LAS VEGAS — Razer mice, keyboards and controllers have traditionally been fixtures of gaming nooks everywhere, but the company is looking to bring PC gaming to TV sets everywhere. The company's upcoming Forge TV Android console can stream PC games to the living room, and, as such, the company has announced two new peripherals to take advantage of it: a controller called the Serval, and a wireless, lapboard mouse/keyboard combo called the Turret.
I experimented with both the Serval and the Turret at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, and found that while they're nothing too exciting from a design standpoint, they both work exactly as they're supposed to. The Serval is a comfortable Bluetooth controller, while the Turret is a perfectly serviceable lightweight mouse and keyboard combo.
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I had more hands-on time with the Serval, which resembles an Xbox 360 controller in all the right ways. Save for the presence of a few Android-specific media buttons, the Serval looks very much like most other core controllers on the market, complete with two analog sticks, a directional pad, four action buttons and four shoulder buttons. The peripheral has a pleasant heft to it, and feels much more substantial than competitors like the Android Fire controller.
The Turret is the more creative device of the two, but also the more potentially problematic. The lapboard and mouse fold up neatly into a vertical stand that's small, attractive and easy-to-store. When unfolded, the lapboard acts as both a tenkeyless keyboard and a slightly magnetic mousepad for the small-but-robust mouse. In terms of performance, both the keyboard and mouse controlled the Forge TV without a hitch.
Here's the odd part: Although the Turret mouse is ambidextrous, the lapboard is not. The mousepad and keyboard cannot switch positions, meaning that left-handed users have nowhere to put their mouse, unless they supply their own additional hard surface. This somewhat defeats the point of a lapboard, and makes the mousepad a waste of space. It's not a dealbreaker for the product as a whole, but it's a curious oversight considering that Razer usually takes great pains to appeal to left-handed players.
The Serval will launch in the first quarter of 2015 and retail for $80, while the Turret will come out in the second quarter of 2015 and cost $130. Tom's Guide will cover both units, as well as the Forge TV, in greater depth as they arrive.