Solid metal design and mechanical switches give make this keyboard feel solid and satisfying.
Despite having only a single-color backlight, this is still an attractive, eye-catching device.
Outside of its n-key rollover, this is a feature-lite keyboard.
Outstanding value. Looks and feels like it should cost twice as much as it does.
We Didn't Like
In our review of the Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard we outlined a sort of rubric for what differentiates a “gaming keyboard” from a regular keyboard and whether or not these factors are worth the premium price. To refresh your memory, those were mechanical switches, premium features like anti-ghosting and customizable macro keys, and a striking, eye-catching design.
In most cases, a keyboard that boasts these kinds of features will set you back $150 on the low end, but there are budget alternatives available. We concluded that the $50 Corsair K55 RGB was a fine enough keyboard, if one that was a little bit pricey for the feature set it contained, but at $10 less, how does the EagleTec KG010 model mechanical keyboard stack up?
Pretty well, it would seem. Let’s dig in.
Unlike the more expensive Corsair K55 RGB, the EagleTec KG010 Mechanical Keyboard does just what it says on the tin: it has actual mechanical switches. This is about as premium as premium features get in a keyboard, and the EagleTec KG010 is about the least expensive mechanical keyboard on the market. Each keypress is accompanied by both an auditory and tactile “click” that makes it immensely satisfying to type on. In terms of gaming, it may not make any real difference over traditional membrane switches, but boy, oh boy, does it sure feel good as your fingers dance across the keys. EagleTec’s product information boasts about the longevity of these switches, and how they can stand up to “tough gaming conditions” (editorial note: what exactly constitutes a tough gaming condition?), and while we don’t have the time or energy to put those specific claims to the test, it feels remarkably well made. I don’t expect you’ll run into issues any time soon, and even if you do, EagleTec offers a one year warranty from the date of purchase.
Beyond the keys, the keyboard has rubber pads to prevent sliding, as well as fold-out feet to elevate it to a more comfortable typing position (all the standard fare), and while it does not come with a wrist wrest, it does have slots on the bottom lip to connect your own if you’re so inclined. It’s perhaps a slight bummer that it doesn’t come with one designed to match the look of the keyboard, but then again, for a budget keyboard it’s probably better to omit the wrist wrest and cut the cost rather than throw in some cheap plastic nothing that you’ll end up just leaving in the box.
If there’s one area where the EagleTec KG010 does fall a bit short of other keyboards, it’s in the category of premium features specifically designed with video games in mind. In terms of layout, this is a standard 104-key design without any added bonuses like customizable macro keys or dedicated media buttons. Media playback controls are still available using the function keys, but they’re not given their own space on the keyboard.
On the other hand, however, this keyboard does have n-key rollover, meaning – in theory – you could press every key on the keyboard at once and not lose any inputs. Considering the fact that I only have ten fingers, there’s no practical way for me to put that claim to the test, but I could get up to ten keys pressed at once with every one recognized. This is all purely academic, mind you, because there’s never going to be any scenario in which you will need to press more than ten keys simultaneously, but I suppose it’s better to have more than you need than not enough, right?
Finally, we’ve got to talk about the EagleTec KG010’s most striking feature: the darn thing is made out of aluminum! Okay, so not the entire thing – the keys themselves are, of course, plastic, as is the bottom plate – but the entire upper portion of the construction is made of sleek, solid brushed metal. The model I reviewed had a black finish on the aluminum, but EagleTec also offers a version with a silver finish and white keys for those so inclined. Combine that with the LED backlit keys and this is an extraordinarily good looking keyboard; one that looks far nicer than its budget price tag might suggest. It should be noted that the backlight is only one solid color and doesn’t offer any pulsing or chasing light patterns. Just “on” and “off.” Personally, I prefer the solid blue over the multi-colored lighting and I find the flashing light patterns to be distracting, but ultimately that will come down to personal taste. EagleTec does offer a RGB variant for slightly more if that’s more your speed. Regardless, this is an impressive looking keyboard. The brushed metal body clearly differentiates it from your run-of-the-mill keyboard, but it still manages to be sleek and mostly minimalist rather than trying to impress with gaudy, unnecessary design flourishes.
When we get right down to it, I have almost nothing bad to say about this keyboard. Sure, it’s not as feature rich as some other gaming keyboards, but it’s also just about the least expensive gaming keyboard you can find on the market, and the features it does offer generally come with a substantially higher price tag. Getting a true, blue mechanical keyboard for forty bucks already feels like a steal, but then you consider the metal construction, how solid it feels, and how good it looks and it feels like you’re getting away with something you shouldn’t.
As far as entry level keyboards go, you’re not likely to find a better bargain. Sure, the lack of macro keys might be a dealbreaker for some – after all, that’s the only feature of a gaming keyboard that might actually improve your performance in any measurable way – but a budget level keyboard is never going to have a full suite of features. Ultimately it comes down to a question of what matters more to you. Do you want the satisfying, tactile “click” of real, mechanical switches, or do you crave the customizability of macro keys and multiple lighting profiles? If you’re interested in the former, the EagleTec KG010 is an absurd value, and I can’t recommend it enough.