Aorus Thunder K7 Mechanical Keyboard + Macro Keypad Review

Introduction


Aorus are back on eTeknix again today, following a long hiatus from our last review of theirs, the rather stunning Aorus Thunder M7 Gaming Mouse. In the office today, we have their new flagship gaming keyboard, the Thunder K7, and it’s packed to the brim with high-end features that are sure to excite professionals, gamers and well, many other people too!

  • World’s 1st Mechanical gaming keyboard with detachable Macro keys
  • Superior CHERRY MX Mechanical Key-Switch
  • Absolute Anti-Ghosting Multi-Key press Capability
  • AORUS Macro Engine

Equipped with a split design that allows you to not only detach the number pads completely and turn the main keyboard into an 80% width design, you can also attach the number pad on the left side of the keyboard and use it as a macro pad, or for any other purpose for that matter, and even then, you can also use the number pad all by its self if you really wanted! Of course, a funky modular design isn’t the only thing you can expect from this keyboard today. Equipped with Cherry MX Red switches, N-key rollover, anti-ghosting, LED lighting, macro engine, detachable wrist rest, and more, the K7 is sounding like strong competition for many other high-end keyboards on the market today.

The box for the Thunder K7 is absolutely huge, it may actually be the biggest keyboard box we’ve ever seen, and not by any small margin either!b There’s a huge image of the keyboard don the front, as well as a badge telling us this is the orange light edition, not the blue one in the big picture.

Around the back, a quick rundown of the main features, such as the modular design, Cherry switches, and the powerful macro engine.

The box opens up to reveal just why it’s so big in the first place. The keyboard is exceptionally well padded and the main keyboard, number pad and wrist rest are all separated by thick foam to ensure they stay secure in transit. Each component is wrapped in plastic bags to keep them dust free and there’s a large plastic shell over the top over everything to protect it from damage.

In the box, the keyboard, which comes hard-wired with a good quality USB cable and custom USB 2.0 gold-plated head, as well as a secondary cable for when you’re using the number pad independently.

The detachable wrist rest is pretty durable and has a good width to it. It is worth pointing out, however, that it’s the full keyboard size, so may look ridiculous if you’re using it in 80% mode.

There are some rubber grips on the bottom to keep it in place, but you’ll notice the lack of clips as the whole unit connects to the keyboard magnetically.

Ozone Strike Battle Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Ozone are one of the coolest names in the peripheral business. Time and time again, they’ve shown us that they can create some great gaming products, packed full of features, that have proven very popular with both gamers at home and with this eSports/pro gaming communities. So when I found out that they’ve created one of the sleekest, lightest and coolest looking mechanical keyboards I’ve ever seen, I simply couldn’t wait to get it in for review.

The new Ozone Strike Battle is a packed with all the features you would expect from a good quality mechanical gaming keyboard. It has an aluminum top panel, a TKL (ten keys less) design, fully mechanical keys with a choice of Cherry MX switches, full LED backlighting and much more!

“Strike Battle offers the best selection of cherry MX keyswitches, a short-body and an ergonomic design to ensure a comfortable use. Its high-quality aluminum layout gives you the best materials and performance to improve your gaming skills. It also features a minimalist design and a compact style that makes it perfect for competitive use, travelling gamers or anyone who needs more work space on their desk. Take it to the battlefield.” – Ozone

The Strike comes hard-wired with a braided cable and gold-plated USB connector. What’s interesting is that this is an incredibly thin and lightweight cable. The whole keyboard is as minimalist in terms of materials as possible, making it the lightest mech keyboard I’ve ever handled and the addition of the light cable means it’s really easy to carry around, or maneuver on your desktop.

As you can very obviously see, the aluminum coating behind the keys is finished in bright red, with a keyboard chassis that is literally no bigger than the layout of the keys, giving it a bezel free appearance.

The key caps are really nicely designed and have a jet black appearance with a fine laser etched typeface. Despite the keyboards compact size, the key spacing is pretty standard, so it’s unlikely you’ll have any ergonomic issues. On the F1-F4 keys, you’ll find controls for on-the-fly adjustments of the polling rate.

They keyboard is a TKL design, which means no number pad. This may be a deal breaker for some who rely on the number pad, but it does mean the keyboard is smaller, lighter, more portable and frees up a lot of desk space that you can use for your mouse. The F5-F12 keys are equipped with multimedia shortcuts, which can be accessed via the Fn-Shift key, while the top right keys will help you toggle through lighting effects and brightness levels; off / breathing / 10% / 30% / 70% / 100%. You’ll also notice these keys are labeled M1-M6, which can be used as macro keys over five profiles, giving you access to 30 macros that can be stored on the keyboards 64KB of internal memory; perfect for LAN gaming tournaments.

