Meet the Drevo Blademaster.
On the surface, it might not look like anything special for those accustomed with PC gaming keyboards: Other than a smaller, more compact outer frame that saves a bit of space compared to other mechanical boards, the device’s backlit keys don’t do much to differentiate it from the crowd. But this independently developed keyboard brings a host of new features to the table, many of which had previously been flagship features of other keyboards by larger companies. The thing that makes the Blademaster special is that it does almost all of them, in one device… and then some.
The Drevo was a project that began on Kickatarter, but with its high promises and professional promotional material, it quickly gained huge attention. The project hit its $20,000 Kickstarter goal in one day, and at the time of writing has raised a total of $369,815. Not bad for a little keyboard that could.
There are two versions: An entry-level Blademaster TE keyboard is wired-only and leaves out a few of the most advanced features in the Blademaster Pro, the premier product. The Pro can be configured to operate both wireless and with a wired connection, and is targeted most heavily at serious gaming audiences: Its exclusive tech focuses on cutting down input delay and decreasing latency of keystrokes.
Now, on to the good stuff: The Drevo connects with a fair bit of hard and software to make sure your keystrokes land exactly how you want them. The Pro features some in-house developed ‘Flashlight Tech’, with a 1ms report rate along with frequency hopping support. It also features advanced device switching that allows it to control up to three devices simultaneously via Bluetooth connections. The pro also offers the highest-quality switches in a customizable set of colors, meant to remain sturdy through frequent use.
But the device’s real innovation is the one-of-a kind genius knob, which is a keyboard solution to the problems presented by awkward control schemes or obnoxiously long hotbars. Since most games require players to keep their keyboard hand locked somewhere around the WASD area, this knob is located off the left side of the keyboard.
Of course, convenience buttons assigned to macros are nothing new. Many Razer Keybaords or Mice offer similar functions via various side-buttons and an included recording software. But many of those products offer similar problems to those they intend to solve: The more buttons there are, the more you end up having to move your hand, and you might end up losing control or focus as you reach for that fourth macro button at the bottom of the board.
But The Genius Knob is different: It’s a knob. And that means a lot more than you might think.
The knob is able to use and access four different macros by itself. Separate functions can be set to rolling it forwards, backwards, tapping it once, or double-tapping. Meanwhile, other gaming keyboards traditionally place their macro buttons as four additional buttons running down the left side of the keyboard, leaving that bottom button right in the corner, and a really awkward reach from WASD.
Four functions not enough for you? How about eight? How about twelve? All in the same knob.
Combining any other held button press with a knob command results in a separate action. This starts to broaden the advantages of a single object with 4 possible modes of interaction. And what better extra buttons than those on the mouse, freeing up your keyboard hand to interact with the knob? Many gaming mice feature additional buttons on the mouse for added macros, but the Blademaster multiplies the usability of any extra button by five: Users can assign a function to pressing the button itself, in addition to four other functions accessed by holding the button and using the knob.
For those not using a gaming mouse or mouse with extra buttons, holding down the middle mouse button is a great substitute.
Check out the Kickstarter page now for backing and purchase information.
Featured Image via the Official Blademaster Kickstarter Page