The Peregrine Glove Peripheral Review
In case you have not heard about it, Iron Will Innovations was founded on the idea that a glove could replace finger strokes on a normal keyboard. Not a novel idea at all, since many of us gamers have fond memories of Nintendo's gaudy, yet touching Powerglove from the early nineties (created in 1989). It was criticized as being both imprecise and quite bulky. The Peregrine looks to solve this issue, by making a completely accessible, sleek, ergonomic device. More information before reading this review, can be found here: http://www.theperegrine.com/product/
I noticed no one has done a formal review of this product, and will do my best to give a neutral opinion about this device, especially if you were curious!
Device Type: USB 2.0-HID (5ft cord Included)
Use: Gaming/Productivity Peripheral
Device Platform: Windows, Unix/Linux, Mac OSX
Software Required: Yes, to Windows only and OSX version on the way
Price: $149.99 / 110,09€ / £99.00
What's in the box?
Glove, Break-away Pod w/ 5ft cord, CD with Windows software
Warranty: 90 day limited
First Things First: How Does it Work?
When you purchase the Peregrine, it comes with three items in the box to make it work: The glove, a breakaway pod, and the software to load the binds. Each part is explained in detail, and will assume you took the time to read the product link here (http://www.theperegrine.com/product/) and have at least a moderate or fuzzy understanding of the concept of what this glove is and how it works.
The glove comes in three sizes, small, medium, or large respectively and must be chosen before purchasing and is left handed only. I will say that again, the glove as of this writing is: left handed only. It is VERY important you do their measuring chart and find the right size for your needs. It is made from a polyester and spandex material with breathable nylon openings throughout the glove. From the top of the hand to the finger tips are several coils of conductive metal to register the touches from the three major touch points: Thumb tip, thumb fat or main bulk of your thumb just below the nail, or the palm. These light gray Activator Points as the "GloveBox" software calls them are small strips of conductive cloth that can tell exactly where along your fingers did a touch register. There are 18 possible touch points on your fingers for both the thumb tip and thumb fat binds, but only 4 for the palm activation point for a whopping 30 possible keybinds. The very top of the glove has what almost looks like a gold plated circuit board where the magnetic pod attaches itself to.
Verdict: The glove itself, as all new gloves do, needs to be broken in, however I was surprised how nice it felt over my large hands and it stretched accordingly. A tough Velcro strap holds the glove to your wrist, tightening the feel. It's easy to forget this is a clothing accessory and should almost be completely treated as such. The glove's nylon spots are in fact breathable, even in this humid weather I live in and not once after hours of gaming did my hand sweat. Moving your hand back and forth in the air can expose exactly how breathable the glove is.
The claim of "HAND WASHABLE". Yes. I did hand wash it, got the entire thing wet in warm water ( I was afraid to submerge the circuit board part, but pleasantly found it was rather water sealed) and wiped it dry with a towel and let it set in the sun. It was completely dry in twenty minutes.
How easily can you type with this thing on? The tips of the glove have the small metal rings in them remember? Effectively bulking up the tips of your fingers slightly, and if you have large hands like mine, an increase in error margin. I typed this entire review up with the glove on, losing only 10-15 WPM until I got used to it.
Break away Pod:
This thing is effectively the entire brain of the Peregrine glove. It's a small square with removable faceplates and a LED light in the front that magnetically attached itself to the glove (much like the Macbook power cords). There are several good ideas in this as if you forget you're wearing a glove, you can accidentally walk off and the worst that will happen is you'll break the magnetic hold and onto the floor the pod will fall. It's a very strong magnetic hold and will not come off during gaming. I tried very hard to make this thing come off, and short of pulling on it, you will not shake it off. The LED light can have different effects put on it such as "breathe", "laser", "bright" or even just play old on/off. The light has a different effect when you make a readable touch to show you it's actually detecting something. So besides powering the glove, detecting touches, and creating a mini almost not-noticeable lightshow, the pod can store up to 5 keymaps no matter what computer you're at. That's right, since this is a USB HID, as long as your OS has drivers for a keyboard, you can save your profile, use a special touch command to load it directly from the glove and go play on your friend's computer without install the software.
