AORUS K9 Review :: The Ultimate RGB Keyboard

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When it comes to gaming, and especially competitive gaming, one wouldn’t want to be hindered down by anything as they grind ranks on the ladder, trying to be the best. Getting the best rank requires a combination of an excellent display of skill and some skilled usage of gaming hardware. Choosing the best peripherals and hardware is definitely part of the process, and there are a plethora of options to keep in mind when you decide to get the best gaming peripherals to ramp up your gaming experience. The AORUS K9 keyboard is AORUS’ big ticket entry into the market of gaming peripherals. And it lives up to its name.


AORUS K9

DETAILED REVIEW


Inside the Box

The AORUS K9 comes with an instruction booklet, an instruction card (for showing the various keyboard functions), a key-puller, and a set of extra keys for replacing the ones you need the most – the WASD, the arrow keys, and of course, the Escape button which you need to tap in full glory to get yourself a toilet break, only to realize later that you were playing a multiplayer game.

Design and Features

The AORUS K9 is Gigabyte’s aggressive foray into gaming peripheral territory. The keyboard is a huge upgrade over the AORUS K7, which was the mechanical keyboard for the average Joe. The K9 is a full sized keyboard, with a very sturdy rectangular body.  The key spacing is quite decent, allowing the user more maneuverability while using the keyboard. This also reduces the stress on the fingers, especially when you’re at the computer all day, playing games and fighting against trolls online who called a game you liked bad (we all know how that works out, right?) The increased padding space around the keys increases the comfort of using the keyboard, but it also increases the length of the keyboard, which means reduced portability.

The sturdy build does come with a disadvantage – the keyboard is considerably heavy. The K9 sports a fairly minimal design, but with such a sturdy keyboard it is apparent that the pro gamer using it hardly has time to notice – focusing more on a keyboard that can withstand his rages more than extra added features which hardly influence his gaming experience.

One of the best features of K9 is that it is an RGB keyboard! Now you get to enjoy the mix and match of colors in its full glory! The instruction card that came alongside the keyboard has all keyboard shortcuts for doing major stuff, especially like changing the RGB lights, decreasing or increasing the intensity of light, changing the pattern of glow, increasing or decreasing the volume, or changing the direction of the backlights. Make every second of using the keyboard a memorable one by customizing the lights to your needs – there are tons of options for customization.

The K9 does not come with an dedicated software out of the box, but then again, I guess CD/DVDs became extinct long ago. The software is available for download on the main AORUS website. However, most options given in the software are available via the shortcuts only.  It’s the simplicity of customization using a software as compared to pressing a few buttons while constantly referring to the instruction card that makes all the difference. The software isn’t essential for using the keyboard,though, and it works like a standard plug-and-play peripheral, for the most part.

One of the most useful added advantages of using the keyboard is the ability to disable Windows key, so that you don’t accidentally hit it and minimize the game, which only leads to broken keyboards, monitors, cabinets in the rage that follows. Disable the windows key, and don’t worry about hitting it “accidentally” ever again – just go clutch the round or solo gank the enemy team!

Another decent feature that feels good are the supports on the rear side of the keyboard. Either make your keyboard sit up, or prefer typing with it lying face down – the choice is yours.

It’s the keys that makes the K9 stay ahead of the competition. The Flaretech switches correspond to the Cherry MX switches of the K7. Optical switches are almost similar to mechanical switches – but stand out in the longer run because of many additional features. The endurance of optical switches makes it withstand double the keystrokes of mechanical switches – making it the ideal tool of choice for players engaged in fighting games or racing games (you need to press the key harder to hit your enemy harder or make the car go faster!) The keys also are more resistant to fluids as compared to their mechanical counter parts, so if an all-night gaming run means you spill some Mountain Dew on the keys, you don’t need to worry about your keyboard going haywire. The new keys also eliminate the problem of chatter – making them less noisier than their Cherry MX counterparts.

If you’re one for hardcore FPS, then there are nine replaceable orange keycaps on the keyboard – the traditional arrow key setup or the newfangled WASD setup. The replaceable Escape key allows you to quit programs and games at of speed (especially when you’re losing, because why surrender a win and feel salty when you can back out easily?) Orange also ensures you can play games in the dark, though this is something which you really shouldn’t be doing if you care for your health.

Flaretech switches are generally programmable, which is another advantage over the Cherry MX switches. This was seen in the Wooting One, where the same Flaretech switches are coded to allow more transition states than just a binary ON or OFF state. Surprisingly, AORUS hasn’t taken that path with the K9, though it is a potential feature that could be considered for the design of keyboards using optical switches in the future.

The keys of the K9 are black in color, becoming lit with the colors of the lights when the power is switched on. The additional keys are more “opaque”, allowing the player to focus mainly on the game and not on the flashing lights of the keyboard. Dedicated keys for controlling the RGB lighting or multimedia functions exist in the form of keyboards shortcuts,requiring multiple keys to be pressed to perform a function. The low response time of key presses means that registration of repeated key presses occur relatively fast. The typewriter-styled stepped orientation of the keys, along with the increased padding space adds to the efficiency.

Performance

The optical keys was a huge leap of faith in the competitive gaming market, and it sure paid off. The keys are responsive, and sport a blazing fast response time of 0.03 ms. When you’re playing keyboard heavy games like racing games or fighting games or even type racer online with a few friends, that response time gives you the edge. I averaged a typing speed of 90 wpm on this keyboard as compared to 75 wpm in my older one – the difference is really staggering. Perhaps the confidence of using a new keyboard,one that is specially made for gaming excellence? Be it fps games or MMOs/MOBAs, you’ll feel that edge as you mash away at keys while taking total control of the virtual playground.

Major games tested were Need For Speed Rivals, StarCraft 2,DOTA 2,Counter Strike Global Offensive and Tekken 7. In Tekken 7 and NFS Rivals, the difference was obvious. The blazing fast response time means you need not worry about how much force you pummel the keys with, but rather about the game itself. StarCraft 2 and DOTA 2 may seem like weird choices for testing a keyboard, but veterans know the importance of shortcut keys and how they can be used to gain a tactical advantage in game,especially at higher ranks. The ability to switch between shortcuts, issuing multiple orders at a time was this keyboard’s best advantage.

Pricing and Availability

The AORUS K9 is available at leading online retailers like Primeabgb,theitdepot,MD Computers,theMVP, e-Ashirbad and the LXG online store for a price around 8800 INR. (Use coupon code : ‘Indiannoob’ on the LXG store to get additional discount)

For a limited period of time, get a copy of Far Cry 5 free with every order of the AORUS K9 Optical gaming keyboard. Visit your local retailer, or the e-tailers mentioned above, to avail the offer now.


Verdict

The AORUS K9 optical keyboard is a tool of choice worthy of those who value quality over cost. If budget constraints aren’t an issue, then this is the perfect keyboard for the ultimate pro gamer or aspiring streamer.

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