/The Best RGB Illuminated Mechanical Keyboards on a Budget!

The Best Mechanical Keyboards on a Budget!

Redragon K550 Yama RGB

Typically RGB illuminated mechanical keyboards will leave you out of pocket. Now with more competition in the market, there are a few diamonds in the rough. Although these gems lack strong brand names, they offer excellent functionality for the money.

By: Keyboardauthority

Take the Corsair K95 (check updated prices on amazon.com), this keyboard runs you around $200. While it boasts some great features (including macro keys and dedicated controls), most cant justify spending $200 for a keyboard. Now, lets take a look at what we can do with a fraction of a branded products price.

mechanical keyboard buying guide



Redragon K550 Yama RGB – Editors Choice!

Those who have ready many of my other review will know I have a soft spot for Redragon. I’m actually typing on one of their keyboards right now. Yes, its not a name brand. Yes, they use imitation switches. But, do they deliver a killer product at a fair price? Absolutely, they over deliver. Check out the Redragon Yama on amazon.com

Firstly, lets address the switches on this mechanical keyboard. Redragon are rather vague about the switches they have used on this product The imitation purple switch has a medium to heavy actuation pressure (I estimate around 60g), the tactile feel is reminiscent to a cherry mx brown switch. This leads to a nice feel during game play, I found I could strafe with good precision is counter strike global offensive. Some users may find this key “heavy” for typing, but it fits my needs very well.

Features

This keyboard features 12 macro keys, with on the fly recording. This means that you dont need to use any software and the keyboard will remember your macros internally. This memory can also remember your custom back-lighting profiles. This actually surpassed the technology seen in far more expensive brands like Corsair and Razer. Both of those brands require you to install their cumbersome software. This ease of use does have the trade-off of some functionality (fine tweaking custom lighting profiles).

In my opinion, dedicated media controls are a must have feature on keyboards. I don’t want the hassle of using short-cuts (e.g fn + F6), I want direct and immediate control of my . Redragon have done an excellent job of implementing media controls on their flagship keyboard. There is a full suite of media controls to the right of the keyboard, including a volume wheel. I wish more manufacturers would include media controls in this manner. To me it makes so much more sense to use a wheel to control the volume than buttons.#

The build looks great, brushed aluminium makes for a rigid and attractive keyboard. I am rather happy with the overall build quality, its certainly better than I was expecting at this price. I wish they included a braided cord, the plasticy-rubber one included does detract from the over-all experience. The illuminated keys look great and a certainly bright enough. I think Redragon needs to slightly re-think their custom lighting modes. Currently, custom lighting profiles are only available when gaming mode is on (this disables the windows key). This can be frustrating at times. Other than that small snag, this keyboard looks great!
redragon yama rgb keyboard k550



Likes
Macro keys.
Great dedicated media controls (and volume wheel).
Looks great.
No software required.
USB pass-through.
Full n-key rollover.
Wrist rest.

Dislikes:
Low quality cable.
Some compatibility issues with windows 10 (easily fixed).
Imitation mechanical switches.
No options for other switches.
Custom lighting profiles only available in gaming mode.

Conclusion

The Redragon Yama (check updated prices on amazon.com) is an exceptionally good keyboard. I still find it hard to believe its typically selling for half the cost of the competition, not to mention is beats them in some areas. I think the main thing some enthusiasts might find frustrating is the level of customization offered. Other keyboards like the Corsair K95 and the Razer Blackwiddow Chroma offer more detailed customization via their PC software. If you can live without that, this is the right keyboard for you.

Azio RGB – (MGK1-RGB)

Alright, so you’ve probably never heard of the brand Azio. Thats just fine, because they’re about to save you a ton of money. Their entry into the RGB mechanical keyboard market boasts premium materials and an attractive design.

The MGK1-RGB (check updated prices on amazon.com) offers the option of just 1 mechanical switch, the Kailh blue. Featuring the same tactile sensation you will know and from the Cherry MX blues, but with slightly more actuation pressure (60g). I am slightly heavy handed when I type, so these are a dream for me. Its a shame they dont offer a selection of other keys (browns, reds etc), but I was more than pleased with the typing experience.

AZIO MGK1-RGB KAILH BLUE MECHANICAL SWITCHThis keyboard looks great minus the Azio logo. The face plate in anodized aluminium and the ABS plastic construction feels solid. The braided cord feels rather premium, and its nice to see a dedicated volume wheel on a budget product. The RGB back-lights are sufficiently bright, and looks especially stunning in the dark. There are decent range of lighting modes and there is a good degree of customization available.

Likes:
Premium materials.
Great typing experience.
Volume wheel.
Braided cable.
Wrist rest.
Requires no drivers or programs for full functionality.

Dislikes:
No options for other switches.
No dedicated media keys (Play/pause, next track etc)
Space bar/shift key can be squeaky at times.
There could be some sort of padding on the wrist rest.
Conclusion
Azio have put together a near-complete package. All the keyboards features can be operated without troublesome drivers or software (most of the big players cant say this).

Azio RGB keyboard performance

The RGB illumination looks excellent and is sure to impress your friends. While this is the most expensive keyboard I have reviewed in this comparison, if it fits your budget, I highly recommend purchasing it.

MechanicalEagle Z-77

Coming in at an even lower price, the mechanical eagle Z-77 (check updated prices on amazon.com) is a great option for an eager mechanical keyboard enthusiast. The layout of the keyboard looks great, and isnt cluttered with excessive branding. At first glance, you might mistake it for a far more expensive model due to its brushed aluminium face plate. There are some caveats with this keyboard that may concern you. A big snag with this keyboard are the switches. They only come in one type, and they are knock-offs of Cherry MX blues. While most would agree they provide a similar typing experience, there is noticeably more actuation pressure required. To me these don’t quite stack up to the real deal. The general typing experience is rather comfortable and aside from possible longevity issues, these switches should perform just fine. Most of my criticisms with products like this are things the manufacturer would like to include, but couldn’t at this price level. A braided cable and dedicated media keys would be nice to see in future models.

Nine RGB lighting modes are available with 4 lighting levels. These illumination modes can be further customized by adjusting their speed. At night time I found myself using 2/4 & 3/4 brightness levels. In well lit rooms, the LED’s could be a bit brighter. I was very impressed with the experience, especially considering the price.

Likes:
Brushed aluminium face plate looks great.
Driver-less operation.
Great range of illumination modes
Wrist rest.
Minimal branding.

Dislikes:
Imitation mechanical switches.
No options for other switches.
Poor quality cord.
No dedicated media controls.
LED’s could be brighter in day light.

Conclusion

This keyboard offers exceptional value for money If you are willing to make a compromise on the mechanical switches, this might be the right product for you. Consider purchasing a wrist rest, as the included one can be uncomfortable.



By | 2017-07-14T09:56:12+00:00 July 7th, 2017|Reviews|0 Comments