A mini keyboard for your controller
Console: Xbox 360
Official Website at Xbox.com
Release Date: 7th September 2006
Box Contents: 1x Messenger Keypad, 1x Wired Headset
Additional Items of Importance: Chainsaw, strong scissors, band-aid, and patience
Ever since Microsoft showed off this chatpad earlier in 2007 I have wanted one. Hell I don’t even talk much whilst I game on the 360, let alone use Live Messenger. My desktop setup means I have straight access to my PC as well as the 360 so Live Messenger isn’t something I would ever use on the 360, not when I have it running 24/7 on the PC anyway. I still wanted this bit of kit for one reason alone. It saves me going to Xbox.com and replying to messages that friends send me on the 360. For those who don’t know, if you sign up to My Xbox at Xbox.com you can send and receive messages to your friends list as well as almost fully manage your entire Xbox Live account.
The Messenger kit expands on the recent Live Messenger integration that Microsoft added into the 360’s dashboard during the last update. It allows users to have conversations with friends on Live Messenger whilst they play games. It’s a seamless process, which seems to work rather well. As a bonus, you get a nice new wired headset!
In typical Microsoft fashion they’ve annoyed me right from the outset packaging the kit in blister packaging. I tried to find a chainsaw but had no luck so
two three scissors were used and they couldn’t even cut through this stuff. So out came the ‘worn meat knife’…. It did the trick and I sliced the top of the pack and delved right inside and cut my thumb as I removed the keypad. Off to a great start already!
Immediately upon taking out the keypad, one thing is apparent. This device oozes Microsoft’s build quality…and some of my blood. The buttons have a rigid yet very comfortable tactile feel to them. This was my main concern upon purchasing this device. I feared the buttons would require too much pressure to depress but they feel perfect and should become easier to press with repeated use. A lovely feature of the pad is that the buttons are completely backlit, and very evenly too. The pad shouldn’t have too much of a drain on your controller’s battery, in fact the drain should be rather small.
The keypad initially surprised me right away as I was expecting the pad to rest slightly under the two palm rests on the controller but instead it rests completely over them. This alarmed me at first because to a nooblet like myself I thought I had received a faulty design! It does require some force to push into the controller though, so this isn’t too suitable for those who want to constantly remove and re-attach it to other controllers. The keypad weighs very little too, so it won’t add much weight to your controller at all.
The pad has the perfect blend of comfort and balance. It doesn’t feel odd or uncomfortable in use. Once again Microsoft has proved they can make quality accessories that look and function really well. It fits snugly into the controller albeit with a bit of force and does the job well. The keys residing on the keypad each have three functions, aside from each key representing a letter/number they also have two symbols above them coloured in green and orange. Each symbol can be accessed by hitting the green or orange key on the left and right sides of the keyboard. These keys also illuminate in green and orange too! A messenger key allows you to quickly access Live Messenger should someone send you a message.