I love my PS4 dearly, but I gave up playing FPS games on it a long time ago. Once I got a taste for the precision and control of mouse and keyboard, there was no going back. Now, every year I invest more and more into my PC hardware to keep my performance up as new, more demanding games come out. It’s a vicious cycle I’ve committed to, but now that I’ve gotten to try to the TAC Pro Type M2 from Hori, I’m starting to rethink how I game entirely.
The TAC Pro system is essentially a half keyboard and mouse combo that can be used to play PS4 games. The keys are laid out in a way that will be familiar to keyboard players but is fine-tuned by Hori for optimal comfort and accessibility. The TAC Pro is designed to give console players the mouse and keyboard experience, but now that I’ve spent some time with it, I’m starting to think it might actually be better than than the m+kb. What’s more, the new M2 version makes it incredibly easy to customize the layout with the HORI app.
The TAC Advantage
FPS players will get the most use out of the TAC Pro, but the device is designed to interpret each input on a DualShock 4 into a specific key, so every PS4 game will work with the TAC Pro. The backlit keys are all labeled with the default button assignments, a layout ideal for the upcoming DOOM Eternal as well as most other FPS games.
The translation makes total sense and, for players accustomed to keyboard and mouse playing, the layout is already pretty ideal by default. Square is the R button for reload, Circle is the Ctrl button for crouch, everything is pretty much where you would expect it to be. There are however some really innovative additions to the traditional keyboard layout: the button in the X position is a snipe button which, when pressed, reduces mouse sensitivity to help you nail your shots. The Playstation X button, which is typically used to jump, is positioned where your left thumb rests, approximately where a space bar would be.
There’s also a control stick for your thumb which I could never really get the hang of using, but it’s a nice option to help controller players transition to keyboard if they aren’t already used to it. It also includes a share button, home button, and a fully functional touchpad, making it a complete replacement for a DualShock 4 controller.
I’m really impressed with the mouse that comes with the TAC Pro too, as they could have gotten away with including something basic – but this mouse is actually awesome. It has an ambidextrous design that I really appreciate from an accessibility standpoint and its got a good weight to it that I can hardly ever find these days. The DPS toggle has a good variety of speeds by default and the side buttons are in a perfect position. If the mouse had a longer cable I could see myself using it as my everyday mouse, but it’s really only meant to be used with the TAC Pro (or a laptop).
Customizing Made Simple
The TAC Pro M2 connects to a mobile app that’s used to update firmware and customize the layout. I had a fantastic experience using the app; it connected instantly, updated the firmware quickly, and made it really simple to create different profiles for every game I play. You can name each profile and customize every button and the TAC Pro updates in real-time. When you want to switch games, all you need to do is hold the FN button and press the corresponding number of the TAC Pro. The hardest part is remembering which profile is for each number, but I assume most people aren’t switching between half a dozen games in a week like I am.
I also really appreciate the suggested layouts in the app. I tend to get a little overwhelmed at the trial-and-error of trying to make the perfect layout, but the app offers recommended configurations for a dozen popular games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and several versions of Call of Duty.
I have one gripe with the customization options, and that’s the palm rest. The TAC Pro has a large adjustable palm rest that puts your hand into a very comfortable position for long game sessions. My problem is that even when I slide it back all the way, my fingers are still overreaching where the need to be. I do not have particularly large hands either. I wish the TAC Pro was about one key-length longer, it would be perfect.
An Evolution, Not A Compromise
The TAC Pro can be used on PS4, PS3, and PC. When used on PC there’s a little bit more initial key assigning you’ll need to do because it’s recognized as a keyboard rather than a controller, and because it doesn’t have as many keys as a keyboard, you’ll need to make sure everything you need is assigned on the TAC Pro. For example, a lot of games use I for inventory or M to open your map. The TAC Pro doesn’t adopt the controller configuration for PC games, at least in the 3 games I tried, so it’s necessary to make custom key assignments before you play.
Ever since I started using the TAC Pro on PC, I haven’t switched back to my gaming keyboard. It surprises me that I actually prefer it to a full keyboard, but the ergonomics of the TAC Pro and the extra space it gives me on my desk have been a real game-changer for me. I’m totally willing to deal with a little bit more finagling for each game because it’s so much fun to use.
There are a million and one use cases for the TAC Pro. Not every console player wants or can afford a gaming PC, and for those players, the TAC Pro will improve your gaming experience immeasurably. PC players can benefit from the design of the TAC Pro too, and if you give it a chance, you might even prefer it to a regular keyboard like me.
A TAC Pro M2 was provided to TheGamer for this review. The TAC Pro M2 DOOM Edition is available on Amazon right now for $159.99.
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