At one point in time, Creative only made sound cards and audio related tech. The Sound Blaster name was synonymous with high quality PC audio. However, with the Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08 keyboard and Siege M04 mouse it marks their first entry into the highly competitive gaming keyboard and mouse market. Read more in our Creative Pro-Gaming Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08 Keyboard and Siege M04 Mouse Review.
Can Creative and the Sound Blaster name make the transition and achieve that same recognition in the PC gaming peripheral market? Let’s find out!
The Vanguard K08 keyboard has many unique attributes. Upon pulling off the caps from the keys, I noticed there was some very unique switches from Omron—the same people that make mouse switches. Creative uses the Perceive-React-Execute Switch system, which results in low noise and a comfortable feeling for both typing and gaming.
The keys are rated for up to 70 million actuations, meaning that something like the cap on the keyboard would go bad well before the switches actually do. The actuation distance is rated at a distance of 1.5 millimetres, which results in the keys actuating about a third of the way down of a full press—great for competitive gaming.
The Vanguard K08 weights in about 1.2 KG and has a beautiful matte black finish to it. The keyboard comes with a wrist rest that a nice size, comfortable, and is easy to attach and detach. Although, I did find that the wrist rest is a little too easy to detach and comes off pretty easy—sometimes when you don’t want it to.
The K08 has a two metre braided cable with two gold tipped USB headers. One for the USB pass-through that is located on the back of the keyboard, and the other for powering the keyboard and data transfer.
The lighting on the keyboard has three different brightness settings and has a mute button, volume knob, Windows lock button, media keys button, and SBX button that allows you to connect with the Sound Blaster Connect software.
The Sound Blaster Connect software, which is downloadable from their site, can be used for both the Vanguard K08 keyboard and Siege M04 mouse. I was surprised at the amount of functionality that this software contained. It’s very straight forward and easy to use with virtually all the options you could ever want.
You can control things like individual key back lighting and there are even some unique pre-made lighting effects. The keyboard has a small amount of internal memory that you can save these settings to, so if you move the keyboard to a different computer you don’t have to set them up again.
So now let’s take a Creative’s Sound BlasterX Pro-Gaming Siege M04 mouse. Both the Vanguard K08 keyboard and Siege M04 mouse were developed in unison. The Siege M04 sits somewhere between fingertip and palm grip but since it is a larger mouse, it sits more toward palm grip.
It has a built-in sensor for support up to 12000 DPI and a two millimetre lift off distance, which can be customized through the Sound Blaster Connect software. On the left are buttons labelled forward, back, and sniper, while the left, right, scroll wheel and DPI select buttons are all positioned on the top.
All buttons use Omron switches just like it’s keyboard cousin the Vanguard K08, and are rated to 50 million clicks—making the Siege M04 well equipped for the long-haul.
The scroll wheel is firm and you can reliably use the centre click with out having to worry about it scrolling up and down. Since you are able to use the same Sound Blaster Connect software to configure both the keyboard and mouse, you can configure a mouse button to generate a keyboard press or vice versa, in addition to your previously defined macros.
I tested the Siege M04 for input lag and found virtually none, which is fantastic news. I found the mouse to be relatively light weight. It weighs in at about 115 grams without cable drag, which I found perfect for gaming.
Both the Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08 keyboard and Siege M04 mouse impressed me. For Creative’s first entry into the market, they absolutely nailed it. Not only did they bring a unique keyboard to the market, the Sound Blaster Connect software is very straight forward and easy to use. The ability to save your pre-sets is a bonus as other keyboard manufacturers don’t have this feature.
The backlighting is really nice and some of the strongest I’ve seen. They keyboard switches were nice to type and gaming on. I couldn’t but help notice that everything felt of really high quality. I loved the fact that Creative included the USB 2.0 pass through port on the back of the keyboard. It makes plugging other USB devices such as flash drives a breeze.
The USB cable from the keyboard can be a tad bit stiff right out of the box, it takes a while for it to unstiffen and lay properly on your desk. Though this is not a big deal, its worth a mention.
On the mouse side of the equation, the Siege M04 performs very well. It has a high quality sensor and a very low level of input lag that is essential for gaming. The M04 has a comfortable shape and I loved the stylish lighting.
If you are looking for a high quality gaming keyboard and mouse that will give you the competitive edge, Creative’s Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08 keyboard and Siege M04 mouse are a great fit.
Check out More Gamer Gear Reviews here: