ed. – Since the first publication of this review, PD Scientific has emailed us to remind us that one of the key synergies of the Devour is its use with laptops, the idea being that it is more portable than a full-sized keyboard, and is simple to set up. As someone that recently had issues with excessive heat with one of our test mobile gaming units, the Alienware m5700, we can attest that this is indeed a WONDERFUL application of this device. We can certainly see the wisdom of designing the Devour with mobile gamers in mind- sorry for the omission. And now, on with the review!
Wolf Claw Devour
MyGamer Hardware Score: 9.0/10
MSRP: $35.00 USD
OK, in the interest of full disclosure, let me state up-front that I love the Wolf Claw Ultimate Gamer's Keyboard. Ever since our review back in October, the Wolf Claw has sat on my desktop, my faithful companion through the best (and worst) gaming moments. Whether the evening's agenda calls for a hard-and-fast round of F.E.A.R. multiplayer, a night-long grind in World of Warcraft or a simple dip into Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War for a quick bot-match, the Wolf Claw always makes my game session smooth as silk.
But, when the gaming is finally done, and I need to turn my computer back to the mundane tasks of writing, work, and document creation, I've always had issues with my beloved ‘Claw- to put it bluntly, I missed my 10-key number pad. Over these past few months, as much as I couldn't stand to be parted from my Wolf Claw, I really have experienced many times where I reached for the ubiquitous "numpad" keys, found at the right-side of most standard keyboards- whether to type a quick phone number into an email or input numeric data into a spreadsheet- only to curse as my fingers encountered naught by air.
Well, friends, I'm happy to say that manufacturer PD Scientific seems to have felt my and other gamers' pains, and have crafted what might be the perfect solution to our problems- the Wolf Claw Devour
The Devour, quite simply, is the customized "gamer" keys from the original Wolf Claw, cut adrift from the rest of the keyboard. A USB connection assures simple and painless setup. As in the original Wolf Claw, the keys that most gamers will need ready access to (W, A, S, D, plus Z, X, C, Escape, Tab and others) are arranged in a finger-friendly layout. The Space bar is vertical, positioned directly under the left-hand's thumb. Number keys 0-9 are arranged above the action keys in a circular format, assuring that your fingers never need to leave the movement keys to access them.
What's new in the Devour is the addition of a full set of "F" keys "F1-F12"- these were missing in the original Wolf Claw's gaming zone, and their inclusion comes as a welcome addition. To fit the extra keys, PD Scientific was forced to shrink the size of the main movement keys (W,A,S,D), which did change the initial feel and performance of the device for us slightly. Users new to the Wolf Claw Devour will probably never even notice this, but for veterans like me, it was a slight, if noticeable, change.
A set of small volume controls, along with the "Esc" key are set on the unit's far left side, almost as an after thought. Missing in the Devour are the Wolf Claw's "Internet Hot Keys" (which I hardly ever used anyway) as well as its twin USB ports (which I did). The lack of USB ports did come as a bit of a surprise, given the unit's somewhat substantial price tag and the company's previous support of them- hopefully the Devour 2.0 will put them back in.
PD Scientific also made some slight color-changes to the Devour. The case is made of red plastic now, a color that seems almost too bright next to the cool black and blue of my favorite keyboard (a Saitek Eclipse)- hopefully the manufacturer will release other versions with alternate case colors. They also made all of the keys black this time around, a choice I found initially visually appealing, but which had some unexpected in-game consequences. The Wolf Claw used white keys in the gaming section with only the movement and number keys in black, which made repositioning your fingers a snap, even with a quick glance. With the all-black keys, I occasionally misplaced my fingers. This happened several times, particularly at night, when my preference is to dim the room lighting.
Using the Devour alongside my favorite keyboard really does create the perfect gaming synergy- finally I have back the silky-smooth key-action of the Eclipse (plus, the 10-key numpad, let's not forget) combined with the gaming ergonomics of the Wolf Claw Ultimate Gamer's Keyboard that I now require. It looks like, on my desktop anyway, the Devour is here to stay.
Pros: Gamers that wanted the Wolf Claw's ergonomic key placement but disliked that product's removal of the number keys can finally have the best of both worlds. Completely pain-free setup- just plug it in and go. No configuration software required- key bindings for standard keyboards map directly to the Devour.
Cons: No USB ports. Red plastic case might not appeal to all aesthetic sensibilities. $50+ dollar price tag for what amounts to a partial keyboard might induce sticker shock.