Microsoft SideWinder X6 Keyboard Review - Microsoft Sidewinder X6 Keyboard Review


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.

Trusted Score

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.