The Cherry MX Low Profile Difference
The market for mechanical gaming keyboards is exploding. Everyone, even companies you would never expect (I’m looking at you Creative Labs!), seems to have their own line of PC gaming accessories. But what really sets them apart? The answer is, sadly, not much; the existence of media keys or a volume roller, how good the software is, the occasional quirky layout.
Then there are the unique keyboards. We’ve looked at a few of them here. Today we’re adding another one to the list with the Cooler Master SK630 Low Profile Gaming Keyboard.
The SK630 features a flat, slimmed down design that could make any Apple fan feel right at home. Add to that full RGB backlighting, brand new Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Red switches, and massive amounts of software-free programmability and you can begin to see why this might catch more than a few eyes. With a list price of $119.99 this is not exactly a budget option, so let’s dive in and see if it’s worth the cost of entry.
- Switch Type: Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Switch
- Actuation Point: 1.2mm
- Travel Distance: 3.2mm
- Switch Lifespan: 50M actuations
- Material: Aluminum/Plastic
- Color: Gunmetal Black
- LED Color: RGB
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
- Response Rate: 1ms / 1000Hz
- MCU: 32-bit ARM Cortex M3
- Onboard Memory: 512KB
- On-the-fly System: Yes, for multimedia, Macro recording, and lighting control
- Multimedia Keys: Through Function Key (FN)
- Cable: 1.8m, USB Type-C Detachable & Braided
- Software Support: Yes, through Portal
- Dimensions: 353.5 x 125.5 x 29.8 mm (L*W*H)
- Product Weight (without cable): 552g
- Weight: 593g
- Warranty: 2 years
- List Price: $119.99
The World’s First Fully Analog Keyboard
For years, keyboards have been mostly static. Sure, there’s been innovations here and there but for the most part, we’ve been clacking on the same set of keys for most of our lives. The switches are digital, like the light switches on your wall: they’re either on or off with nothing in between. For many games, this just isn’t ideal. Racing games need feathery touches; third-person action games demand you both creep and run; most, in fact, feel better when you add a little bit of nuance to your control.
The Wooting One is the world’s first completely analog optical keyboard. With the press of a button, every key can offer the same kind of nuanced control of a controller’s trigger, and thanks to a clever design, it will work any game that offers dual controller and keyboard support. Coming in at $159.99 for a single tenkeyless model and two switch options, this is the kind of innovation that doesn’t come cheap.
Razer’s Blackwidow might be the most iconic mechanical gaming keyboard ever made. It’s dominated electronics store displays since it was first introduced and, as a result, few gamers don’t know the Blackwidow by name alone. Understandably, the Blackwidow series has been Razer’s flagship keyboard line since its debut with everything else coming second. All of that changes this week as the company introduces a second flagship keyboard. Today, we’re looking at the Razer Huntsman Elite, a premium keyboard with an exciting set of features and a brand new in-house key switch. But is it worth the ultra-premium $199 price tag? Let’s find out.
- MSRP: $199.99 (Huntsman Elite, reviewed), $149.99 (Huntsman)
- Switch Type: Razer Opto-Mechanical Switch
- Actuation Force: 45g
- Actuation Point: 1.5mm
- Travel Distance: 3.5mm
- Lifespan: 100 million clicks
- Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- 10 key rollover with anti-ghosting
- Gaming mode
- Braided fiber cable
- Aluminum matte black top cover
- 4-sided underglow lighting with 38 customization zones
- Ergonomic wrist rest with 24 underglow lighting customization zones
- Dedicated media controls
- Multi-functional digital dial
- Chroma game integration
Beginning with packaging, Razer continues their long tradition of over-delivering. When you open the box, you’ll find the keyboard well presented with a nice plastic cover to keep it dust free. You also find a letter from Min-Liang Tan, telling you what an amazing buying choice you’ve made and welcoming you to the Cult of Razer. Behind the letter, you’ll find the instruction manual, warranty information, and a sticker sheet with a handful of case badges.
Do You Have a Need for Kailh Silver Speed?
HyperX has launched the Alloy FPS RGB mechanical keyboard, featuring Kailh Silver Speed switches. The keyboard has a more compact design than the Alloy Elite RGB keyboard I reviewed back in June, and carries a price tag $50 lower than that model thanks in part to the lower-cost Kailh switches employed. Is the quality of this new keyboard up to the high standards of previous HyperX designs? How do these Kailh Silver Speed key switches feel compared to Cherry MX switches? I will try to answer both of these questions in this review, so let's get started!
