Redragon M808 Storm Pro Review: Lightweight On A Budget

Wireless gaming mice are expensive, but do they have to be? The Redragon M808 Storm Pro manages to provide a strong performance along with wireless connectivity, all at a competitive price.

So if you want to learn more about the Redragon M808 Storm Pro, keep reading to find out if it is the mouse for you.

The Verdict

Top view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on white table

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro offers solid performance at a very competitive price. It rises to be a top option under $40 by being a jack of all trades.

The M808 Storm Pro beats out the competition in a variety of categories. While other competitors may not even offer software or wireless connectivity, the M808 does. It gives you a decently light weight and a comfortable design too. The M808 Storm Pro certainly isn’t competing with top wireless options from Glorious, Razer, or Logitech but it is still a great option at its price.

If you are looking for an accurate sensor, a sub 100g mouse, with tasteful RGB lighting, and wireless connectivity that is superior to Bluetooth then the Redragon M808 Storm Pro manages to suffice those needs without breaking the bank.


Specifications

Length~126.8 mm
~4.99 in
Width~65.6 mm
~2.58 in
Height~41 mm
~1.61 in
Weight~96g
Sensor TypeOptical (100 – 16K DPI)
Polling Rate125 – 1000 Hz
Cable Length1.8m (5.9ft)
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In The Box

Unboxing of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

In the box, you will find the mouse with all the essentials and a few accessories.

  • Manuel: This will help you get started with the mouse.
  • Cable: A braided USB-C cable that is 1.8m (5.9 ft) long
  • Dongle: 2.4Ghz dongle for the wireless connection.
  • Sticker: A sticker with the Redragon logo.

Overall everything is packaged nicely.

Build Quality

Front view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro is made from an all-plastic design with some rubber on the scroll wheel. The mouse comes in at 96g making it a solid mouse for FPS games. Despite the weight and all plastic design, the mouse doesn’t feel cheap at all.

One area where the design lacks is with the feet. The feet are certainly better than some budget mice I have tested but are not as good as the top gaming mice companies such as Razer or Logitech. The M808 Pro allows quick flicks and a smooth travel but I would still recommend using it on a mousepad for the best experience.

Although there are physical holes in the mouse with the honeycomb design, it does not seem to have an effect on the reliability of the mouse. I would not recommend testing the water resistance of this mouse however in the few months that I have gotten to use this mouse, I have had no issues.

Redragon opted to use a USB-C port which I really like as some big gaming mice companies still have not made the switch to USB-C. Also, on the bottom of the mouse is a spot to store the 2.4Ghz dongle if needed.

The build of the Redragon M808 Storm Pro looks and feels a lot more premium than its price says it should be.

Style and Comfort

Close up of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

Redragon’s M808 Storm Pro features an ambidextrous shape but its buttons on the left side make it perfect for people with right-handed mice. The M808 allows you to use either hand and does not lock you into any mouse grip either.

The M808 has a fairly short height like the Logitech G203 or Razer Viper. It also features a long shape. The side of the mouse is textured along with the scroll wheel to provide additional grip. The scroll wheel is made with rubber but the sides aren’t. I wish the sides did t least have some sort of soft-touch material but it would not likely add to the weight and cost.

The most defining part of the design is the hexagon-shaped holes on the mouse. Although there are quite a few of them to help lower the weight, they do not affect the comfort of the mouse at all.

Overall the mouse is quite comfortable to use with all hand sizes and grip styles. Additionally, the side and main buttons are placed quite nicely and are easy to press. The buttons on the top are not the easiest to press quickly but are still nice to have.

Switches and Scroll Wheel

Top view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on deskpad

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro comes with 8 programmable buttons. They all feel quite snappy. The main two switches are from Haunho. So far they have held up well and there don’t seem to be major reports of double-clicking.

In our testing, and that of others, we found the Redragon M808 Storm Pro to have a click latency of about 11 to 13ms. This is on the higher end for gaming mice however still an improvement over most regular mice. While actually playing video games I couldn’t notice much of a difference from other gaming mice that I have used. This may not be the best mouse for professional gamers but for the standard gamer, the M808 will do the job.

Sensor and Polling Rate

Bottom side of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse

With the M808, Redragon has opted to use the PixArt PAW3335 sensor. PixArt is renowned for making some of the most accurate sensors on the market and the PAW3335 is a very accurate option itself. from my testing, I did not notice any difference in accuracy while gaming between this mouse and my more premium mice like my Logitech G703.

The PAW3335 features a DPI range of 100 to 16000K with adjustability in increments of 100. Although I was impressed with the sensor’s performance, the fact that you can only adjust DPI in steps of 100 left me disappointed. I was not able to use my usual DPI with this mouse. I wish the M808 Storm Pro supported increments of 50 for slightly more precise tuning.

The strong sensor goes along with an industry-standard 1000Hz polling rate which you can change both in the software or with the rearmost button at the top of the mouse.

RGB Lighting

Side view of Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on desk

The Redragon M808 Storm Pro supports bright RGB lighting on the scroll wheel and the sides of the mouse. The RGB doesn’t feel like too much and makes for a nice accent. If you don’t like RGB then you can also easily switch it off in the software.

Many mice at the same price point have limited effects or don’t even have RGB but here you have multiple RGB lighting zones, numerous effects to choose from, and software to change the lighting. Considering the price point and the other features offered, this is quite impressive.

Wireless connectivity

Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse with 2.4g dongle

In addition to a wired connection, the M808 Storm Pro supports 2.4Ghz wireless connectivity via a dongle. This isn’t as good as Logitech’s Lightspeed or Corsair Slipstream but it certainly better than Bluetooth. The wireless systems from the bigger gaming brands will give the same reliability and speed as a wired connection. A 2.4Ghz connection may be slightly worse than a wired connection. That being said in my experience during gaming I did not feel like the 2.4Ghz wireless took away from my gaming experience.

If you play singleplayer games or multiplayer non-competitively then I don’t think that using this mouse wirelessly will take away from your experience. Even in some competitive gameplay, I would say it is fine unless you are playing in the most competitive ranks. In those cases, there are some better alternatives, albeit that will cost more, or you could just plug the mouse in and use it in its wired configuration.

The M808 Storm Pro features a 500mAh battery. At 1000Hz with RGB enabled, I got about 20 to 25 hours of battery life with Redragon’s M808 Storm Pro. If you turn the lighting off or turn the polling rate down then you could potentially get through an entire week, or more depending on your usage.

If you are not using the mouse it will automatically go into a sleep state. Furthermore, there is an eco switch at the bottom of the mouse which seems to save battery when you switch it on. It turns off the side RGB but I am unsure if it does anything else. That being said it did seem to lower the rate at which the battery depleted.

Software support

Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse software

Although the Redragon M808 Storm Pro delivers strong performance, the weakest part of the experience is the software. That being said many budget gaming mice don’t even offer software or the software might not support multiple languages like Redragon’s.

Redragon allows you to change button mappings, lighting effects, DPI, and the polling rate. You can also create macros and check the battery life (which is displayed in increments of 10). Any changes will be saved to the mouse directly which is nice if you want to keep your settings when switching to another computer.

Unfortunately, I had some issues changing button mappings. I found that with my current version at times didn’t even have the option to change them if I wanted to. At times I also had the same issues with changing lighting. Furthermore, the interface looks low quality. I wish the resolution was higher and the window was just a rectangle rather than having some gamery indents in it.

The software may not look as good as other options like Corsair iCue, Razer Synapse, or Logitech G Hub, but it is not as heavy. With a mouse of this price, it is clear that Redragon would have to make some sacrifices so I am not super disappointed. Ultimately you don’t need to use the software with this mouse if you don’t want to but it makes things like changing the DPI or lighting much easier.

Conclusion: Is The M808 Storm Pro Good For Gaming?

Redragon M808 Storm Pro mouse on deskpad

After my use of the Redragon M808 Storm Pro for a few months I can definitely say I am impressed. At such a price point I was not sure what to expect but Redragon offered me something that was better than other budget mice I have tested in the past. While none of the specs are truly flagship level, the mouse still delivers in a variety of categories.

The M808 Storm Pro does not have sub-1ms Lightspeed technology or very sophisticated software but I still found that as someone who daily drives a high-end mouse from Logitech I didn’t feel super disappointed.

My main two gripes are the issues with the software and the lack of adjustability with the sensor. I had to play at a DPI different than what I am used to and the software looked low quality. However, if this is your first gaming mouse, this is a great place to start. Wireless connectivity comes with many positives by getting rid of the cable and is a very pleasant experience. And with the M808 Storm Pro it is quite accessible.

Redragon Horus K618: The Best Value Low-Profile Keyboard

Redragon Horus K618 low profile keyboard on a desk
Redragon is a keyboard manufacturer that is no stranger to making value-focused mechanical keyboards.

The Redragon Horus K618 is a low-profile keyboard providing a solid experience at a competitive price. The Horus K618 offers wireless connectivity, macro keys, and a variety of other features to make it a good option for anyone who is looking for a full-size mechanical keyboard.

Today we are going to take a look at Redragon’s Horus K618 and see if this low-profile board is the one for you.

The Verdict

A comparison between the board lubed and unlubed

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Redragon Horus K618 is a low-profile, wireless mechanical keyboard that is perfect for those looking for value. Redragon features Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connectivity, RGB lighting, dedicated media keys, a dial, and a hotswap PCB.

A low-profile keyboard is often found to be more comfortable. With the K618, Redragon is delivering a lot of what the competition offers at a lower price point.

For the price, Redragon gives a lot of features and a pretty solid build. For the gamer who wants a low-profile board that will give them a solid experience all while not breaking the bank, the Horus K618 has a lot of potential. Furthermore, if you want to get a screwdriver out, the K618 is not too difficult to mod if you are interested in a more satisfying sound and feel.


In The Box

Unboxing of Redragon Horus K618 low profile keyboard

Inside the box, Redragon gives you everything you need and more.

Keyboard: The keyboard comes in a sleeve of protective foam to protect it while in transit.

