When it comes to gaming peripherals, G.Skill aren’t usually the first brand that come to mind. This isn’t surprising, given that G.Skill are well-known for their memory products, but they’re a fairly new player when it comes to gaming hardware. Of course, we recently reviewed their new gaming mouse, the MX780 RGB, and it was absolutely amazing, so if this keyboard can capture even half of the quality of that product, we should be in for a real treat here today.
“100% Cherry MX mechanical key switch in RGB backlighting, per-key programmability, on-the-fly macro recording, 6 extra macro keys, full media control with LED volume display, foldable mouse cable holder, and custom gaming keycaps. The RIPJAWS KM780 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard is designed and built with durability and practicality in mind for the ultimate gaming and typing experience.”
The Ripjaws KM780 is backed to the brim with features that will appeal to a gaming audience. There are macro keys, RGB lighting effects, custom key caps and so much more. Just check out the official product trailer below for a quick rundown of some of the cool features this keyboard has to offer.
Equipped with Cherry MX brown switches, you know that you’re going to be getting a familiar and reliable level of performance from this keyboard, but with so many other features such as the detachable wrist rest, USB pass-through, mouse cable holder and more, it should be able to make its own unique entrance to what is already a very busy part of the gaming market.
The packaging is nicely designed, with a colourful image of the keyboard on the front, as well a quick rundown of some of the major specifications.
Around the back, a more detailed breakdown of the features on offer, but we will take a much closer look at all of these in a moment.
In the box, you’ll find a few curious extras, such as this little box that can be (optionally) clipped onto the chassis of the keyboard.
On the interior, you’ll find custom gaming key caps, as well as a key cap pulling tool.
There’s also a sturdy wrist rest, which can also be (optionally) mounted to the chassis of the keyboard.
A Closer Look
The KM780 comes hard-wired with a thick and durable black braided cable.
The cable breaks into multiple cables at the end, where you’ll find two USB headers, as well as audio jacks, all of which are gold-plated; one of the USB cables and the audio cables are for the optional use of the audio and USB pass-through features.
The keyboard is really nicely designed, as soon as you see it or lay hands on it, you can tell a lot of care has gone into its construction. The frame is lavished with black brushed aluminium and while the keyboard is noticeably wider than most, it’s still very stylish and exceptionally durable.
A lot of the extra width of this keyboard can be attributed to these stylish fins on the side. They don’t seem to serve a purpose beyond the aesthetics, but they help complete the visual appeal of the keyboard and I rather like them; those with limited desk space may think otherwise.
Down the left side of the keyboard, you’ll also find the other reason for (some of the) extra width as there are six dedicated macro keys here; all fully mechanical of course.
Along the top, we’ve got on-the-fly recording, as well as three memory functions for quick-saving. To the right of that, you’ll also find Windows Lock and some master lighting controls.
The F-keys are single function, although I guess you don’t need FN-Shift features when you’ve got all the extra functions on dedicated keys.
In the top right, you’ll find a nicely laid out set of multimedia buttons. They’re nice and big too, so they’re easy to quickly reach over and tap when you’re mid-game. The volume wheel is a metal scroller, which is also nice and easy to control, allowing smooth and precise volume changes. Below that, you’ll see an array of LED boxes which can show you volume levels, but we’ll see that in action in a moment.
A full-size number pad, as well as another one of those fins on the right side of the keyboard.
Below the space bar, if a small rail that is unobtrusive and adds to the overall design, but it also acts as the mount for the optional wrist rest.
Around the back, you’ll find the hard-wired cable joins in the centre of the keyboard.
There’s another rail design around the back, below which you’ll find two small feet, as well as a flip-up mouse cable holder. The bar at the back can be used to mount the smaller box with the key caps and key cap puller tool. Finally, there’s also the audio and USB pass through here, perfect for hooking up headsets and other devices.
Under the keys, you’ll find the brushed aluminium continues throughout, which plays no small part in giving this keyboard its durable look and feel. Behind the caps, you’ll find a full set of Cherry MX Brown RGB switches, which feature a clear casing to allow for better lighting effects.
The custom key caps are seriously cool, with a heavily sloped designed and a slippy coating, they’re certainly unique but surprisingly nifty and quick to use for FPS gaming.
Overall, this is one great looking keyboard and the addition of the gaming key caps and the wrist rest just help to complete the setup… but wait, there’s more!
A Closer Look Continued
Here you can see how the toolkit box attached, personally, I wouldn’t keep it here, I’d put it in a drawer somewhere, but it’s nice to know you can keep it fitted to the keyboard.
The mouse cable bungee, I can’t state how much I love this little addition! Most people don’t realise the benefits of a cable holder for their mouse until they’ve tried one, so I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from this little add-on.
