The Steelseries Merc Stealth. There is a lot to say about this keyboard. It took me a few weeks of testing to feel comfortable writing this review mainly because it’s very different from most keyboards I’ve used in the past, but like always, Steelseries keeps its promises.
So the first thing you’ll notice is the “Gaming Terrain” obviously. At first glance it may seem like a silly gimmick, but it is honestly an amazing addition and becomes a necessity once you’re used to it. It makes long gaming sessions remarkable comfortable. No wrist cramps from keeping your hands straight. The keys are tilted 11 degrees to keep your hands in their default position, with no forced or uncomfortable movements. You also have an arsenal of keys within quick range of your fingers. It seems foolish that this hasn’t been done more often on gaming keyboards. The keyboard now feels like it’s an extension of your arm and every impulse can be carried out in comfort. Steelseries has never let me down in the comfort zone though. It seems to be their aim for every device they make so this was no surprise to me.
Right after you notice the Gaming Terrain you probably notice the only thing I’d call a gimmick about this device. The backlights add a nice touch but are fairly useless. I, however, enjoy them since most of the time I game in the dark. If for some odd reason forget where a key is, I can just look down really quickly. This helped a lot at the beginning of my adventures with this keyboard since the Gaming Terrain was new and very different to me. The backlights can change colors between blue, red, and purple and can switch intensities from off, subtle, ambient, and intense. Options are another thing Steelseries is good for, and never disappoints.
I suppose then you’ll notice all of the extras that come along with the Merc Stealth. There is a headphones and mic port, for let’s say, a headset you may have. This was very convenient because now I didn’t have to plug and unplug my Siberia V2 into the back of my computer constantly. The keyboard also has two USB ports at the top, and you can never have too many of those. There is also a great collection of quick keys. There are general ones for multimedia and navigation, and there are also three programmable buttons for any of the applications you like. The Steelseries engine does a wonderful job of making everything simple too. You can reprogram any and every key if you wish. Your macros can be dragged and dropped, or select a pre-defined gaming profile.
Now the keyboard itself, other than all the fancy add-ons is still above average. Of course it’s no mechanical keyboard but it has anti-ghosting for up to 7 simultaneous keystrokes, and it very quiet and comfortable to use. The only thing I dislike about it is the numpad seems odd at first. To use buttons like Page Up/Down, Home, End etc. you have to turn Numlock off. It’s simple and easy to understand they were saving space but it seems silly at the same time that I can only use one function at a time.
Overall, I really enjoy this device. It’s everything I want and need in a keyboard with minimal drawbacks. I give it an 8.7 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone that plays PC games for hours at a time.