Zowie CELERITAS Review
16 Sep, 2011
The Celeritas is one of the premium keyboards out there, offering Cherry MX Brown switches, unique key technologies as well as one of the fastest response times out for key push. We look in depth into why the first keyboard for Zowie is not only winning over FPS gamers, but also RTS gamers. Read more after the break for the full review.
What’s in the box
Keyboards that come with lots of accessories usually mean that the keyboard itself may be lacking something, with the Celeritas, you get the keyboard and USB to PS2 adapter, no fussing with software, just play and game.
The keyboard is sold as a UK layout, something that some companies still haven’t got quite right, the Celeritas is perfect, no strange key positions, no learning curve needed for typing or gaming.
The Zowie CELERITAS
The keyboard itself comes with some key features, firstly NKRO (N key roll over). This technology allows for all the keys on the keyboard to push at the same time if needed, this is made possible using the PS2 connector. If using the USB connector, you will be limited to just 6 key pushes, similar to other USB keyboards available. This technology is crucial when using multiple keys similatneously. Other keyboards without this technology will have a Ghosting effect which will mean a lag between the time you push the key and the time the key push is actually registered.
Zowie have implemented a new key technolgy called RTR. This is very powerful in both FPS and RTS games that demand a high rate of key pushes. It allows RTS gamers in particular to increase their APM, as they can micro much faster. When activated, the corresponding number on the F keys will allow up to an 8x speed increase for key pushes. This technology is also made possible by the low latency of the keyboard. Many mechanical keyboards use a response time of 500ms, this can impede some gamers who are trying to get the very best out of the game, such as Star Craft 2. The Celeritas has a low 200ms response meaning it has one of the best response times on the market. NKRO + RTR + low response times = the fast game play possible.
The most important part of the keyboard is the feedback and feel you have while typing, this has a lot to do with the switch. By using the Cherry MX brown switch, the Celeritas has a comfortable feel while typing and gaming. The brown switch in it’s design takes the feedback of the Cherry blue switch while keeping the silence of the Cherry black switch, potential offering the gamer the best of both worlds. The activation point and the release of the key are the same, so there is not a need to bottom out, this also means floating the key is very easy. While there is not 1 key switch that satisfies everyone, hence the choice, the brown is design to suit both FPS and RTS gamers, something it does very well.
One thing that does give a keyboard the edge is simple but useful extras. The inclusion of 6 media keys are a welcome feature allowing for changing volume, pause, play, forward and back. These are useful for gamers who like to play with music on so that you dont have to tab out of a game. Talking of tabbing out of the game, if you hold the Zowie button and hit the left Windows key, the Windows key gets disabled. The red LED at the top right will turn blue if the lock is on, a secondary feature is that the windows key will turn into a CTRL key. So if you are playing CSS and you have the key disabled, you will at worst, crouch, instead of returning to desktop.
Some things that are missing from the Celeritas are USB ports, audio jacks and a back light. Although the brown switches are a more premium switch, which when combined with the other features of the Celeritas, does provide a professional level gaming experience.
For testing we played a series of games from RTS, MMO and FPS genres.
We played BFBC2 and CSS for the testing, due to the KNRO, we round that we were able to have absolutley no lag or ghosting when hammering the WASD keys. Also, when floating keys like CTRL and a push to talk key, there was no compromise to the gaming experience. The soft feel to the key is something that many people will instantly like for FPS games. The Celeritas is a great FPS keyboard and we have no doubt that FPS gamers will like it.
Star Craft 2 players looking executing as many APM as possible. We tested SC2 with this keyboard with the Zowie RTR technology on and found that it was a huge difference. It combining all the technologies of the Celeritas, what you get is a keyboard that is capable of out performing any human, you can hit the keys as fast as possible and the Celeritas will still have more to give. If you want the best APM, get the Celeritas.
Similar to the RTS game testing we found the speed and response was exactly what we needed to complete raids or quests in a game like WoW. The activation point and the release of the key are the same, so bottoming out isn’t needed meaning double tapping is easy. Some might prefer a keyboard with macro keys, which is one of the downsides to the Celeritas.
Who is it for?
The Celeritas is a great FPS keyboard, the keys are great, the response time is one of the best and the Windows lock key is exactly what is needed. At the same time, the RTS and specifically the Star Craft community can see real benefit from the Celeritas, APM at the highest possible while having the best feel to key for long periods of play.
If you are in the market for a great gaming keyboard for FPS or RTS gaming, while still wanting something nice to type on, the Celeritas should be at the top of your list. The Celeritas is price at around £100, that is one of the more expensive keyboards out there, but Zowie have taken all the latest technologies and packaged them in a keyboard designed to win. The Celeritas could add extra flare, but instead delivers a unique keyboard to the market, it isn’t just another mechanical keyboard, it is Celeritas.
FPS Gamer Score 9/10
RTS Gamer Score 9/10
MMO Gamer Score 8/10
Overall Score = 8.6