Hooking up the keyboard to the PC, and installing the desktop drivers so we can update the firmware, we’re treated to a gorgeous light show. The key’s are sitting in a black brushed aluminium housing, so the base reflection isn’t great, but it does have a softer and warmer tone than most of the eyeball-melting RGB setups that are on the market right now.
One of my favourite little features is the volume readout, which is on zero here.
Up a little bit.
Up a little bit more.
Ok you get the idea, but it’s a cool little addition to show you your master volume level, especially while you’re in the middle of a game. The lit up LED buttons at the top are nice too, as you can easily see where the multimedia controls are at a glance.
So what about the rest of the colour range? The RGB are certainly rich in colour and capable of smooth transitions, although I wouldn’t have expected anything less given that Cherry switches have proven their RGB talents to use in quite a few new keyboards this year.
Working on this keyboard is an absolute joy, but again, they’re Cherry MX Brown switches and while I’m not knocking G.Skill’s keyboard design, if you’ve used any other MX Brown switch keyboard, you know you’re going to get the exact same level of performance from this one as any other keyboard with the same switch.
Where the KM780 really shines is gaming, that is without a doubt what this keyboard was designed to excel at and it doesn’t take long to realise that fact. The gaming keys are a cool touch, although they’re optional so you can always leave the stock ones on if you like. Even more so, this is MX equipped, so you can add your own custom caps too if you so desire.
The powerful macro engine is a huge benefit to gaming, especially if you play a lot of simulators or MMO-type games. Being able to deploy complex commands at the stroke of a single key is a big time saver and can really give you an advantage.
The heavy weight and durable design of the keyboard brings other benefits too. If you’re a heavy-handed gamer, who frantically mashes at the keys you can rest assured that this keyboard isn’t going to slide around you desk. The other benefit is that there’s no vibration through the keyboard, so each key has a stable base and bounces back perfectly every time. I’ve used cheaper mechanical keyboards that have a bit of flex to them and with a thick aluminium frame and backplate, this keyboard exhibits nothing of the sort.
The RGB lighting is nice, but it’s not quite as bright as some keyboards on the market. This is mostly due to the black backplate, as it doesn’t reflect as much light, but even in a bright room there are some nice colour effects and I personally prefer the softer and warmer lighting of this keyboard vs some other popular RGB keyboards that can be a little dazzling and distracting.
Not taken by the whole rainbow effects thing? You can just as easily dial in a colour of your choice and leave it there, something I think is handy on a per-profile basis, as you can quickly tell which profile you have selected based on the current colour of the keys.
The G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available new Newegg.com in the US for $159.99. UK availability isn’t great at the moment, but a G.Skill representative said they’re currently working with distributors and that this will improve very soon, so please check with your local retailer for stock.
The name G.Skill may be firmly fixed in people’s minds for memory products and that’s hardly surprising, given that they’ve released many fantastic products in that part of the market. They’ve got a solid reputation with system builders around the world and it seems that reputation is going to continue across their peripheral range. We absolutely loved their first gaming mouse and now I’m happy to say that we also love their first keyboard.
If this is what G.Skill can do with their first keyboard, I’m certainly eager to see what they can cook up next. The KM780 packs all the features that you could want, with a fully featured and powerful macro recording engine, dedicated macro keys, dedicated multimedia controls, mechanical keys, detachable wrist rest, an extremely durable design, easy to use software, an RGB lighting engine and so much more.
It’s little touches that really nail down this design for me. The little mouse cable holder is a great thing to have, the volume LED readout is a cool touch that helps you keep tabs on your audio settings at a glance, the gaming key-caps, comfortable wrist rest, the aluminium construction and finally the USB and audio pass-through. It seems that G.Skill have covered all the basics, all the extras and more, making this an ideal weapon for gamers, be that pro gamers in the eSports community, or just those who want a cool looking keyboard to play their favourite games at home.
Exceptional build quality is a key focus here, but the great design and feature set go a long way to justifying the price tag. It’s not cheap, but try to find a fully featured RGB mechanical keyboard that is. If you can find more for less (I doubt it) then go buy it, otherwise, you may want to put the KM780 on your shopping/Christmas list!
- Stylish and durable aluminium construction
- Customisable RGB lighting
- USB and audio pass-through
- Mouse cable holder
- Custom key-caps included
- Detachable wrist rest
- Dedicated multimedia keys and volume wheel
- LED volume level readout
- Macro recording and dedicated macro keys
- Cherry MX Brown and Red switches available
- Limited stock outside of US
- Wide design may be unsuitable for those with limited desk space
- Only two MX switch types available, although that’s understandable given this is their first keyboard launch.
“The G.Skill KM780 may be entering a very competitive market, but with exceptional build quality and a huge range of features, it’s got what it takes to compete with the big names in the industry. If you’re looking for a great RGB mechanical keyboard, you’ll love what this model has to offer.”
Thank you G.Skill for providing us with this sample.