Zowie have made their name in the gaming industry by being laser focused on pro gaming and eSports, and rightly so, because when it comes to making high performance gaming equipment there really isn’t a better testing ground than competitive gaming. The pros want the best tools for the job, the peripheral or component that will give them that advantage over their opponents, no matter the cost. Then at the end of the day, you’ll find consumers will want the same hardware because they know it’s the product used by winners, much like how Formula 1 works to promote consumer cars brand names.
The Zowie Celeritas has some bold claims to it and given Zowie’s heritage of working closely with some of the biggest pro gamers in history such as Abdisamad ‘SpawN’ Mohamed, Young Ho ‘Flash’ Lee and Ho Jun ‘Ho-Jun’ Moon, all of whom helped develop this keyboard, we know they mean business. In a bid for maximum performance the Celeritas features mechanical switch keys, with 18K gold plated switches, gold plated USB connection, nylon key caps and most importantly the fastest response time of any keyboard on the market today.
“The primary feature of the ZOWIE CELERITAS is the newly developed ZOWIE RTR™ (Real Time Response) technology which allows the user to define the repeat-response of their presses to be 1x, 2x, 4x or 8x of the normal repeat-response for a keyboard when using the PS/2 connector. RTR™ allows gamers to gain a higher responsiveness from their keys and thereby increase the pace of movement in FPS and Racing games or possibly even increase the APM in RTS. How fast do you like it to be? We give you the possibility so you can define your most comfortable repeat-response.” – Zowie“With an actual response-time of only 0,2 seconds, the ZOWIE CELERITAS has the fastest response-time of any mechanical keyboard currently on the market. Furthermore it features anti-ghosting, supporting all keys through PS/2 and 6 keys through USB. For your information, the definition of a “normal response-time” for a keyboard is 0,5 seconds.” – Zowie
- 6 keys Anti-Ghosting through USB
- 18K Gold Plated mechanical switches and USB connectors
- Ability to change the “Windows”-key to “Ctrl”
- Multimedia controls
- Highly durable metal inner chassis
- Ergonomic design saves space and offer full comfort during use
- Connector: USB / PS2 (by USB to PS2 converter)
- Cable Length: 1.8m / 5.8 ft.
- Full Anti-Ghosting with PS/2
- ZOWIE RTR™ technology provides 4 levels of repeat-response (normal, 2x, 4x, 8x) – PS/2
- Width: 44 cm
- Length: 16 cm
- Height: 2,5 cm
The Celeritas comes in a fairly unassuming grey box, there is a sneaky look at the keyboard through a small window, but this only gives away the colour of the keyboard model as there is a plastic guard over the keys that hides most of the visual details.
Around the back of the box we have something I’ve never seen before, the entire user manual! Details of how to configure the windows key (more on that soon), response rate and change the LED light colour are all here, as well as a multi language breakdown of the main specifications.
There wasn’t a huge amount of stuff in the box, just the keyboard its self, a Zowie sticker and a PS2/USB adaptor.
A Closer Look
The keyboard is pretty straight forward in terms of design, although we typically find this to be common among most mechanical keyboards. There is a solid matt black finish to the entire keyboard, with a thick wedge shape chassis with a small palm rest at the front.
The keyboard features a full size number pad and in the top right we have a LED black-lit Zowie logo.
There are no fancy macro keys to play around with here, in fact there are no macro functions what so ever. However, there are some multimedia short-cuts on the F-keys which can be accessed via a function shift key.
F9-F12 features four LED indicators, when in PS2 mode you can change the response rate of the keyboard with these.
There is a slight curve to the key layout, but overall it’s fairly standard in terms of design. The key spacings are quite wide though and that may make touch typing a little more effort, but should help with gaming as its harder to accidentally hit two keys at once.
The wrist rest is hardly a real wrist rest, but it does add a little touch of style to the front and is certainly more comfortable to use than a keyboard with a straight edge.
A blank panel around the back, the only feature here being the wire connected in the middle for the USB cable.