Verdict: Solid enough piece of hardware with a strong magnetic seal on the glove, very important. I did not care much for the faceplates (which came for Pre-orders) and the LED light was almost not noticeable, unless you play in a very dark room. It is nice to use the laser effect and have the glove notify you of when it detects touches and how long. But at that point you aren't looking at the screen are you?
Software - GloveBox:
Easily the soul of the Peregrine, the software can easily make or break this device for gaming/productivity needs. Currently Windows only, you can load your keymaps onto the glove, and bring them over to the Unix (OSX)/Linux environments. The software was broken for Windows 7 64 bit, but thankfully they had a patch on their website and I was up and running in just a few minutes. The first task when one plugs in the glove is the calibration and you must touch and hold each of the 18 touch points with the thumb tip and push next on the software. This is extremely important. I found ignoring the calibration not only didn't register touches, but got many of them wrong. After calibrating you can set the "Touch Point Accuracy" which had a rather major effect on where exactly I could touch to register a hit. After messing with this, I found you can force the glove to have a very tight zone for each one of the touches if you desire. I have no idea why you'd want to do this, but it is there. The default setting was more than accurate for me. Binding/clearing/remapping/saving/loading key binds is all a breeze just select the activator, select the spot you want bound, and push a key, and it's all really easy except...
YOU CANNOT BIND MODIFIER KEYS.... Wait what? "Well screw that crap then!" I'm sure many of you are saying, as I know I am. So far you can only bind keys, and pretty much any key works, even really obscure ones (F-keys, num lock, caps lock, etc) but you can't do modifier keys such as: ALT, CTRL, SHIFT and another key. You can only bind symbols or representable whole keys to the software. Shift + 1, gets bound as !, which most games will only see as shift and nothing else. Not only does this kill most productivity binds (how many programs make you do SHIFT+ALT+CTRL+.... A LOT) but most MMOs make you use alt and ctrl for different tray binds. Many people are griping about this, and I hope they are scrambling to implement this, as its so important, it's not even funny if they want to be taken seriously as a peripheral.
Using The Glove:
Now that you're aware of my biggest gripe, I can tell you some of the many tests I tried this on. Note that because you can't use modifier keys, you end up rebinding everything to obscure keys just to make them bindable to the Peregrine. This can be completely time consuming.
Test 1: Text Editor (Testing responsiveness and to visualize how touches seem to act)
Seriously, I just tried to spell words. No games, just words. The first thing I did was bind W, T, F, and some symbols to different hotkeys and try to accurately spell WTF!? And get used to the different touches.
Results: I found it to be very accurate and the more I tried it, the easier I got at spelling. I found a neat trick where you can slide your thumb along the different touch points, effectively spelling WTF very quickly (in less than a second, but with few mistakes here and there. It became clear that this thing can handle very quick touches. I also held a touch and found it did a "WWWWWTTTTTFFFFF" type action in the editor. My verdict is they were serious about this being similar to a normal keyboard.
Test 2: Dawn of War and Dawn of War 2
A couple of my favorite RTS games, and I wanted to try it out. After spending an hour going over key binds between each game I successfully saved them to my peregrine. I was really excited except I realized I have no idea what I just bound everything to. I had to memorize 12-15 key binds all cleverly made at the time. Well crap, this is going to take practice and a lot of practice it took. I found myself giving up on using the glove totally with the mouse because I could not remember everything fast enough. I had to effectively wean myself off the keyboard and only use around 5 common binds and the keyboard/mouse for the rest. It was definitely effective. I was able to use 3 peripherals while playing, mouse, keyboard, glove, and seemed to do around what I normally do. But that isn't the point of the glove is it? Hell no, and after 6-8 hours I was using the glove entirely with the mouse. I honestly found myself able to do more commands faster; the smarter I bound the keys. For instance sliding my thumb along my finger selected a squad, choose and ability, mouse click, and attack-moved, very quickly. It took quite a bit of practice to get the timing down, but it was definitely neat to be able to do. Muscle Memory is quite key.
