Raptor LK1 Gaming Keyboard Review
Written by Mark Del Rio Wednesday, 09 November 2011 05:00
The Raptor LK1 gaming keyboard is the middle child in the current line of Raptor gaming keyboards – a German-based company with innovations from weighted mice to cable management. The LK1 features a basic design that says, “Yeah, I game, but I also need something to help me type up college papers.” If you’re worried about the Logitech G19 taking up too much foot space, and making you look like a (gasp!) “Gamer,” then maybe the LK1 was made for you.
My brand-new LK 1 arrived in a sleek black cardboard box, just a bit larger than the size of the actual keyboard itself. Upon opening the box I was greeted to a very slim and extremely lightweight black keyboard. A sigh of relief brushed over me -- the included keyboard was in English contrary to what the package art and the images on the website display (which are all in German).
Removing the plastic wrap from the keyboard I was greeted to a completely flat black face with white painted letters and numbers. Surrounding the entire keyboard is a beautifully painted high-gloss black trim which adds a touch of class without overdoing it. This is definitely a pretty, basic gaming keyboard. The LK1 features a 3m long (about 9ft.) nylon tethered USB connection. This is more than long enough to wrap around a desk (or two) to reach your computer. I ended up tying the slack (the distance from my desk to my desktop is only 4 feet).
On the bottom side of the keyboard are two little “feet” (risers) which raise the back of the keyboard just a little bit under a half of an inch. With the feet down the keyboard rests securely and flat on your desk on five little slip resistant rubber pads. One of my main gripes about the risers (not just with this keyboard but all keyboards in general that I've come across) is that there aren't any rubber grips attached to the ends of them. If you choose to use your keyboard with the risers up (slightly more comfortable) it has a tendency to slip a little. Forgo the risers and your keyboard is angled flat down against your desk, but secure. Why can't keyboard companies put little rubber feet on the risers as well? Is that too much to ask for?
I plug in the keyboard and after a quick little plug-and-play install process I'm ready to go -- no CD drivers necessary. The first thing I notice as I type this review with the LK1 is that the keys are extremely soft and quiet. Well, not 100% quiet. Depending upon how hard you tend to pound those innocent little letters and numbers your noise results may vary. Typing text feels very comfortable with very little resistance against your fingers. The buttons seem to spring back with a muted “clickety-clack” that is not annoying at all. It almost sounds as if someone is typing softly in the next room.
Immediately, I notice a problem! The SHIFT key has been cut in half and the “|/ \” key (which is commonly found on the right side of the keyboard) is duplicated in its place. This may be fine for gaming but in typing it’s difficult to adjust to having to stretch your “pinky” just a little bit further to hold down the SHIFT key. This design is a “no-no” for basic typing, however this is a “gaming” keyboard after all so let’s test it in a few games.
With 8 bright red colored keys covering the WASD and ARROW keys the LK1 is clearly made for first and third person shooters. I eagerly loaded up Max Payne 2 which was currently on my hard drive (and a game I've been trying to complete the last 10 years or so). Plowing my way through a couple of goons, I quickly forgot that I was supposed to be reviewing a keyboard. That's when I realized how invisible the keyboard was. In shooters your fingers are basically hovering over the key pressing gently and not striking (as in typing). Each button press was very silent and comfortable. There was just enough resistance within the keys to pop back up making my fingers feel like they were pushing down on pillows and not springs – comfortable. I also had no “ghosting” issues with pressing multiple keys at the same time (and I tried).
With light only coming from my monitor, the 8 bright red colored keys remained fairly visible in the dark (even if so faintly). My fingers knew exactly where to go with a quick glance down. Backlit keys would only add to its visibility (Perhaps next year’s model?). In case you don’t like the red keys, the LK1 includes a full set of (black) replacement keys and a tool to remove them. The tool works like a pair of pliers. Merely push it down in-between the key you want to replace until it snaps into place, then “yank” it out. I use the term “yank” loosely as only minimal effort is needed to remove each key (can you say, “Easy?”).
The LK1 features something new called “Fast-Mover-Technology”TM which is supposed to lock out unused keys during gameplay. At first I thought it was a function built into the keyboard that would automatically detect and disable the WINDOWS key (among others) when running a full screen application. It’s actually a little more “low-tech” than that. Using the included key remover tool, you simply (and literally) remove the keys you don’t want on the board. When you are done with your gaming session you merely “pop” the removed keys back in your keyboard face. This feature is a little silly in my opinion. Are your fingers really that “chunky” that removing a few keys from the board are going to make a difference in your gaming performance? Still, it’s an optional feature and one that I believe most gamers will ignore so I won’t pass judgment on it either way.
The LK1 promotes itself as having a “water resistant structure”. Boy was I looking forward to testing that out. The keyboard has 4 drainage holes to allow any liquids to pass through without harming the inner mechanisms. I place the keyboard over a one of my wife’s baking trays to protect my desk. I don’t want a sticky keyboard so I decide to pour only plain water over it; my 3-year-old daughter assisting me with the process. She pours.
I am now typing this text with a very well saturated keyboard and it is working fine. The only issue with the drainage holes is that whatever you pour on the LK1 is going to end up all over your desk instead. Then again if you are prone to regularly spilling liquids on your keyboard, it may be a good idea to invest in a waterproof desk as well. One thing I would not recommend with any keyboard (especially this one) is putting it in the dishwasher for cleanup. The nylon cord will easily allow any liquids to pass through and into your cabling.
The most important question any gamer needs to ask himself is, “should I buy it?”
With a price tag of only $34.99, the LK1 isn’t going to break your gaming budget. The extra $50 you save from buying a fancier Logitech or Razor keyboard could go into a new graphics card, memory, or even a game. You can buy the Raptor-Gaming LK1 Keyboard on Amazon today.
Let’s face it, besides the bright red colored keys the LK1 has no unique features (you won’t even touch the “Fast-Mover-Technology”TM). Also, you don’t play games 24/7; that small SHIFT key is really annoying.
This one’s a tough call and one that you will have to make for yourself. If you’re building a new system and your budget is tight, then you can’t go wrong with the LK1. However, if you want something with more features (like backlit keys) then look elsewhere. Overall, I have a fair impression of the Raptor LK1 Gaming Keyboard. It’s solid, sturdy and comfortable. If nothing else you can use it as a backup keyboard for LAN parties and trips. The cord is so long you can hook up your PC up to your 60” LED 3D Television and game from your coffee table (now that’s a good place to spill a few drinks on it). Got an extra computer in the garage running Windows 98 and the DOS versions of Quake? This keyboard is made for you. The LK1 is a gaming keyboard stripped down to its bare essentials and in the end that’s really all you need. www.raptor-gaming.com