USB-C Cable: You get a braided cable with a 90-degree angle so it can be nicely plugged into the side of the keyboard.

Switch Puller: A metal switch puller is included in case you ever need to replace a switch or if you want to mod this board. The puller isn’t anything too fancy but it does the job.

Wire Keycap Puller: Along with the switch puller you get a decent quality wire keycap puller. This is a nice inclusion as taking off your keycaps is essential if you are cleaning or modding your keyboard. Often companies included a cheap plastic puller that may scratch your keycaps or don’t include one at all.

Extra Switches: If any switch ever breaks, eight extra switches are included in the box.

Sticker and Documentation: You are given a sticker with the Redragon logo along with any documentation that you may need for the board.

Overall everything is packed quite nicely and it is good to see that Redragon gives you quite decent extras to go along with the board.

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Build Quality

Angled view of Redragon Horus K618 low profile keyboard

For the Horus K618, Redragon elected to go with a plastic case and thin aluminum top piece. The rubber media keys are made of rubber and the scroll wheel is also made of aluminum. The board comes in at about 700g (about 1.5 lbs) in a full-size form factor. It looks to be about the height of most modern membrane keyboards at around 2cm tall or just under an inch. If this is too big for your desk then Redragon also offers a tenkeyless variant.

The K618 feels pretty solid and this choice in material is not bad for the price. If an aluminum case is important to you then I would suggest spending a bit more for the Keychron K1 which offers an aluminum build and hotswappable PCB.

On the bottom of the board are four rubber feet. Two of which flip out for additional height adjustment. On the side of the board are a power switch and the USB-C port. The side placement of the port is not ideal but since this board is wireless I rarely used the board wired anyway so it was not much of an issue. Additionally, the wire given with, a 90-degree angle, remedies this issue.

Overall the build is decent for the price and the design is quite nice.

The Keycaps

Close up of Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

On the Horus K618 you get low-profile ABS keycaps that feature doubleshot legends. This means that the main legends are permanent. For the secondary functions printed in white, those are pad printed so that could become an issue later down the line after extensive use.

The ABS keycaps feel smooth and are what you would expect for a gaming keyboard. The only flaw with the keycaps is the legends. Although the legends while not wear off, they don’t look that great. They have this sort of gamer font with some letters not having connected parts of the letter like on the A or the O keys.

That being said the legends are a good size so they are easy to read and they let a decent amount of RGB lighting through. Also unlike most low-profile mechanical keyboards, the Redragon Horus K618 has switches with cherry-style stems. This means that if you ever wanted to change the keycaps you actually could.

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The Switches and Stabilizers

Mechanical keyboard switch next to a low-profile switch

Redragon offers one switch option with the K618 with their low-profile red switches made by Outemu. Weirdly these switches have a different pin layout than the regular low-profile Outemu switches. These switches look to be about half the height of a regular key switch. The low-profile reds are a linear switch with an actuation force of 45g.

The low-profile reds are about what I would expect from other low-profile mechanical keyboards. They feel pretty decent for the average gamer and they were comfortable to type on for extended periods.

The switches are on a hotswap PCB meaning typically you would be able to replace the switches with other types of switches. However, the nonstandard pin placement means you cannot actually replace them with other switches. Honestly, this is one of my least favorite things about the board but the fact that this is even offered for the price is nice. You are still able to easily replace a switch if it is broken and mod the keyboard pretty easily because of the hotswappable PCB.

The stabilizers on this board are cherry-style plate mount stabs. They were alright. They were better than most gaming keyboards I have had experience with from the likes of Logitech or Razer however they were nothing crazy. Luckily because the board is hotswap I was able to put some dielectric grease onto the stabilizer wires and they sounded much better afterward. Overall the stabs are fine for most people.

RGB Back Lighting and Software

RGB on the Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

Redragon’s Horus K618 features RGB lighting. The lighting is pretty bright and definitely better than some of the competition. There are a few onboard presets that can be cycled through without using any software. If you want a clean look you can change the lighting all to white.

The software lets you control the lighting, change mappings, and a few other basic things. It is not as good as VIA, arguably the best keyboard software, or even Corsair iCue but it is better than having nothing. Many keyboards even from companies like Keychron have no official software support this is nice to see.

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Wireless Connectivity

Buttons on Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

Aside from the option for a wired connection, Redragon gives you two other options for this board. Connection via a 2.4ghz USB dongle or Bluetooth 5.0. You can connect up to 3 devices with Bluetooth 5.0.

The dongle is stored magnetically at the bottom of the board which is nice so you don’t lose it if you aren’t using it.

Personally, I used the dongle the most. It requires no setup and delivers a connection with less latency than Bluetooth. Although I would recommend a wired connection when gaming, I found that using the 2.4Ghz connection was pretty solid. I never felt like it was ruining my experience during single-player or even casual multiplayer gameplay.

The K618 features a 1900mAh battery that Redragon states should last for up to 30 hours. With white LEDs and the 2.4Ghz connection, I was able to get around 25 hours of use. If you use the RGB lighting you might get a little less and with lighting turned off you would probably get more. It also depends how much you are actually typing on the board in a day. You could probably go three to five days with this board.

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When the board is not being used, after a minute, it will go into a sleep state to conserve battery. If you start typing on it though it will start typing almost immediately. This is better than my experience on a lot of other wireless boards like on Keychron boards. Also when you are running low on battery the board wi

Overall wireless connectivity makes the experience of using this board very enjoyable. It is well implemented and I don’t feel like they cheaped out at all.

Media and Macro Keys

Media keys on Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

Media and macro keys are always a nice to have. Before I had a dedicated macropad they were a must for me.

The media keys work well. They feel slightly mushy but have a tactile response when you press them down. There are also secondary functions for some keys which can do things like open the calculator app.

The scroll wheel allows you to either change the brightness of the lighting or volume. I found that it doesn’t make much of an impact in changing volume. You have to scroll it all the way down just to go down 2 percent. To me, it isn’t that great for changing volume on the fly. Also, I wish the macro keys had dedicated backlighting at all times too.

Conclusion

Top view of Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard on desk

Overall what would bring the Redragon Horus K618 to 5 stars for me is if it had the same pin placement for regular outemu hotswap, nicer keycap legends, and an aluminum frame. That being said the K618 delivers a solid build and plenty of features that make this a very enjoyable experience.

If you want an aluminum build, compatibility with different types of switches, and dedicated mac support then Keychron’s low profile offerings like the K1 may be a better option for you. However, if you want a better wireless experience, brighter lighting, macro keys, and software then get then the K618 is the one for you.

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I also found that it is easy to compare the K618 to the Logitech G915. You get most of what the G915 has with the Horus K618. If you are willing to pay extra though, for over double the price, the G915 offers better software, a low latency lightspeed wireless connection, and slightly better-looking keycaps.

All this being said I still think that the Redragon Horus K618 is the best value low-profile keyboard that you can buy today.

So if you would like the Redragon Horus K618, check it out here at the Redragon store.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to see more keyboard content, check out our keeb reviews or the sound tests on my YouTube channel.

Arisu From Nico & Steph Studios: The Gateway To Ergo Boards

The Arisu by Nico & Steph Studios is a mechanical keyboard kit that is extremely unique and provides a gateway into the custom keyboard scene.

Coming in with the ergonomic Arisu layout, the Arisu provides a great value for those that want to build a custom keyboard with an ergonomic design.

So let’s take a closer look at the Arisu and see if it could be a good custom mechanical keyboard for you.

The Verdict

Arisu mechanical keyboard surrounded by switches on a desk.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Arisu by Nico & Steph Studios is a great value keyboard that can open you up to the custom keyboard world. Not only that but the Arisu also has a few unique features like having an ergonomic layout and an acrylic case.

Custom keyboards can be difficult to get your hands on let alone an ergonomic keyboard. The Arisu is often in stock or has a turnaround of a couple months which is quicker than most of the competitors in its price range like the KBDFans KBD67 Lite, Wuque Ikki68 Aurora, and many more.

Unfortunately, the board does not come with a carrying case or any custom box it just comes in the box that it shipped with. The biggest issue that we found with the board is that sometimes fitting in switches requires some fiddling to add some greater distance between the plate and the PCB.

Overall for anyone wanting to make an entry into custom keyboards and also is interested in ergonomic keyboards, the Arisu is a fantastic option and packs a lot of value for what is being delivered.


In The Box

Materials in the box of the Arisu keyboard.

The packaging of the Arisu is quite basic. The PCB came in an anti-static bag and the case came in pieces with protective paper that you need to peel off. This is not rare for stacked acrylic cases.

Aside from the case and PCB, you will get a variety of screws, nuts, rubber feet, and a hex driver. There was no box or bag. Everything just came in some dense wrapping in the box that it was shipped in. The wrapping was good with a mix of paper and bubble wrap so I was not concerned about anything breaking.

Overall pretty average stuff for a keyboard kit. The only flaw was that there was no official box, bag, or case for packaging.

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Build Quality

Bottom side of the Nico and Steph Studios Arisu.

The build quality for the price of this keyboard is pretty decent. For about $150 you get an all frosted acrylic case including an acrylic plate. Overall the board looks quite nice and the only issue with the looks is the visible gap between the case and PCB. This may not bother you but is worth mentioning.

I will note that an aluminum case version of this board was sold previously but I haven’t seen it for sale as of late. Currently black, gray, and frosted acrylic are all available options.

The use of acrylic allows the board to sound quite good for the price even without any foam included in the case. I did try the PE foam mod on the board and it did make the board sound better in my opinion but I liked the sound both with and without foam.

The Arisu does not feel super hefty like more high-end keyboards that feature internal weights however it doesn’t feel cheap.

The case features a center USC-C port that is indented. Sometimes I struggle to find the port but this is a very minor gripe. It fits any sort of cable nicely.

On the bottom, there are 6 rubber feet included with the board. Honestly, you only need four and this board won’t slide around unless you are wanting it to move. There is also no height adjustment unless you unscrew and remove the two riser pieces from the bottom.

Initially, the case of the board also came in more pieces but in the newer version, the case has fewer individual pieces to improve the quality. It is nice that this board is improved upon and it sets a good tone for the future.

