Alienware has at all times been one of many first firms I consider after I consider PC gaming. The model — which is now a Dell subsidiary — at all times had the good PC circumstances, such because the Space 51 Aurora. Whereas they nonetheless launch some fairly spectacular pre-built PCs, the model’s peripherals are… let’s simply say, much less thrilling.
Alienware’s newest gaming peripheral is the Alienware AW420K: a wired mechanical gaming keyboard, and the model’s first tenkeyless (TKL) mannequin. The AW420K comes with Cherry MX Crimson switches, double-shot PBT keycaps, and per-key RGB… and that’s about it. It retails for $149.99, which is fairly costly for a keyboard that has virtually zero thrilling (and even distinguishing) options.
Fortunately, Alienware is not the one firm making gaming PC peripherals, so there are many different keyboards to select from on our listing of finest gaming keyboards.
Alienware AW420K Specs
|Switches||Cherry MX Crimson|
|Onboard Storage||5 Profiles|
|Connectivity||USB Sort-C to Sort-A|
|Software program||Command Heart|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||367.2 x 147 x 55.7mm|
Design of the AW420K
The Alienware AW420K is a tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard that prices fairly a bit however lacks distinguishing options. It’s black, wired, and comes with double-shot PBT keycaps, that are a pleasant premium contact that may guarantee longevity over ABS keycaps. The alphas look superb on the keycaps, however the operate keys seem like they’re stickers — it’s just a little weird how pasted-on they give the impression of being. It’s not precisely a high-end aesthetic.
Beneath the AW420K is a cable routing cut-out resulting in the USB Sort-C header and two flip-up ft. The change plate is steel, which might be good if it expanded throughout the complete high of the case — nevertheless it doesn’t.
Like 99% of the gaming keyboards in the marketplace, this board options per-key RGB, which will be configured utilizing Alienware’s Command Heart peripheral software program.
Gaming keyboards aren’t essentially designed round typing expertise, however this doesn’t imply the typing expertise must be horrible. Many gaming firms, equivalent to Razer, Asus ROG, Cooler Grasp, and Corsair, have realized the typing expertise is a vital issue, and have added options equivalent to case foam and hot-swap PCBs to provide customers a greater expertise.
However not Alienware.
Not solely does the AW420K really feel uninspired, design-wise, it additionally sounds pingy and has stabilizers that tick. The keycaps really feel superb, however you may get primary double-shot PBT keycaps on many keyboards (or… anyplace).
I loaded into the latest addition to the Name of Obligation Fashionable Warfare 2 sport mode: DMZ, hoping to unlock the M13 assault rifle (and I did!) and check out the AW420K’s gaming capabilities. I don’t put on a headset whereas I’m gaming, and this meant I may hear the ticking from the spacebar continuously — it was too loud and constant to disregard. Nonetheless, it is a private pet peeve — different players might not discover it, particularly in the event that they put on a headset whereas gaming.
I’ve additionally been taking part in the sport Scum these days. Scum is a web based zombie survival sport much like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in that you could craft your personal shelter and never starve. Whereas I used to be delay by the quantity of stabilizer rattle and case ping within the AW420K, the Cherry MX Crimson switches are mild sufficient (with their 45g actuation power) that I skilled no fatigue — even after hours of chopping wooden. The shine-through keycaps had been additionally helpful in-game, because it’s been fairly gloomy in New York these days.
Software program of the AW420K
The software program backing the AW420K is Alienware’s Command Heart, which is what you should utilize to manage all of Alienware’s peripherals, in order that’s handy. Command Heart permits you to do every little thing from customizing the keyboard’s per-key RGB lighting to recording and assigning macros. The keyboard does have onboard reminiscence, nevertheless it solely has sufficient room to retailer 5 onboard profiles — in the meantime, the Corsair K70 RGB TKL can retailer as much as 50 profiles and has the identical retail price ticket (and you may most likely discover it even cheaper, because it’s been out for over a 12 months).
I’ve by no means been one to complain about software program assist for keyboards as a result of I don’t consider in excessive polling charges, however many hardcore players do — and the AW420K and Alienware’s Command Heart don’t ship these.
Whether or not you want Alienware or not, there’s no denying that they’ve lengthy been a cornerstone of PC gaming. Whereas a few of their peripherals, equivalent to their displays — take a look at the five-star Alienware AW3423DWF QD-OLED gaming monitor, for instance — this keyboard falls flat. I can’t advocate this keyboard in any respect, particularly not for the value.
The Alienware AW420K is $100 an excessive amount of, and it might probably’t go toe-to-toe with different similarly-priced keyboards, such because the full-sized Corsair K70 RGB Professional, and it’s not almost as spectacular as different TKL gaming keyboards, such because the pricier however rather more spectacular SteelSeries’ Apex Professional TKL. I hate to say it, however I used to be simply very disenchanted general by how uninspired the AW420K turned out to be.
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