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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | The Claw
   

The Claw
Pappy-R reviews an alternative controller for Quake players.
  — by Pappy-R


Comfort

As I mentioned, and as you can see in the available picks, the Claw is a hand shaped cradle that is just begging for your palm. The Claw was made for the hand to sit in comfort and have access to all the controls at once. This was achieved in spades, and with the way your hand, wrist and fingers are supported, you're not going to get the aches and stresses like with a keyboard. The Claw was made for your hand to rest in for hours on end, and keyboards were just never made for this. The way the Claw is designed also makes hands of varied sizes feel like the support was made with them in mind, and I had a few people with differently sized hands try the Claw for feel. Another score!

The Play

Yes it setup easy and it's as comfortable as the hand deserves, but now we'll look at what makes this thing either worth the money or not, the play.

There are actually a couple points here that I'm a bit perplexed about. In other reviews of the Claw I've seen, the buttons were described as "touchy" or "overly sensitive". This was hardly the case for me, and I wonder if the Claw I received for my review wasn't a tad off its mark. I found the buttons to be not as sensitive as my keyboard, and with an audible click to each press, you're gonna lose some of the more sensitive aspects of play. This was the case for me, and although it was reasonable in use for Quake III, I couldn't use a jump button on the Claw for double jumping in Quake 2. It simply wasn't as sensitive as a keyboard or mouse (where I normally have jump). So I put jump back on my mouse where it belonged, and continued to test. This was extremely easy BTW, and playing with the Claw in game is just as easy as stated on the package. You just flip the Claw and switch to program, click a button, the keyboard key you want the button to be, and you're off to the races again.

Aerial View

The Claw is heavy enough, and rubber footed enough to not dance around the desktop on you in play, which is another nice surprise when you realize the makers of the controller knew we were going to get excited while playing. This thing never moved on me once. Now let's get to the button configs, which was another issue for me.

The biggest issue I had with the Claw was the pattern/layout of the 9 buttons you get to play with. There are four on the thumb (2x2 pattern), two on the index (horizontal), and one for each of the remaining three fingers. People who use the mouse as a forward control will or should have less trouble here than the people who use the inverted "T" as their movement control pattern because when you get to the claw, you're down to one button instead of a forward and back in line pair. This was a major obstacle for me, and frankly, one I just couldn't overcome. I could just never get more comfortable in any pattern offered to me by the Claw. The new shift feature may save some, and the version I have doesn't have it, but that would still mean a shift to use the middle finger control for both commands. I found something else out that a bunch of you probably don't do. One thing I noticed while setting up the claw was that I normally have no binds, functions or duties for my little finger in playing games! Nothing! Well the Claw changed that and I put the little slacker to work as my "backward" key, and was happily fragging along.

The End

All in all is this controller worth the grab? Well it might be for you. I think the Claw does quite a few things right. The hardware behind it is so solid that it sets up in a jiffy and never messes with anything to do with your normal computer usage. The position and support of the hand while using the Claw is outstanding, and if you got weary using a keyboard at length, this will suit you down to your boots. The button sensitivity and layout were issues for me, but I'm not sure this isn't just my problem. The general comments on the Claw sensitivity has been good in other reviews, and I could have a stiff controller, but I really can't give points for what I've seen, so the Claw has room to grow in this area. I just can't get comfortable with the limits of the button layout on the Claw, and neither could the five people I had test the controller at length. I should add that all of those that tested for me used the standard inverted "T" layout for keys on the keyboard and had major issues using any other pattern. When it's all said and done, the Claw is in the box and the keyboard is on my desk.

I do however see potential with this device, and the company behind it, Ferraro Design cares about the people using the product. They have already made changes according to the request of the users, and if this continues, you could see the Claw returning as a strong gaming contender.


Questions? Comments? Send them into feedback.


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