The Xiaomi gaming keyboard is certainly an oddity in the mechanical keyboard market, particularly due to the fact that it utilizes hybrid mechanical switches that are unique to this model exclusively. Priced at a reasonable Rs. 6500, this keyboard is definitely a good option for newcomers to the world of PC gaming and certainly worth trying out.
The top deck is made of powder-coated aluminum and has a a very smooth texture to it, feels great. At this price point, it is certainly better than most all-plastic builds out there, and it looks good too. The bottom half on the hand, is plastic, not that it’s really noticeable since that area does not really get any touches under normal usage. It also has rubber feet on the bottom – as is expected – with 2 additional taller pads to raise the keyboard at a bit of an angle. The cable is fully braided and feels quite good in terms of quality, a braided cable is always nice to see. Moreover, there is no flex to the board whatsoever, and it weighs quite heavy, keeping it still in-place while typing.
Lighting Effects and Functionality
Perhaps the biggest selling point of this keyboard is the fact that it features RGB lighting at this price. However, though it looks superb, its certainly not as good as the more expensive keyboards that have per-key RGB lighting, while this has 5 zones that change color. Moving on, there is no software to set the lighting modes or colors, instead, you can cycle through a bunch of presets by pressing the Fn + PgUp/PgDn keys. Among these modes are solid color, breathing effect, rainbow wave-effect, and a bunch of other flashy ones as well. In terms of brightness, even with a lot of bright lights shining, the keyboard’s effects are clearly visible and it is more than bright enough to be read in the dark. The following pictures show some of the modes and how it looks with a full setup:
Key-caps and Switches
Another particularly good thing about this keyboard is that it uses PBS double-shot keycaps (1.3mm thickness) which are much more durable than the cheaper ABS plastics on most other boards at this price.
As for the switches, these are certainly unique, if you want to call it that. They are made by TTC, called the MT Hybrid switches. They are rather similar to conventional Cherry MX switches, however, they don’t have the signature copper leaf inside them. Instead, the switch is triggered when the bar inside the switch is fully extended and touches the membrane at the bottom. While many dispute its legibility as a true mechanical board, it certainly does not feel as mushy or cheap as a membrane does. The feel of the switch is even more quirky, since it is supposed to be a Red-Black hybrid switch. The switches feel very similar to Cherry MX Blues, surprisingly, due to their tactile-ish feel. In terms of software features, there’s not much besides full N-key rollover (up-to 33 keys at a time) and Windows-key disabling. According to Xiaomi, the keyboard uses a Sonix 32-bit ARM master MCU with 48M clock speed with a 1000Hz rate of return, allowing it to keep up with rapid key strokes very easily.
As the graph shows, the switch has a linear feel for the first part of the travel (like an MX Red) but then it gets heavier (like an MX Black) halfway through the travel. This makes it have a bit of clicky, tactile feel to it which you may or may not like, but I personally don’t mind it. Lastly, the switches are also hot swappable, meaning that in the future, users have the option of switching out these switches for compatible ones as they desire, which is an excellent offering from Xiaomi.
Great feel of switches
Highly Competitive Price
Good lighting effects and build quality
Slight bit of key wobble
Zoned lighting instead of per-key RGB