Aside from one annoyance, I've liked using the RGB80. At its current price of $120, this keyboard is squarely in premium territory. Is it worth it?
The RGB80's colorful LEDs are a cool trick. I had fun idly running through all of the available colors in the software. Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts might bemoan the lack of authentic Cherry MX switches, but the Khails feel worthy of the keyboard's price, and they never posed a problem in use. I also enjoyed the tenkeyless design, which takes up less space on my desk and doesn't make me awkwardly reach for my mouse like a full 104-key board does.
Ugh, that modal Start key, though. If you're a heavy user of the Start key like I am, I have to recommend that you pass on the RGB80, since you won't be able to take full advantage of the backlight's capabilities. Rosewill might update its driver software to address the problem, but we don't yet know when that might happen. We're left waiting for the advertised 16.8 million color backlight range, as well. Another concern is Rosewill's one-year warranty. Many similarly priced mechanical keyboards offer at least two years of warranty coverage.
If you don't care about customizable backlighting at all, or you want the finest in German key switch quality, there are plenty of Cherry MX-equipped gaming keyboards around the same price point, including Corsair's Vengeance K70 (a TR Editor's Choice) and Rosewill's own Apollo. Corsair will soon be introducing two keyboards based on Cherry MX RGB switches, too: the K70 RGB and K95 RGB. Both will be costlier than the RGB80, with $170 and $190 MSRPs, respectively. From what I can see, however, Corsair's software will be slicker, and some crazier lighting effects will be available, which could make the premium worth it.
All told, I'm not sure that the RGB LED party trick is enough to elevate the RGB80 above the rest of the mechanical keyboard pack. If you just can't live without RGB LEDs in your mechanical keyboard, though, it's the only way to go for now.
23 comments — Last by slowriot at 10:04 PM on 07/15/14
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