I use the Saitek "Cyborg Command Unit", which was the cheapest gameboard I could see. It's a fine piece of hardware.
The software for programming it isn't very intuitive, and it sometimes activates two powers at once, which I think is probably a result of me not programming it right.
(Specifically- let's say I map a button on it to Ctrl+4. Hitting that button activates the power set for Ctrl+4 and the power set to just the number 4. This isn't a problem for me as I've arranged the powers so this happens to complementary things, but it would be a problem for some)
...and I can't help but think I'm using their indecipherable profile editor incorrectly. But I would reluctantly recommend spending the extra money for a Belkin or Logitech instead. Should be much easier to set up.
I have been looking at gaming keypads for quite a long time. I finally broke down and ordered the Logitech G13. It should be here in a week or so. (I went for free shipping).
What is amazing to me is how different I use my keyboard with STO. I have tried using it in the same fashion as Ops and Con used their consoles. It was just lacking some buttons or positioning of the buttons.
I think the G13 in tandem with my keyboard will bring me one step closer to a Star Trek console!
What I am really waiting for is for gaming keyboards that don't use keys. They will be glass, touchscreen boards for which players can load/create game profiles that work for them.
I am thinking if STO starts taking off with players that it would be feasible for someone to develop and market the STO programmable console. Now that WoW is hugegantic they are marketing every little bit and bob you can imagine!
I'm using a Nostromo N52te. I have it set up rather strangely - pm me and I'll try to post a profile file someplace.
I also have a G15 (v1 with 18 keys) and a Razer Naga, but that's overkill for this game (I use all that though in ***, for example).
I HIGHLY recommend you use a Logitech gaming KB, as the Logitech macroing and key bind driver is FAR, FAR, FAR superior to the Razer drivers (including the Nostromo)- Logitech can bind a multi-keypress to a single key without macroing it, which is an enormous drawback to Razer-based products.
That in mind, you may want to look to the Logitech G13 pad. I cant speak to the physical design (the Nostromo is very comfortable), but the Logitech driver behind it is likely going to outshine the Nostromo.
Find a shop with no restock fee and buy both, keep the one you like after a week?
I used to use a Belkin n52 (original) but since it's worn down now, I had to get something new. Literally everybody I have chatted with who went to the n52te from the n52 hates it. Aside from a very few consumer reviews on sites like Newegg, it's hated. Thus I pulled the trigger on the Logitech g13. Took me awhile to figure out how to properly set up not only a basic profile, but macros. Still, aside from the joystick being a little too responsive for my tastes, I'd recommend it over the n52te.
All the buttons are programmable, and all can accept a macro. You can program the macro on the fly, just as advertised, or do it from within the keyboard interface software. You can even rename your macros later. Takes a couple days to really get a feel for it, but once you do, it's easy to work with.
I use a n52te and overall it works pretty well. for simplicities sake I try to use the same keymaps from game to game, since they are already in my head, and I have had issues with WTO accepting combo keybinds (Ctrl 1 et al) since the n52te needs them input as macros. In STO hitting one of those keys will usually fire the number while ignoring the Ctrl, but works sometimes, so I am guessing it has something to do with how STO takes that input.