Question Need advice picking between these four budget mechanical gaming keyboards

Jun 15, 2020
3
2
15
My current old keyboard (CM Storm Trigger Z) has been giving me trouble, and may be on it's way out (Just barely got it mostly working again). I currently can't spend a lot on a replacement keyboard and have been trying to lookup what matches it's features as closely as I can (backlighting, “Red” style mechanical switches, macro keys, detachable USB, and around the same length physically) on a budget.

I have narrowed it down to four that seem the closest experience to my old keyboard . I tried reading reviews on them, but still want to ask people's opinions between these four (Although as I explained, it's a bit blurry if a slightly different model number among the Redragon line would work better for me), as out of all the ones I could find for the feature set I wanted and within my budget, these four seemed to be the closest. But I am not sure about any of them (Especially the ones that are not red switch or are optical)

Redragon K556:
I am a bit skeptical about Redragon anything, as their prices generally seem too good to be true. And Rtings didn't have great reviews for the K552..... but they also had it on their list of recommended budget gaming mechanical keyboards. But the K552 does not have a numberpad, and the K556 appears to be the same as the K552 but with one. It has no macro keys (though seems you can set them in software) nor a detachable cable, but it (seems to?) have a red switch option. Most of the other reviews I looked up on the K556 appeared to be pretty favorable, main complaints I saw were from Rtings claiming that the spacebar is wobbly and that there is no software...... except that there is? I don't know if maybe the software came out after Rtings' review. (Another person in their review commented that one of his switches was duplicating keystrokes, but since the keyboard comes with several replacement switches the replacement worked).

Amazon a few days ago claimed the keyboard came with Brown and Red switches, but that the Red switch one was back-ordered until the 18th. When I checked today however, there was no option for anything other than a brown-switch version.

It's not even clear if the K556 IS supposed to come in multiple key versions or some other K55Whatever model is the Red switch version. One issue I had when trying to research this keyboard is that there was dozens of K5## models that all seemed to all be almost the exact same thing, and I couldn't tell what the difference was.

Also, personally, not a fan of the somewhat odd writing on the keycaps, namely, how keys that have different characters depending on if shift is held (such as the number keys) have both sets of characters to the SIDE of each other rather than the main character be on top and the shift-character be on the bottom like how most keyboards display it.


Redragon K580 VATA:
Function-wise it appears to be a K566 with some dedicated macro keys and multimedia keys, which is what drew me to it. Although, the macro keys are odd mini-keys at the top of the keyboard rather than normal sized keys among all the other regular keyboard's keys. It also does not appear to be a Red switch option, but instead blue and...... optical brown? Really not sure how I feel about optical keys at all, seem to be very hit-or-miss with people.... and I wish it had at least a Black key option if no Red. (Why do so many gaming keyboards seem to default to Blue switches? Non-gaming keyboards geared for typing/programming I get, but gaming?). Sadly, no detachable USB cable either.

The reviews I was able to find of this keyboard are more or less "Yeah, it's good" with no real glaring positives or negatives other than it's a bit messy if you have multiple profiles and move between PCs.

I am a bit skeptical however how the K580 appears to be newer and have more features than the K556..... yet is about the same price, makes me wonder what it's lacking compared to the K556, whether it's some features missing, or build quality.



(I know that both the Redragon K556 and K580 let you replace the switches with other Outemu switches without soldering, but it's not clear if the "optical" version of the K580 allows that too or only the mechanical one, the reviews I saw only mentioned the mechanical Blue switch version...... plus it would likely be far too expensive to replace all the switches with Red ones...)


G.Skill Ripjaws KM780R:
Originally this one was really pushing against how much I wanted to pay, but I noticed that there is a non-RGB version with just red backlighting (just like my Storm Trigger Z) and Red switches. It also has dedicated macro keys in a similar layout to my old keyboard too (Though I am not a fan that the first macro key is to the left of escape instead of below it, I can see myself pressing that by accident when I meant to hit escape) although still no detachable USB cable. However, one big issue I have right off the bat is that it's about two inches longer than my current keyboard (Around 18 inches vs 20). I just barely am fitting my current keyboard in its current tray, and that's still with it cutting off some space from my mouse, and with this I will have an additional 2 inches of space lost.... and from what I can see, it's due to those purely cosmetic "pipes" at the ends that you can't remove. Kind of annoying that it would take that much more space for something that is almost purely cosmetic that you can't detach.

According to reviews, apparently this was originally a $180-130 keyboard that has dropped in price significantly, which makes me wonder if this is an obsolete older model. The reviews for the most part seemed to say it was a pretty good keyboard with good build quality, but that it takes up a lot of space, and isn’t very repairable….. and is also quite ugly. They also complained about the software being complicated but I don’t really care about that much.

