Per-Key Quality Testing

In order to test the quality and consistency of a keyboard, we are using a texture analyser that is programmed to measure and display the actuation force of the standard keyboard keys. By measuring the actuation force of every key, the quality and consistency of the keyboard can be quantified. It can also reveal design issues, such as the larger keys being far softer to press than the main keys of the keyboard. The actuation force is measured in Centinewton (cN). Some companies use another figure, gram-force (gf). The conversion formula is 1 cN = 1.02 gf (i.e. they are about the same). A high-quality keyboard should be as consistent as possible, with an average actuation force as near to the manufacturer's specs as possible and a disparity of less than ±10%. Greater differences are likely to be perceptible by users. It is worth noting that there is typically variance among keyboards, although most keyboard companies will try and maintain consistency - as with other reviews, we're testing our sample only.

The machine we use for our testing is accurate enough to provide readings with a resolution of 0.1 cN. For wider keys (e.g. Enter, Space Bar, etc.), the measurement is taking place at the center of the key, right above the switch. Note that large keys generally have a lower actuation force even if the actuation point is at the dead center of the key. This is natural, as the size and weight of the keycap reduce the required actuation force. For this reason, we do display the force required to actuate every key but we only use the results of the typically sized keys for our consistency calculations. Still, very low figures on medium sized keys, such as the Shift and Enter keys reveal design issues and can easily be perceptible by the user.

Although we previously received good results from virtually identical OUTEMU switches, the performance of the switches on the KM-G3 is mediocre. There is significant disparity across the main keys of the keyboard, to the point that users with sensitive fingers may discern the difference between certain keys. The average force at the actuation point is 42.5 cN, a rather low figure for a Cherry MX Blue clone, making the keys feeling a little too light for people who are used to a tactile mechanical switch. On the positive side, they should reduce long-term use fatigue.

Hands-on Testing

I always try to use every keyboard that we review as my personal keyboard for at least a week. My typical weekly usage includes a lot of typing (about 100-150 pages), a few hours of gaming and some casual usage, such as internet browsing and messaging. I personally prefer Cherry MX Brown or similar (tactile) switches for such tasks but the audible tactile Blue switches are also close to my personal preference. The OUTEMU switches are quite good for professional use, traveling easily and solidly while offering great tactile and acoustic feedback. The problem here is that the acoustic feedback is rather loud, making the keyboard very likely to annoy anyone else nearby. Most users will find the audible feedback to be a boon, allowing for better sense coordination, but those who type long texts in quiet environments may become weary of it.

When it comes to gaming, the AUKEY KM-G3 RGB keyboard has very few extra features that will be of much use to gamers. The macro recorder is very basic and the vast majority of users will not be able to make practical use of it, reducing the list of gaming-related practical features to the RGB lighting profiles. It is also a rather noisy keyboard, as the loudness of the switches makes it absolutely impractical for night gaming for users in a shared household and may even be bothersome during the day in some cases. For users who live alone or game in well-insulated rooms, this will not be a problem, but everyone else will need to steer towards another kind of keyboard.

The AUKEY KM-G3 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Final Words and Conclusion
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  • CU - Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - link

    I would like to see a review of the Redragon K550. It is only $69.99 and has software for programming macros and changing the RGB's. Reply
  • RSAUser - Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - link

    I have two of the K550, I bought it because I have a K556 as my main work keyboard and it's really good.

    The K550 is definitely not, keys are slightly louder than my chery brown and the experience is decidedly not uniform across keys, this across both keyboards.

    I'd spend the extra if I had to choose again, wasn't worth saving about $20 if e.g. My K556 is 4 years old now and has given no usage issues and been a pleasure to type on. Meanwhile the K550 is just Meh.
    Reply
  • Kenshiro70 - Thursday, October 24, 2019 - link

    I have a 552 and love it, though I haven't tested the "hot swappable" switches. I'm a little puzzled by the "budget" claim, particularly since both the Redragon and Qisan's MagicForce lines are both well established, well-reviewed on Amazon, and have been updated over time to reflect user feedback. For example, I've seen non-branded versions of the MagicForce offered on Drop, which are greatly appreciated by people doing custom dipping or paint jobs. Reply
  • drexnx - Saturday, October 26, 2019 - link

    I was going to say why not just get a real Corsair K68 RGB, it has the best software, cherry MX reds, and a spillproof tray for $79.99 but apparently they're up to $119 now!? guess it's pre-black friday price jumps to advertise bigger sales :\ Reply
  • GreenReaper - Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - link

    I don't have a good impression of what the "simplistic onboard programming functions" are actually comprised of. Can you create custom.presets to switch to? How many? Per key, or per zone (and what/how many zones)? Is the macro feature the only other programmable/fn feature? (Not counting the multimedia keys.) Reply
  • kpb321 - Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - link

    I have to say I don't get the conclusion of the review. If the lack of software severely limits the usefulness of the the true RGB backlight then how can it be a good value for what it is. Features you can't really use aren't worth anything. If you want a mechanical keyboard with rainbow backlights and blue switches you can definitely get cheaper keyboards. If you don't care about the color of the backlight sub $20 is pretty common. I'm typing this on one such sub $20 blue switch mechanical keyboards that happens to have red backlighting.

    I've got the following that I took into work. Only 1 in stock but rainbow backlight, OUTEMU blue switches for $20 as just one example I happen to have experience with.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MNS9WZG/ref=p...

    For a true RGB keyboard with software to program it I like the following. Brown switches so similar feel to blue switches but without the audible click. The software is a bit rough and may not be the greatest but it exists, works and has your typical features like per key color control and macros along with multiple profiles. It's now my home keyboard so I don't disturb others late at night.

    If anyone still wants this Aukey keyboard it should be $45 after applying code ATKQR9K8 currently.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HK9TKKS/?coliid=IQ4W2...
    Reply
  • linuxgeex - Monday, October 28, 2019 - link

    You are lucky if you're allowed to have a blue switch keyboard in a work environment. Either you have your own office, or you have an exceptionally noisy work environment such that your keyboard is not annoying your co-workers more than the ambient noise. Reply
  • mobutu - Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - link

    I hope you'll soon test this one:
    https://www.gskill.com/product/155/314/1554280455/...
    Reply
  • jabber - Thursday, October 24, 2019 - link

    I bought a Aukey mech keyboard (without numberpad) for about £25 on a Amazon special nearly two years ago.

    I have to say it's been rock solid. No RGB (I'm nearly 50) and the keycaps have remained in perfect shape (I have tough fingernails) with no sign of wear on the letters just a slight shine on the right of the spacebar. They make a good value keyboard!
    Reply
  • Delbert91 - Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - link

    I'm a little puzzled by the "budget" claim, particularly since both the Redragon and Qisan's MagicForce lines are both well established, well-reviewed on Amazon, and have been updated over time to reflect user feedback. For example, I've seen non-branded versions of the MagicForce offered on Drop, which are greatly appreciated by people doing custom dipping or paint jobs. https://myfedloan.us/ Reply

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