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Sentey Crimson Pro Gaming Keyboard Review

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Crimson Pro Software

The Crimson Pro keyboard is modal: you’re either in “normal” mode, where no macros are active, or in “gaming” mode (indicated by the “G” indicator light at the upper right of the keyboard). Gaming mode indicates that one of the five defined macro profiles is active, although there are no indicators on the keyboard to show which one is selected. Handily, the Windows key is disabled in gaming mode.

Sentey calls their macro definition software Crimson Pro Config. When invoked, it displays a reduced-size image of the keyboard and some macro definition buttons:

sentey_crimson_pro_keyboard_utility

The documentation for this software is poor; I had to experiment with it to figure out how to use it. Fortunately it’s operationally similar to the software I’ve used with other gaming keyboards. At the top of the keyboard window are five buttons labeled Profile 1 through Profile 5. Each profile supports up to 10 macro definitions, which are defined by the M1 through M10 buttons in the separate floating window below. To define a key, you click the label (M1 – M10) that you want to define, then click the image of the key you want to bind the macro to. When you click the key, it will be labeled with the “M” you’re defining– for example, if you clicked the M1 label, then the “A” key, the keyboard image would show the “A” key as “M1″.

Once you do this, you can click on the drop-down menu to select what you want to do with the new macro:

sentey_crimson_pro_keyboard_macro_definition

Although the menu items appear to be disabled, with their light gray coloring, they’re not. There are a number of pre-defined functions, specifically:

  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Undo
  • All
  • End
  • New
  • Print
  • Save
  • Launch
  • Disable

…but the interesting one is Macro. Choosing this lets you assign an arbitrary series of key strokes that will be executed when you press the key. You define the macro with this dialog:

sentey_crimson_pro_keyboard_macro_definition2

It’s easy: click the “Record” button (which, like the key definition menu items, appears to be disabled, but is not), type the keys you want, and click “Stop” when you’re done. After you’ve defined your macros, you can switch among the five macro profiles by pressing Fn+F7 through Fn+F12.

The software works well, but has several annoying limitations. For example, you can’t use modifier keys in definitions: that is, you cannot define a macro that would be invoked by Control-A. Or Shift-A, or Alt-A (you can, however, assign macros to the Control, Shift, and Alt keys). Second, once you define a macro, it becomes “invisible”: you can export your macros and import them, but you can’t see them (looking at the macro files in a text editor doesn’t help). You’ll know that M3 is in Profile 2 and bound to the Page Down key, but you won’t know anything about what the macro does– you can only press the key and see what happens.

One nice thing is that the macros live in the keyboard: you can define and load a total of 50 macros (five profiles, ten macros per profile), unplug the keyboard and take it to another machine, and all your macros will still be there.

In the next section I’ll give my final thoughts and conclusions about this keyboard.


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