- Type: Mechanical
- Keyswitches: Kailh Silver Speed, Linear, 40cN actuation force
- Backlight: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
- Light effects: Per key RGB lighting and 5 brightness levels.
- On board memory: 3 profiles
- Connection type: USB 2.0 (2 USB connectors)
- USB 2.0 Pass-through: Yes (mobile phone charging only)
- Polling rate: 1000Hz
- Anti-ghosting: 100% anti-ghosting
- Key Rollover: N-key mode
- Media control: Yes
- Game Mode: Yes
- Cable Type: Detachable, braided. Length: 1.8m
- Dimensions Width 442.26 Depth 129.81 Height 35.59 mm
- Weight (with cable): 1100g
- OS compatibility: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
Pricing and Availability: $109.99 MSRP (currently available direct from HyperX)
Previously all HyperX keyboards were built with Cherry MX keyswitches, so the move to Kailh with this new keyboard is interesting - though it does allow for a lower MSRP with the same per-key RGB lighting of the Elite model. And while Kailh switches are less expensive to buy (about a third of the cost of a Cherry MX key switches), that does not mean the performance is inferior - though I have previously found Kailh switches to feel a little different.
Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 09:31 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: X50Q, smart keyboard, RGB, q series, Omron, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, iot, das keyboard, connected, cloud, 5Q
Das Keyboard has introduced their Q-series of "smart, cloud-connected keyboards" which use the company's Q-software to bring notifications directly to key backlighting. It's an interesting concept, and the software connects to both IFTTT and Zapier services "to light up the 5Q and X50Q keyboards with notifications - all color-coded and displayed on keys determined by the user", according to Das Keyboard.
The first of the two announced models is the 5Q, shown here with its silicon-padded wrist rest attached:
"The Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-enabled, open API, RGB mechanical keyboard that helps boost productivity through dazzling performance and the industry’s fastest electronics."
What are these fast electronics? Exclusive to the 5Q is 'Real-Time One' (or RTO) which is an analog technology that Das Keyboard states "detects key presses in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer within 1 millisecond—up to 45 times faster than other keyboards". RGB lighting is onboard, naturally, and here Das Keyboard is offering what they call "RGB+", which is a ultra-bright solution they claim to be "many times" as bright as other keyboards:
"Extra-bright RGB backlighting electronics called Das Keyboard RGB+, along with custom surface-mount LEDs, optimized lens and ultra-clear light guide—making the 5Q keyboard many times brighter than any other RGB keyboard currently on the market."
These are mechanical keyboards, both of which offer Omron Gamma Zulu switches, as the company describes:
"A modern best-in-class, soft tactile key switch that provides users with faster, effortless typing and gaming sessions. Das Keyboard’s Gamma Zulu switches have a 1.5mm actuation point, a total travel of 3.5mm and can withstand an unsurpassed 100 million actuations..."
Next we have the X50Q:
The X50Q adds a swappable top plate design (and includes alternate textured WASD keys), but does not have the RTO analog system - and costs $50 less than the 5Q. Pricing for these keyboards is at the high end of the premium keyboard market, with MSRPs of $249 for the 5Q and $199 for the X50Q. Both models are available now.
Full press release after the break.
Built Like a Tank
HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston, entered the mechanical keyboard market in 2016 with the Alloy FPS - which this reviewer found to be well constructed and a great value relative to the market when I reviewed both versions last year. Enter the Alloy Elite, an impressive-looking keyboard that boasts a high level of build quality and the option of full RGB lighting (a single color variant is also available). Does the Elite live up to its name in everyday use? I will share my findings with the RGB version reviewed here.
Features (from HyperX):
- Unique light bar and dynamic lighting effects
- Solid steel frame
- CHERRY® MX mechanical keyswitches
- Dedicated media buttons and large volume wheel
- Quick access buttons for brightness, lighting effects and Game Mode
- Conveniently connect devices via USB 2.0 pass-through
- 100% Anti-ghosting and N-Key Rollover functionality
- Comfortable, detachable wrist rest with soft-touch coating
- Additional titanium-colored textured keycaps and HyperX keycap removal tool
Pricing and Availability:
First a quick look at packaging and included accessories:
A New Kind of Romer-G
Logitech isn’t a company afraid of taking risks. In 2014, they shook up the mechanical keyboard market with their new Romer-G switches, a custom challenger to the popular Cherry MX. The Romer-Gs were nothing if not divisive, however. While some users loved the higher tactile bump offered by the original, others found them to be too soft compared to their MX counterparts.