The arrow keys are tucked right down into the corner, which on most keyboards would be a little bit of a concern, but the low profile chassis negates any ergonomic issues and they’re actually perfectly comfortable to use. They’re actually even closer to my desk than the arrow keys on my normal keyboard; a Mionix Zibal 60.

Here you can see that lovely low profile design; I’m already falling in love with this keyboards ergonomics.

The keys have a slow sweep from front to back to give you better ergonomics and you can see that the key caps have been specially crafted to further enhance this; such as the slightly raised space bar.

There’s very little to see around the back, just the cable connection and a small Ozone logo on one side.

One the base, you’ll find five rubber grips, three at the front and two on the kick stands; more than enough to prevent it from sliding around your desktop.

The kick stands are only plastic, but they feel surprisingly durable, at least compared to most keyboards which have rather flimsy kick stands.

There’s no key-cap removal tool included, but you can easily pull them off to maintain your keyboard or to install custom keycaps if you so desire. As you can see, we have Cherry MX Red keys, which are equipped with red LED lighting.

The lighting is nice and vivid at the maximum setting and also provides a gorgeous under-glow that illuminates the red backplate, giving a really nice glow to the whole keyboard.

CM Storm Aluminium Keyboard, Mouse & Headset Round-up Review

A few weeks ago we brought you three reviews from the aluminium loving peripheral range from CM Storm, this includes their Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and the Reaper mouse. All three of these products are designed to look great, not only on their own, but also when they’re put next to each other. CM Storm do not sell these three items as a complete set, but today we want to find out what it would be like to live with the trilogy together.

Naturally having already tested these products we know they’re great, their performance isn’t even in question today as they’ve all walked away with tasty eTeknix awards in their respective reviews.

Style isn’t everything, but it certainly can’t hurt to have it. With the dominance of eSports and LAN gaming events we are seeing more and more focus on appearance in the PC gaming community. This ranges from branding, sponsorship, customisation of implement, case mods, colour matching components and peripherals, branded clothes and more. Having the cool stuff with the LED lights on it and the matching T-shirt might sound pointless, but many of us are guilty of it.

The packaging alone gives away the fact these products were destined to be next to each other. All three feature aluminium panels that can be removed, customised and then re-attached, allowing you to have your favourite images or logos printed on them, or you could always crack out a can of spray paint and do something creative of your own.

The overall design here looks absolutely blinding, the Mech keyboard has a real sense of presence on the desktop and that is party due to its epic size! This isn’t a keyboard that would be suitable for those with trolley desks or narrow slide out keyboard shelves. The desk we are using here is 95cm (37.4 inches) wide and can accommodate it with ease, but one also has to consider the depth as the keyboard comes with a rather sizeable wrist rest section that cannot be removed.

The headset fits nicely on the desk, although it is begging to have a proper stand to store it upon, with those lovely aluminium panels on the side. I would hate to see this get scratched so I do recommend you invest in a mounting solution to store the headset, a quick Google of “headset Stand” will turn up something useful.

The mouse sits nicely on our CM Storm mouse mat and it is obvious that the three compliment each other well. The LED back lighting on the keyboard, the strip lighting between the keyboards wrist rest, the interior lighting behind the drivers of the headset and the strip light across the top of the mouse all feature strong lines and a glow that matches perfectly.

Price

One of the big factors here is that these are all premium products, so price is something that has to be taken into consideration. While it can be tricky to work out a total price given that all these items are sold separately, so different retailers may have better deals on at any given time, we can give you our best estimate at time of writing.

The Pulse R headset clocks in at around £60 – £70 on any given day, putting it right in the firing line of products from Steelseries and Razer, fortunately it holds up well against them in terms of performance and in my opinion looks better than anything else in this price range.

The Mech will set you back around £130, although we couldn’t find any reliable retailer with stock in the UK at time of writing, however this is a new product range and it may take a week or two longer for distributors to get stock in Europe. While that may not be cheap, it is on par with the bulk of premium mechanical keyboards.

Finally we have the Reaper mouse which is priced at a reasonable £55, making it the cheapest (at least in financial terms) of the three items. At this price range it is highly competitive and it offers some of the best build quality is this price class, as well as an Avago sensor and Omron switches.

