Raptor Gaming K1 Keyboard Review

Introduction

Raptor-Gaming manufacture all manner of peripherals and input devices that are intended, as the name suggests, for gaming purposes. The products have high quality designs with one aim in mind – to maximise performance. The keyboard I will be taking a look at today has some very special features, such as cherry gold crosspoints and afterglow keys, that should make this product stand out from the crowd. Let’s see if it can deliver…

Raptor-Gaming’s Take on the K1

Due to their Cherry Gold Crosspoint contacts and the adjusted coil springs, the buttons of the RAPTOR-GAMING K1 offer a very soft and in particular by 30% shorter stroke than conventional keyboards. This feature maximises the entry speed and reactivity while playing – with minimum fatigue by unmatched velocity and reaction advantages.

The gold contacts extremely low transition resistance of approximately 100 milliohm (buttons with film contact < 200 Ohm) also enables an optimized signal quality, which the computer can process precisely and with utmost speed.

The RAPTOR-GAMING K1 has an extremely high durability. Keyboards are usually designed for 5 to 20 million button operations. The Cherry-Gold-Crosspoint technology of the RAPTOR-GAMING K1 in contrast is laid out for 50 million button operations.

In the delivery content you will find 8 afterglow buttons and all square buttons can be replaced by these. The convenient, non-reflecting light allows for the buttons utmost visibility – even in darkened rooms. The lighting power lasts for up to 12 hours. The button light can even be charged with an LED torch.

The “Cherry Full-N-Key-Rollover” function enables you to simultaneously press all modifier buttons (i.e. Shift key, Ctrl button, Alt and Windows button) as well as 6 additional shortcut buttons, without losing or confusing any information (ghost button effect).

Features

  • Unmatched velocity and fast reactivity due to Gold Crosspoint contacts
  • Extremely high durability with up to 50 million button operations
  • Replaceable buttons with afterglow effect of up to 12 hours of lighting power
  • Maximum signal processing through Full-N-Key-Rollover – no loss of data
  • Up to 8 buttons can be blocked individually
  • USB plug for mouse and headset integrated into the keyboard
  • Offers up to 30% shorter button strokes than conventional keyboards

Hardware & Software Requirements

  • Pentium or IBM compatible PC with Win 98/ 2000/ ME/ NT/ XP/ Vista or Linux
  • 64MB RAM memory or above recommended
  • One free USB port

Contents & Packaging

The K1 comes suitably packaged in a thin cardboard box entailing an image of the keyboard (albeit the European version) over which the title Raptor Gaming K1 is printed translucently. The front design is pretty simple with a plain black background and silver strips at the sides but it looks nice enough.

The back is considerably more informative with lots of information on specific features of the keyboard – a few close ups are included too. All the main information is provided in several languages too.

Inside this outer packaging, a plain brown box is enclosed which offers much more protection with the K1 wrapped in a plastic sheet inside.

A number of accessories are included with the keyboard:

  • 8 afterglow buttons
  • 8 button locks (1x in keyboard and 7x in plastic bag) incl. button-exchange tool
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Information Technical Details
  • Attention Information

The Product – Raptor-Gaming K1 Keyboard

First impressions of the keyboard are that it is very small and compact. This is largely down to the altered key layout on the right hand side. The advantage of this is of course transport as it makes it a bit easier to take the K1 to a LAN party or other event.

As you can see the right hand side shift key is shortened allowing the arrow keys to fit in underneath the enter key. The block of six keys (delete, insert, home etc.) has been situated atop the num pad in order to allow this change to take place.

The keyboard itself is quite simple in its design with little styling; the keys are simply black with white lettering. The only LEDs are to signal the CAPS Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock keys being turned on. This gives the keyboard a very classical look although for some enthusiasts the apparent lack of colour and design may be a problem with many competitors now featuring all manner of lighting and architecture.

The only logo on display is a small red Raptor-Gaming one in the top corner.

Underneath each button, is a cherry gold crosspoint contact that, according to Raptor-Gaming, allows for up to a 30% shorter stroke length – this should make for quicker typing speeds. The contacts are perfect as gold is very good electrical conductor and so the signals travel more quickly and can be processed more effectively by the computer.

Gold has a resistance of less than 200Ohms and so using Ohm’s Law (V=IR), as the resistance decreases, the current will increase in order to maintain the voltage and this is why the signal is optimized – more of it gets through.

A side angle shot of the K1 reveals that it is slightly angled towards the user in order to make it easier to type. However, if this slant isn’t enough, there are two plastic feet on the underside that extenuate the slant.

The feet have rubber bottoms so as to prevent the keyboard from slipping. However, these aren’t entirely effective as if any force is put on the K1 pushing it back, the feet simply collapse – I would suggest some sort of locking mechanism would be more useful here.

The rest of the underside is very plain with just a few more rubber pads to stop the keyboard from sliding along with a white sticker in the centre which displays a few facts about recycling etc.

Furthermore, the back has 2 x USB ports that are really useful for plugging a mouse or other input device into so as to make cabling a little less crowded at the back of the case.

The keyboard simply has a USB connector that plugs into any available USB port on your case; there isn’t any software that needs to be installed as there aren’t really any special features – essentially it’s just a plug and play keyboard.

