Thursday, 22 May 2008

Nostromo n52te Review

Oh yes, I got me the tournament edition Nostromo a little while back. I'm a little behind the times but they have been rare as rocking horse shit in europe. I'd been checking Amazon and Belkin websites regularly and finally a German company selling on Amazon had one in stock for £50 -I snapped it up!

I figured that now that I have 2 PCs (one at my dads and one at home) I can have a Nostromo on each so I don't have to lug loadsa hardware about - that includes new set of uber-headphones as well!

Well, the n52te has the same basic layout of the original but has a few slight changes.

  • Backlighting - looks good, well wicked actually, but has little real utility as my hand is on the unit all the time and I play by feel. There is a switch underneath to turn the backlighting on and off.
  • Buttons - The buttons are slightly different, they feel less clunky and more positive.
  • Upload Manager - Its more sparkly than before, but a lot of that is just the skin. If I made changes to my profile whilst WoW was running it wouldn't pick up the new keybindings. Until I found the Apply Changes button! But this is more intuitive than the original software. I haven't RTFM and I can get it all working :)
  • Macro Creator - again this seems to have been refined. It seems easier to use, but is that just the re-skinning?
  • Apparently it has on-board memory so your profiles are saved on the keypad itself and will therefore work on whatever you plug it in to. I haven't tried this yet but that's a big plus for me. Push come to shove I can play WoW on 5 different PCs and have the Nostromo software on 3 of them. Now I don't have to keep profiles in line and I can plug it into TiceNits' and my sons PCs.
  • D-pad - rather than the original D-pad this one has a crappy little mushroom stuck on top of it. OK, if you want 8 axis of movemement then this may be considered slightly easier, but when I'm playing wow I often find myself going sideways rather than straight on. I'm getting used to it but it just doesn't feel right :(
  • Buttons - It may just me being used to the original Nostromo but the bottom row of buttons (the one with just 4) don't feel distinct enough. My fingers don't rest naturally on them and I am not able to tell which button is which. The far right button is the worst it seems to "blend" into the "bodywork".
  • Thumb Button - It's a bit temperamental, unless you push it just right it sometimes doesn't activate.
I'm not going to go into how useful this (and the original) is, Valenna has already done a great job over there. As many have said before they can't imagine playing WoW without it. I feel naked without mine.

WoW Banhammer Disclaimer: Whilst it is possible to programme delays into your Nostromo macros and also repeated keystrokes on one key press (with or without delays) this is against the ToS, EULA, blah of WoW and could and probably has been considered by Blizzard as automating play resulting in a perma-ban. Do so at your accounts risk. I'm not risking mine!


Nibuca said...

I'm under the impression that you can pry the mushroom off if you like the "original" feel better.

I use the N52 and wouldn't give it up for anything. I agree.. I don't think I can play without it.


Galoheart said...

Been meaning to get one. I shall order one today!

DavidAlqvist said...

The "mushroom" is nice when you learn to use it. I put my thumb just at the left axis under the mushy. Its easier to move forward and right by pushing on the thing instead if sliding down and pushing on the axis "button" itself.

Grendalsh said...

My whole guild now uses the n52te, and they've all pulled the thumbstick off the Dpad - it just doesn't register properly. As you noted, it hits the diagonals more than the cardinals.
The lower thumb buttone (b15) has a tendancy to come undone. Mine had this problem. Just pull the button up, and reseat the wire spring and it'll work like a charm.
More on the n52te and using it with WoW at