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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Aukey KM-G3 Keyboard: A Good Starter Mechanical Board On A Budget

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Mechanical keyboards range from about forty bucks to over $200. If you’re looking for something economical, but with enough extra features to make it a pleasant upgrade, Aukey’s KM-G3 keyboard is worth your consideration.

Aukey recently sent me their upgraded keyboard to try out. I’m no stranger to mechanical keyboards, both super-premium and budget, but what intrigued me about this model was a full and semi-customizable set of RGB LEDs. For the uninitiated, that means that each key on the board gets access to a rainbow of colors, just like the fancy models from Razer and Corsair.

Between this and the more premium aluminum plate beneath the keys, it’s a step up from Aukey’s basic model (all plastic and no user-set lighting) for just $25 more. At $65 for a full-sized, 104-key board with all-mechanical switches, it’s a compelling value proposition.

Full Size Layout, Real Mechanical Keys

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Aukey’s mechanical keys come from low-cost Chinese supplier Outemu, a popular pick for budget boards. They’re clones of the Cherry MX Blue design, offering light-to-medium pressure with an audible “click” on the activation.

Oddly for a keyboard ostensibly targeted at gamers, there aren’t any Red clones (lighter springs with no bump or click), but I actually prefer the feel of the Blue switches even for gaming. If you’re not a fan of loud switches, or your work or play environment simply can’t accommodate them, you’ll have to look elsewhere. As clones, the Outemu switches are pretty good, offering only a little bit more “chatter” in the activation than the real thing. For a keyboard this inexpensive, they’re more than acceptable.

aukey, keyboard, mechanical keyboard, km-g3, rgb, aluminum

The KM-G3 offers an entirely standard layout for full-sized ANSI boards: full number pad on the right, no oddly-sized bottom row. Keycaps are a standard profile with cheaper ABS plastic and shine-through lighting. They’re nothing special, but they show off the lights and are easy enough to read. Thanks to the standardized layout, you can replace them with any ANSI-compatible keycap set and be confident that everything will fit and look great.

Big And Small At The Same Time

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