Windows recognized the keyboard instantly and it took about 30 seconds to install and be ready for action.

Afterglow Buttons & Button Locks

Included extra with the K1 are 8 afterglow buttons; essentially they are intended for gaming in the dark as they can be installed on prominent and well-used keys so as to make them stand out and be easier to use. They provide non-reflective light for up to 12 hours and this can be replenished using even an LED torch.

The afterglow buttons are also raised slightly higher than the normal buttons thus making them even more noticeable. Games often use the WASD keys for movement and so this could perhaps be a good place to install these buttons although of course it’s up to the user.

Installing these different keys is made much easier by the inclusion of a simple-looking tool that makes it easy to take off buttons. It slots over them and then by pushing in the sides of the tool and pulling gently, the buttons just pops out exposing the crosspoint.

Then just simply press the glow-in-the-dark keys onto the crosspoints and you’re ready to play. In the dark they really do show up well but obviously the darker it is, the more they glow.

There are button locks that can be added to any key in order to lock it in place so that if you accidently press it, nothing will happen. This is great for some keys as I am always accidently pressing them (for example, the Caps Lock key).

The key locks are very easy to add in too. Just remove the keys below the button you wish to lock (or above it’s on the bottom row) and then slot the lock underneath the button so that it can’t be pressed down.

Testing

The Test Setup:

ProcessorIntel C2Q Q9450 Quad Core @ 2.80GHz
MotherboardGigabyte S-Series GA-73PVM-S2H
Graphics CardXFX 8600GT
MemoryCorsair XMS2 PC6400 (2x 1GB)
Hard DriveHitachi HDT7250 (250GB)
Power SupplyNOX Apex 700W
OSWindows XP Pro 32bit

Methodology

Testing keyboards as with all peripherals is very subjective and depends greatly on the user’s personal preferences; as a result I suggest that you test out any peripherals before buying to ensure they meet your needs.

In order to test the Raptor-Gaming K1, I will be using the keyboard for sustained periods for both gaming and general usage to see how it copes.

The games used for testing were Battlefield 2 and Far Cry 2.

Results

Gaming

The first thing I noticed here is that the keys are very small in comparison to most standard keyboard buttons – especially the Ctrl key. Now, in Battlefield 2 I use this key a lot for crouching and, with it being so small, it wasn’t ideal but I was soon able to get to grips with the smaller button.

The fact that the buttons are so receptive means that you only need press quite lightly in order to trigger a response and this is great for making split second decisions and movements, like going prone, jumping or running, and so I was able to compete very well.

I tested the keyboard in the dark too installing the afterglow buttons over the W,A,S,D,Z and E buttons as I use these most in game. I must say that they are very useful as you can know exactly where to press even if not by looking as the keys are raised so just by touch you know straight away what buttons your fingers are hovering over. The only downside to these buttons was that there are only 8 which mean you can’t cover all the keys needed but overall they are very good.

Similarly in Far Cry 2, I was competing much better as the keys only need to be pressed in a little way and so your actions are carried out much quicker. This must be down to the gold crosspoints and so a definite thumbs up for them.

General Usage

To begin with, I wasn’t sure about this keyboard for typing and more general usage as the whole keyboard has been compressed to make it more compact. However, after a few hours my typing speed began to go up very significantly and writing this review now, I am really flying through the words! There really is no way to fault what has been produced.

On the other hand, the product despite being very impressive, looks very simple– there are no internet browsing keys or buttons to control the music (mute and pause). I found myself continually reaching for the Mail key only to realise this keyboard doesn’t have one. I suppose this is only out of habit due to having one before but still it would be nice to see some extra keys.

Durability
In terms of durability, Raptor-Gaming place the K1 at being cut out for 50 million button operations (at least 2.5 times a conventional keyboard). This is very good indeed.

Cost
Unfortunately gold crosspoints come at a very severe cost with the product having an SRP of £129.99. This is way off the scale for keyboard prices and I imagine for most users, they would rather spend this money on graphics or RAM. In defence, the K1 truly is an incredibly well-built keyboard that gives excellent performance.

Conclusion

The K1, despite my earlier preconceptions about the size and the apparent lack of style, is a very well-manufactured keyboard. The buttons are very easy to press and immediately spring back into place again. For gaming they are very receptive and allow the user to carry out rapid movements to maximise performance.

I do have a few issues however: firstly the collapsible feet are not very well built and don’t lock into place, thus when you accidently knock the keyboard it just collapses – not very good at all whilst gaming. Moreover, although everything is incredibly well-made, there isn’t anything extra or anything to really excite the user. Yes, it’s very good but for £130, you want something amazing that’s going to jump out at you with colour and innovation, something that has extra features and buttons for everything.

Sadly, apart from the afterglow buttons, this keyboard doesn’t really have any of that, but the basics are done so very well that it kind of makes up for that.

I would highly recommend this keyboard, it may not be the most stylish, but it’s definitely the best I’ve come across in a long, long time.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Gold Crosspoints
  • Afterglow buttons & key locks
  • Very easy to type
  • Comfortable
  • Extra USB ports

Cons

  • Collapsible feet are poorly built
  • No extra buttons for different features
  • Very high price point

80

Thanks go to Meroncourt for providing the keyboard for review.

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