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Now that the device was set up and I had a chance to play with it in a real scenario, I dug a little deeper into the packaging. First thing to catch my eye was the 3 pages of stickers which contained a sticker for virtually every command imaginable, pressed into clear heavy-duty plastic. Once the stickers are laid on the keys it looked as though the keys had come straight off the line with the stickers on them; Very impressive.
Here’s an image of my keyboard layout after indulging in a few minutes of sticker-frenzy. I placed a "Pentel R.S.V.P" standard ballpoint pen in the picture to help establish reference to product size.
Now I believe at this point it is important to address the “nay-sayers” out there reading this that have undoubtedly decided that this device won’t work because the keys are attached with an adhesive.
The adhesive used on the DX-1 keys is a remarkable material described by Ergodex as an “Inexhaustible” adhesive. While those two words are often considered to be mutually exclusive, it certainly is not the case with this product.
Just to test the level of inexhaustibility, I took a DX-1 key from the device and stuck it to the carpet in my office several times. After a few repetitions, the bottom of the key was covered with a fine layer of carpet fiber and would no longer stick to the DX-1. Taking the advice of the instruction manual (yes, I read the manual) I gently rubbed the bottom of the pad with a wet towel to get the carpet fiber off. Once I was certain that all the fiber was removed I was shocked to find that the key stuck right back to the board and seated just as firmly as every other key. After the adhesive test, I was compelled to try and test the strength of the adhesive. I mean, who wants a device with keys that move all over the place? Nobody!
Well that’s exactly who will get it when using the DX-1. Nobody!
Nothing short of an act of God will separate a key from the DX-1 when pulling upward or pushing in any direction. The key is absolutely affixed to the surface of the board and does not budge until a light twist to the left is applied. Once the key is twisted to the left about 45 degrees, it pops effortlessly off the board and leaves no adhesive residue behind. Now the key can be placed anywhere else on the board or put back into that unlabeled white box.
It’s also important to note here that Ergodex sells additional top-panels ($15) and an additional 25 key set for $50. The DX-1 supports up to 50 keys, and each key has its own frequency. In essence a home user could set up all 50 keys on a single top-panel, or set up any combination of keys on any combination top panels which are quickly interchangeable by simply depressing the tabs on the top of the unit and pulling back. See below for a picture.
The keys themselves also have a great feel to them, unlike many other controllers I have had the displeasure of using over the years. The vast majority of other gaming peripherals have keys that do not feel ergonomic on the fingertips, have an unusual click, or an abnormal distance to engage the key. The DX-1 certainly does not fall short in this category as each key is carefully crafted for a feel that is like no other. Just enough “Click” to know you pressed it, and just enough distance from the click that you aren’t likely to accidentally press a key by leaning on it.
The only complaint I have regarding the keys is that they are fashioned with a tapered base which makes it difficult to get top surface area of the keys really close together like you would normally have with a QWERTY keyboard. Fortunately the distance apart even when closely situated is far from uncomfortable, and just a few moments of using it and you’re likely to forget all about it.