Test 3: City of Heroes/Villains
Definitely an interesting MMO choice to test thing on as this game is HEAVILY movement dependant. I tried all kinds of different ways to use the glove by itself, including use the very yicky icky mouse movement option. While it works, I definitely did not like it as much and it just felt completely ridiculous. It seems to take on average 4-9 hours to get good at a key bind setup, and like any juggler, fencer, or master pornstar will tell you, muscle memory makes perfect. What I did find it useful for, was an addition to the keyboard. For instance, many Masterminds have key binds for their pets. Which they get 6 total and each of the three groups they come in can be controlled separately. In short, it's a great big pain in the arsenic to control them all. So an easy method of buffing/controlling was used by making numpad keybinds. Well I took advantage of the glove and used the glove solely for my pets while the rest of the keyboard was for my character. It worked MUCH easier as I did not have to take my hand off of the mouse to work with the pets.
Test 4: Age of Conan
I decided to get my Demonologist out of retirement and give her a spin. Playing a mage character that's a lot similar to more traditional MMORPGs made it much easier to use the glove. Since I can't move while casting most of the time, it worked great. I had 15 commands to use very quickly without having to completely replace my hand and have many messy key binds. The more I used the glove the easier it is to get used to the "Oh crap" emergency spells, as I always place those on the palm activator. It was really starting to grow on me as a useful tool.
Test 5: Diablo 2
In short, it worked wonders. Everything is a simple key bind in that game, and it was perfect. It's a mouse driven game that's heavy on key binds. This definitely was the type of game it was made for, and they often advertise this glove as DoTA, LoL, and HoN player's perfect peripheral.
Test 6: Serious Sam HD
Yeah, I tried it. I wanted to bind WASD and just laugh. In short, don't use this for FPS alone. It's a joke, and a terrible idea.
Test 6: PS3 Typing, and UT3
The PS3 instantly recognized it as a keyboard, and since UT3 is the only game I could think of that uses the keyboard/mouse as an option I tried it, and it worked. Again, huge problem with FPS movement and this thing. I honestly would be very interested in using the glove with move somehow. Then we're getting all Sci-fi and junk... ?
Test 7: Photoshop
Worked wonderful at doing key binds except most of the things I would like to do like open or save are all bound to modifier keys. Seriously, they need to fix that!
This is definitely a sleek and great designed glove. It doesn't feel cheap, feels good after a few hours of wearing, and is really light on the hand both heat wise and weight.
Playing this game with RPGs like Dragon age, Diablo, DoTA, and even slower MMOs like WoW and EQ this glove will definitely help out. Anything that is heavily movement based that you cannot do on a mouse is not helped by this glove.
No game had issues with the glove. Since it doesn't work like a controller, I didn't need to tell any game that I wanted to use it. It effectively just replaces the keyboard.
No modifier key support as of this writing. Fix that, and this will be a dream come true for more people.
You cannot have the glove detect more than one touch at a time. So an FPS where you move forward and sideways (W and A for example) only the first touch is detected. I can see why since it's a circuit that effectively completes when you touch the hotspots. I still find this a valid complaint and I'm sure there can be a workaround.
I would be wary about their support. It took me 1 month to receive my glove upon purchase, and they do not have any forums yet. I've called their support line with a fake problem 3 times to see how they would help me and I had the same dude twice. Very nice individual and helped me the entire time and solved the fake issue I made up. I know this sounds like a douche move to do, tying up the line like that, but hey, I honestly didn't have problems with this thing. I'm happy to report their customer service over the phone was good, but your mileage may vary.
Thanks for reading. My final score is 7/10 and if they add modifier support defiantly a 9/10. This glove has enough uses to justify the price, but make sure you're willing to actually learn and use this thing. It's expensive, but "if you're a serious gamer" or have a wad of cash to blow, this is defiantly a fun new way to play.