A few things struck us as rather odd with the ZBoard. Layouts are game-, not genre-specific. Ideazon clearly has the idea of selling a separate keyboard top for every major game out there. This is really unfortunate since so many games – from Quake through Deus Ex – use relatively standard controls forced on the industry by the prevalence of keyboard/mouse control. While a more generic design might not be as successful with any single game, we had no problem remapping Rainbow Six: Raven Shield controls to the ZBoard, for example. True, some games may not fit perfectly (the lack of enough buttons for weapon choosing is a particular drawback), but the MOHAA layout is robust enough to serve most shooters.
This immediately questions the need for any more overlays. Why bother buying Battlefield 1942, Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six layouts if you can simply customize your favorite game to work with the MOHAA layout? This is more of a business model problem than one that affects gamers directly, but it does have some unfortunately consequences for us. Most notable is the actual look of the layout – it is clearly
for Medal of Honor. Playing Rainbow Six on it may feel silly to some. Then again, being computer geeks, we can’t even color co-ordinate a wardrobe.
The various layouts provided by Ideazon are surprisingly compact. They fold over twice, converting some of that keyboard length into thickness. Being rather thin in the first place, this is a great decision and makes toting these around rather easy. It’s too bad nobody at Ideazon decided to make the base of the keyboard foldable as well. This would make it perfect for LAN parties or even cluttered desks.
For all its upsides, however, the ZBoard suffers from one huge drawback – the price. At almost $40 for the main package and nearly $20 for each additional overlay, this is a questionable expense for most gamers.