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The Build Experience

Typically when building a custom keyboard there are no instructions and your only way to know what to do is either by figuring it out as you go or maybe finding a video guide. Nico & Steph studios have created a build guide for their Arisu. This makes the build experience a lot easier, especially for beginners.

Overall the build experience for this board was pretty straight forward and I only ran into issues really with the plate. The plate is sandwich mounted which is nice because you don’t have to fiddle around with any gaskets but still provides a pleasant sound and feeling experience.

Unfortunately, this implementation of sandwich mount runs into some issues. Sometimes switches don’t fit the best in the plate which means you must fiddle around with the nuts holding the screws to allow for more spacing between the plate and the PCB. I constantly had to do this but then the hex nuts would fall. Also, be careful to put the right hex nuts in the right places because some hex nuts look similar.

Also, note because the board is made from acrylic, parts are flexible but can also break if you bend them too much. Overall the build experience can be quite fun and it is cool to see everything come together as you build the case.

The Layout

Layout of the Arisu keyboard.

Typically the layout of a board does not require its own section but since this is an ergonomic keyboard, it is different than most keyboards that we take a look at.

The Arisu is named after the Arisu layout. This layout is like a 65% keyboard but with an ergonomic design. This board uses a unibody ergonomic design so it isn’t too difficult to get used to and is all in one package but still provides the benefits of an ergonomic keyboard.

Getting used to an ergonomic layout was actually quite easy for me. I didn’t have too many issues at first. There were a few keys that I struggled with like the Y key or B key at first but after about a week or two I made zero mistakes due to the layout. Now after owning the board for many months, I have no issues in switching between my Arisu and any of my other boards.

The Arisu’s use of an ergonomic layout places your wrists in a more comfortable position that made me feel more comfortable when typing for extended periods of time.

If you want to know more about ergonomic keyboards and our thoughts, check out our are ergonomic keyboards worth it article.

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The Keycaps

Side view of the Arisu keyboard with keycaps.

Since the Arisu is a kit, no keycaps are included. Nico & Steph Studios sell their own keycaps but you ultimately have the freedom to get keycaps from wherever you would like. You could get MT3 keycaps by Drop or some nice Cherry Profile keycaps.

On the Arisu a standard 104 key keycap set will not work. There are some requirements like a 1.75u right shift (a shorter shift than standard) and two spacebars (one 2.25u and one 2.75u) to support the split spacebar layout. Most sets over the price of $40 should support all the keycaps that you need for this board.

I would like to note for much of my testing I used an MT3 set and I had some issues on the left shift and left space keys having return issues. I believe this is due to case tolerances. I had zero issues with any other keycaps.

The Switches

Like with the keycaps no switches are included in this board. This means you have the option to put in any switches in the Arisu. The PCB for this board also comes equipped with hotswap sockets. This means that you can add and remove switches within seconds. You can try out different switches very easily.

The PCB supports both 3 pin and 5 pin switches and is south-facing. This means you will not have any interference issues where the switches make contact with the keycaps (for more information check out our guide on north and south-facing switches).

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The Stabilizers

Durock screw in stabilizers surrounded by keyboard switches.

No stabilizers are included with the Arisu. There are some Durock stabs that you can order on the Nico & Steph website for ease of use.

I decided to use some Durock stabs that I had laying around. They are some of the best stabs that you can get, with a pleasant sound and smooth travel if modded correctly.

If you want to find some places to get Durock stabilizers or any other stabs check out our vendor list. Note that you will need to get five 2u stabs.

The Software

VIA software being used to control an Arisu keyboard.

A fantastic feature of the Arisu is the fact that it has VIA support. VIA is a keyboard firmware that is simple to use, has plenty of features, and is a favorite among keyboard enthusiasts.

The firmware is pre-flashed on the Arisu meaning you only need to download VIA from the website, plug in your keyboard, and it will work right away.

VIA allows you to test the keys on the keyboard to make sure all their switches work. This is very useful while building the board.

Compared to keyboard firmware and software, VIA is really good. VIA does not have the same issues as Razer Synapse or Corsair iCue, which are plagued by many bugs and are quite slow. With VIA you can change your keymapping, set up macros, change lighting, test keys, and change other settings on the board.

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Conclusion: Should You Get The Arisu?

Angled view of the Arisu mechanical keyboard.

If you want to try an ergonomic layout and are either new or a seasoned veteran of building keyboards, the Arisu is a great option. I found this board to be very fun to build and it was an interesting change from the rectangle-shaped layouts that I am used to.

The Arisu features a hotswap PCB, a very comfortable layout, a pleasing sound, and a unique case design. The board is easy to mod and play around with and not too expensive that you will be scared to get it if you just want to try ergonomic keyboards.

A more professional unboxing experience and easier to work with plate design would make this board a five-star board for me. Overall this board is a great custom to consider in an increasingly competitive market.

Thanks for reading and if you want to see more content about keyboards, check out our custom keyboard content and keyboard guides.

If you have any build questions also check out our discord.

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North-Facing vs South-Facing Switches

South-Facing Switches (Left) vs North-Facing Switches (Right)

The world of mechanical keyboards can be complex but can be very fun and satisfying. On keyboards, switches are attached to a PCB, printed circuit board. Switches can be attached in one of two configurations. This often causes confusion as people bring up terms like interference or switch orientation.

When looking to buy a mechanical keyboard, especially if you are looking to modify or build one, understanding what north-facing and south-facing switches are can be important to help you make the best decision for you.

Today we are going to clarify the difference between north-facing and south-facing switches and help you understand everything you need to know to make a better decision when buying your next mechanical keyboard.

North-Facing vs South-Facing Switches: What Are They?

Before we understand what north-facing and south-facing switches are we must first understand switch orientation. The term switch orientation refers to which direction a mechanical keyboard switch is placed on a PCB.

North-facing switches refer to when a switch’s LED hole faces toward the top of the keyboard while placed in the socket of the keyboard’s PCB. North-facing switches are typically seen in budget keyboards but are also seen in older custom keyboards.

South-facing switches refer to when a switch’s LED hole faces toward the bottom of the keyboard or where the user of the keyboard is while paced in the socket of the keyboard’s PCB. South-facing switches are typically seen in custom keyboards but due to consumer demand are starting to be put in some beginner kits and even a few prebuilts.

Typically we hear the terms north and south-facing the most but east and west-facing switches exist too. East and west-facing switches have the same pros and cons as south-facing switches. They are used very rarely and are usually only implemented in PCBs that support multiple layouts and must maximize all space on the PCB available.

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Problem With North-Facing Switches: Interferance

Diagram explaining switch interference between north-facing and south-facing switches.

The biggest problem that faces north-facing switches is keycap interference when using Cherry profile keycaps. On some rows of the keyboard, Cherry profile keycaps will come into contact with the top of the switches before the switch is able to bottom out. This will change both the sound and feel of the typing experience.

Although using Cherry profile keycaps are still usable, interference can remove a lot of the satisfaction from typing on a mechanical keyboard. Part of what makes this issue annoying is also that it affects certain rows of keys more than others so the feel becomes inconsistent between keys too. Some don’t face the issue while other rows do.

This makes north-facing switch orientations quite unpopular among keyboard enthusiasts who often use Cherry profile keycaps from high-end manufacturers.

Problem With South-Facing Switches: RGB Shine Through

Mechanical keyboard on desk

Although south-facing PCBs are highly popular because they don’t face the issues of interference, they still have their own issues. South-facing switches have some issues for fans of RGB and shine through keycaps.

With north-facing PCBs the LEDs lie directly below the legends on the keycaps. This creates a brighter and more consistent look on the legend. With south-facing switches, the LEDs are on the bottom side of the keycaps. This means a lot of the light does not shine through the legend of shine through keycaps.

Note switch orientation has no effect on keyboard underglow or LEDs on the side of the keyboard.

This issue faces fewer enthusiasts because typically enthusiasts aren’t using shine through keycaps. On the other hand, because RGB is very popular for gaming keyboards we most likely will see large gaming brands continue to use north-facing switches in their keyboards.

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Can You Change Switch Orientation On Your PCB?

Close up picture of a mechanical keyboard PCB.

So maybe you are really set on a keyboard or you have already bought a keyboard and now you want a different switch orientation to suit your preferences. The question becomes can you change switch orientation?

Unfortunately no, you cannot change the direction in which the switches are placed on the PCB. Holes were drilled in a specific way from the factory so the pins on the bottom of your switches only can fit in one direction.

There are a few solutions though. One thing you can do is get a totally new PCB. You can buy one that supports a different orientation and use that in your case instead. With this solution, not all cases accept all PCBs so you would need to research what PCBs your board supports. Some mechanical keyboards have a proprietary case design to the manufacturer or have such a unique design that it is very hard or even impossible to find a different PCB that fits the case. It is especially hard to find PCBs for high-end boards that feature north-facing sockets.

Buying a new PCB can also be very expensive so there are a few other options. If you are using a keyboard with north-facing switches but you would like to use Cherry profile keycaps you could get a few of the “box” switches that don’t face the issues of interference like Novelkey Box Cream switches. Another solution is to get special washers to raise up your keycaps so the keycaps don’t make contact with the top of the switches until the switch has been depressed all the way.

There are also switches advertised for having a long pole stem which may not have interference on some cherry profile keycaps. This is because the switches bottom out sooner so the keycap doesn’t come as close to the top of the switch. Some famous long pole stem switches include Drop Holy Pandas or Durock Pom Linears.

If you are looking for more light to shine through your keycaps and you have south-facing switches, then buying some transparent switches like some Aqua King V3 switches might give you a better experience.

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Which One Is Better?

There is not necessarily a better option overall however depending on your situation, there is a better option for you.

In most cases, we would recommend keyboards with south-facing switches. The main instance that we would suggest a north-facing keyboard is if you plan to use shine-through keycaps. South-facing keycaps still allow RGB to pass through although just it doesn’t look as vibrant as it may look on a north-facing board.