Also personally, on top of the it’s large size, the cable looks like an utter mess too. A hard-wired cable that ends in two USB-A and two 3.5mm AUX cables? If there was ANY keyboard that screamed for detachable cables, it would have been this one.


Razer Huntsman:
This one was a bit of a pain to try to get information/reviews on, since everything was trying to auto”correct” me to the Mini, Elite, or Tournament model instead of the normal model. I kinda wish they had some other name for the normal model so most search engines wouldn't assume I just forgot the last word of the mini/elite/tournament version. And yet again, no detachable USB cable… no dedicated macro or any other additional keys either. It does appear to have a “linear keys” (they don’t seem to clarify what type of Cherry switches they mimic) option…. but I could not find the normal version available in that, so I am not sure if it’s exclusive to the Mini, Elite, or Tournament edition. On top of that, it’s really hitting the edge of what I wanted to pay for a budget keyboard (and it only even fits that because it had a price cut, despite not being that old of a Keyboard… that’s a little concerning)…. and I am unsure about how well optical keys would work out, which is this keyboard’s main selling point.


Going by reviews, it seems like for the most part they loved the quality of the keyboard and feel it’s well-built and good to type on, but that it’s also very noisy…. very VERY noisy….. in fact just about every review was VERY adamant about pointing out how noisy it is (which surprises me for optical switches) and the keys can wobble a little, mostly due to the optical design requiring a stabilization bar.


So that’s pretty much the four I have narrowed it down to. I already asked about keyboards in general last time, now that I got advice I am just trying to get an opinion across these four (Or if there is a Redragon that is one or two model numbers off which is more or less the same thing but with a feature or switch I do want.)

What annoyed me is that none of these are even that close to what I am looking for. Half of them aren’t Red or any other type of linear switch, and none of them have a detachable USB cable. If only that G.Skill one didn’t have that annoyance of a metal tube around it or it’s mess of a USB cable it would have been the best pick. Likewise, if only that K556 had Red switches (and I am not sure on their quality yet do their price) it also would have been a pretty close pick.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gothying
Aug 25, 2020
11
0
10
My current old keyboard (CM Storm Trigger Z) has been giving me trouble, and may be on it's way out (Just barely got it mostly working again). I currently can't spend a lot on a replacement keyboard and have been trying to lookup what matches it's features as closely as I can (backlighting, “Red” style mechanical switches, macro keys, detachable USB, and around the same length physically) on a budget.

I have narrowed it down to four that seem the closest experience to my old keyboard . I tried reading reviews on them, but still want to ask people's opinions between these four (Although as I explained, it's a bit blurry if a slightly different model number among the Redragon line would work better for me), as out of all the ones I could find for the feature set I wanted and within my budget, these four seemed to be the closest. But I am not sure about any of them (Especially the ones that are not red switch or are optical)

Redragon K556:
I am a bit skeptical about Redragon anything, as their prices generally seem too good to be true. And Rtings didn't have great reviews for the K552..... but they also had it on their list of recommended budget gaming mechanical keyboards. But the K552 does not have a numberpad, and the K556 appears to be the same as the K552 but with one. It has no macro keys (though seems you can set them in software) nor a detachable cable, but it (seems to?) have a red switch option. Most of the other reviews I looked up on the K556 appeared to be pretty favorable, main complaints I saw were from Rtings claiming that the spacebar is wobbly and that there is no software...... except that there is? I don't know if maybe the software came out after Rtings' review. (Another person in their review commented that one of his switches was duplicating keystrokes, but since the keyboard comes with several replacement switches the replacement worked).

Amazon a few days ago claimed the keyboard came with Brown and Red switches, but that the Red switch one was back-ordered until the 18th. When I checked today however, there was no option for anything other than a brown-switch version.

It's not even clear if the K556 IS supposed to come in multiple key versions or some other K55Whatever model is the Red switch version. One issue I had when trying to research this keyboard is that there was dozens of K5## models that all seemed to all be almost the exact same thing, and I couldn't tell what the difference was.

Also, personally, not a fan of the somewhat odd writing on the keycaps, namely, how keys that have different characters depending on if shift is held (such as the number keys) have both sets of characters to the SIDE of each other rather than the main character be on top and the shift-character be on the bottom like how most keyboards display it.


