Rapoo V700 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
This is a good entry point for anyone looking for a mechanical keyboard, for gaming or otherwise
- Mechanical switches
- Not overly loud
- Well balanced keys
- Texture on the keys could take time to get used to
For a modest price of $95 ($170 in NZ), Rapoo's V700 is a good first step towards the world of mechanical keyboards. It's not only good a gaming keyboard, but also as a general keyboard for getting work done.
Mechanical keyboards have a completely different feel to the membrane-based board that may have been supplied with your computer. And depending on the type of mechanical keyboard you buy, that will feel different to other mechanical keyboards. It's all to do with the types of switches that are used inside the keyboard, which all have their own characteristics. Most are made by Cherry. In Rapoo's V700 keyboard, the company has settled on a Yellow switch that is of its own making.
The yellow switch in the V700 has a soft disposition that allows you to hit down on the key without too much pressure in order to leave your mark, and it's a smooth ride all the way down. You feel a little bit of resistance build up as the key travels further on its way down, and it's a reassuring feeling that gives you a sense of having complete control over each key.
Many mechanical switches tend to be audible, making clicking sounds that are designed to appease those of you who like to make that sort of racket with your fingers. With the yellow switches on offer here, the clicking sound is not present. However, as the keys travel downwards and collide with the base of the board, they will make a sharp noise. It isn't too loud a noise, but that will depend on your typing style.
The faster and harder that you type, the louder the keyboard will be, and it could be a little more irritating to use compared to a membrane-based board; it will also be audible at home on a quiet night, so best to use it behind closed doors. Furthermore, if you use it in an office, be prepared to receive a raised eyebrow or two from those sitting near you.
The keys in the middle make a sharper sound than the space bar, which makes a softer sound, and the backspace key has a slightly duller sound, too. We'll describe the overall sound of the board as being somewhat hollow, and there is some echoing present when the keys shoot back up, which has a strange effect of reinforcing the harshness of a mechanical environment.
For those of you who know your mechanical switches, the Yellow switches in this V700 are described as a cross between Cherry Black and Cherry Red. They are a bit lighter than Black and a bit heavier than Red. Rapoo told us it has tested the durability of the new switches to up to 60-million key presses.
Other specs you might like to know about are the built-in ARM processor, and it supports up to a 1000Hz polling rate for the USB interface (that is, it can send info on key presses at up to 1000 times per second, for quicker responsiveness).
While this keyboard is aimed directly at gamers who want to finally make the switch to a mechanical keyboard without spending a ridiculous amount of money to do so, we're reviewing this board as an all-rounder; it's a product that we think transcends gaming, and you can use it comfortably for everyday typing, whether you're composing long emails to relatives, or working on school reports or business documents.
It doesn't have all the fancy features of a super-duper gaming board, such as specially painted WASD keys, dedicated columns of macro keys, or backlighting so that you can see what you're hitting at night. However, the keys are programmable, which allows you to make use of macros, and there are also different profiles that you can use, which are stored in onboard memory. You can set these up using driver software from Rapoo's site, though ours was in a language other English, even though we downloaded the English version. There is also a Windows Key Lock so that you can hit the Windows Key without fear of being thrust from the middle of a gaming session back out into your system environment.
The layout of the board is standard, with a number pad on the right side, and perfectly separated arrow keys. There is also a heft to the board (it weighs about 1.3kg) that makes it feel sturdy while banging away at the letters, and there is no chance of it moving, even during the roughest of typing sessions. The lettering on the keys is slightly raised, and the texture of the keys feels slightly awkward, perhaps because of the way the letters are juxtaposed against the keys. This is our only qualm with this board; sometimes the friction of our fingers against the keys was a little too noticeable, and it felt like they, at times, skidded across them instead of hitting them square.
In addition to the heavy base, there is a thick, braided cord that looks the goods, though depending on the way you move your board around your desk area, it could be prone to fraying over the years. It's not something we'd worry about. It's a 1.8m long cable, and the end connection is gold plated.
A couple of legs at the rear give the board a nice lift so that you can type at an angle, and this is our preferred position for typing reviews such as this. There are a couple of rubber stops at the front to stop the board from sliding when it's in this position, but we feel like they should be located a little further forward and also of a greater surface area in order to get more purchase on a desk. We found that the board was a little too easy to push around on a smooth table. Then again, you can always put down a mat.
So to wrap it up, Rapoo's mechanical, yellow-switched keyboard is, overall, a very good one. We think anyone migrating over from a membrane style board will find it to be a good introduction into the world of key switches, though it might be a bit of a learning curve at first until you get used to the depth and control that the keys offer — and also the distinctly different sound. We do have some concerns over the texture of the keys, but we think this might be something that will get better with prolonged usage.
For the price you pay, Rapoo's V700 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is well worth it. In New Zealand, the price is $170 from Harvey Norman.
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