Wireless + mechanical + RGB + cheap? Seems like a good combination, so how does it fare? Let's check it out.
LAYOUT & SIZE
This one caught my eye because of this interesting layout. It’s a very long and thin looking keyboard, as all they’ve done is cut off the whole top row. So basically the function row and the dedicated print screen and stuff is gone. So as this has 71 keys, it puts it into the 65% keyboard category, just like the popular Magicforce 68. So perhaps this has the potential to be a good alternative to that in the budget market.
Another way you can look at it, is that it’s like a 60% board, but with the dedicated arrow keys and the nav cluster above it included. It’s also an interesting alternative to the 75% keyboards, as it’s shorter in height, but longer. However, we can say that it’s not as efficient as something like a 75% or other 65% boards, as it has a lot of wasted space above the arrow keys. Most compact keyboards tend to pack the board completely, in order to get the most functionality in the smallest space possible. One of the main advantages in compact keyboards is the savings in lateral space, meaning that it’s not as long across your desk. Even though it does save a bit of space by not having any horizontal gaps, it’s still essentially a tenkeyless board laterally.
DESIGN & BUILD
The case looks amazing. I’m loving the very square-ish design and defined lines and angles, as it’s somewhat of an opposite look to the Magicforce 68 which is more curvy. The sides are a clean smooth satin finish, and we can see how low profile and thin the keyboard case is. It’s also kept thinner since it’s a floating key design, so there’s no top shell that goes over it. These leave the switches more exposed, so it’s easier for cleaning, and it also allows the lights to radiate more, which we’ll see later. And on the back there’s the port, and this is a micro USB port. So unfortunately it’s not the standard mini usb. But at least you’ll have a tonne of spare cables.
The keycaps unfortunately have the prominent gamery edgy typeface on them. Every time this gets me, just a simple font would be immensely better. Although fortunately the characters are a bit more thinner than usual, like they’re using a light version of the font. So it looks much more tolerable, especially for the letters that don’t have the cuts in them, I think they look fine. Another good thing is the directional arrow keys, usually they’re a bit more out there, but these are nice and simple as well.
This keyboard only comes in Outemu keyswitches. It does mention the 4 colours on the box. But essentially they’re Chinese clones of the famous German made Cherry MX keyswitches, and their colours mimic them as well. So the blues will be clicky, the brown tactile, and the reds and blacks linear. But today we have the Outemu blue switches, so it’s a loud and clicky switch.
The lighting modes are cool, and just slightly tedious to work with. But just like many, I prefer it to just be 1 plain colour. There are a few things. Unfortunately, one of my LEDs is a bit off colour and flickers a bit. So that doesn’t look very encouraging. There was also another LED that was similar, but it seems to be fine for the time being.
Check out the video above for a full lighting demonstration.
The listed wireless range is at 1.5m. However with a direct line of sight, I was still able to type from 10 to 11 metres away. Different devices may vary, but you probably won’t have any range issues anyways.
Drevo also lists a battery life of 20 hours, with a charge time of less than 2 hours.
The lighting turns off after 30 seconds when the keyboard is inactive, so that helps conserve a bit of battery. So the keyboard actually goes into a standby mode, and runs at a current of 3 milliamps, in which they state will last for 14 days, but I obviously didn’t have enough time to test that. They use a 1200 milliamp 3.7 volt lithium battery which I’ll show later.
I was only able to deplete the battery once, since I primarily use my desktop to do work, and don’t have a Bluetooth adapter for it. And I found that it was approximately correct the first time round.
So overall, it’s a decked out keyboard with things like customisable RGB lighting, and wireless Bluetooth capabilities, all in an interesting compact layout, which is quite impressive for a budget keyboard. I love the case design, and I think the square lines and thin profile look great. I like the finish of the plastic, but I’m not a great fan of the aluminium finish on top. I think it’s a bit too shiny. Although the black version does look nicer in the photos I’ve seen. The typeface on the keycaps aren’t great, but they’re not the worst, since they’re a bit tamed by making them thinner.
I feel like it’s a cool layout, but it could have been more efficient with space like the other 65% keyboards out there. So essentially it will give you the space saving benefits on a tenkeyless keyboard. Is it a solid contender against the Magicforce 68? I think it can be if you’re dealing with the cheaper Outemu or Kailh versions. It has the big features on RGB lights and wireless functionality, but in my experience it didn’t excel in both of those features. But it certainly does give you more flexibility and options.