If you start to get into custom keyboards odds are you will most likely use keycaps that are not shine through. There are also plenty of keyboards that have RGB underglow or on the side of the board and are south-facing.

In most cases, south-facing switches are better as they are more versatile but boards with north-facing switches still have a use case and north-facing switches aren’t the end of the world, especially if you don’t even plan to use Cherry profile keycaps.

Conclusion

Angled view of Wuque Ikki68 Keyboard on a desk.

There are two main types of switch orientation that can give you the best experience depending on what you are looking for. South-facing switches support more keycap profiles, especially ones that are popular among enthusiasts, while north-facing switches can provide the best experience for shine through keycaps.

Even if you have a keyboard where the switches are oriented in a way that doesn’t suit your preferences or inhibits your options, there are still some possible solutions like getting certain types of switches, changing your PCB, or adding washers that allow you to enjoy your keyboard as much as possible without needing to get a new keyboard.

As enthusiasts ourselves we would recommend buying a keyboard with south-facing switches unless you plan to use shine through keycaps.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this guide, please check out our other keyboard guides, and if you have any more questions feel free to ask us on our Discord.

Best Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide [2021]

Bose QC35 headphones on a desk next to some plant and a coffee pot

The market for Bluetooth headphones has grown a lot and there are plenty of options to go through. This can make it very confusing to decide what options to go with, especially if you want specific features or need to meet a budget.

After testing many headphones options, doing hours of research, and getting opinions from others we have decided the best options in various categories for you.

Let’s check out our favorite options now.


Our Top Recommendations

1. Sony WH-1000XM4s – Our Favorite Pick

Sony’s WH-1000XM4s or XM4s for short are regarded as one of if not the best Bluetooth headphones on the market. They are great in all categories and often set the bar for things like battery life, ANC, and design.

The XM4s get around 30 hours of battery life, deliver a pretty clean sound, and have arguably the best ANC in any headphone. You also get key features like a transparency mode so you can hear everything around you.

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2. Drop + THX Panda – Best Sound

If sound is your main priority but you still want Bluetooth then Drop and THX’s Pandas is your best bet. They deliver excellent sound quality, especially for a Bluetooth pair of headphones. For the on the go audiophile, this is an excellent option to consider.

Unfortunately, the Pandas do not have ANC but for some, the audio quality is worth the sacrifice. Drop’s Pandas still don’t have the best audio for any headphone but in the Bluetooth category, it is second to none. The sound is clean, balanced, and packs punches in all the right areas.

It is also rated for about 30 hours of battery life and has fantastic comfort.

3. Apple AirPods Max – Best ANC

Apple’s AirPods Max is fantastic in multiple categories but where is it is best at is ANC. It is great at blocking out consistent background noise as well as sudden noises. It also features a 20 hours battery life, an aluminum design, great comfort, and sound quality that is almost as good as Drop and THX’s Pandas.

Unfortunately, you only have full access to the features of the AirPods Max if you use the headphones with an iPhone. Although the AirPods Max are great in a variety of categories because of the lack of in-depth support with Android and Windows, these headphones are not our favorite pick.

The fact of the matter is these headphones are fantastic if you use Apple products but if you plan to use Android and you prioritize ANC then the Sony XM4s may be the best option for you.

4. Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 – Best Interface

Angled view of Surface headphones from Microsoft.

The Surface Headphones 2 from Microsoft are a phenomenal pair of headphones but one area that makes them unique is the interface. Microsoft not only utilizes touch-capacitive functions that are on many Bluetooth headphones but they also provide two dials built into each earcup. The dials feel great and are very easy to understand. It allows changing volume and the level of ANC or background noise to be a very smooth process.

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2 have pretty good sound quality, a pretty decent battery life, and a comfortable design. They deliver a lot of what you would get with the top players like Sony’s XM4s but come at a cheaper price. If you are willing to make sacrifices on things like a smaller battery life (which is still quite good) and a slightly worse sound then the Surface Headphones 2 can provide a great experience at a fantastic price.

If you want to find out more about Surface Headphones 2, check out our review on them here.

5. Jabra Elite 85h – Best Value

If you are looking for a Bluetooth pair of headphones that gives you as much as possible at a fair price Jabra has a great option with their Elite 85h headphones.

The Jabra Elite 85h gives you ANC, a long battery life (up to 36 hours), fast charging, rain and water resistance, solid comfort, and a pretty decent sounding pair of headphones.

Jabra is known for providing great value audio devices and the Elite 85h is no different. These headphones are a great option to go for if you want all the key features and solid performance, without breaking the bank.

6. Razer Opus – Best Budget

For those who do not want to spend upwards of $200 for a pair of headphones, the Razer Opus gives you a ton of great features at a great price. While this pair still is not the cheapest Bluetooth pair out there, it is giving you a lot while not being overly expensive like the bigger players like the Sony XM4s or AirPods Max.

It is important to note that occasionally you can find the Jabra Elite 85h at a cheaper price and the Surface Headphones (1st generation) also hover at around the same price. Both are two great options to consider and out compete the Razer Opus in different ways depending on what you are looking for.

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Also Great

There are also some other competitive options that may be great for you but may not be the best in any one category.

Bose NC700

Bose NC700 headphones on a desk next to some keyboard switches

Another great pair of Bluetooth headphones is the Bose NC700. The NC700s deliver performance that is close to the Sony XM4s in every category but aren’t the best at anything. They are still a great option but we would usually just recommend going with the XM4s over them.

One reason you may choose to get Bose’s NC700s is if you like the looks. The sleek, modern design makes the headphones look good in any setting.

Surface Headphones (1st Generation)

If you still want the performance of the Surface Headphones 2 but you don’t have the budget then the original Surface Headphones are a great option. Not only are they a great value offering but they offer the same sound quality and almost all the same features as the Surface Headphones 2. The main differences are the battery life, more color options, and support for some more audio codecs.

Microsoft’s Surface Headphones are very comfortable, have a great sound for the price, and the overall package is quite solid.


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Is ANC Necessary?

One of the most common features among Bluetooth headphones is ANC or active noise cancellation. A question for many though is if they need ANC and if it is worth the additional cost.

ANC is a very nice feature to have because it can allow you to listen to music in more environments without being bothered by sounds from the outside world. This can help you stay focused while working in a public environment, allow you to able to listen to music outside in your own bubble or make everything quieter in a place like a plane.

In short, ANC is not a necessary feature but it can be very beneficial in many situations and along with ANC often comes a “transparency mode”. This will allow you to hear what’s around you, sometimes at an elevated volume, in case your in a situation where someone is talking to you or you need to hear anything else around you.

If you often use headphones while outside or work in a public or loud environment then ANC is very useful and a worthwhile investment. You can be more focused and enjoy music better in peace. Not to mention having ANC can make a flight much more enjoyable.

If you have extra money in your budget or ANC is useful in your use case it is a very useful feature.

Does Bluetooth Ruin Sound Quality?

One of the most important factors to consider when buying a new pair of headphones is the sound quality.

Bluetooth can affect sound quality but it also depends on the price point. For the vast majority of people, the sound quality from Bluetooth headphones above the $200 price tag will have great sound quality.

Only those who are used to very premium headphones or high fidelity audio will not be able to get the same experience with Bluetooth headphones but the Drop + THX Pandas and Apple AirPod Maxs deliver fantastic audio quality.

The amount of information that can go to Bluetooth headphones is capped unless you use them with a wire because only a specific amount of information can travel wirelessly. Again this issue won’t affect the majority of people.

In general, Bluetooth does not ruin audio quality but it will cap the potential for the audio quality. If you want the best audio possible you will either have to go with some of the more expensive Bluetooth options at $400 and $500 or just get premium headphones that aren’t Bluetooth.

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How Does Sound Quality Compare

If the only thing you value is sound quality, there are many options to consider. There are many Bluetooth headphones that have solid sound quality but the headphones with the best quality are not Bluetooth and you can get higher quality sound for the price as many Bluetooth headphones.

A lot of what you are paying for with Bluetooth headphones is the feature of Bluetooth. If all you care about is sound quality and the feature of Bluetooth is not important to you, there are various options on the market that you can look at. A solid Bluetooth pair will typically cost anywhere from 200 to 600 dollars but you can get the sound quality of a $200 pair of Bluetooth headphones for half the cost.

If sound quality is your main priority, there are many different headphones that you can consider like open-back headphones, which can offer a cleaner and wider sound.

Overall the sound quality of open-back headphones is not bad but for the price, there are better options and the best sounding headphones on the market are mostly wired, especially professional-grade options.

How To Choose Bluetooth Headphones

Top view of Bluetooth headphones and earbuds on a desk.

Choosing headphones can be very complicated and confusing. It is important to understand what budget you are looking at and then what features you prioritize the most.

Do You Need Bluetooth?

Before considering what Bluetooth headphones you want, you need to decide if you really would benefit from Bluetooth headphones.

If you want headphones to use on the go or you just want the ease of use of a Bluetooth device then Bluetooth may suit you perfectly. Bluetooth can make your setup easier and it can also make using headphones easier to use because there is no cable that you have to worry about.

If you plan to use your headphones with a desktop or in a studio environment then Bluetooth headphones may not be worth it for you and investing in a wired pair may give you better sound quality and price to performance.

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The Price

If Bluetooth headphones are right for you then the next important thing to decide is your budget. There are many Bluetooth headphones at various price ranges. If you have more money you can get headphones with features such as ANC in addition to great sound quality. There are also many fantastic value options.

Once you find what price is right for you, you should look at all the options in your price range. Finding what features matter to you is a great way to narrow down options and then you can find the best option for your price tag.

Sound Quality

The most important thing about headphones is how they actually sound. All the best sounding options will cost about $400 or more but you can still get great sound quality at a lower price tag.

When you have narrowed down your budget, understanding what options in your price range have the best sound quality is an important consideration. Of course, it is always good to maintain a balance of the best sound quality you can get in your budget while also getting the features that you prioritize.

Looking at comparisons between different options can be very helpful in deciding what are the best options.

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ANC

One of the most common features of Bluetooth headphones is ANC or active noise cancellation. This uses microphones on the outside of the headphones so an offset sound can be played allowing you to hear less sounds from the outside world.

