5-Way Mechanical Keyboard Roundup: Top Decks For Gamers And Enthusiasts
5-Way Mechanical Keyboard Roundup Performance Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: After spending the better part of two weeks with these keyboards we found pros and cons in each product we tested. Overall, the cons were limited, as all the keyboards performed well and some exceeded our expectations. They all offered some solid features that ranged from customizable backlighting to silent key switches, and we have to say, overall we were impressed their quality, considering how varied the boards were. So, if you were looking for a clear-cut winner, there really isn't one here. What we have are five different mechanical keyboards that all do different things, servicing different user requirements, at different price points.
Even though there isn't a single winner per-se, let's break down the pluses and minuses for most users with each board we tested.
Corsair is an innovator. They don't follow trends, they try to set them and the K70 LUX RGB is definitely a trend-setter. This board is simply at another level when it comes to multi-color backlighting in a mechanical keyboard. There are virtually unlimited customizable options offered here, so no two systems need to have the same color theme or pattern settings. Frankly, we spent more time than we would like to admit watching the lights dance across the keys as we were testing Corsair's CUE software. The only downside to unlimited customization is that it takes time to learn all the settings. There are so many options in the CUE software it can be a daunting task to get the exact theme you want without having to really work for it. Luckily, Corsair has included some preset themes for those new to the software and you can also download custom made themes at The Corsair user forum.
The Corsair keyboard also excels at both gaming and typing. During long gaming sessions we felt very little wrist fatigue and the light weight of the keys allowed for some quick actions while gaming. You also get one of the best looking keyboards on the market. When the K70 LUX RGB is on your desktop you're making a statement, especially if you have the backlighting set to one of the rave settings. It's our priciest option here at $149 currently, but it also is packed with tons of great features like an all metal chassis, replacement FPS and MOBA key caps, USB pass-through and an adjustable polling rate.
While the AZIO Armato didn't have the same level of lighting effects as the Corsair K70, it had some great features that made it really standout. First, the keyboard just feels well built. It has a heavy duty aluminum front panel and a thick plastic enclosure that makes it feel like a tank. It feels so sturdy we wouldn't worry about it falling off our desktop. When it comes to visuals the Armato delivers again. With its sleek, brushed-aluminum exterior and red mesh panels this keyboard is sure to get some double takes. The only thing that visually felt out of place was the volume slider. Sure, it makes changing the volume easy, but it looks a bit bulky and a little out of place. Still, having these multimedia keys is convenient and the Armato gets props as well for including five macro keys on the board, that are programmable in hardware.
Finally, if you have ever typed on Cherry MX Brown keys you know they offer the best of both worlds. They offer quick actuation and double tapping for gamers, but also have that nice tactile bump professional typists crave. They are also non-clicky, so they don't make a ton of noise, unless you're a hardcore button masher. You can find the ARMATO for around $100, which is a solid deal for a solid deck.
The HyperX Alloy FPS is a nice, low profile keyboard that offers more in the way of portability than any of the other products we tested. While still full-sized, it has the most compact design and comes with a detachable power cable, a carrying bag, and weighs in at less than 2 pounds. All of these make it a perfect keyboard for the gamer on the go. Despite its small stature though, the FPS was still able to cram in a good amount of features, such as a dedicated Gaming mode and a mobile device charging port.
The Alloy FPS sports the same Cherry MX Brown switches as the Armato, so we already know it'll excel at both typing and gaming. The difference here is the Alloy FPS uses a compact design, so everything feels a little more cramped compared to the larger Armato. However, once you get typing for an extended period of time, any thoughts about size go away. We found the Alloy FPS to be very comfortable while gaming and typing. The added benefit here is it can fit on smaller desks, whereas the AZIO Armato and Corsair LUX RGB can take up considerable real estate on your desktop. The only real downside is its backlighting. Sure, there are 6 lighting modes to chose from, but with only one color, the Alloy FPS will might seem out of date with all the new RGB models hitting the market these days. At $79 for a fully mechanical Cherry MX Brown deck, it is a great value though.
When determining the value proposition of any product, the cost has to factored in and at just $65.99 USD the AUKEY KM-G3 is a real winner. AUKEY kept the price down by skipping over Cherry MX switches and instead using an Outemu clone. Some might find this unforgivable, but while typing and gaming we were hard pressed to find any major difference between the real thing and the clone. Both feel virtually identical and they make one hell of a click when pressed. If you're a fan of the noise made by Cherry Blue switches but are on a tight budget, we recommend this product. It is truly a value at its current MSRP.
The G3 also offers the second best backlighting options out of all the keyboards we tested. In total, there are 9 preset LED lighting effects, 5 editable game lighting combinations, and 7 color options for each key to chose from. For the price, you really can't beat the amount of customization and quality offered by this keyboard.
Then there was the Cherry MX Board Silent. This one was an interesting keyboard to say the least. It has an old school look that brings back nostalgic day of the IBM M13 keyboard. The look between the IBM and this deck is nearly identical and both come in the same two colors. Aside from old school look though, the MX Board doesn't offer much in the way of features. It doesn't have backlighting, or macro buttons. Instead, it has a standard layout and is built by the company that actually designed the keyswitches. What sets it apart are the Cherry MX Silent Black switches. The question is, are silent switches enough to choose this board for most power users or gamers? Considering its price and subdued design, it'll probably be a tough sell for most.a $129.99 USD keyboard.
The Cherry MX Board Silent will likely be a reliable workhorse, however. In an office environment or even a modern-retro inspired build, the MX Board Silent would be right at home. It just feels like a keyboard that will work day in and day out, and take years of abuse without a single complaint and keeping a silent demeanor throughout.
Corsair K70 LUX RGB
HYPERX ALLOY FPS
AUKEY KM-G3 RGB