Feenix is a young company that is launching into the computer peripheral arena, positioning itself as a high-end, luxury, boutique brand. Designed in California and available only through their website, they are not out to grab the mass market, but the discerning gamer and computer user, the consumer looking not only for functionality, but quality and elegance in their peripherals. To that end, we were provided a suite of products: A keyboard, a mouse and a mouse pad to review.
Understated elegance is the description that comes to mind. A step back from the rather loud colors and that many gaming peripherals are exhibiting, The Feenix collection certainly stands apart. The packaging is functional and the design minimalist. The keyboard and mouse pad boxes are a matte black with the Feenix logo in gloss black and the mouse in white with the logo in silver.
The presentation is well done, as the boxes are opened, the peripherals sitting snugly in the packaging. Making a statement that this is a stylish high performance digital device rather than. “We gotz gamez Bro!” No muss, no fuss, no fancy manuals providing lineage, specs and what not but there is a card with the name, email, phone number and Skype ID of the Client Service Executive – not a generic customer support number or email – classy.
But proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Are the peripherals of good quality? Feenix aspires to luxury. Do they make it? We will examine the products one by one.
The Autore Keyboard
The Autore (writer in Italian) was created to offer the fastest reaction time in a keyboard for both the gamer and the novelist – the Experienced gamer and novelist. Take a look at it. The numbers and letters are silk-screened onto the key caps in a color so light, they are almost invisible in low light.
Mechanical keyboards with German made Cherry switches are all the rage now as they provide a certain tactile feedback popular with gamers. The Autore goes with brown Cherry switches for the touch sensitive “bump” and optimal double-tapping. However, they have also designed a key cap to go with it so it has the quick linear movement of a red Cherry switch with the tactile “bump” of the brown,
The Autore is compact and feels solid. The keyboard is mounted on a steel plate and the aluminum coating not only promises to help the keys wear better and last longer, the look helps with the impression of a rugged well made keyboard. It has a slight tilt and comes with a braided cord (tangle and kink free) with micro-USB connector for the keyboard and regular USB on the computer end. They’ve even included a PS-2 connector. Apart from that, it is surprisingly option free. There isn’t any tilt adjustments or pass-through USB ports for added functionality. Given that personal ergonomics is so individual, one would think that more options would be better for peripherals.
However, this keyboard is designed to be a keyboard. Not a USB hub or anything else. As it keyboard, it works extremely well. I’m a buckling-spring kinda gal myself – I like the auditory and tactile feedback – but after a few days, I was comfortable with it and my typing rate back up to my usual 85 words a minute. Given the worn spots and missing letters on my laptop keyboard, I am sure the aluminum coating on the Autore will wear better. This keyboard retails for $163. With other mechanical keyboards on the market targeted specifically towards the gamer with programmable Macro keys, it might be a hard sell, but if you are looking for a compact, solid, elegant keyboard. This just might be it.
The Nascita Mouse
Billed as the perfect ergonomic fit for palm, claw or semi-claw gamers, my first impression when I got it out of the box was “Oo.. big!” It is broad and I have small hands, but surprisingly, my hand fit rather well on it. It is light. Very light indeed and if they had not used a surface with a good tactile feel, one would begin to think of descriptors like “cheap.” Instead, the fit and finish made it feel rather solid, which felt like a contradiction because of its weight. It even looks heavier than it feels.
The design is minimalist and elegant. It’s a regular mouse. Left click, right click, scroll wheel. There are also two thumb switches that go forward and backward for navigating documents and websites. The logo under your palm glows a subtle white as does a couple of “headlights” on either side of the braided cord connecting the mouse to your computer. The LED screens showing the dpi are also lit.
The mouse is driverless – which is a wonderful thing given that you can change the dpi on the fly up from 800 to 8200 by pressing the buttons on the top of the mouse under the wheel. No need to update drivers or pop up a program and access menu settings. From Photoshop to Excel, from MMOs to FPS by press of a button.
Movement is smooth with the four large Teflon feet – extra pads are also included – which is a nice touch. One thing the larger mass of the Nascita does, is that despite the higher dpi and light weight, it makes it less twitchy than a smaller mouse like say the old Razer Diamondback.
The Nascita retails for $97 and for fit, once again, ergonomics are very personal, however, despite its size, I found this mouse comfortable. If you don’t need a programmable mouse with a gazillion macros and like the driverless concept, it’s not just an input device, it’s an elegant, stylish input device.
The Dimora Mousepad
Finally, the last of the trio of matching Feenix accessories, the Dimora mouse pad, retailing at $36. This is a hard mouse pad and a large one. Measuring 13.75” x 11” it is larger than the foot print of my laptop, larger than the tray my cat sits in on top of my desk to keep her off my mouse and keyboard, but when I lent it to a friend (I regularly test peripherals on different people) –she didn’t want to give it up. I could not tell the difference as I am no FPS player, artist using Photoshop or engineer designing PCBs, but I am told the surface provides great response.
What I can say about it is that the texture of the surface provides really good glide with the Teflon feet of the Nascita. The pad is also rigid enough that I could put it over my messy desk, propped up on a few things and use it that way. There are twelve silicon pads on the underside to keep the Dimora from slipping even with aggressive mousing. I don’t know how aggressive you can get with mousing, but it stayed put when my cat launched herself off it.
The only “con” about the pad is the noise. The underside is not flat but has a diamond structure for support, rigidity and light weight, that however, which amplifies the sound of anything run across the textured surface.
For the person looking for a versatile and stylish computer desktop accessory, check out the Feenix Collection. They also have a beautiful set of headphones with mic that just launched.