When I first had a good look at the EG500 my thought was that it looked weird but cool at the same time.
With its black handrest, it looks right at home next to my Logitech G15 keyboard. The blue glow of the backlit keys makes it seem like a long-lost sibling. I must mention, though, that as the keys are slanted away from the user, the backlit keys don’t actually help for late night gaming.
When you open the packaging, the first items you need to look for are the manual and the driver CD. Chuck them away. The drivers that come with the device make it unusable by FPS players as some functionality simply isn’t there; namely being able to program the D-pad to user defined keys. Without this functionality there just aren’t enough keys.
As for the manual, it mentions keys that aren’t actually on the device, and doesn’t really make sense. You won’t be needing the manual, though; the device is very easy to set up. Just make sure you pull the latest drivers from Genius’s website to allow full functionality.
You are able to set any key on the device to any key on your keyboard or mouse. You can also set macros. Once you click the “loading” button, your programmed keys are saved to the device. There are 3 presets that you can have at any one time. Switching between them is quick and easy using the “switch” button. The scroll wheel acts just as your mouse scroll wheel.
The EM500 connects to your pc via a USB cable that is around 2m long. One nice little extra is that it includes a built-in sound card with earphone and microphone jacks. It’s no Creative Audigy, but works well.
The EM500 is perfect for those that game using a laptop. Instead of having a keyboard that’s raised off the surface your arms are resting on, the EM500 brings comfort. The EM500 is also great for those who LAN frequently. While there might be one or two too few keys for CoD 4, a gaming mouse like the Logitech G5 easily rectifies this. One could actually use this device with a small USB keypad and leave their full-size keyboard at home.
I readily recommend the ErgoMedia 500 to anyone that games on a laptop. Frequent LANners should try before they buy; the RRP of R460 is a little steep for an input device that you mayor may not need.
Driver issues aside, the ErgoMedia 500 is a competent device.