The Razer Anansi Keyboard

I probably shouldn’t need to introduce Razer to most of you readers anymore but in case some of you are not familiar, Razer is a company which makes computer peripherals tailored for the gaming enthusiasts. One of their soon to be top products which is supposedly to be released sometime December of this year is the Razer Anansi. Also at this point I’m thinking many of you are fed up with keyboard articles and think that a keyboard is just a keyboard. However, the Anansi begs to differ. This is Razer’s take on a keyboard suited for MMOs (massively multiplayer online game). First off a quick introduction from Razer:

Designed and engineered especially for the MMO gamer, the Razer™ Anansi is the world’s first keyboard that raises your level of gameplay by giving you the power to instantly use up to 7x more commands and abilities over the current ±12 ability keys you now have. Its seven thumb modifier keys located below the space bar allow you to actuate every possible combination of modifier key (shift, ctrl, alt) in total accuracy and comfort using a single key stroke, exponentially expanding the repertoire of spells, abilities and macros you have at your command.

Followed by a quick tech specs:

7 thumb modifier keys
Over 100 programmable Hyperesponseâ„¢ keys
One-button profile switching
Five additional gaming keys
Optimized key matrix
Gaming mode option
Easy access media keys
Approximate dimensions in mm: 515(L) x 190(W) x 22(H)

What truly makes this keyboard unique is the 7 thumb modifier buttons. As some of you MMO players out there know sometimes there are just too little key bindings within the normal reach zone. Let’s try a simple experiment. Try to press the left Ctrl and the number 9 using only one hand. Sure its quite a stretch and still possible. But now what if I told you to press Ctrl and the number 9 while using “WASD” as arrow keys to move around? I’m guessing your hand is in an uncomfortable position and its not something you would like to do often.

Now I’m not entirely sure how the thumb modifier works since there wasn’t a very detailed explanation, but my bet is that you would have to hold one of the 7 thumb buttons and then click the letter of your choice. For example “Thumb button1/TB1 + 4” could be your cast fire bolt spell, etc. This eliminates the awkward key bindings such as the Ctrl+9 mentioned before as everything is within reach now. Most importantly, the thumb buttons are placed beneath the spacebar which is still within normal reach distance. If it were to be say near the arrow keys, then there would be no point of the thumb buttons at all and I’d rather test my luck pressing Ctrl+0. I applaud Razer for this ergonomic design.

If in fact the thumb modifier buttons are operated differently than my guess above, then there will be an edit. (Waiting for Razer’s clarification email.) Well looks like I was right!

As for the Razer Anansi, you got the use of the thumb modifier keys right. We designed them to allow you to quickly and comfortably access ANY combination of modifier keys (including ctrl+shift+alt, ctrl+shift, etc.) so the MMO gamer not only has the full range of character abilities conveniently accessible, but also have a lot extra room for their own custom macros (a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular).

One thing also worth noting is that the thumb modifier keys (like the rest of the keyboard’s 100+ keys) is FULLY PROGRAMMABLE. That is, you can keybind any key or command to the thumb modifier keys instead of the default modifier keys (and combinations) it comes out of the box with. We’re pretty sure the MMO gamers out there will find pretty creative ideas of how to use the thumb modifier keys. The Anansi’s thumb modifier keys also work great with the Razer Naga’s thumb grid. ;-)

The Razer Anansi will be shipping in December of this year and will sell for a price of $100.