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, the Aorus K9 Op­ti­cal 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 bene t is that, be­ing light ac­ti­vated, key strokes are faster. The switches are also longer wear­ing.

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 kind of neat. I think I pre­fer the dif­fer­ence in contouring that is Cor­sair’s so­lu­tion to mak­ing those im­por­tant keys stand­out, how­ever. Hav­ing two dif­fer­ent switches on your key­board while typ­ing at length is a lit­tle odd, and it does throw off my rhythm some­what; if you’re more fo­cused on gam­ing over writ­ing at length, it’s prob­a­bly less of an is­sue, though, and could well de­liver the best of both worlds.

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 pretty much fea­tures you’d ex­pect for a key­board that re­tails for nearly $200 (though at time of rat­ing there are some good sales where you can get the K9 for around $150, which is much more rea­son­able.

KEY SPECS

USB 2.0 in­ter­face • Flaretech Op­ti­cal-me­chan­i­cal switches • 4mm travel, 2mm ac­tu­a­tion, 0.03ms de­bounce time

$185 • www.aorus.com

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