Layout The design of the Nostromo, and really any keypad, is to replace the keyboard by better providing access to an adequate amount of keys available to the left-hand (sorry lefties). The Nostromo begins with a large arc piece which supports the wrist and positions the hand into an arched-claw.
The face of the keypad has three rows of keys, the top two with five each and the bottom with four, sharing the last spot with the top half of the scroll wheel. When the hand is in the arched position, the fingers should end naturally at the middle row, 07, 08, and 09. The 08 key is the home key, marked with a ridge so you can find it without looking much like the F and J keys are on the normal QWERTY layout. The idea is to be able to navigate the Nostromo without taking your eyes off the screen, and knowing that you're middle finger is at the 08 key also tells you that you're on the middle row, and you're index and ring finger are on 09 and 07, respectively.
Extending your fingers flat should more than reach the top row, and pulling them back a little allows easy access to the bottom row. The scroll wheel, for me at least, was always comfortably available with the index finger regardless of which row your fingers are currently working. The thumb stays stationary as well, resting on the analog directional pad. The knuckle/shaft of my thumb rests slightly on the 15 key below, making it easy to press quickly. Under this key is a three-LED indicator for which keymap is currently selected, eight available and achieved by using all, none, or any combination of a blue, green, and red light. Above the directional pad is the 16th and final key, an unmarked circular button. Finally, on the bottom of the Nostromo is a quick-access switch to turn the LED underglow on and off.
Very nice Adam, Cory. I have tried to use these and I just can't, but that's me. I was reading through it just to hear what Cory thought of it. I know he's in love with the G13. Agreed, the screen on the 13 does seem a bit outta place. Do you really need the screen on that thing? The keyboards, you betcha. I use mine all the time. It's great for checking temps in game or seeing what your RAM usage is.
I like the design overall. It certainly looks better than the G13 and it looks way more comfortable.
So Cory, would you still use the G13 or this everyday?
I bought the N52te aka Razer Nostromo back when Belkin was in charge of it in 2007, the main reason I got it was because I had the N52 and loved it, but that love was not shared with the N52te. The biggest problem was the firmware and software support from Belkin, they just sucked big harry donkey balls. The analog stick didn't work in some games, the keys would be slow to respond in some games and personally my wrist hurt. When I saw Logitech's offering with the G13 I quickly jumped ship and haven't looked back at it since 2008.
It seems like not much has changed but the name, the UI and fixing some of the problems still plaguing it a year after release. I haven't tried in 3 years and I might give it another chance, but the G13 display is very convenient since I use LCD SirReal Panel to watch my temps and other system information, but most importantly it doesn't hurt my wrist. This is because I have long fingers and with the N52te they would hang over or them, but the G13 my palm can rest flat and does not hurt my wrist, along with my fingers not hanging over or feeling sore.
In all physically the N52te was fine, it would only become problematic after a long period of use, but the software and firmware lack of support just killed it for me. I gave it a 3 out of 10 when I used it, perhaps that will change or it wont, but one thing is for sure I wont move away from my G13 anytime soon.