PAX East 2020: Hands-on and impressions of IOGEAR’s Keymander 2

I’m sure many of you have heard of the company IOGEAR in some capacity, just not when it comes to gaming. However, after speaking with the staff that was on hand at PAX East 2020, I’m convinced that they have the product to make gamers, both console, and PC, to take notice. While at the PAX East 2020 booth, I had a chance to check out both a keyboard and mouse that could give more popular brands a run for their money. However, what impressed me was the Keymander 2, which was announced earlier this year at CES 2020, but was up and running during the event.

This device will allow console gamers to connect either an arcade joystick/fight stick or a keyboard and mouse, for not just this current generation of consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Switch), but also the PS3 and Xbox 360. In addition to that, it also will let you use several different gamepads and controllers across these consoles. So you’d be able to use an Xbox 360 controller on a PS3, or PS4, or even the Switch. Or use the Switch Pro Controller on your Xbox One. The combos are endless and it’s something of which interested me and it should interest you as well.

IOGEAR Keymander 2 - PAX East 2020

IOGEAR’s Keymander 2 in all its glory at PAX East 2020

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What stood out the most was the ability to use the keyboard and mouse with the consoles. The way the Keymander 2 has been developed, it doesn’t require support from the developer to work. You simply plug it into the console, attach the keyboard and mouse and that’s it. An application that can be installed on either an Android or iOS device then handles the mapping of the buttons, as well as handling the sensitivity and dead zones. IOGEAR provides several default customizations, of which have been created thanks to feedback from the gaming community and has promised to continue working with that community to not only great newer profiles but to grow the product. Of course, if you don’t like any of those presets, you can tweak and customize just every aspect within this app. Then you can backup and share those newly created profiles via a cloud system that is being put into place.

In the booth, the company was showing off the Keymander 2 by having people play Battlefield 1 on the PlayStation 4, while connected with a keyboard and mouse. This gave me a chance to check out how well the device worked rather than just listening to what it could do. At first, my experience wasn’t so hot, as it was very slow to aim. However, once I mentioned that, product manager Derek Hamilton who was running the demo whipped out the Keymander 2 app, adjusted the settings on the fly and boy did it make a huge difference. It went from being barely playable to being able to land my shots with ease. The controls were much more responsive, to the point where if you didn’t know I was playing on the PlayStation 4, you would have sworn I was playing on the PC.

Afterward, I was shown how the app worked, as well as how you can tweak the controls via this app. There’s a lot of customization built-in and for good reason. They want to make sure that gamers to fine-tune the experience as much as possible. I’d even say that perhaps there’s too much here.  They were even kind enough to let me snap a few pics of the app in action.

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As of right now, I’m told that the Keymander 2 works in pretty much every game on the market. Which again is impressive, especially without help from the games’ developers. The Keymander 2 will be able to be upgraded via firmware patches, so more support for games and systems as needed.

While they have the games handled, they have also reached out and are working with several arcade stick manufacturers such as Hori and Razer, and they’re actively looking to work with more companies. I even recommended they reach out to Qanba to get their sticks added to the project. Speaking of which, if you have a favorite arcade or fight stick that should be added, be sure to reach out to IOGEAR. I’ll find out where to send requests directly and update this article when I know more.

Keymander 2 is slated for a Q2 2020 release, with a price of $99.95 and is branded under IOGEAR’s gaming division, Kaliber Gaming. It is something that wasn’t on my radar and likely yours. But now that I’ve played with it, I’m looking forward to giving it a more detailed go.  I’ve already asked IOGEAR about when we can expect to see them pop up in stores.  As soon as they’re available we’ll be back with a review of the Keymander 2.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grind. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Yes, I am a black gaming journalist.