Today, Logitech presents us with a new take on their Romer-G in the form of a brand new linear switch, found exclusively in the new G513 Carbon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. The G513 is a refined and upgraded take on last year’s G413. Can this pair of refreshes combine to create something all their own?
Let’s find out.
Specifications and Design
- MSRP: $149.99 (Amazon.com)
- Key Switches: Romer-G (Linear or Tactile)
- Key Durability: 70 million keypresses
- Actuation distance: 1.5mm
- Actuation force: 45g
- Total travel distance: 3.2mm
- Connection Type: USB 2.0
- Indicator Lights (LED): 2
- USB Ports (Built-in): x1, USB 2.0
- Backlighting: Yes, RGB per key lighting
- Special Keys
- Lighting Controls: FN+F5/F6/F7
- Game Mode: FN+F8
- Media Controls: FN+F9/F10/F11/F12
- Volume Controls: FN+ PRTSC/SCRLK/PAUSE
- Keyboard Dimensions: 132mm (H) x 455mm (W) x 34mm (D)
- Palm rest Dimensions: 88mm (H) x 445mm (W) x 21.5mm (D)
- Weight: (w/o cable): 1020g
- Warranty: 2-year Limited Hardware Warranty
The G513 comes in both linear and tactile varieties, indicated with a small graphic on the front of the box. The keyboards are otherwise identical, including in the packaging and presentation. We see the usual “beauty shot” on the front of the box, as well as the feature highlights on the back which we’ll go in depth on soon.
Unpacking it, we see that the keyboard is actually quite simple. There are no extra macro keys or dedicated media buttons, making for a layout that is fairly standard. In fact, the main change comes in the indicator lights, which have been pared down just Caps Lock and Game Mode (Windows Lock) and are also RGB enabled. This space is instead used to highlight the brushed aluminum top plate and glossy “G” branding.
Bringing PC Gaming to the Couch
PC gaming lives at the cutting edge, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to kick back on the couch to enjoy a game. Not long ago, we were stuck with controllers or draping long wires across our floors, but as technology has advanced, those compromises are becoming a thing of the past. Today, we’re looking at the latest combo from Corsair with the K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and their custom-fit Lapboard.
Are the days of balancing keyboards on our legs and mousing from couch cushions finally behind us? Let’s find out.
- MSRP: $159.99 (Amazon.com)
- Keyboard Compatibility: Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- Cushion: Full length memory foam
- Mouse Pad: Soft surface, replaceable
- Dimensions (Mouse Pad): 10.44” (L) x 8.26” (W) x 0.05” (H)
- Dimensions (Lapboard): 26.4” (L) x 10.9” (W) x 2.1” (H)
- Accessories: x2 spare retention clips, x2 spare retention hooks
- Weight: 4.07lbs (without keyboard)
- Warranty: Two years
K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard:
- Key Switches: Cherry MX Red
- Key Lifespan: 50 Million Actuations
- Layout: Tenkeyless, 87 Keys
- Wired Connectivity: USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Type-A
- Wireless Connectivity: Ultra-fast 1ms 2.4GHz or Bluetooth® 4.2 + LE
- Battery: Lithium Ion (Battery Charging Charges via USB to computer)
- Battery Life: Up to 15 hours at normal brightness, 25 hours (low brightness), 75 hours no backlighting
- Report Rate: 1000Hz
- Keyboard Rollover: Full Key (NKRO) with 100% Anti-Ghosting
- Illumination: Ice Blue LED
- Media Controls: Yes, Dedicated
- Macro Keys: No
- USB Pass-through: No
- Adjustable Height: Yes
- Weight: 2.4lbs (1.09kg)
- Warranty: Two years
Corsair Gaming K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Starting with the keyboard, the K63 comes in the traditional black and yellow packaging of Corsair products. The highlight here is definitely the wireless connectivity with rapid 1ms response time. We also see the usual callout to Cherry MX style keys, which are well known for their high quality standard. Interestingly, the K63 Wireless is only available in linear-style Cherry MX Red at this time.
Taking it out of the box, it’s clear that Corsair hasn’t skimped on materials compared to their other keyboards. The K63 is remarkably similar to the larger, wired K68 we reviewed here, minus the RGB backlighting, dust, and spill resistance. Apart from being wireless, this variant is also tenkeyless, which means it lacks the full number pad. As a result, we also find some of our media controls shifted to the left side of the board. It’s heavy, coming in at just under two-and-a-half pounds and offers very little flex thanks to the steel mounting plate under the keys.
