Keys To Success: Mechanical Keyboard Round-Up With ASUS, G.Skill, Aorus, Logitech

AORUS Thunder K7 Design

If the AORUS brand is new to you, don't sweat it, you're not alone. It's only been around since 2014, at least in name—AORUS is actually a spinoff of Gigabyte, a company with plenty of street cred among enthusiasts, that focuses on the hardcore gamer. The Thunder K7 is one of two keyboards AORUS sells and is the bigger of the two (the Thunder K3 is a tenkeyless plank).

AORUS Thunder K7

One thing that's unique about the Thunder K7 is that it's a full-size keyboard, or it's not. Say what? We haven't lost our minds—the number pad is detachable, giving you more room for your mouse when gaming. That's one scenario, anyway. Another is to relocate the number pad to the left side of the keyboard as a base for your macros. The numbers and functions like Page Up and Enter are plastered on the keycaps, but sitting above are labels that run G1 through G20. It's a nifty setup that gives the Thunder K7 some impressive flexibility that the other keyboards in this roundup can't match. We'll take a closer look at it in a moment.

The rest of the keyboard is fairly standard for a plank, save for a dedicated Windows Lock key squished between the right-side FN and Control keys. Media controls are integrated as secondary commands on the F9 through F12 keys, while F1 through F8 are programmed for various tasks. Interestingly, the first set of Function keys contain shortcuts to Google+ (F2), Facebook (F3), and Twitter (F3).

AORUS Thunder K7 Rollers

AORUS opted for individually backlit keys, each one glowing a bright blue with excellent uniformity. Some of the dual-labeled keys are slightly darker on the bottom, as they tend to be on many keyboards, but they appear brighter here than on other planks. And on many of the dual-labeled keys, AORUS plopped the labels side-by-side rather on top of each other, a clever workaround to a common problem.

You can't change the color of the LEDs, nor can you direct only certain keys to illuminate, but you can adjust the brightness by manipulating an integrated scroll wheel in the upper-left corner. Scrolling up turns the brightness up while scrolling down decreases the luminosity, or you can press down to turn the LEDs off and on. We've seen scroll wheels on keyboards before, but this might be the first to implement a push-button function similar to most mice. Well done, AORUS.

There's a second scroll wheel sitting parallel to the first and it's used to control the volume. Pressing it mutes and unmutes the volume, while scrolling up and down increases and decreases the sound level, respectively.

AORUS Thunder K7 Number Pad Attached AORUS Thunder K7 Number Pad

The detachable number pad sports connectors on both sides so that you can attach it to the main keyboard on the left or right. It can also function independently—AORUS includes a separate USB cable for plugging the number pad into your PC. There's no need to use the additional cable if you're attaching it to the keyboard, and AORUS warns against doing so as it can introduce wonky side effects.

This is a major selling point of the Thunder K7. Not only do you get a full-size plank for data entry chores during the day, but also a dedicated housing for 20 macro keys. You could also use just the number pad in conjunction with a mouse in games that don't require a lot of keys.

There's no built-in USB hub or audio jacks on the Thunder K7, though.

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