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
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:
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.
Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2018 - 08:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: speakers, romer-g, mechanical, logitech, keyboard, key switches
Logitech has announced a pair of devices featuring the company’s “LIGHTSYNC” technology, with the new G560 gaming speaker and G513 gaming keyboard. What is LIGHTSYNC? According to Logitech, the technology synchronizes audio and RGB lighting with gameplay, to create a more immersive experience. We have seen a similar concept with the Philips Ambilight TVs, which project lighting onto a rear wall, synchronized with on-screen content to enhance immersion.
How is this new lighting tech implemented with gaming peripherals, exactly? We begin with the G560, which offers plenty of power with a 120W (240W peak) amplifier, and 3D audio effects courtesy of DTS:X Ultra 1.0. As to the LIGHTSYNC implementation, Logitech explains:
“Powered by advanced LIGHTSYNC technology, the Logitech G560 synchronizes brilliant RGB lighting and powerful audio in real time to match on-screen gameplay action. Light and animation effects can be customized across approximately 16.8 million colors, with four lighting zones.”
The G560 offers USB and 3.5mm connectivity, as well as Bluetooth, and Logitech's "Easy-Switch" technology allows for switching between any four connected devices. The included LIGHTSYNC technology works with both video and music.
Next we have the G513 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, which combines Romer-G switches (your choice of either Romer-G Tactile or Linear), and support for LIGHTSYNC. The Logitech G513 offers a brushed aluminum top case and USB passthrough port, and includes an optional palm rest.
As to pricing, the Logitech G560 PC Gaming Speaker will carry an MSRP of $199.99, with a $149.99 MSRP for the G513 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Availability is set for April 2018.
Cherry is one of the most well-known brands in the mechanical keyboard industry. The company, based in Germany, is best known for their MX key switches, which have become the gold standard in the premium keyboard market. As a result of their high standards, tight quality control, and even the occasional scarcity, “genuine Cherry key switches” has become a veritable marketing point on more than a few features lists.
Since they make their own switches, it should come as no surprise that Cherry also produces their own keyboards. Today, we’re looking at the G80-3494, a new entry in the G80-3000 line and one of the few keyboards in the United States to feature Cherry MX Silent Black key switches. Do their full-fledged boards live up to the lofty standards of their switches?
- MSRP: $149.99 (currently sale price: $111.56)
- Layout: ANSI, 104-key
- Key Switch: Cherry MX Silent Black (linear)
- Key Lifespan: 50M keystroke
- Actuation Force: 60cN
- N-Key Rollover: 14-key simultaneous
- Cable: 1.75m, non-detachable, PVC coated
- Dimensions: 470 x 195 x 44 mm
- Weight: 935g
Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 07:19 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: MX Red, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, K63, gaming, corsair, Cherry MX, bluetooth, 2.4GHz, CES 2018, CES, wireless
Corsair continues the expansion of their peripheral portfolio at CES, and the focus here is wireless. The new products include a new wireless keyboard and mouse (Corsair's first wireless mouse) along with a Qi wireless charging mousepad and new lap board.
K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
First up is the K63 keyboard, a wireless TKL design with a trio of connection options. In addition to Corsair's 2.4 GHz connection which offers 1 ms latency, there is also the option of connecting via Bluetooth 4.2 (with a latency of 7.5 ms) or use a standard wired connection via USB (which also charges the keyboard).
The K63 keyboard has Cherry MX Red key switches (no option for other colors, currently), individual backlighting, and battery life that ranges from 15 hours of continuous use with default backlighting (default brightness is 66%), up to a whopping 75 hours of continuous use without backlight. AES 128-bit encryption is also supported, and for gamers who do not want the additional latency this adds (total of 1.08 ms), encryption can be toggled on and off via software.
DARK CORE RGB Wireless Mouse
Corsair's first wireless mouse offers the same three connectivity options as the K63 keyboard, with 2.4 GHz or BT 4.2 wireless in addition to USB, and there is an SE version of the mouse that also supports the Qi wireless standard with its integrated charging coil, and that is complimented by the MM1000 Qi wireless charging mousepad.
Not only did Corsair announce the new keyboard and mouse, but also the K63 Lapboard for your slick new wireless peripherals. It's a lightweight design that features memory foam padding and a built-in wrist rest, and the mouse pad is removable for cleaning/replacement.
All of these new wireless peripherals and accessories are available now, with pricing as follows:
- Dark Core RGB Mouse: $79.99
- Dark Core RGB SE Mouse: $89.99
- MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mousepad: $79.99
- K63 Wireless Keyboard: $109.99
- K63 Wireless Gaming Lapboard: $59.99
- K63 Wireless Gaming Keyboard/Lapboard Combo: $159.99
A Tale of Two Form-Factors
HyperX (a division of Kingston) entered the mechanical keyboard market a year ago with the Alloy series, which began as a pair of 104-key designs with the Alloy Elite and Alloy FPS. Both keyboards feature Cherry MX keys, with the FPS sporting a minimalist design with a compact frame to save room on a desk. Now a TKL version of the FPS has arrived - the FPS Pro - to compliment the 104-key version already at the PC Perspective offices, and in this review we will test out both versions of this gaming keyboard.
Both keyboards feature adjustable red backlighting
Features from HyperX for the Alloy FPS:
- Compact design frees desktop space — waste less time reorienting the mouse
- Solid-steel frame for stability, giving you supreme confidence in your controls
- Ultra-portable design with detachable cable is great for LAN parties and tournaments
- Cherry MX mechanical keys for tactile feedback and reliable keypresses
- Convenient USB charge port allows you to charge other devices
- Game mode, 100-percent Anti-Ghosting and full N-key rollover features ensure your inputs are correct
- HyperX red backlit keys with customizable, dynamic lighting functions
- Additional colored, textured keycaps spotlight the most important keys
Now take virtually the same feature list (minus the additional keycaps) and subtract the number pad, and you have the Alloy FPS Pro, an “ultra-minimalistic tenkeyless design ideal for FPS pros”, according to HyperX. This reduction in size and number of keys is accompanied by a reduction in price, and the Alloy FPS Pro will be 20% less expensive than the 104-key FPS when it launches in late August. How do these mechanical keyboards stack up? Read on for our full review!