Total price for the set would set you back around £250, which I think is actually really good value for money. It is certainly not cheap, but when you factor in the level of performance and quality we’ve seen from these products it certainly sounds like a solid investment. Visually the products look rather epic and with the option to customise each on to your liking I can see the modding community falling over themselves to get a set of these.

Overview

There are few options out there in my opinion for those that want a matching set of peripherals, Mad Catz have a very uniform range with their RAT mice, STRIKE keyboards & FREQ headsets all sharing many design features, but they’re not as unified as the CM Storm range. The same can be said for Roccat, their ISKU keyboards and Kone mice look great together, but are not a perfect matching set. So the CM Storm range will go well for the purist, those looking for OCD levels of matching perfection.

On our test desk the mixture of black glass, aluminium panels and the white back lights this setup looks incredible and worth every penny of the £250 price tag. Performance in gaming and day to day use is faultless on all three products and there is little else that needs praising beyond that!

As I’ve said before, we’ve already reviewed this range of products and you can read our in-depth reviews via the links below (all links open in new tab).

Which do you prefer, the mouse, keyboard or headset? Or are you suddenly hating me for making you want to save up £250 for the complete set? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cooler Master CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset Review

Cooler Master CM Storm Mech Aluminum Keyboard Review

Cooler Master CM Storm Reaper Aluminium Gaming Mouse Review

Corsair Vengeance K70 Mechanical Keyboard Review

Corsair have been known to make some seriously cool peripherals in the last few years, most notably for me are their range of premium gaming mice such as the M65 and M95, both of which are some of the finest mice on the market and their K60 and K90 keyboards have already proven popular with gamers around the world and won multiple awards for their performance, but can the K70 live up to the high standards that Corsair sets themselves and can it bring anything new to the mechanical keyboard market given that the market is already pretty crowded with great options to spend your money on? Well that’s what I hope to find out today.

With a price tag of £119.99 it’s safe to say this isn’t a budget model, once you get over the £100 price mark your well into enthusiast level technology and within this price range there are more than a few options to pick from with your hard-earned money such as the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate or the QPAD MK-85, both of which are incredible keyboards but when your spending this kind of money you want something exact, something that suits your play style, that offers a design your happy with and you also want premium quality and performance, many of which are subjective qualities and it will be interesting to see what the K70 has to offer.

The K70 comes in a nicely design box with a great image of the keyboard on the front as well as highlighting a few of the major features such as the Cherry MX Red switches, key-by-key backlighting and contoured and textured WASD 1-6 key caps.

Around the back we have a more detailed breakdown of the features, but we’ll be taking a closer look at those in a moment.

In the box I found the quick start guide, a warranty guide, 10 extra key caps and a key removal tool.

Also included as a full width, clip on wrist rest.

there are two connection points on the underside and a simple push-click will lock it into place on the keyboard, a light tug will remove it, no tools required.

Up close you can see it features a slight embossed texture, but it is also finished with a quality feeling soft touch rubber, this provides comfort and grip.

While the keyboard comes equipped with stock key caps, there are 10 more that you can use on WASD and 1-6 keys, these feature a unique texture, shape and colour that really makes that stand out from the rest.

Each key has a more prominent curve and ergonomic shape that helps you find a great hand position for gaming.

The key caps are a standard push on fitting type and you could just as easily use your own 3rd party custom caps if you wish.

The keyboard comes hardwired out of the box and features a long and very durable cable.

The cable is thick and features a high quality braiding that looks great, but it will also help protect the cable. There are two USB connections required but the keyboard does offer USB passthrough, perfect for hooking up your headset or other USB compatible device without reaching behind your computer.

The keyboard is full size and features all black fitting with white lettering that gives the keyboard a sleek and tidy appearance.

If we get in a little closer you can see that the chassis of the keyboard is made from brushed aluminum, which gives off a subtle shine and it feel really nice to the touch. In the top right we have some key config buttons for backlighting and windows lock, the num, caps and scroll lock LEDs, master mute switch and a very cool and textured infinite scrolling wheel that controls your system master volume. Below that you will find four more multimedia keys, giving you quick and easy control over your multimedia applications.

The board features a gentle ergonomic sweeping shape to the key layout, which provides a nice level surface for your fingers that compliments the wedge shape of the keyboard chassis.

