The Nostromo n50 SpeedPad by Belkin is a deceptively simple-looking gamepad created with the serious PC gamer in mind. While the n50 SpeedPad may at first appear to be a slightly-modified detachable number pad, it is in fact a carefully-molded input device that functions amazingly well, practically transforming a PC gamer’s very thought into on-screen character movement. Fans of the AWSD controls will be quick to realize the many advantages the Nostromo n50 SpeedPad offers, and would notice a significant increase in the quality of their gameplay through use of the device.
The SpeedPad itself is amazingly simple to set up. After taking the pad out of the box, you only need to insert the included CD, install the driver, plug the SpeedPad into the USB port, and you’re ready to go. The SpeedPad comes with a special software launcher that allows you to choose specially-made profiles for a variety of games, meaning that while in one game a particular key may have a particular function, by selecting a profile for a different game, you can have that key do a completely different function. The included software has many preset profiles, but the user can create a countless number of their own profiles, meaning the SpeedPad can be customized to any level. Users can also download other user-made profiles, and tweak them to their own personal preferences.
Setting up a profile for a game is very easy. You simply need to use the software, and bind each key on the SpeedPad to a particular key on your regular keyboard. The SpeedPad includes three shift modes, meaning that almost every key can have three different functions, depending on which shift mode the SpeedPad is in. Additionally, the SpeedPad has a throttle control that rests under the thumb and can be used as a mouse scroll wheel, and an 8-way directional pad that also rests under the thumb. The SpeedPad also has a removable palm rest that can be adjusted to comfort, and anti-slide pads underneath to ensure stability even in the heat of battle.
While the SpeedPad can be used for any game that uses keyboard input, it truly shines when used in first-person shooters. The ability to customize the keys to any control, and to have three different functions for every key, means that you can truly do everything for a game simply using the SpeedPad. Movement, weapon selection, command calls, jumping, crouching, and so forth can all be controlled directly with the SpeedPad. The SpeedPad is particularly useful for games such as Call of Duty and Halo, where quick reflexes are necessary for success. The layout of the SpeedPad’s keys ensure that the players reaction time is often quicker than it would be with the regular keyboard controls.
This increased reaction time means that the SpeedPad is incredibly useful in the wide variety of online first-person shooters available to the PC gamer. This includes Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and many other such games. Players generally will experience improved gameplay and performance when using the SpeedPad, and, eventually, much better scores.
This is not to say, however, that the SpeedPad is only useful for first-person shooter games. The SpeedPad is also very useful for role-playing games such as titles in the Elder Scrolls series, World of Warcraft, and the various Everquest titles. Additionally, the many different possible key combinations make the SpeedPad a great asset in real-time strategy games, in which quick key input can sometimes be crucial to the successful completion of a battle.
There are a few drawbacks to the Nostromo n50 SpeedPad. For some players, the SpeedPad could present a fairly steep learning curve, with the key layout different than that on a keyboard. This curve is easily conquered, however, after a few days of use, and, once a player becomes accustomed to the key layout, input time is actually much better. The software to create a profile can be rather confusing, but by following the including manual, after a few tries creating a new profile for your favorite game becomes quite easy. The benefits of the SpeedPad far outweigh these rather small inconveniences, however, especially when one considers the simple USB interface, the good documentation included with the SpeedPad, and the thriving online community of SpeedPad owners ready to offer help to new users.
Ultimately, the Nostromo n50 SpeedPad by Belkin is an excellent addition to any serious PC gamer’s arsenal. It provides increased reaction time, a great key layout, and a relatively easy-to-set-up interface. All genres of games benefit from using the SpeedPad, and it’s especially useful in online games where control input often determines who survives a battle and who doesn’t. The Nostromo n50 SpeedPad can be picked up for under thirty dollars ($30) at many different gaming stores, as well as larger electronic stores, and also online stores such as Newegg and Amazon. Certainly a wise investment for those who wish to greatly increase the enjoyment the get from their PC gaming experience.