Up Close and Personal
A very nice-looking keyboard with its Aluminum backing, the aluminum not only adds sturdiness to the keyboard but it also gives it that very cold calming feel. The keyboard only comes in Red, as Red is iBUYPOWER’s theme, I am more of a fan of the color blue but being that it is an RGB keyboard, you should be able to change the LED lighting.
A closer look at the deep lines in the brushed aluminum.
Top right-hand corner of the keyboard, we find the iBUYPOWER logo silk screened on as well as the LED’s for Num Lock, Caps Lock and Gaming. Num Lock and Caps Lock are pretty standard, but what is Gaming? Gaming allows you to lock your Windows Key so that you don’t accidentally press it kicking you out of your game, a handy feature. This feature is enabled by a physical key combination.
Did you notice that silver line at the top of the keyboard?
That’s an indentation into the Aluminum back plate that stretches from one of extreme of the keyboard to the other that is silver, rather than red to elegantly stand out. Since we made our way to the left side of the keyboard, let’s discover all of the function buttons from the bottom left going around the keyboard.
Starting off on the bottom left, we can see the FN key or Function key. Press and hold this key along with another to activate a function. We will go over the function through the review as we discover the keys.
Coming up a little, we find WASD but if you look closely, you can see there are arrows on them too. This is so that you can interchange keys that I will show you a little later.
Coming up a bit more to the top left-hand corner, we find a host of other keys.
PF 1~6, here you can customize along with the Function keys up to 6 different gaming profiles. I would like to describe these to you in a little more detail on exactly what they do,… but there is a little problem that stops me from doing that and don’t worry, I will go over this problem a little more in the review. (Remember what I said in the 3rd sentence though)
F2 Rewind or skip backwards on media.
F3 Skip or fast forward on media.
F4 is pretty original. This allows you to swap the functions of the Up, Down, Left and Right arrow keys with the WASD keys, akin to swapping the physical keys, an odd function but a function just the same.
The Keys are designed themselves to be interchangeable and they are designed to be interchanged with the WASD keys if you wanted to.
F5 Play or Pause Media.
F6 Mute/UnMute Audio.
F7 allows you to lower the volume.
F8 allows you to raise the volume.
F9 allows you to record macros then later play them back, I had issues with this one as well.
F11 allows you to completely lock all of your keys and then when you like unlock them too. This is actually a great key, while this key will not completely rule out foul play if you step away from you desk it will allow you to product your PC from mistakes happening while you are away, pets walking along your keyboard or kids just being kids, it comes in handy.
These are great keys that others have, but on other keyboards are not as legible, iBUYPOWER’s markings 100% make sense.
INS allows you to have your RGB lights display a wave effect.
DEL creates a rotating color display (single color it seems).
HOME allows your RGB lights to scroll left to right and right to left in a ping pong effect.
END keeps the lights a solid on or off color.
PGUP allows you to speed up the animation of the light.
PGDN to slow down the animation of lights.
8 key on the 10 Key side of the keyboard lets you raise the brightness of the RGB lighting
2 key allows you to dim the brightness of the RGB lighting.
Chimera / Windows Key Just under the right shift key, the Windows logo has been replaced by the Chimera, iBUYPOWER logo and the Properties key right next to it. If you hit the Function key and this Chimera, this would lock the Windows key from popping up if pressed during a game, press the combination again to re-enable the function. This is also known as Game Mode.
Properties key acts light a right click, for example if you clicked on the desktop and click this Properties key, the right click menu will appear.
Clicking it on my desktop, this pops up.
As I mentioned originally, all of these keys must be used alongside with the Function key in order to function properly, let’s move on over to the rear of the keyboard for some more features.
Here is the rear of the keyboard, there is one more aspect on the top I will address, but I will come back to it later since it will be the introduction to the next section.
On the back of the keyboard, we can see the iBUYPOWER Logo, many of the certifications it has achieved, the serial number, model, input rating and where it was made.
On each edge of the keyboard are these rubber pads, one on the bottom center as well. These pads not only allow the keyboard not to slip and move around when typing but they also help to absorb some of the shock while you’re typing. Very effective if you are a rough typer such as myself. I learned how to type on a real type writer where you had to push down hard on the keys to have the letter head slap against the paper to make an imprint.
Here we can see the feet for the keyboard folded out along with the pads.
Up even closer, here is a picture of the feet folded, then unfolded. The feet also have pads so that when the feet are extended help keep down the noise. The feet extended add about a quarter of an inch of height.
Moving more to the right of the rear of the keyboard, towards the top, we can see a grove that allows you to tuck away some of the extra cable you might have if you find it too long.
A nice idea, where you can tuck away some of the extra cable, but there are a few more options here.
As shown previously, you can of course use the entire indentation or if that’s too short, you can use only half of the indentation and also allows you to chose a right or left preference of where to have the cable to extend from.
Then we also have the key puller I mentioned previously.
To pull it out, fit a finger under the groove and lift up and it easily unlocks.
Now let’s go pull out some key caps.
To pull them out, just push the key puller over a key and you will hear the groves click into place then you can pull them out.
Here I pulled the interchange WASD/Arrow keys out, just as an example. Just remember, if you wanted to pull out other keys or all the keys you can as well.
A closer look at the keys we have already removed, we can see they are blue switches, Kaihl blue to be specific.
Most might think there is a huge difference between Kaihl Blue and Cherry MX Blue but in reality, there is little difference. The main difference might be that there is a higher licensing fee on the Cherry MX keys, so you pay a little more than you would for Khail. Out of all of the different switch types, I prefer the blues, they are louder than the others and while some might say obnoxiously louder, I like the sound. We will go over the speed and sound a little later in the review.
Here’s a closer look at the keys.
Before I move on to the lighting aspect of this keyboard in the next section, I want to show you the 2 Programmable buttons and why the issue I mentioned before is relevant.
G1 and G2, along with the function key and the record key I’ve shown you previously (F9) allow you to program macro’s or key combinations. Prior to installing iBUYPOWER’s keyboard software HERA, I was able to program macro keys and sadly I do not have a video showing me doing this because I figured it was going to continue working.
After installing HERA, I was going through all of the features inside of HERA. The ability to change colors, lighting intensity, individual keys and many more but the minute I attempted to commit to programming a macro everything went crazy. HERA would just error out. I had a similar issue with the GAMDIAS Hermes E1 I attempted to review previously. Nothing I could do would restore HERA to work correctly but I will go into this issue later in the review.
I attempted to use alternate computers around my home, another Windows 10 and even a Windows 7 machine but the problem followed the keyboard and was now etched into the keyboard due to its onboard memory.
For this review I went back to some emails I had previously exchanged with GAMDIAS’ engineers to resolve my issues, which back then did not solve anything but it looks like things have change, I was able to recover. The magic key sequence was pressing and holding the Function Key + the Pause Break Key. You need to press and hold these keys for about 10 seconds then the lights on your keyboard will blink and the lights will turn green, at least they did for me.
I fixed this as I was writing the review, so I will leave everything I have written previously and start on the correct track from this point on. I am excited for this. So, let’s continue with this review on a more cheerful note.
Now on the keys, with the key cap removed, you will notice that there is no external bulb like you might be used to.
I circled in blue where the bulb is hidden, on the rear side of the key, facing away from you. This might actually not be a bad idea being that some keys can have obnoxiously bright lights.
Here is the same switch with the light on low, so that we would not get too much light on the lens. So the recessed lighting keeps it from being too bright, but just bright enough I would say.
So, let’s go check out some of the lighting, effects, keys and Hera.
Continue: Lighting, effects, keys and Hera