The Creative Craft
The Logitech Craft is an object lesson in not judging a book by its cover. By all appearances, it’s seems to be a standard chiclet keyboard with a volume wheel. Nothing impressive, though, sure, it looks sleek. For those willing to look just as little bit closer, you’ll find one of the most versatile keyboards on the market today. That “volume wheel” is more than meets the eye and has the potential to provide a more efficient workflow for creatives and business professionals alike.
Specifications and Design
- MSRP: $199.99 (Amazon.com)
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 32 mm x 430 mm x 149 mm
- Connectivity: Logitech Unifying 2.4GHz wireless technology, USB 2.0, Bluetooth Low Energy technology
- Program Compatibility:
- Microsoft Word®, Microsoft PowerPoint®, Microsoft Excel® 2010, 2013 and 2016 - Windows only
- Adobe® Photoshop® CC, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® Classic CC, Adobe® Illustrator®CC, Adobe® Premiere® Pro CC 2017 and above – Windows and Mac, Adobe Reader DC
- VLC Media Player - Windows
- Preview, Quicktime, Safari® - Mac
- Spotify™ - Windows and Mac
- Additional Features:
- 10m wireless range
- Wireless encryption
- On/Off power switch
- 3 connection indicator lights
- Caps lock indicator light
- Battery indicator light
- Rechargeable with USB type C
- Compatible with Logitech Flow enabled mice
- Weight: 960g
- Warranty: 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty
Beginning with packaging, the Craft ships in a nice black box with a nice render of the keyboard on the front. It’s simple and elegant, matching the keyboard itself. Inside you’ll find the keyboard is wrapped in an adhesive dust-protective film. Underneath, we have the USB Type-C cable, 2.4GHz wireless USB insert, and our documentation.
Taking it out of the box, we find what appears to be a standard 104-key chiclet keyboard with a large metal bar on the top. The Craft is slightly more compact than a traditional keyboard coming in at just under 17-inches wide. The keyboard is thin but surprisingly heavy with a solid 2.1 pounds to keep it stationary on your desk. Much of this seems due to the bar on the top; however, the chassis is also fairly rigid and angled to diminish any flex in normal use.
Takes a lickin' and keeps on clickin'
Over the years, Corsair has developed a name for itself as one of the premiere manufacturers of mechanical gaming keyboards in the market. One could argue that their K70 series is the leading inspiration for gaming keyboard design to today. Their dominance isn’t just limited to physical design, however. RGB illumination and powerful software programming have also defined their keyboards and set them apart from the competition.
Today, we’re looking at a newer entry in the mechanical keys catalog with the K68 RGB. The K68 is more of a budget-entry, but still packs a suite of premium features to please gaming fans. It’s also water and dust resistant with an IP32 rating. We put that to the test. Without further ado, let’s take a close look.
Specifications and Design
- MSRP: $119.99
- Keyboard Size: Standard
- Key Switches: Cherry MX Red
- Keyboard Backlighting: RGB
- Switch Lifespan: 50-million actuations
- Report Rate: 1000Hz
- Matrix: Full Key (NKRO), 100% anti-ghosting
- Water/Dust Resistance: IP32
- Media Keys: Dedicated
- Wrist Rest: Yes
- Cable Type: Tangle-free rubber
- WIN Lock: Yes
- Software: CUE Enabled
- Dimensions: 455mm x 170mm x 39mm
- Weight: 1.41kg
- Warranty: Two years
The K68 arrives in standard Corsair keyboard packaging. The box is rich with feature-highlights and definitely plays up the RGB illumination. This is 2018 and a Corsair product, so that should come as no surprise.
Everything is well packed inside the box. The keyboard ships with the usual plastic dust-sleeves on both the keyboard, cable, and plastic wrist-rest. We also get a pair of small documentation inserts that describe the warranty and unlabeled hotkeys.
Taking it out of the box, it’s here we get the first indicators of how Corsair managed to cut $50 off the price of the K70 RGB. The cable, rather than coming braided, is standard rubber. Likewise, the included wrist-rest is a more lightweight plastic, felt especially in the more flexible arms attaching it to the keyboard’s body. Neither of these are bad, especially when many gaming keyboards don’t include a wrist-rest at all.