Aorus K9 op­ti­cal key­board

A RE­MARK­ABLY SOLID EF­FORT - IN EV­ERY SENSE - BUT GI­GA­BYTE’S LAT­EST DOESN’T QUITE HIT THE MARK

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - DAVID HOLLING­WORTH

Gi­ga­byte’s lat­est gam­ing key­board is a clas­sic key­board de­sign, re­as­sur­ingly slab-like in both ap­pear­ance and ap­par­ent con­struc­tion. It sits on your desk, weighty and im­mo­bile, and the all-black, rel­a­tively un­adorned con­struc­tion goes with any PC setup.

The K9’s switches are op­ti­cal, but they’re also still me­chan­i­cal, by the way. There’s still a hard­ware-based switch, but the ac­tu­a­tion is based on an op­ti­cal trig­ger. The ben­e­fit is that, be­ing light activated, key strokes are faster. The switches are also longer wear­ing. But in use, the in-game ben­e­fits feel neg­li­gi­ble – pro eS­ports types might see the ben­e­fit of the faster de­bounce, but for reg­u­lar gamers the speed dif­fer­ence sim­ply doesn’t seem ap­par­ent, and the ben­e­fit of longer life sim­i­larly seems a touch over­wrought.

The K9 uses Flaretech switches in ei­ther Red or Blue va­ri­eties, which equate to sim­i­lar Cherry switches. We re­ceived a Red ver­sion for re­view, and they’re not our favourite switch, even on Cherry-pow­ered key­boards, but on the K9 they feel a lit­tle more… wa­tery? The lack of click­i­ness is the Red’s whole schtick, but the ac­tion seems par­tic­u­larly lack­ing in the Flaretech switches.

The other neat fea­ture of the K9 is that it comes with not only spare key­caps for the WASD, cur­sor, and Es­cape keys in or­ange, but it also comes with spare switches, so you can make those keys of­fer dif­fer­ent tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ence. On this Red key­board, the spares are clicky Blue num­bers, and while they’re not as re­spon­sive as Cherry’s, the com­bi­na­tion of colour and tac­tile clar­ity is kinda neat.

And, on top of that, Gi­ga­byte claims that not only is the key­board splash-proof, but that it will also op­er­ate un­der wa­ter. Oddly, no IP (ingress pro­tec­tion) rating is given, so we’ve no idea how that should re­late to solids like dust and other par­tic­u­lates.

Un­for­tu­nately, the K9 is also on the ex­pen­sive side for what you’re get­ting, and it doesn’t fea­ture any ded­i­cated me­dia or vol­ume keys, or a wrist-rest, or even a USB passthrough, all fea­tures you’d ex­pect for a key­board that re­tails for nearly $200. If you can find one for closer to $150 then it’s more ap­peal­ing. $189 • www.aorus.com

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