The SteelSeries Shift has a very impressive party trick up its’ sleeve; the ability to switch out the keyset. While this may not sound so special, if you check out the full range of available keysets which are designed with specific games in mind such as World of Warcraft and Medal of Honor, it quickly becomes a useful feature. When you replace the keyset, an inbuilt chip automatically reprograms the key functions making it incredibly easy to switch keysets quickly.
To remove the keyset we’re simply required to undo the clip on the right and lift out the keyset. To re-install the keyset, we just have to do this in reverse. When the keyset is removed, the rubber-dome switches are revealed. Although most rubber-dome style switches only have a lifespan of around a million keystrokes, the ones used in the Shift have five times the lifespan – yes, around 5 million operations. SteelSeries have tuned the force needed to activate the keys for optimum performance. The most used keys require 60g of force to depress while the less frequently used keys require 75g.
Along the left hand side, SteelSeries have included a selection of media control buttons which should fulfil the basic multimedia needs of most users. We’re glad to see that they are proper buttons rather than touch controls which we have found to be frustratingly unresponsive on some keyboards.
Above the keyset there are eight macro buttons. The three buttons to the right let you activate three different functions for each of these buttons meaning you can configure up to 24 macros for these buttons. On the far right there is a macro recording button which enables simple configuration of new macros without using a software interface. If 24 macro keys aren’t enough for you, the numpad and F1-F12 can also be configured as macro buttons and are enabled using the ‘Bar Lock’ and ‘Pad Lock’ buttons next to the ‘Shift’ logo.