The cable feels nice and durable, features a small Velcro tidy strip and a 18k gold plated connector.
The front end of the keyboard features a windows key on the left side, but instead of actually just being a windows key, it can function as a second Ctrl key, much better than a disabled key as if you go for control and miss, you’re still hitting Ctrl!
The key caps are nylon and have a nice tactile feel to them and an ever so slight texture. The underside features Cherry MX brown switches.
The underside of the keyboard features four large grip strips that help keep the keyboard in place, there are no flip out feel to raise the keyboard.
Setup & Installation
Hooking up the keyboard was as simple as connection the USB cable to my computer, while I know that much is obviously, there really wasn’t anything else to do. There is no software, there are no macros to configure, no profiles to muck around with, the keyboard is designed to do everything it can from first use, any settings that can be changed can be done from the keyboard its self.
The first thing I noticed when hooking up the keyboard is the LED lighting between the F9-F12 keys and the Zowie logo, while all the other little lights stay red, the Zowie logo its self can be changed to red or blue.
Diving right into testing a had a few games of Battlefield 4 (BETA), as well as my current personal playlist of trying to complete Portal 2, and some co-op on Torchlight II on an evening. Initial results were impressive, although to be honest I wasn’t expecting anything less. The MX Brown switches are by far my favourite these days and they give a really quick, yet tactile response that works great for gaming. I can’t say I can tell the difference with this keyboard having the fastest response ever, but it is sharp and responsive as you would expect from any high end mechanical keyboard.
The lack of dedicated macros keys is a little frustrating for me personally, but only because I use them extensively for my daily work routine in Photoshop, WordPress, not to mention in games like Torchlight II.
Typing is a big part of my daily routine also and the MX Brown keys benefit this greatly, the key spacings are a little wider than most keyboard though and this may take you a day or two to adjust to, but it is certainly something I find benefits gaming as mis-striking keys becomes less common.
The Zowie Celeritas isn’t a cheap keyboard, but there are few mechanical keyboard that are. The cost of a metal internal chassis, as well a full range of mechanical gold plated switches is expensive and if you want that level of accuracy to every key, then you’re going to have to pay a premium for it. The keyboard is currently available in the EU for around 119.99 Euro from Caseking.de. This falls in line with many other mechanical keyboards in terms of price.
Zowie have a really strong contender here and while it doesn’t pack a tonne of features like many other gaming keyboards we’ve seen, it doesn’t fail to impress in terms of performance. I don’t think I would invest in one of these personally, but I can see a multitude of reasons why someone would, I guess it just doesn’t fit my personal taste.
I typically like a keyboard to have full LED back lighting, standalone macro keys, custom profiles and some level of software customisation to accommodate those features. The Zowie has none of this and in many ways that is both what I don’t like about it, and what I love about it. When You are a pro gamer, you could be using multiple computers in a single day, you want something durable, reliable and simple that you can plug and play, then expect the same performance from each and every time, that is what you get with the Zowie Celeritas.
I feel Zowie have gone for the super car ideal that less is more, strip everything down to the basics and then fine tune them to perfection, something that was likely their inspiration to give the keyboard the fastest response time on the market. Your average consumer will not care for this, but in competitive eSports, the factions of seconds can make the difference and I fully understand why some gamers would want the fastest response time (noticeable or not).
Price wise the keyboard is in line with many other mechanical keyboards, many of which even offer more features than this, but if you’re happy to pay the premium for the low response time, then this is the keyboard for you. Build quality is great, performance is superb and the colour choices offered by Zowie look fantastic too. It’s not for me personally, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great keyboard.
- Solid build quality
- Choice of MX switches
- Low response time
- Choice of colours
- Removable key-caps
- No macro functions
- No key-cap removal tool included
“A solid outing from Zowie with an impressive gaming keyboard, but I feel their laser focus on eSports performance may alienate a lot of gamers who want more features rather than more performance, but of course this isn’t the only keyboard Zowie make and it’s great to see they’re providing for this end of the market”
Thank you Caseking.de for providing us with this sample.