LAS VEGAS — First-person shooter fans know the value of a good mouse and keyboard. While controllers are good enough for casual play, the level of precision is just not the same. That’s why Iogear released its Keymander peripheral: a pass-through that lets you pair a keyboard and mouse with the console of your choice.
At CES 2020, the company unveiled the KeyMander 2: an even more powerful peripheral, which can take full advantage of Iogear’s new mouse and keyboard.
I went hands-on with the KeyMander 2, and was impressed with its ability to parse mouse and keyboard inputs for console games. I was also happy to learn that Iogear’s new mouse and keyboard cost much, much less than fancier alternatives from its competitors.
Iogear KeyMander 2
Iogear’s original KeyMander peripheral let players link their mice and keyboards with Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. The new KeyMander 2 lets them hook up mice and keyboards to PS4s, Xbox Ones and Nintendo Switches. This, of course, can be a huge boon for multiplayer shooters like Call of Duty, Overwatch and Fornite.
I tried the KeyMander 2 on both an Xbox One and PS4, and was impressed with what I saw. The KeyMander 2 itself is a USB hub, into which you can plug a keyboard and a mouse. (Iogear used its new HVER PRO X optical mechanical keyboard, and its MMOmentum Pro gaming mouse, but you can use just about anything with a USB connection.) Then, you plug the KeyMander 2 into your console of choice, and control your game just like you would on a PC.
What’s cool about the KeyMander 2 is that you can customize commands with an Android or iOS app. Whether you want to use a keyboard in a standard configuration or in a macro-laden maze, Iogear’s USB hub should be able to accommodate you. The device will come out later this month, and cost $100.
Iogear HVER Pro X optical keyboard
Optical keyboards aren’t a brand new concept. Bloody has produced some, as has Razer. But optical keyboards tend to be expensive, often ranging up to $200. Iogear’s HVER Pro X optical keyboard, on the other hand, will cost just $90. This full-size keyboard features authentic optical key switches, which use light to activate commands rather than mechanical presses.
The HVER Pro X optical keyboard is otherwise a pretty standard peripheral, complete with RGB lighting, media shortcuts in the function keys, a full num pad and Kaliber software, which lets you reprogram keys.
Iogear MMomentum Pro gaming mouse
Gaming mice are a dime a dozen; gaming mice with lots of buttons for MMO or RTS play are similarly common. But these mice often range up to $100 or more, particularly if they feature full RGB lighting. The Iogear MMOmentum Pro gaming mouse bucks this trend by offering lots of buttons and plenty of illumination options, all for just $50.
When I played a round of Call of Duty with the MMomentum Pro, I found the mouse to be a reliable accessory, accurate and precisely tracking my movements, with DPI levels ranging up to 12,000 – (probably) higher than you’ll ever need. The physical design isn’t quite as comfortable as you’d find from a brand like SteelSeries or Logitech, but you’ll get more than six extra buttons, as well as tunable weights in the bottom of the mouse.
Overall, Iogear’s gaming accessories aren’t the fanciest that we’ve seen, but each one costs a lot less than I expected, and all will be out before the end of the year. The KeyMander 2, in particular, has the potential to enhance console play; the other accessories are simply decent gaming gear at relatively low prices.
Tom’s Guide will likely check out the KeyMander 2 when it launches, to see whether FPS games on the Switch are really better with a mouse and keyboard.
Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hub for the latest news and hands-on impressions out of Las Vegas.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.