ANC quality depends greatly but it gets better usually as you spend more. Headphones with better ANC will block out more outside noise especially sudden sounds like a door closing or someone coughing.

Noise cancellation is incredibly useful in public environments, especially very noisy ones like a plane or a public building. This will allow you to be able to listen better and get distracted less. If you want Bluetooth but are not in loud environments often you can potentially save some money. Most people will benefit from having ANC but unless you are always in loud environments you should not stretch your budget to get a pair with ANC.

Looks and Build

The build among Bluetooth headphones is mostly similar among all the options. Typically they use a mainly plastic fame with the use of materials like pleather and potentially some metal. Occasionally you can find some options that have mostly metal designs like the Apple AirPods Max.

Although more premium feeling and looking builds are nice to have they are not necessarily needed. Most premium Bluetooth headphones have solid build quality even with mostly plastic construction. If you do prioritize having an all-metal build there are a few options to consider but you will most likely have to pay a premium.

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Other Important Features

Apart from the main priorities of build quality, sound, and price, there are other nice to haves like software support, a carrying case, or other features that improve your experience with the device. These other features may help you narrow down which headphone is right for you.

Many headphones do have these additional features like software, a carrying case, and potentially additional cables so you may need to look out for more specific things about each like how good the software is.

Why Trust Us

As a team with tech and audio enthusiasts, we not only study these subjects for work but also outside of that. We gather the most relevant information and like to test as much as possible ourselves.

We have had the opportunity to test these different headphones and also have experience in many other areas of the audio world. Additionally with this content not only can you get a recommendation from a user that may have similar interests as you but you can get a view from an audiophile’s perspective.

At The Tech Frontier, we have compiled this list through our testing of different Bluetooth headphones. We also have used previous knowledge with different kinds of headphones, platforms, and operating systems to provide recommendations for all kinds of audiences.


Conclusion

Surface Headphones with a plant in the background.

Hopefully these options have helped you narrow down your search as to what options are best for you and you now know what to look for in headphones when you’re researching what to purchase.

There are many great Bluetooth headphones that have little differences in their interface of an improvement in a specific part of how it sounds so doing some additional research is very useful to make a more informed decision.

If you want to check out more guides and reviews check out the rest of our site with new articles coming out every week.

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Are Ergonomic Keyboards Worth It?

Arisu ergonomic keyboard sitting on a wall.

If you spend a lot of time typing at your setup you may be looking to improve the ergonomics and comfort of your setup. One of the best ways to improve long-term comfort is by using an ergonomic keyboard.

Ergonomic keyboards position your hands and wrists better for a more comfortable experience and potentially better posture.

Many people consider ergonomic keyboards but understanding if getting one is worth it for you depends on your situation. Having good ergonomics is always a good thing but if you don’t spend much time typing or you spend most of your time gaming, investing in an ergonomic keyboard may not be the right option for you. In contrast, those that are at a computer typing throughout the day could definitely see comfort and even health benefits by using an ergonomic board.

So if you want to find out more and see if you could benefit from an ergonomic keyboard, keep reading to see if they are worth the investment.

Ergonomic vs Normal Keyboards

Ergonomic keyboard next to a regular mechanical keyboard.

Ergonomic and normal keyboards definitely have their differences but both have their benefits. One isn’t better than another as it truly depends on your situation.

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Size and Form Factors

There are a variety of sizes and form factors with keyboards. Normal keyboards have more layouts to choose from including 40%, 60%, 65%, 75%, TKL, and full-size boards. With ergonomic keyboards, it is a little more complicated.

It is important to note that there are two types of ergonomic keyboards, unibody and split. Unibody keyboards are an ergonomic keyboard in a single case. Split keyboards usually have two parts for each side of the keyboard. This allows you to use only one have of the split board for things like gaming to safe as much space as possible.

With split style boards, you can have any layout of a regular keyboard but with unibody style boards there are 2 popular layouts. The Arisu and Alice layouts. The Alice layout is most similar to a 60% keyboard with some macros on the left-hand side while the Arisu layout is most similar to a 65% keyboard.

In general normal keyboards are smaller for the same amount of functions and there are more layouts available for them but ergonomic boards also have some very unique layouts.

Comfort Level

The biggest benefit of ergonomic keyboards is their improved comfort over regular boards. They were specifically designed to help you type over long periods.

While you are typing you won’t get pains or cramps in your hands, wrists, and arms.

Also, you may find that you have better posture or it is easier to keep good posture. This is because ergonomic keyboards support better hand and arm positioning to promote better posture. As a result, you will be more comfortable throughout your body and this is actually more healthy for you.

If you find that you game most of the time then this is one case where a regular keyboard may help you to be more comfortable. Since many gamers tilt their keyboards and you are interacting with both a mouse and a keyboard there are some reasons to go with a regular keyboard. A regular board will save space and will be just as comfortable as an ergonomic keyboard but will allow you to have more comfort with your hand using the mouse.

If you are looking for comfort but you don’t have the budget for a new keyboard then switching to a new keyboard layout could also help provide better comfort with no cost except the time to switch.

Arm and Wrist Pain

A problem that you may encounter when typing for long periods is that you may suffer from arm and wrist pains. Ergonomic keyboards are great for fixing these issues.

Since ergonomic keyboards are designed for optimal comfort and as a result they greatly reduce the effects of pains or the chance of getting them.

When talking about ergonomic keyboards RSI (Repetitive Strain Injuries) and carpal tunnel are two common topics. Ergonomic keyboards greatly reduce the chance of getting RSI and carpal tunnel by reducing the strain on your wrists.

It is important to note that if you are considering an ergonomic board because you have some sort of arm, wrist, or hand problem then a new keyboard will not be a magical fix for you. You should notice benefits to all your problems won’t necessarily go away depending on the severity of the condition.

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Typing Speed

Ideally, your fastest typing speed should be similar between an ergonomic keyboard and a normal keyboard if you’re used to both types of keyboards.

This isn’t always the case. In my experience, I found that I can type fastest with a regular keyboard but I type faster for longer with my ergonomic board. Between ergonomic keyboards, you will typically type faster with a unibody board than a split alternative.

The fastest typists in the world still use regular mechanical keyboards as their primary boards. Ultimately if you just are looking for that fastest peak time a regular board still may be the option for you but if you want to have a consistently fast speed all day then an ergonomic board is something you should consider.

Price

So ergonomic keyboards have all these benefits but do they cost more as a result? For the same construction, sound, and feel, ergonomic keyboards are often priced quite well.

Ergonomic keyboards often are more expensive but that is because they are often higher-end keyboards. This is because many ergonomic keyboards are made by creators who also want premium build materials, a nice design, and a thoccy sound.

Although you can find some good value ergonomic boards, the cheapest boards that you will find are normal keyboards. Often you will pay a bit more for an ergo design compared to the regular designed counterparts, especially if looking at a membrane keyboard.

Modding and Accessories

One important factor for those building ergonomic mechanical keyboards, especially enthusiasts, is how easy ergonomic keyboards are to build, mod, and get parts for.

The difficulty of all keyboards vary but building an ergonomic keyboard should be no harder to build than a regular keyboard. Finding parts for modding ergo keyboards or parts may be harder because typically smaller manufactures make ergonomic keyboards but this is common across all limited run and high-end keyboards.

The main issue that you will run into if you are considering an ergonomic mechanical keyboard is access to compatible keycap sets.

All ergonomic keyboards have split spacebars. This means that if you are buying a keycap set you need to make sure that it supports the needed spacebars. Additionally some ergo boards also have an additional ‘B’ key or have macros on the left-hand side.

Overall it isn’t hard to find keycaps but it is an important thing to keep in mind.

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Is An Ergonomic Keyboard Right For You?

Gaming keyboard next to a gaming mouse.

Understanding how you use your computer will best help you understand if an ergonomic or regular keyboard is best for you.

Developers, writers, managers, and other people who spend some if not the whole workday typing can definitively benefit from an ergonomic keyboard. An ergonomic keyboard can reduce wrist problems in the future and provide better comfort throughout the day.

If you don’t really use a computer much or don’t use your computer for work then an ergonomic keyboard may not be the best for you. Taking the time to switch to an ergonomic keyboard is especially not worth it if you find that you game more than you work.

Ergonomic keyboards are bigger than regular size keyboards for having the same layout or amount of keys. Since having more mouse space is very important for gaming using a regular board that will help give you more mouse space.

The thing is this concept doesn’t apply to all ergonomic keyboards. Split ergonomic boards can be an interesting option to consider for some gamers. Since split keyboards have two parts of the board if you play FPS games you can use only one of the two parts and have a lot more mouse room. The extra investment is most likely not worth it but it can be an interesting option to consider.

Generally, ergonomic keyboards are better for productivity and regular boards are better for gaming or those who don’t use their computer that much.

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Is It Difficult To Transition?

Time

Depending on if you can get a split or unibody board it can take more or less time but will a unibody board will generally take less time. With split keyboards you not only need to get used to this new format but it may also take time to find the right placement for both halves of the board.

With a unibody board, it could take a few days to a couple of weeks while a split keyboard could take you a few weeks to even a month to get used to.

Difficulty

Since ergonomic boards have different hand placements it will feel like you are using a slightly different layout. Switching to an ergonomic keyboard isn’t very hard to get used to but time is the main issue with the transition process.

In general, you should not be worried about the difficulty in transitioning to an ergonomic keyboard as the end result will be well worth it.

Different Types Of Ergonomic Keyboards

If you are looking for an ergonomic keyboard, there are two options to consider. Unibody and split.

Unibody

Angled view of a unibody ergonomic keyboard.

The first type of ergonomic keyboard is the Unibody style. Unibody boards are the easiest to get used to and typically the cheapest options.

A Unibody style board is just one board that is together, as the name suggests. This means that you can get an ergonomic experience without the complexity of a split keyboard. The ergonomics may not be as great as a split keyboard but they will still be superior to the comfort of just a standard keyboard.

