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Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard - Microsoft Sidewinder X6 Keyboard

By Hugo Jobling



  • Recommended by TR
Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard


Our Score:


There is, of course, more to a keyboard than simply chucking a load of keys at a lump of plastic. The SideWinder X6 definitely isn't what you'd call ergonomic. If you're a fan of split keyboards (which I can't stand but half the TR staff swear by) the X6 isn't for you. In both regular day-to-day use while working and for gaming I found the X6 no more or less comfortable than my first-gen Logitech G15, indisputably the gaming board of choice of its generation.

In terms of general 'feel' though, the X6 is a much nicer keyboard to use than Logitech's. Each key has a resounding and pleasingly tactile action accompanied by an audible click, which I rather like, that wasn't loud enough to distract while 'testing' the board in both the PC version of Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway and the Source mod Zombie Panic.

Perhaps more useful in-game is the X6's cruise control function, which allows up to four consecutive key presses to be continued ad-infinitum until the button is pressed again. It's probably worth pointing out that macro functions can't be cruise-controlled. Also of note is the lack of built-in memory, meaning gamers who wish to use macros at, say, LAN parties will need to remember to bring their scripts on a USB drive or re-record them at every new PC.

If I'm honest, I can't say I found the ability to use the numpad as a bank of macro keys particularly useful in any game I played, not being a fan of MMORPGs. If my use of Adobe Photoshop consisted mainly of cropping and resizing images, I could definitely see some appeal, and I'm sure many other applications (and users) could reap the benefits of having dedicated macro keys at their disposal. I should point out, though, that to use these extra features the Intellipoint software has to be installed on your PC. If not you'll be stuck with nothing more exciting than a bog-standard keyboard with a few media keys.

With the SideWinder X6 sitting at the same £50-ish price point as Logitech and Razer's nearest equivalents, the G15 and Lycosa, Microsoft couldn't get away with offering any less functionality - which it doesn't. And as gimmicks go, a removable numpad is definitely of more practical use than an LCD screen or the ability to use any key to activate a macro. Add in the fact that the SideWinder X6 is the nicest one to type on and it's a pretty clear-cut choice.


Microsoft's SideWinder X6 is a fantastic return to form for the company. It feels great to type on, has as much macro-ing functionality as anyone will ever need and the ability to swap the numpad from left to right is a real masterstroke. If you're in the market for a gaming keyboard right now, this is the one to get.

Overall Score


Hans Gruber

October 14, 2008, 11:32 pm

More buttons in the right place, less guff.

Your conclusion seemed to take a different tone to that of the article, overall. I was expecting you to say something like "It's decent enough as far as keyboards go, but doesn't offer anything particularly advantageous to the high performance gamer."

So, you reckon this is the best option as a gaming input device (peripheral to mouse) you can get right now? It'd be really great to see a round up of all the major players in the gaming input device market right now. There is such a proliferation that it's hard to see what's pure gimmick and what may actually add that competitive edge, simply because it works well.

Personally I'm still stuck using my old Zboard with aged gaming keypad. I've used the Battlefield 2 keyset but it lacks a couple of keys to that supplied with the board, so it's less use to me. What I like is the WASD placement and surrounding buttons but I wish there were more of them, that they were separately configurable from the main keyboard (ie - like the additional WASD keys, the extra buttons have alpha-numeric designations but are duplicated by the main QWERTY layout). As an FPS player, I need more buttons that are logically placed and reachable not lights and macros. Though it'd have been nice if you could use the volume/light control knobs as say throttle controls, for when flying the jets or choppers. I can live without macros - aren't they somehow cheating, if used in the context of First Person online Shooter?

The main failing of the Zboard is the software. Certain games were an enormous chore to configure if using Ideazon's drivers. As far as I am aware, since I've not tried the Zboard software for some time, it's still, buggy, bloated and ill supported. So much potential to this concept I believed, but sadly squandered.


October 14, 2008, 11:50 pm

Looks good, and in agreement with Azro, I haven't used a macro in all me days. Also I'm one of the weirdos who use the arrow keys as my choice for gaming. CTRL for jump, 0/Ins for crouch etc. feels natural.

WASD is weird.


October 15, 2008, 1:50 am

Does this keyboard have n-key rollover like the Steelseries 7G, Das Keyboard III and Razer Tarantula?


October 17, 2008, 8:06 pm

If you're a WoW player like myself, don't even consider buying a macro keyboard. It's against Blizzard's terms and conditions and will get you banned. Don't believe me?



December 6, 2008, 7:15 pm


It's not against Blizzards T&C. You're not allowed to automate anything, but you are allowed to use macro keyboards as evidenced by their native support for the G15 (with a supplied profile that includes macros)

dan 3

March 12, 2009, 7:52 am

Hi, It seems majority of site sell American layout version, where can I find a European layout version as the one shown in this review?

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