Azeron Cyborg Compact Review: Niche but Nice

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Most competitive gamers probably use one of the best gaming keyboards on the market, but some are still looking to try something drastically different in an attempt to gain the upper hand. That’s where the new Azeron Cyborg Compact joins the game, sporting over 20 programmable buttons, a 3D-printed frame, and a look straight out of old-school Cyberpunk.

The Azeron Cyborg Compact is pricey and different enough that you can expect a serious learning curve. Surprisingly it didn’t take much getting used to, but it also feels like you could spend almost endless time tweaking things in the software and swapping out the many replaceable parts to get things are perfect for you. If you give it time, the Cyborg Compact can provide a unique and enjoyable gaming experience. And it’s sure to spark conversations with people who see it sitting on your desk.

Design of the Azeron Cyborg Compact

What do you get when you mix a keyboard and a controller together? You get the Azeron Cyborg Compact by Azeron. This isn’t the company’s first funky controller like this. Azeron sells the regular Cyborg, Classic, Compact, and Cyborg Compact, which is what we have today. But here’s an odd bit that really indicates how long the company has been working on these controllers. The Cyborg Compact (and apparently all similar models) connects to your PC via a mini USB port. Yes, you read that right. The Cyborg Compact uses a connector that was replaced by Micro-USB in 2007. And Micro USB has almost completely been supplanted by USB-C at this point. Well, at least the mini USB cable is 6 feet long and braided.

The original Compact isn’t drastically different from the Cyborg Compact, but the Cyborg variant has more buttons and is much more adjustable. When I first set up the Cyborg Compact, I was impressed with the number of buttons on this thing: 23 – or 25 if you count the two thumbsticks. While it’s nice to have so many buttons, in the beginning there were plenty of occasions where I accidentally pressed one by just putting my hand down. However, Azeron has thought about this by allowing you to adjust the height of buttons, or disable some in software that you find uncomfortable to use. The Azeron software is quite intuitive and allows you to set two profiles. It’s not as much as I expected. Most devices these days support much more than that. However, it will allow you to switch between games without having to rebind the keys.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The build quality of the Cyborg Compact is excellent – most of its components are 3D printed (perhaps using one of the best 3d printers), and the whole thing looks like he could withstand rage stops. Tucked under the 3D-printed buttons are mouse switches designed by high-end switch maker Omron.

The attention to detail on the Cyborg Compact is gnarly – the color match is literally perfect. Azeron sent us a model with the Tom’s Hardware colorway, and the wrapped cables matched the shade of red on the shifters and trim. And almost all knobs and parts can be ordered in one of 18 different colors. Note, however, that the $172 model is available in basic black and white. Opting for several additional colors can bump the price up to $250 or more. Our configuration is priced at $274.

For that hefty price, however, Azeron includes plenty of goodies in the box, like a nice iFixit-like screwdriver, a second palm rest, extra screws, two mini screwdrivers, and rubber duct tape. While I wanted to take advantage of the pre-installed palm rest, it felt too big for my hand, so I needed to install the low-profile one. Although installing the low-profile palm rest seems daunting due to the number of screws and tiny cables spread across the device, it’s straightforward. The only problem is the size of the connection cables. If you have massive hands like me, it’s best to use tweezers to connect the wires. Changing a palm rest shouldn’t require surgery on your Cyborg, but it could be worse.

Games

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

My prayers have been answered. Activision has added towers based on Call of Duty: VanguardZombie mode. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the Cyborg in a game, and while it looks extremely complex and different from a traditional keyboard and mouse or controller, getting used to Azeron’s keyboard didn’t take that long.

When I entered the game, I noted which buttons my fingers organically pressed and mapped them accordingly in the software. I didn’t encounter too many issues in the game, but the ones I did encounter were pretty severe. The controller is a little too high and heavy to press, even with my large hands. While Azeron sends smaller sticks with the Compact, installing them requires some serious teardown.

I’m a huge baseball fan, but since I’m on PC, I can’t play any of the MLB: The Show games, so I decided to install locust 22. The Cyborg was surprisingly more comfortable to use in this game than Avant-garde, because I only had to rely on four buttons and the joystick. The joystick allowed me to aim where I wanted to hit the ball and aim my shots either into the dirt or directly at the wickets.

The Cyborg Compact has a ton of buttons, and while I’m sure some gamers (mostly MMO RPG players) will use them all, I kept accidentally clicking or rubbing against the side button where my little finger, causing mild mental disturbance and physical irritation. But again, if something similar happens to you, you can disable this button and still have several more to choose from.

Software

The Azeron software was easy to navigate, which made key remapping reasonably easy. Obviously, we all have to start with some sort of reference if we’re remapping a keyboard to act as a controller. Azeron made key remapping easier on the Cyborg by listing the actual names on Xbox controllers, instead of hiding them ambiguously behind numbers. Besides being a controller substitute, the Cyborg Compact can also act as a fully functional numeric keypad, macropad and keyboard. The level of customization with Azeron’s software makes the Cyborg more than just a controller substitute – I can see it being useful for players with limited motor skills or other physical complications.

At the end of the line

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Azeron Cyborg Compact is a very specialized product. And despite its unique appearance, it wasn’t too hard to get used to when playing with a mouse. Personally, the Cyborg Compact had too many buttons for me, which resulted in a significant amount of accidental inputs and irritation on my left little finger, although it’s easy enough to disable the buttons in software. But, if you’re considering the Cyborg Compact, chances are you have experience with previous models or just want to try something different – and this controller is definitely different.

If you like to tinker with software settings and the various interchangeable parts to make it truly your own, there’s a lot you can do with the Azeron Cyborg Compact, especially outside of its primary purpose as a game controller. And despite its high price, its 3D printed structure and level of customization options are worth considering if you want to mix up your gaming setup and try something different from a traditional controller or keyboard and keyboard. a mouse.

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