If you want something clean and simple while still getting a comfortable experience then a unibody board is the option for you. Unibody boards are all in one package which means you don’t have to worry about cables between different parts.

Split

Top view of a split ergonomic keyboard.

The other style of ergonomic keyboards is the split layout. A split style keyboard has more customizability in the sense that you can move each side around but this comes at a cost. Typically split keyboards have another set of wires that you have to deal with between both halves. Also, split keyboards are often harder to get used to.

Some split-style keyboards can be combined back into one regular board but these often sacrifice on looks for this extra function.

In general, a split keyboard will sacrifice looks but will give maximum comfort. Since you can adjust a split keyboard to your liking, if you are looking for the best comfort then a split board will best suit you.

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Conclusion

Side view of an ergonomic keyboard.

Switching to an ergonomic keyboard is a fantastic way to improve your comfort while working. They can solve pains, reduce the chance of long-term problems, and promote better posture. Problems such as carpal tunnel or RSI can be greatly reduced.

While ergonomic keyboards have these benefits, normal keyboards still allow for slightly faster typing speeds, are more available, support many more sizes and layouts.

There are a few different styles for ergonomic keyboards to choose from depending on what you do daily. With Unibody and Split keyboards and a few different layouts for each type of board, there is something that will suit you.

For additional ergonomics, tips check out some home office tips from the University of Washington.

As always thanks for reading and I hope you learned a lot!

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Are Colemak or Dvorak Worth It?

Mechanical keyboard with Colemak layout next to keyboard with QWERTY layout.

QWERTY, the common keyboard layout that everyone is used to. If you have grown an interest in keyboards then you may have heard about some other keyboard layouts such as Colemak or Dvorak.

Using any of these alternative keyboard layouts has a variety of upsides but is switching to something like Colemak, Dvorak, or any other layout worth taking the time and the struggle to rewrite your muscle memory?

Using an alternative layout can provide many benefits. By switching you could notice an increase in typing efficiency, comfort, and ergonomics. The time that it takes to switch can be especially beneficial if you spend a lot of time at a computer.

Today I will answer the question if alternative keyboard layouts are indeed worth it and add in a bit of my own personal experience trying one of these different keyboard layouts.

The History of QWERTY

When typewriters were created, the people designing them realized a problem. Typewriters would jam if the keys were in alphabetical order. The designer of the QWERTY layout, Christopher Sholes fixed this problem by splitting commonly used letter pairings, for example, ‘S’ and ‘T’.

This layout became the new standard and even as computers started to become popular, nobody questioned the layout that was in place. Everyone was already used to the layout and it wasn’t causing enough problems to make large corporations change their designs.

Some people tried different designed different keyboards but they never caught any traction.

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Colemak, Dvorak, etc.

Picture of the Colemak Layout for keyboards.
Colemak Layout

Although different variations of QWERTY were created for different languages like French or German, those edited layouts were still relatively the same.

Next comes the most popular alternative layouts being Dvorak, Colemak, and then Workman. There are many other layouts besides these three but these layouts have the biggest communities and are significantly more popular than many of the other layouts out there.

All three of these layouts were created to be more efficient, ergonomic, and comfortable to type on than QWERTY. Many people switch to these layouts for these benefits and can especially appreciate the comfort over the long term. Additionally, because these layouts are more efficient they should make it easier to type faster for longer. This isn’t necessarily true because most of the fastest typers still use QWERTY.

The Dvorak and Colemak were designed to make your fingers use the home row as much as possible and as a result, this means that your fingers do not need to dance around the keyboard as much. Workman takes a different approach as it works to balance the amount of use between both of your hands.

The goal of these layouts is to make your fingers only move as much as they need to and to minimize the time of travel from one keycap to the next. Theoretically using any of these layouts should be faster than typing on QWERTY with the same amount of experience but it is difficult to truly test this.

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Is It Worth It To Switch?

Making the decision to switch from QWERTY entirely depends on you and your situation. For most people, you may find that you have no problems with typing and you see no need to make any changes. Others may be enticed by the improved efficiency and comfort. Trying out a different layout also makes for an interesting test.

Switching to something like Colemak could improve long-term comfort throughout the day and could help with faster-sustained typing speeds. This benefit could be worth it for those who spend a lot of time at a computer or typing but for the everyday person who only uses a computer for basic internet browsing, emails, or gaming changing will not be very beneficial.

All in all, you should do what is most comfortable for you and those who use their computers a lot will see the benefits over the long term.

Which One Is Right For You?

Dvorak, Colemak, and Workman all have the same objectives but some differentiating factors may help your decision.

Dvorak is often considered to be the most efficient of these layouts. Also because Dvorak is the most popular alternative to QWERTY it has built-in support in major operating systems like Windows and macOS.

With Colemak and Workman, you may still need to download them. If you use Windows for example you will need to download Colemak here and Workman here on their respective pages.

Colemak functions similarly to Dvorak by focusing on home row usage but is arguably the easiest to learn out of the three. Colemak is the most similar to QWERTY with a bottom row that is almost exactly the same. Additionally Colemak is great if you use functions like Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. While Dvorak and Workman support these functions, the keys will be in different places and may feel less natural.

Finally, Workman focuses on evening usage by both hands. Workman fixes problems that even Colemak and Dvorak have of placing commonly used keys close together. Workman sacrifices a bit on efficiency to maximize comfort.

Ultimately all these layouts are good and there isn’t really a wrong decision.

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What Do I Use?

In December of 2020, I decided to try using Colemak and I eventually made it my primary layout a few months later. Since then I have still continued to use QWERTY in some situations and I have experience using both layouts on all types of keyboards.

So why did I decide Colemak? Well, Colemak does provide some unique benefits over Workman and Dvorak. While all these layouts are more efficient and comfortable to use than QWERTY, Colemak keeps key functionality. With Colemak you are able to keep macros like Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V to copy and paste in the same place on your keyboard.

Additionally Colemak is most similar to QWERTY out of the three while still providing noticeable improvements. While switching to Colemak was difficult initially, I am very happy with my choice and it is a great option for those who use layered functions on their keyboards or want something that is a bit easier to transition to.

Transitioning

Typing test picture from monkey type with typing speed of 91 WPM.
Typing test on monkeytype

The biggest issue about switching your layout is the time and difficulty to transition. I found that transitioning personally was very difficult for the first month or two so I only used Colemak during typing tests and times when I could type slower.

If you aren’t someone with much free time and are completely fine using QWERTY then there isn’t a very important need to switch. Otherwise trying out a new layout can not only be a fun test but you may actually find that you prefer it over QWERTY.

In my experience, I was able to switch to Colemak as my main layout after about three months but it took a bit more time to reach my previous typing speed.

The transition may take longer or shorter depending on how much you are willing to spend learning the layout and practicing. While learning the layout you may also not like the fact that the keys on your keyboard will not match your new layout. If you use a mechanical keyboard there are some keycap sets that you can buy that support Dvorak, Colemak, Workman, and a few other alternative layouts if this is a deal-breaker for you though.

Learning the layout without being able look at your keyboard is actually a good habit to start because you will learn touch typing and will be able to type faster in the long run.

End Result

A typing test on monkeytype being taken.

After taking time to transition you will continue to build up muscle memory and confidence. Typing with the new layout will be totally normal and you may even be able to type with the layout without ever needing to look at your keyboard.

After about 6 months I was able to match my old typing speed with QWERTY (120-140WPM). I was able to type faster, for longer too, as my fingers would not get tired as quickly.

This actually more efficient because you are able to type faster for longer. I also noticed that using Colemak all day led me to know problems but using QWERTY all day would leave me typing a lot slower later in the day and some people may experience fatigue too.

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Conclusion

Mechanical keyboard with the Colemak layout.

Although it isn’t a must, switching to a new keyboard layout can have many benefits. While the change was not life-changing for me it has still allowed me to type faster for longer periods and has improved comfort over the day.

Trying out a new layout like Colemak or Dvorak can be a very interesting test and you may find that you like it for QWERTY. For those who are interested in keyboards or spend a lot of time typing, trying one out could definitely benefit you. Otherwise, for those who mostly game, check emails, or browse the web the QWERTY layout works perfectly fine, and transitioning may not be worth it.

I have never felt the need to go back to QWERTY and even when I needed to go back to it at times when using different keyboards or computers, I found that I noticed a lot more flaws in the layout than before using Colemak.

I hope this article was beneficial to you and if you want to see more keyboard content, check out our keyboard page. As always thanks for reading and have a great day!

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Is Ray Tracing Worth It?

As new hardware comes out, new graphics technologies develop. The newest leap is ray tracing, made mainstream by Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards.

Now that most modern GPUs are integrating the technology and games are starting to add support, let’s see if Ray Tracing is actually worth it.

Ray Tracing vs Rasterization

CC: Nvidia

Ray tracing may be new and exciting but what came before it? Rasterization is the current norm for graphics in video games.

Rasterization creates a 3D environment by processing polygons. The polygons are then processed by a shader to make up a specific color and shade. These polygons get turned into pixels. All the colors and shades are decided by parameters that the game developer has set up.

Ray tracing on the other hand directs lines from the light source in the game and calculates how light bounces off objects or gets impedes by them to show where the lighting would go. This makes effects a lot more realistic.

While rasterization can look very good, there is a lot less potential. Ray tracing can portray how different objects affect lighting around a room but rasterization cannot. For example, with ray tracing, if you have a very reflective material, then the light will bounce off that material onto other things. In contrast with rasterization that material may look metallic but still will not have any effect on anything else in the environment.

Additionally, ray tracing requires fewer initial parameters to be set up by game developers. Ray tracing uses realistic lighting physics which means developers do not need to make many calculations to suit their specific game environment and physics can be more consistent across games.

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Does Ray Tracing Improve Your Gaming Experience?

Screenshot of Call of Duty Warzone with ray tracing enabled

Although ray tracing does provide some eye candy, how much does it improve the gaming experience and will enabling it make you a better gamer?

The main takeaway about ray tracing is that it most likely will not make you a better gamer. The whole point of ray tracing is the improvement in graphics.

