Not worth your time or money.
Hori’s fight sticks are the stuff of legend, so I had high hopes for the TAC (Tactical Assault Commander) Pro Type M2 (See it on Amazon). It isn’t the vaunted accessory maker’s first keyboard and mouse controller, but it’s an officially licensed product for the PlayStation 4, which means it has a touchpad and PS Home button and will work seamlessly with the PlayStation 3 in addition to Sony’s modern console.
Its mechanical keyboard is also backlit, unlike the non-backlit GameSir AimSwitch VX (also $150) I reviewed previously, which works with the Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. However, the promise is largely the same: the keyboard and mouse allow for better accuracy and aiming in some games than a controller, giving you an edge in battle. Hell, the box even has “engineered for FPS domination” printed on the front of it. At $150, it’s not quite an impulse buy, so let’s find out how that promise holds up in the real world.
TAC Commander Pro Type M2 – Design and Features
The TAC Pro Type M2’s greatest strength is its ergonomics. Sitting below the partial 20-key keyboard is a curved, textured wrist-wrest. Push a button to the side of the mini joystick and the wrist-wrest slides back a quarter of an inch to ever so slightly accommodate those with larger mitts such as myself. It’s incredibly comfortable and during my tests did an admirable job at fighting off any wrist strain I encountered.
The joystick act as the left stick (or WASD), controlling movement, and just above it is a small X button, which acts as a spacebar replacement. Rather than typical lettered keys, the Pro Type M2 is pre-labeled with bindings for L2, R2, R1 and X on the top row; triangle, up, L1 and square on the second; left, down, right and R3 below that; and function, snipe, circle and walk at the bottom. On the left side where macro keys would sit on a typical keyboard are four buttons for options, quick, L3 and another circle key. And just below on the side, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack.
There’s also a clickable touchbar, and nestled into their own section on the right side, the aforementioned PS Home button and a share button, for full DualShock 4 parity.
I just wish the overall fit and finish didn’t feel so cheap.
It’s clear that Hori paid a lot of attention to how the Pro Type M2 feels in use, I just wish the overall fit and finish didn’t feel so cheap. A lot of that comes down to sloppy, loose keys and a mouse that feels worse than those that come with cheap pre-built PCs. For all its faults, the GameSir AimSwitch’s keyboard felt great to use, thanks to its blue mechanical switches. That isn’t the case with the Pro Type M2. Keys have roughly an eighth of an inch of wiggle room in any given direction and lack any sort of tactility — it made resting my fingers difficult, because I was always depressing keys by accident.
For an accessory trying to replicate the feel of a traditional mouse and keyboard, that’s a huge misstep. Hori says the TAC Pro uses proprietary mechanical switches, but I’ve never felt a mechanical keyboard this squishy and imprecise before.
The mouse isn’t any better. While it’s heavier than the AmiSwitch’s, at 118 grams, that Hori calls it “gaming grade” is laughable. Its side buttons are just as loose as the keys and there’s almost no resistance on the clickable scroll wheel. The DPI adjustment buttons and mouse buttons themselves are fine, but nothing special. Of course, if you have your own mouse, you can always plug that in to the keyboard’s USB port. For the price though, you shouldn’t have to make up for Hori cutting corners where it counts.
As far as wires go, you’re going to feel like a Borg from Star Trek while you’re using this, especially if you plan to voice chat with your buddies while you play. The keyboard connects to the PS4 via a just over 9-foot USB cable, while the mouse cable is 3.5-foot. Neither are quite long enough that I felt any sort of freedom, or like I wasn’t always going to pull the cord out of my PS4 on the other side of the living room.
TAC Commander Pro Type M2 – Software
The Pro Type M2 uses the Hori Device Manager app — available for both Android and iOS — to rebind keys, apply profiles and adjust sensitivity settings via Bluetooth. You don’t need to press any special combination of buttons on the keyboard itself to make any changes via the app, which means if you need to turn the sensitivity down just a touch you can do it pretty quickly and get back in the game. There are a slew of pre-made profiles for games including Apex Legends, a number of recent Battlefield titles, entries in the Call of Duty series, Fortnite and Rainbow Six Siege. Oh, there are a pair for Star Wars Battlefront and its sequel, too. The lack of an official Overwatch preset is a glaring omission.
I tapped “NO” and watched, to my horror, as the settings went back to their defaults.
While you can rebind any of the 20 keys and choose between the joystick replicating either the D-pad, left stick or right stick functionality, what you can’t do is customize the LED backlight. Hopefully red is your favorite color.
There’s also a full set of customizations for ADS (aiming down the sights) mode, independent of whatever you have set for shooting from the hip. It’s handy. What isn’t however, are the confusing menu prompts. After I’d made a handful of changes during my tests, I hit the back button in the upper left corner of the app. A dialogue box popped up asking “Is it saved?” with “Yes” and all-caps “NO” below. It’s then that I noticed the floppy disk icon in the upper right corner. I tapped “NO” and watched, to my horror, as the settings went back to their defaults.
TAC Commander Pro Type M2 – Gaming
Unfortunately for all the bluster Hori makes about the Pro Type M2 being engineered for domination, I can’t say it holds up. I put it to the test with shooters exclusively and came away pretty disappointed. While I like the side-mounted joystick in theory, it’s much easier to use the arrow/WASD keys for moving around. And versus the DualShock 4, the octagonal thumbstick pod feels incredibly unnatural. The cross button just above it is a great replacement for what my left thumb would be doing anyway (hitting spacebar to jump) and using felt second nature, however.
I put it to the test with shooters exclusively and came away pretty disappointed.
I can’t say the same for any other key aside from the arrows/WASD. Sure, you can move the key bindings to whatever suits your fancy, but none of them ever felt natural to me, and coupled with the imprecise keys, made for a frustrating experience. The short cable between the keyboard and mouse didn’t help matters either.
If you want to play Apex Legends with the Pro Type M2, there are a pair of pre-made presets, each of which Hori says are optimized specifically for Respawn’s battle royale shooter. The promise is that with the presets, you won’t have to fiddle with the in-game settings for things like aim sensitivity and deadzone. But, in my testing, I found that looking around was still extremely slow unless I manually maxed out the settings from the pause menu. In a single-player game where you can actually pause the action, it’s a minor annoyance. Playing online, I was a sitting duck and basically forfeited the round each time I had to make an adjustment.
As far as other games go, whether I was activating an ultimate in Overwatch or sniping Nazis in Battlefield I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Pro Type M2 was a half measure from Hori. Aside from the ergonomics, everything just seems cheap and imprecise and I always felt at a disadvantage while using it.
The Hori TAC Pro Type M2 has an MSRP of $149.99, and it’s usually the same price online.