Aorus K9 optical keyboard
A REMARKABLY SOLID EFFORT – IN EVERY SENSE – BUT GIGABYTE’S LATEST DOESN’T QUITE HIT THE MARK
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.
USB 2.0 interface • Flaretech Optical-mechanical switches • 4mm travel, 2mm actuation, 0.03ms debounce time
$185 • www.aorus.com