Real-time ray tracing provides no improvements in games like competitive shooters but in some games, the improvement in shadows and reflections may help you to see things that are off your screen.

Where ray tracing improves your experience is in the actual looks and immersion. Better graphics can help you get sucked into the game, especially when you are in a campaign or story game that gives you time to enjoy eye candy. You are able to appreciate your environment more as ray tracing makes games look more realistic.

A graphic increase is often able to transfer a game like Minecraft with RTX which keeps the same core concept and physics but the gameplay is altered.

If you do not care about graphics or only play online competitive shooters such as CS:GO or Valorant then ray tracing wont benefit you.

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Too Early To Invest?

Steam survey from april 2021
Steam Survey April 2021

One of the biggest criticisms about ray tracing is the lack of games that support the feature. Currently, there are around 40 titles with 10 to 20 more that are said to release in 2021. All these titles fully support ray tracing with Nvidia’s RTX GPUs but the same cannot be said about AMD. AMD supports a decent amount of these games but the performance is not that good on most of them or the creators worked on DXR for AMD as an afterthought.

Some games that feature ray tracing are Battlefield V, Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite, and Metro Exodus. If you want more information about different games that support ray tracing, check out this list from Wikipedia.

The experience with Nvidia’s graphics cards is pretty good, especially with their DLSS technology, which optimizes the onscreen image to look the same while putting less load on the GPU. You can get 60 fps at 1080p on any of Nvidia’s RTX cards but if you want to play at a higher resolution then you have to pay for a better RTX card.

The issue is that to get a quality high refresh experience, you still need to pay quite a bit of money if you want to play at any resolution higher than 1080p. This also assumes that you are able to even get a graphics card in this current climate.

We would not recommend waiting to get a graphics card just because you want an RTX card from Nvidia but in the coming years, many of the most popular games will support ray tracing. Getting a system with the hardware to support ray tracing is not necessary yet and we would not say that it is too early to invest, especially if some of your favorite titles do or will not gain support soon.

Ray tracing is a great feature for those who care about graphics. If you want to future proof then getting an RTX card or a next-gen console is your best bet.

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Ray Tracing Beyond Gaming

Unreal engine logo

Ray tracing is not just for gaming. Ray tracing has been used for years in professional situations. For example, many animated movies use ray tracing. It has especially gotten popular for 3D modeling, rendering, and movie animation in recent years.

As ray tracing has become more popular smaller creators and studios have been able to use ray tracing. This is causing it to continue to grow in the professional space. Not only will games start to look more realistic in forms of lighting and reflections but the same will also apply to animated movies and renders.

Additionally, ray tracing has grown very popular in the world of game development. Game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine are making it easier for smaller game developers to make games that have better-looking graphics.

Overall this all helps movie and game developing industries forward as smaller creators are starting to be able to work with ray tracing.

Different Implementations

Inside of gaming PC with an RTX graphics card

Although Nvidia started the movement towards real-time ray tracing, they now have other competitors. Aside from Nvidia’s 20 and 30 series GPUs, AMD has their 6000 series GPUs, and then the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft also have their own implementations.

Nvidia has their RTX implementation that works with DLSS rather than AMD that uses the universal standard DXR. While both can look the same, Nvidia’s system works with more games and runs faster. This is partially due to the fact that DLSS improves the framerate of games.

Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X also support ray tracing and due to great optimizations, the performance is pretty good for the price.

Overall Nvidia still does ray tracing the best.

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Conclusion: Is Ray Tracing The Future?

Top view of PC with RGB fans

To put it shortly, ray tracing is the future.

This is just the beginning of a new wave. The benefits to graphics are great for the consumer and with all this tech going mainstream it will only push forward innovation. Games will look a lot better in the future and with the easy access to enable it in game engines now, many indie games or titles may be able to have ray tracing.

It is important to understand that the tech is not perfect right now and it is not everywhere. Many games do not have all the elements of ray tracing as they may only support ray-traced shadows or reflections for example. Ray tracing is constantly improving to look and run better.

Over the next, five to ten years is when we could start to see ray tracing properly replace rasterization. During this time hardware will also improve greatly as companies like Nvidia have made large strides towards their RTX tech.

If you enjoyed this article and you want to talk more about tech then consider joining our Discord and as always thanks for reading!

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Are Headphone Amps Worth It?

If you have started learning more about audio and if you want to invest in a more premium audio setup, one of the things you have come across is headphone amps.

Headphone amps are one of the best ways to improve sound quality. In many cases, amps are required for specific headphones or speakers. Amps deliver extra power to your headphones or speaker, often helping to bring out sounds that were recessed and lacking before.

Let’s explore how amps benefit an audio setup and if getting one is a worthy investment for your headphones.

Do Headphone Amps Improve Sound Quality?

Headphone amp with open back headphones

A headphone amp is a device that amplifies the volume of sound coming from a DAC, a component in all devices that processes the digital signal from a computer and converts it into an analog signal that headphones can use. An amp can take the form of either an external device or a part integrated into your computer. The addition of power that is also cleaner can improve the sound quality of your headphones.

Compared to an integrated solution, a dedicated amp provides more power so your headphones are able to work the best they can. Additionally, if you find that you are using most of the volume scale when listening to things then an amp will give you much more headroom, fixing this issue.

Amps do not do much to improve the clarity or accuracy of the sound but the additional power improves the quality of the sound in other ways. The extra power that an amp provides could help sounds that were once muffled or recessed to be able to reach their full potential.

Another issue that amps fix is distortion. The integrated audio solutions in computers or phones can cause distortion at high volumes. Since amps process sound better this is less of an issue.

It is important to understand that an amp will not always improve audio. If you are using a cheap pair of headphones then you will notice no improvement. On the flip side, some headphones need an amp to function properly. There are many headphones, often in the $100 to $300 range, that are efficient enough that they do not require an amp but could still see some gains.

An amp should not change the sound signature of your headphones but give them the power to have their correct sound signature. Tube amps or amps with EQing built in can make changes to the sound.

Overall amps do improve sound quality.

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Is An Amp Necessary?

Headphones on branch outside

Headphone amps can improve your audio but in some situations, they are not a worthy investment. If you use headphones that do not need more power or cleaner power then an amp would just be a waste of money.

Something like a pair of cheap earbuds or bluetooth headphones will not see a benefit from the extra power. In contrast, if you use high-fidelity headphones, often costing anywhere from $200 to upwards of $1000, then you often need or will heavily benefit from an amp.

Some headphones do not need an amp but could see a slight benefit from one. In this case, we wouldn’t recommend getting an amp if you are on a tight budget although it could give you a slightly better experience.

To understand how efficient your headphones are there are two things you need to look at. First sensitivity, which shows how loud headphones can get with a certain amount of power. This is usually measured in dB/mW. Second impedance, which shows how much power the headphones need. It is typically measured in ohms.

Headphones with an impedance of 32 ohms or less and sensitivity of 100 dB or more usually do not need an amp. As you get to headphones that use 60-80 ohms or more and sensitivities of 95dB or less, you will notice that many of these headphones need an amp. It is important to look at both factors and read reviews as the necessity for an amp depends.

Another factor is about how much of your volume range you are using. If you need to turn up your volume to 70 to 100% volume, then an amp may benefit you. You will get more headroom for volume and an amp will take away most distortion that integrated audio solutions create at high volumes.

Most modern computers have a decent integrated sound card with an amp so getting a dedicated amp is only important if you are investing in premium headphones. If your current headphones will not see a benefit from getting an amp, then getting new headphones is usually the recommended option. A dedicated amp is just a recommended option if you need or want more power for your headphones.

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How Does A Headphone Amp Work ?

Headphone amp with some IEMs on top

An amp’s purpose is to take a very quiet, low-power audio signal from a DAC, and increase the volume of that signal. Then the headphones or speakers will be able to turn this information into sound waves.

Without an amp, either integrated into a computer or as an external device, your headphones would not be able to create any sound for you.

A dedicated amp will provide more power and volume for your headphones than integrated solutions. The better an amp the more power it will be able to provide. Additionally, better amps will give cleaner power to your headphones resulting in a cleaner sound. Cheap amps often have distortion in the sound at higher volumes.

Amps have three core parts to how they work. There is the input, the amplification components themselves, and finally the output. There are two ways that the amplification process works work.

  • Solid State/Transistor Amps: These amps use, as the name implies, transistors to amplify the signal given to them. Inside there will be multiple positively or negatively charged transistors that are calibrated to boost the sound in a way that is as clean and efficient as possible.
  • Tube Amps: Tube amps instead use vacuum tubes surrounded by glass. They function similarly to lightbulbs by burning electrons from a filament to instead of creating light, amplify sound. Tube amps can be compared to record players that provide a more fun sound that modern tracks on software or CDs replace with a very clean sound. There is a sort of warmth adding to the bass. As a downside sometimes the glass of the tubes can cause some negative effects on the sound if you are using more sensitive headphones with a less premium tube amp.

In the end, the function of an amp is to increase the volume of the information coming from your audio source, for example, an external DAC or your PC. It does not matter if it is a tube amp or solid-state amp, the end goal is the same.

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Different Kinds Of Amps

Top view of GSX 1000 DAC

Although amps can control the power in different ways, transistors or tubes, there are different kinds of amps to look at depending on your situation.

  • Regular Headphone Amp: This is the standard type of headphone amp.
  • Gaming Amp: Gaming amps function similarly to regular headphone amps but usually prioritize features that gamers would appreciate like a mic input and virtual surround sound.
  • Portable Amp: These are great for situations where you want to drive high-quality headphones on the go or if you want a powerful amp in a small package. Portable amps are often designed to fit in your pocket and are a great option for those who want to use premium IEMs while out or if you want an amp between your office and home.

Finding what is right for you is the most important thing in this case. For most people, a regular headphone amp will do the job. There are some cases where a gaming amp or portable option may suit your general needs more.

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Conclusion

Front view of Topping DX3 Pro amp and DAC combo

Amps are beneficial with trying to improve the sound quality of your headphones, IEMs, or speakers and in many cases, they are even necessary for them to run properly. Sounds that were previously recessed, distorted, or not even present will be more significant and apparent.