Redragon K580 VATA:
Function-wise it appears to be a K566 with some dedicated macro keys and multimedia keys, which is what drew me to it. Although, the macro keys are odd mini-keys at the top of the keyboard rather than normal sized keys among all the other regular keyboard's keys. It also does not appear to be a Red switch option, but instead blue and...... optical brown? Really not sure how I feel about optical keys at all, seem to be very hit-or-miss with people.... and I wish it had at least a Black key option if no Red. (Why do so many gaming keyboards seem to default to Blue switches? Non-gaming keyboards geared for typing/programming I get, but gaming?). Sadly, no detachable USB cable either.

The reviews I was able to find of this keyboard are more or less "Yeah, it's good" with no real glaring positives or negatives other than it's a bit messy if you have multiple profiles and move between PCs.

I am a bit skeptical however how the K580 appears to be newer and have more features than the K556..... yet is about the same price, makes me wonder what it's lacking compared to the K556, whether it's some features missing, or build quality.



(I know that both the Redragon K556 and K580 let you replace the switches with other Outemu switches without soldering, but it's not clear if the "optical" version of the K580 allows that too or only the mechanical one, the reviews I saw only mentioned the mechanical Blue switch version...... plus it would likely be far too expensive to replace all the switches with Red ones...)


G.Skill Ripjaws KM780R:
Originally this one was really pushing against how much I wanted to pay, but I noticed that there is a non-RGB version with just red backlighting (just like my Storm Trigger Z) and Red switches. It also has dedicated macro keys in a similar layout to my old keyboard too (Though I am not a fan that the first macro key is to the left of escape instead of below it, I can see myself pressing that by accident when I meant to hit escape) although still no detachable USB cable. However, one big issue I have right off the bat is that it's about two inches longer than my current keyboard (Around 18 inches vs 20). I just barely am fitting my current keyboard in its current tray, and that's still with it cutting off some space from my mouse, and with this I will have an additional 2 inches of space lost.... and from what I can see, it's due to those purely cosmetic "pipes" at the ends that you can't remove. Kind of annoying that it would take that much more space for something that is almost purely cosmetic that you can't detach.

According to reviews, apparently this was originally a $180-130 keyboard that has dropped in price significantly, which makes me wonder if this is an obsolete older model. The reviews for the most part seemed to say it was a pretty good keyboard with good build quality, but that it takes up a lot of space, and isn’t very repairable….. and is also quite ugly. They also complained about the software being complicated but I don’t really care about that much.

Also personally, on top of the it’s large size, the cable looks like an utter mess too. A hard-wired cable that ends in two USB-A and two 3.5mm AUX cables? If there was ANY keyboard that screamed for detachable cables, it would have been this one.


Razer Huntsman:
This one was a bit of a pain to try to get information/reviews on, since everything was trying to auto”correct” me to the Mini, Elite, or Tournament model instead of the normal model. I kinda wish they had some other name for the normal model so most search engines wouldn't assume I just forgot the last word of the mini/elite/tournament version. And yet again, no detachable USB cable… no dedicated macro or any other additional keys either. It does appear to have a “linear keys” (they don’t seem to clarify what type of Cherry switches they mimic) option…. but I could not find the normal version available in that, so I am not sure if it’s exclusive to the Mini, Elite, or Tournament edition. On top of that, it’s really hitting the edge of what I wanted to pay for a budget keyboard (and it only even fits that because it had a price cut, despite not being that old of a Keyboard… that’s a little concerning)…. and I am unsure about how well optical keys would work out, which is this keyboard’s main selling point.


Going by reviews, it seems like for the most part they loved the quality of the keyboard and feel it’s well-built and good to type on, but that it’s also very noisy…. very VERY noisy….. in fact just about every review was VERY adamant about pointing out how noisy it is (which surprises me for optical switches) and the keys can wobble a little, mostly due to the optical design requiring a stabilization bar.


So that’s pretty much the four I have narrowed it down to. I already asked about keyboards in general last time, now that I got advice I am just trying to get an opinion across these four (Or if there is a Redragon that is one or two model numbers off which is more or less the same thing but with a feature or switch I do want.)

What annoyed me is that none of these are even that close to what I am looking for. Half of them aren’t Red or any other type of linear switch, and none of them have a detachable USB cable. If only that G.Skill one didn’t have that annoyance of a metal tube around it or it’s mess of a USB cable it would have been the best pick. Likewise, if only that K556 had Red switches (and I am not sure on their quality yet do their price) it also would have been a pretty close pick.
redragon keyboards are good but if you are going to get one order it direct from the redragon website as i got one from amazon and had to send it back as some of the lights had stopped working and redragon sent me a email saying next time order straight from there website i hope that this might help you.( i just had the red light version). the light was bright enough as not to be to strong even on full but you could turn it down i just had it on static but you could change it if you want too i had the k582 surara red led mechanical keyboard red switches
 
Last edited:

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts