Razer Starcraft II and Xbox 360 peripherals hands-on

Razer's meteoric rise from second-tier mouse maker to top-shelf peripheral guru has been nothing short of incredible, and its success has enabled it to start to focus a little more on the niche groups. Such is its latest addition: a keyboard, mouse, and headset designed just for RTS gamers, and specifically for Starcraft II. We spent some time sampling their APM-enhancing abilities, and checked out the latest revision of the company's upcoming Xbox 360 Onza controller too. It's all after the break.

The original Starcraft has experienced staying power unmatched by any other single RTS, and while not every hardcore gamer is super-psyched about some of the details in its replacement, there's little doubt it'll sell like gangbusters. These Razer peripherals have been officially licensed and specifically designed to work with it, offering a lot more than a matching color scheme. The five-button Spectre mouse, for example, is especially lightweight to enable fast, twitchy motions, 5,600dpi resolution for accuracy and offers a three-way switch that enables adjustable resistance and bounce on the buttons -- a first.

The Banshee headset is also RTS-friendly, featuring superb noise isolation to block out the distracting lamentation of the women as you drive your enemies before you, as well as a removable mic -- since most commanders don't worry too much about voice chat. Finally, there's the Marauder keyboard, which ditches the typical arrow keys to move the numpad in closer, offers a lightweight feel to the keys for extra twitch, and lets you define macros of unlimited length on the fly. All of the peripherals have three light-up sections that change color based on gameplay, perhaps flashing red when you're under attack, or pulsing green when your APM (activities per-minute, the benchmark of serious RTS gamers) goes through the roof. All will ship sometime in the third quarter, unfortunately after the release of the game, with the keyboard and headset costing $119 each, and the mouse $79.

We also asked about the Xbox 360 peripherals that wowed us at CES this year, the Onze controller and the Chimaera headset. Sadly the Chimaera was nowhere to be seen, apparently delayed due to complexities in negotiations with Microsoft, and is now due sometime toward the end of the year. But, the Onza controller is still progressing nicely, feeling incredibly high-quality in the hand and launching in the third quarter. We can't wait to get our mitts on the final revision.