Snakebyte brought a brand attitude to this year’s Gamescom 2019 and the German manufacturer gave us a glimpse of their newest line of hardware.
We’ve featured Snakebyte peripherals a fair amount this year. The peripheral manufacturer has been working hard through 2018 and 2019 to stand out from the crowded market and they’ve been doing a decent job in the value area of the market. Headsets like the Head Set Pro and items like the Hard:Case are busy catering to a value-conscious end of the market while still cramming in some top-end features. It’s far from hyperbolae either. I’m still impressed by the 50mm drivers squeezed into the Head:Set Pro at under $50 and the bright purple shell of the Hard:Case is still clamped around my Nintendo Switch.
Where Snakebyte have lacked somewhat is in establishing a presence on your gaming desktop. ROG and Mad Catz stole plenty of limelight at this year’s Gamescom and brands like Razer and Logitech are synonymous with the PC experience. Now, Snakebyte is out to get their fangs into the enthusiast market. Until now, the Snakebyte approach to PC peripherals has been a little scattergun. Several pieces have been fantastic value but keyboards and headsets feel somewhat orphaned from each other with little design consistency. To set that Straight, Snakebyte gave us a glimpse of their Pro and Ultra range peripherals available and coming soon.
Mouse:Pad Ultra RGB and Mouse:Pad Ultra XL RGB
At the base of any good gaming, setup is a decent surface. It’s been a long time since the days of peeling laminate and uncoated desks. Now even entry-level gamers look for a consistent response when pushing their weapon of choice across the desk. The Mouse:Pad Pro is a good enough stand-alone solution to this problem, providing consistent low friction movement across a 40 x 48 cm range. Things step up a notch however when the Mouse:Pad Pro goes Ultra.
Welcome to an RGB World
For the RGB brigade, custom lighting is a must-have for enthusiast devices now. Starting from the ground up, the Mouse:Pad Ultra RGB takes the same gaming surface that the Pro series mat has and adds a non-slip rubber base. In addition, an RGB lighting strip surrounds the 36 x 28 cm mat, providing a stylish start to Snakebyte’s PC Ultra series.
The Mouse:Pad XL Ultra RGB takes this concept and blows it up to an oversized 80 x 30 m area. In each case the gaming surface is more than sufficient allow any mouse to make its way across the gaming surface without any issue, movement feels consistent and I have no complaints. The RGB lighting that surrounds the Mouse:Pad Ultra and XL version consists of a breathing color which players can change, to one of 12 settings, by tapping the unit connected to the top of the surface. This is a little bit of a compromise for some gamers who might want a wide range of effects and colors but without system software, the Mouse:Pad Ultra RGB is not going to suffer any compatibility or portability issues. Snakebyte confirmed that the price of losing any elaborate customization and the adjoining software is a significant reduction in cost, and they should know. The Snakebyte brand has been manufacturing and selling gaming peripherals for well over 15 years and retains full control of its entire product development cycle. Form an off the shelf Wallmart Xbox Controller to an Ultra PC peripheral they can tweak the design and construction costs to fit exactly what a product needs. It is one of the reasons why we were surprised that this is the first time they’ve decided to reach up to the enthusiast market.
With any good gaming surface, an equally stellar looking mouse needs to sit atop it. A definite step up from the established Gaming Mouse Pro, which you’ll find across Snakebyte’s new sports line of peripherals, is the Game:Mouse Ultra. This mouse is everything you’d expect from top-end gaming peripherals. The brand new Game Mouse Ultra comes with a fully customizable RGB lighting strip around this handpiece and an ambient lighting scheme. We didn’t get a chance to see how intricate the changes are on this device but it still packs enough other specs to make it worth taking note of. Beyond the obvious aesthetic options, it comes with a Pixart PMW3360 chipset, internal weights, a maximum of 16,000 DPI, and a solid braided cable that will take plenty of the stress of intense gaming sessions.
- Pixart PMW3360 Chipset
- Second palm rest with personalizable logo
- 7-stage DPI setting up to 16,000 DPI
- Maximum acceleration of 50G
- Three adjustable weights of 4g each
- Exchangeable sliding components
- Customizable RGB lighting
- Rubberized handles
- Five programmable buttons with customizable software
Beyond the basic spec, the Gamer:Mouse Ultra comes with some nice added extras that punch far above its weight. The rubberized inlay around the sides of the mouse makes for a good grip when things get serious, while the mouse feet are magnetic and can be interchanged to give a different type of tactile response across your gaming surface. In addition, Snkaebyte’s standout feature is the Gamer:Mouse Ultra’s interchangeable faceplate. Anybody purchasing this mouse can register the device online and get a second faceplate with a laser-etched logo of their own carved into the palm of the mouse. While there are obvious restrictions like regional delivery and content moderation, this is a tempting feature for anybody wanting to rep their guild or team out in the real world.
While Snakebyte’s top tier mouse has all the usual additions, like control software and programable mouse buttons, we didn’t get to look at the control software or find out what switches are hiding under the hood. I’m personally hoping that we see this pass over the review bench at some point so we can get a close look at how it really holds up against the industry’s established frontrunners.
Rounding off any solid desktop setup is a keyboard, favorite of the forum warrior and CS:GO pro alike. Snakebyte already has a bunch of keyboards in their arsenal but the Ultra, again, takes a step up to match what we’d expect to see on any self-confessed gamer’s desk. The Key:Board Ultra is a full-sized 135 character keyboard with fully mechanical switches. The customizable RGB backlights, again, allow the more enthusiast end.
Mechanical Outemu Blue switches with 50,000,000 keystroke lifetime
Customizable RGB LED lighting for a total of 18 different kinds of lighting effects
Rubber coated hand rest
Braided cable (1.8 m)
Weight: 1.300 g
Where the Key:Board Ultra definitely compromises is the brand and color of switch. At under $100, gamers can get themselves a Cherry MX Red set of keys from several brands, like Coolermaster. Like much of the Snakebyte range, this is likely a deliberate design choice to give a great level of performance and flair but still keep the costing under control. Heck, one of my favorite budget keyboards is the Red Dragon K552 which is packed to the teeth with Khalih blue switches. Ironically, this has actually been out since June 2019 but those brand inconsistencies I noted earlier have held back a decent gaming keyboard.
What this set does is establish Snakebyte’s place on the enthusiasts desktop. Not every gamer is ready to blow $200 on a keyboard and Snakebyte expects you to be able to pick up all three of these for just a smidge more than that when they all hit shelves. To boot, at this price point you’re not going to find a better hardware warranty. Head out onto Amazon or drop onto Ali Express and you’ll bypass Snakebyte’s 5-year warranty on all these bits of kit. Going forward I don’t expect Snakebyte to compromise the value proposition they’ve carved out for themselves but I do see them starting to pick away at the more established PC brands as they go on the attack. You can find out more about Snakbyte’s other products, including some sweet looking Nintendo Switch Lite accessories, over at the official website.