You should also consider if an amp is worth it in your situation. You will not notice a difference with an amp with a sub $100 pair of headphones or the cheap earbuds that came with your phone.

It is also important to note that most people will not notice a substantial difference by getting an amp. This is because most people do not use power-hungry headphones or are not very bothered by worse audio quality.

For those who want a more premium sound and may be using more powerful headphones, an amp is a more worthy investment for them.

You also do not need to spend alot of money on an amp. You can find options for about $100 that give great performance up until you are spending upwards of $500 on headphones. Just note that you should always prioritize the headphones in your budget but always consider an amp if your headphones need that extra kick.

Additionally, if you are creating a setup with high-quality headphones and you are getting a headphone amp, you may want to consider a DAC to provide a cleaner, more accurate sound that could also benefit your sound experience.

I hope you enjoyed and as always thanks for reading!

If you have any questions please join our discord and feel free to ask anything.

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Logitech G703 Hero Mouse Review: Wireless For A Fair Price

When looking for a new gaming mouse you may have been considering switching to a new wireless gaming mouse. The Logitech G703 Hero adds to Logitech’s extensive line of wireless gaming mice, providing performance striking above its price point.

Let’s dig in and see if the Logitech G703 Hero is the mouse for you.

The Verdict

Logitech G703 Hero with a laptop and keyboard.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Logitech G703 Hero is a wireless gaming mouse with excellent performance.

It improves over the previous version with the use of the accurate HERO sensor and it supports Logitech’s Lightspeed connectivity.

The G703 has an ergonomic shape with large buttons and comfortable rubber side grips. The mouse supports tons of grip styles and is very comfortable over long periods of use.

You also get a lot of in-depth functionality with the software. The G703 also supports a lot of different features like an adjustable weight, Powerplay compatibility, and onboard memory.

The only major downsides of the mouse are the outdated micro-USB connection and the software that could be a bit confusing to use at first. Additionally, the shape of the mouse applies to a specific niche but I found it quite easy to adjust to.

So if you are looking for a wireless mouse with a great sensor, decent lightweight, and solid build then the G703 is a fantastic option to consider.


Specifications

Length~124 mm
~ 4.88 in
Width~68 mm
~ 2.67 in
Height~43 mm
~1.69 in
Weight ~95g (+10 with weight)
Sensor TypeOptical (100 – 25.6K DPI)
Polling Rate125 – 1000Hz
Cable Length 1.8m (6ft) Braided Cable
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In The Box

Logitech G703 unboxed

In the box, you will find the mouse with all the essentials and some accessories.

  • Manual: There is a quick start guide to walk you through basic things like using and charging the mouse.
  • Cable: Logitech includes a braided USB-A (regular USB) to micro-USB cable to both charge the mouse or use the extender.
  • Dongle: This dongle allows for the mouse’s lightspeed wireless connection for very low latency.
  • Extender: If your mouse is far away from your computer or you are experiencing connection issues, an extender is included as a great solution to the issue.
  • Powerplay Puck: The puck is attached to the bottom of the mouse with magnets and is necessary for using the Powerplay feature.
  • Weight: Included is a 10g weight if you feel the mouse is too light.
  • Sticker: Logitech always throws in a sticker showing their blue G logo with their gaming products. It’s a nice touch.
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Build Quality

Angled view of Logitech G703

The Logitech G703 is made from a mix of strong plastic and rubber. Rubber is used on the scroll wheel and on the sides for extra comfort and grip. Even at 95g, the G703 is quite robust.

The mouse looks all black with a translucent section for the G logo. The style obviously belongs to a gaming mouse but is not overly gamery.

The mouse feet on the bottom provide a smooth glide, allowing quick flicks and consistent travel. In my testing, they were not as good as the most premium mice like the Logitech G Pro Superlight or Razer Viper but they are better than many popular mice like the Logitech G203 or G502.

Overall the G703 has a fantastic build, especially for the price. My only disappointment with the design of the mouse is the use of micro-USB over USB-C. While this doesn’t affect the functionality, it’s nice to have.

Style and Comfort

Side view of Logitech G703

Logitech’s G703 has an ergonomic design but is not super sculpted. The mouse is great for those who are right-handed but it doesn’t lock you into any position so it is comfortable with all mouse grip styles.

I had no issues using the G703 with a fingertip, claw, and palm grip. Some mice lock you into a palm grip or claw grip but the G703 provides flexibility in this field.

Many people don’t like the design but I found it very easy to get used to and very comfortable, even during multiple-hour gaming sessions. The rubber helps a lot over time and it makes the mouse very easy to grip and hold.

Additionally, the buttons are quite large so they are easy to find. Typically buttons are quite small on the side of the mouse but the G703 has the biggest side buttons on any mouse so you can easily rest your fingers on the side buttons.

Switches and Scroll Wheel

The Logitech G703 has 6 buttons in total. They all have satisfying clicks and are very responsive. The switches are from Omron and have eliminated the double-clicking issues that Logitech used to face. These switches are some of the best ones that I have used in any gaming mouse.

On the left side of the mouse are two side buttons. They are some of the biggest side buttons that I have seen on the mouse making them very easy to find. Additionally, the scroll wheel has nice tactile steps and feels very solid.

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Sensor and Polling Rate

Logitech’s Hero sensor uses optical technology, which is the norm among modern gaming mice. It is one of the most accurate and efficient sensors in any mouse. Additionally, the sensor itself is quite lightweight which is why Logitech makes some of the lightest mice on the market.

The sensor goes up to 25.6K DPI and can be adjusted through the software in increments of 50. Most people opt for a DPI between 200 and 1200, but the high range shows the accuracy of this mouse.

This fantastic sensor goes along with the industry-standard 1000Hz polling rate.

Powerplay Compatibility

If you want a wireless peripheral but the requirement to charge it is an issue for you, Logitech’s Powerplay could be the solution for you.

For this to work with the G703 you must purchase their Powerplay mousemat. This is an additional investment, but the mousemat will charge the mouse resulting in endless battery life.

Adjustable Weight

Weight and underside of Logitech G703

If you want a slightly heavier mouse, you can utilize the 10g weight. Adding the weight will increase the overall weight to 105g. You can easily add the weight by pressing it into the slot on the bottom of the mouse.

Using the mouse with its stock weight was the best for me. The G703 felt balanced and it made me more consistent in shooters. I was able to land headshots more frequently, manage recoil more easily, and make more accurate flicks.

If you want to further lower the weight, taking off the Powerplay puck on the bottom is an easy way to shave off a few grams making the mouse about 92g. The difference isn’t huge but still noticeable.

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Vibrant RGB Lighting

Top view of Logitech G703 with RGB lighting

The Logitech G703 supports bright RGB lighting on the logo and scroll wheel. The lighting looks good at night and throughout the day. If RGB isn’t for you you can always turn it off or dim it.

You can control all the lighting with the G Hub software and you get a lot of functionality. You can have separate or synced lighting between the logo and wheel. Also, there are tons of colors and present affect to choose from.

You can also sync the lighting with a game or movie you are watching. For, example the color of your mouse will change because of the team you are on. This isn’t too crazy just on the mouse because you probably will be more focused on the game but if you have other Logitech products then you can sync this with them and the experience is quite unique.

Wireless Connectivity

Angled view of Logitech G703 with wireless adapter

Apart from the standard wired connection, the G703 also supports wireless connectivity via Logitech’s low latency Lightspeed technology.

The lightspeed connection via a dongle is about as fast as a wired connection. It is incredibly fast and reliable. If you ever have any issues like interference or you are just very far from your device you can also use the included extender. Without the extender, I was able to use my mouse over 20 feet away from my computer with no issues.

With wireless mice, battery life is always an important consideration. The battery is quite strong considering the mouse supports RGB lighting. You can get 35-60 hours of use off a single charge depending on how bright the lighting is and the polling rate. When you need more battery, you can completely charge the mouse in about 2 hours.

The mouse also has battery-saving methods. The lighting will dim after a minute of inactivity and the G703 goes to sleep after 5 minutes. Waking from sleep is essentially instant. Additionally, the lighting on the mouse will turn red if the battery goes below 15%. Overall the battery life is pretty good and the power-saving measures make it not a concern.

In-Depth G Hub Software

Logitech G Hub software used with the G703 mouse

The Logitech G703 works with the G Hub software to control it. You can do basic things like change the lighting, sensitivity, remap buttons or do more complex things like control game integration.

Setting everything up isn’t too difficult once you have gotten used to the software. As soon as you open the Software you will be able to see the estimated battery life.

Although G Hub is very functional, it can be very confusing to those who are new to it. Pages like game integration are not the easiest to find and saving profiles and presets can be confusing.

Additionally, I have run into occasional bugs. Sometimes a different DPI than I wanted would become my default DPI for the onboard profile or not all my lighting presets would save. Logitech has fixed most of the bugs that I have faced but I still think the software has its issues.

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Onboard Memory

Logitech’s G703 stores up to five onboard profiles. You can save your preferred sensitivity, button mappings, and lighting all to the mouse.

Onboard memory is helpful if use your mouse with different devices. Additionally, if you don’t like Logitech G Hub this is nice because you can quickly save your profiles, and then you won’t need the software anymore.


Conclusion: Is The Logitech G703 Hero Good For Gaming?

Logitech G703 Hero on a mousepad.

The Logitech G703 Hero delivers a great experience for gamers, even for pros, at a great value.

The G703 supports the Lightspeed connection that has equal latency to a wired connection but the lack of a wire means you don’t have to worry about your mouse getting caught on anything or drag. The need for a mouse bungee is not existent.

Inside the mouse, you get high-quality Omron switches and Logitech’s famous HERO sensor that is among the best on the market.

The shape may not be for everyone but most people can get used to it and the mouse supports a wide variety of grips. It also has a solid build while still maintaining a decently low weight.

If you think this mouse is a good fit for you then consider checking it out on Amazon.

Thanks for reading and if you have any more questions check out our Instagram and Discord.

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