte black rubberised finish as the name suggests; an altogether more subdued look than the rather ostentatious FireGlider. The mouse includes an LCD display (black on red) showing the current DPI as well as a four-way scroll wheel and removable weights; all of the hallmarks of a top-end gaming mouse. I found the software quite good on the FireGlider, and will hopefully be as easy to use here. The DarkGlider was sitting on its own DarkGlider-branded mousepad, which looked quite substantial. The DarkGlider itself will cost €39.99, and the mousepad €9.99.
The next mouse is the most distinctive looking – the Drakonia. It comes with a glossy dragon scale finish, and much of the same tech as the DarkGlider – eleven programmable keys, a slightly less intense 5,000 DPI sensor, removable weights and on-board memory. It also came with a Drakonia branded mousepad, which I’ll come to a bit later – this mouse pad also cost €9.99, and the Drakonia itself will be €25.99.
The Squad Mouse is reportedly a smaller mouse made for smaller hands, although I don’t remember seeing it at CeBIT – I certainly don’t have any pictures of it. According to the press release though, it should come with six programmable keys and a 1600 DPI sensor – an altogether more pedestrian release at €12.49.
I did see another mouse pad – the 1337 gaming mouse pad. It’s not new, but still seems a good example of a wide but thin mouse pad, giving you a good mousing surface without providing a thick edge that digs into your wrists. Again, I’ll write a bit more on this later – for now, let’s have a look at the keyboards.
The first keyboard was the Sharkoon Nightwriter, which is Sharkoon’s first keyboard with backlit keys. The rubber dome (non-mechanical) keyboard has a standard three block layout, with the addition of 13 media keys along the top edge of the board. It’s a relatively thin keyboard, with a low-profile design that’ll suit some. The Nightwriter surprisingly costs the most of their keyboard range at €21.99.
The next keyboard we had a look at was the Sharkoon Tactix, a more substantive keyboard that offered full programmability as well as swappable textured keycaps. These keycaps, which are designed to replace the standard ones on the WASD and cursor keys, have a fine bumpy finish that should make locating them easier in a firefight – although WASD and particularly the cursor keys should be pretty easy for most to locate without a special texture. The Tactix also supports 18 key rollover, impressive for a non-mechanical keyboard, but didn’t have any media keys. The Tactix will retail for €10.99 – a great price.
The final Sharkoon keyboard on display was their flagship board, the Skiller. The keyboard includes the same programmability, 18 key rollover and replaceable keycaps as the Tactix, but in a wider body that included 20 media keys (including traditional media controls, as well as customisable shortcut keys for opening programs and the like.) The keyboard supports ten different profiles, each with three levels, and will cost just €14.99.
I wanted to come back to these mouse pads, and that’s because I’d like to give a shout-out to Wave Computer rep Dominik Reinhardt. He spent a good hour talking to us about the Sharkoon products and Wave Computer in general, and was kind enough to not only gift to us two mouse pads, but to find us in the crowded exhibition hall ten minutes after we’d left the booth in order to do so. It was an unbelievably kind gesture – so thanks Dominik. We owe you one!
So shoutouts aside, I’m feeling good about these Sharkoon peripherals. It’s a broad lineup and looks very competitive for 2012 when you take into account the extremely low price points for each product – a factor which explains the omission of any keyboard with increasingly popular but expensive mechanical. The mice and mouse pads will be released in April, while the keyboards will hit shelves in May, so keep an eye out for a review closer to that date.