Around the back we see the USB port that can be used for headsets, flash drives etc and also a mode switch, which should help make the board compatible with your computers BIOS, so many times I’ve seen premium keyboards that don’t work (at all) in my BIOS, so this is an extremely welcome feature!

The space bar is ever so lightly textures and while it gives a slight tactile difference it adds a nice little style touch too as the texture matches that of the volume scroll wheel in the top right corner of the keyboard.

Keycaps are easily removed with the included too and as you can see they do indeed feature Cherry MX Red switches.

The extra keys are completely optional but as you can see below, they look fantastic and give a really bold contrast to the black and white finish of the rest of the keyboard.

There is a concave ergonomic shape between the 1 and 6 keys that make them really easy to find without looking and you’ll find a similar shape between the WASD keys.

Around the back there are no standout features, but you will find four small rubber grips as well as four flip out feet. The rear ones provide a greater angle to the board, while also using the front feet provides more height and a change in angle for the wrist rest.

The wrist rest makes a big visual difference to the overall style but it’s more there for practical reasons and it’s a welcome feature to have included, but also just as welcome that its use is optional.

Setup & Installation

This keyboard couldn’t be more simply to operate, plug and play is all you need to get going and all major features can be adjusted from the keyboard its self, very handy if you’re lugging it around to LAN gaming events too as it means you don’t have to concern about drivers and specialist software to enjoy the day to day performance and functions.

The backlighting looks fantastic and while it does provide s “through key” lighting effect, most of the light shines below the key and gives them a devilish underglow, which is most noticeable from the rear of the board since the LED’s sit ever so slightly below the keycaps, allowing the light to radiate sideways.

Performance

I’m a big fan of Cherry MX Red switches as they provide a very satisfying typing response that manages to be quick and lightweight but still offering just enough resistance that you can rest your fingers over the keys, all vital aspects for a gaming keyboard where your fingers tips will often be on the WASD for extensive periods of time.

The keys feel really snappy and while I think they can be a little loud, generally from the key cap hitting against the frame when fully depressed, this is an issue that plagues just about every mechanical keyboard around and not something I can really blame Corsair for overall.

For day to day typing you really can’t beat a good mechanical keyboard and MX Red switches really do offer a nice balance for both gaming and working, but the MX Red switches are not unlike every other MX Red equipped board and the only real tactile difference here comes from the custom key caps that were included. They’re a neat little gimmick and I really like the custom shape they’ve been given, it’s a tiny difference but an effective one non the less.

Gaming wise this is a samurai sword in terms of performance, the response is quick, the ergonomics are good and the build / key quality is best in class, you couldn’t ask for much more from your keyboard.

Multimedia keys have never really been anything worth shouting about in my opinion, but it is handy to have them and the ones on the K70 have been really well designed, especially the scroll wheel.

Final Thoughts

Corsair have a solid reputation for solid quality products and that is something they’ve clearly adhered to today, this keyboard features faultless build quality and the choice of materials goes a long way to justifying the price tag. I’ve seen gaming keyboard with similar switches that come with a plastic covered chassis, giving them a much cheaper feel, but the full metal chassis and body work on the K70 just screams high quality all over. This is further complimented by the heavy-duty and nicely braided cable that is hard-wired to the keyboard, with custom red coloured USB connections, attention to the little details clearly goes a long way.

The back lighting is really nice too and I really like that you can enable or disable the backlight LEDs on a per-key basis, meaning if you only want WASD lit up, you can do just that, or of course you could just turn them all off and have a smart looking black brushed aluminum keyboard.

The only issue I have with this keyboard is the price, I wish it were cheaper because I’m sure there are many out there who want a keyboard this good but simply cannot afford it. Yet on the other side of that issue is that while the keyboard is very expensive, it is also great value for money. The life expectancy of this keyboard should be fantastic, the keys should last years and should one fail they’re easily repaired or replaced, the cables are tough, the chassis is metal and should survive more than a few knocks and bumps and every bit of it has been lovingly assembled to give a faultless finish and when it comes down to it, if a product is of high quality and has the performance to match, then it is worth paying for (if you can afford it of course).

eTeknix says: “Although the K70 may be ideal for the gaming market I see no reason to pin it down in one part of the market. If you want a high performance keyboard for things like checking your emails and wasting time on Facebook, then you’ll still get as much joy from using the K70 as someone  using it to compete in eSports, overall a solid all round performance from Corsair.”

Pros

  • High build quality
  • Customisable key caps
  • Excellent design

Cons

  • Might be a little expensive for some