Choosing a New Mechanical Backlit Keyboard

I’m looking at getting a new keyboard, as the keys on my old Eclipse II are starting to give out. So far, the best fit I found was the Redragon M550 Yama,

Seems to push all my buttons (couldn’t resist) and has good reviews at $79.99 plus tax. Anyone have any better suggestions at or below this price?

What I care about:
Programmable G-keys
Mechanical Backlit keys, with the ability to individually program each key’s color
Decent build quality costing at or under $80

Things I don’t care about:
Genuine cherry switches
Lighting effects
$200 keyboards, no matter how “awesome”

For your requirements and a limit of $80, you will either have to buy a used/refurbished known brand or a no-name Chinese one such as you linked. For the latter, I’d look on ebay or directly at large Asian eletronics stores, e.g.

Thanks the the input. I’m not too keen on used peripherals given the wear issue, so I’ll probably stick with the one I linked to. I should have mentioned I’ll be buying on Amazon since this involves a gift card I received. For my needs I just can’t justify spending more than that on a keyboard. Any more than that I’d rather set aside for later upgrades (better screen or gpu).

Hello Nomedias, not sure what the situation is on your side of the pond but sometimes you can find the Corsair K70 at around $90. Not sure if you are able/interested in going the extra few $$ but it’s a great keyboard(talking from experience).

Just thought I would throw it in there. :slight_smile:

Thanks. Good to hear, and may be what I get if I end up returning the K550. As long as the build quality is “good enough” by my standards, I’m more interested in also having G keys and programmable key colors. Otherwise, I’ll give up on those features and get something with a rep for solid build quality and at least red backlit, such as your K70.

Sidenote: I know it seems like I’m nit-picking (people here spend thousands on imaginary spaceships) in my mind I just can’t justify spending $200 on a keyboard, which is where the “big name” keyboards are with the same features. I find that if I don’t draw a line somewhere when buying tech for gaming, my spending gets out of control. Also, I’m not a competitive gamer so a few milliseconds here and there mean nothing to me.

You gotta be picky and get the best you can for your money, that’s for sure. Also, I’m sure both those keyboards will suit you well. :slight_smile:

I have a Razer Blackwidow Chroma, it’s a bit more expensive than you’re looking at, but i’ve yet to have a problem with it.

Even spilled a drink on it the first week and after leaving it to dry out per instruction on the Razer website, it works fine now. … l+keyboard

Done and done.

If you plan to use hotas please don’t go near razer.

Yeah, I seem to recall people talking about conflicts with the Raser software in the past. I was only half-listening since it didn’t apply to me. I use a Saitek X-52, so I’ll probably be avoiding that brand unfortunately. Thanks.

So the Razer boards require the software to program the G keys?

One thing I liked about the Redragon board is that programming G keys or LED colors was done on the keyboard and didn’t require extra software.

IBM Model M :smiley:

LOL! I still have an original one on the shelf, will never part with it. I need to get around to finding a ps2-to-USB adapter that can actually power it, since the one I have doesn’t supply enough.

That’s what I use for my two Model Ms. Works well.

Got the K550 in today. So far, so good. Good solid build with a good weight to it. The bottom is plastic, but the switches sit in a solid aluminum plate. Feature-wise, this appears equivalent to an Corsair K95 RGB Cherry MX Brown. While the switches are not genuine Cherry MX, the keycaps are interchangeable with Cherry keycaps. The switches are quiet but as expected from the reviews there is a plastic-on-plastic clack when you bottom out a key. I’ll probably be getting some o-rings to silence that, but I probably would have with any mechanical keyboard. Can’t have the wife killing me in the middle of the night because the clacking from the other room drove her nuts.

However, there are caveats:

  • Custom backlight configurations (using L1, L2 or L3 key) require locking/disabling the Windows key.
  • There is no documentation for what the FN key does. You can infer some by looking at docs for their other keyboards, but they don’t all work. So far I’ve found one hidden lighting mode and a couple that adjust the speed or direction of the animations.
  • Outside of one of the three custom configurations, there are 5 backlight modes you cycle through. They are all animated in some fashion, and so far I’ve yet to find a way to freeze the animations or color changes. To have one static color, you have to use a custom config. In game not a big deal, but where you need the Windows key you’ll have to switch to a lighting effect (rainbow,ripple,gradual change, etc) or no backlight. I sent a message to the manufacturer asking for any docs on the FN key. We’ll see how that turns out.

On the upside, no software is needed and after you play with it a bit, it is easy to program the colors and macro keys. As for buying a “cheap chinese” knockoff, I’ll ask you to look on the bottom of a Corsair, Razer, or Logitech mechanical keyboard. From what I’ve found all three say “Made in China”. Warranty is 18 months, only 6 months less than the others typically.

In the end this cost $90 less than the K95 does now, so that just means more money from my fun budget can go toward a graphics upgrade later.

Hope this helps someone later on.