Over the past decade or so, there has been a massive increase in gamer branded items. The core idea behind said products is rather simple. Usually, they’re better performing products that have certain design elements associated with them. One such feature that has resonated with a wider group of people is RGB. This has started to appear on lower-end products that, while still are considered gaming, hit a price point where someone might use them for an office or school due to how pretty they can look. As we saw with Aukey’s last keyboard, there was a massive shift in design and trying to cater to a different demographic, something we continue to see in their newly released KM-G14. With black color and compact frame, is it worth investing in or are you better off spending more?
Since Aukey considers this part of their gaming line, it comes in the familiar nondescript black box with a glossy Aukey logo on top. Nothing we haven’t seen in the past or any major changes between releases. Inside is the keyboard held securely in place by cardboard and inside a bubble wrap sleeve. After taking KM-G14 out, it doesn’t take long to realize it’s a massive departure from some of their previous ventures.
Compared to the first Aukey keyboard we reviewed, KM-G12, there is less of an emphasis on a sleeker look and a more conventional design. It’s unfortunate some of the more defining characteristics, such as the across body lightbar were removed but the improved build quality more than makes up for this shortcoming. Here, Aukey basically took on a more dated design, something you’d expect from a more economical product, and instead built it up. It still features RGB and interfaces with their app, supports three different heights, braided cable, different cable paths out of the back. These more than makeup for the lack of chrome, though the bulky size might be a deal-breaker for some.
In terms of function, KM-G12 fall in a weird place product line wise. It lacks the tenkey, making it hard for anyone that uses that for gaming, especially MMORPG or just plain RPG fans, but still has the arrow keys. This gives it a more compact size, something that works far better with my setup, without losing the arrow keys like a 60 percent keyboard does. Those prove surprisingly useful, be it quickly editing a comment on Discord or just moving a couple of letters over. How much that matters will depend on your usage but it should cater to a wide demographic.
Similar to previous offerings, Aukey continues to stick with Blue switches. This means the keyboard offers decent feedback, with a loud audible click. This ultimately had no impact on performance, though Red switches are a bit more common for gaming, so expect everyone to know when you’re typing. On a high note, the clicky sound is somewhat popular, giving the switch its own charm. It sounds exciting and there is certainly a market for it, just keep this in mind before purchasing.
The actual performance is nothing particularly surprising. It supports gaming features like N-Key rollover, meaning it will detect multiple inputs even if they’re pushed at the same time and has enough space to make a lot of games work. Spacing shouldn’t cause any problems and I had no issues typing after spending five to 10 minutes getting used to it. Function keys are nice, though the lack of media buttons and the like can be disappointing to anyone use to them.
Thankfully, KM-G14 features brighter lights than some of their previous offerings, bringing the RGB backlight to life. I wouldn’t say it matches the brightness of some of the offerings we’ve seen from HyperX in the past but it is bright enough to remind you it’s there or to actually type in the dark. With this model we see some different keycaps, with indicators of what some of the functions do, along with an indicator of RGB effects on the arrow keys. For those unimpressed with the keycaps, they follow the MX standard and come with a keycap remover for easy swapping.
KM-G14 Review – Verdict
To be perfectly honest, at $45 KM-G14 falls into something of a sweet spot. It’s low enough where I could totally see using it for non-gaming purposes, as it’s a great price for an RGB keyboard, with enough quality to feel like an upgrade for a gamer. Design, brightness, and things like the switch type might ultimately sway you to different options, but if you want the size, it’s a solid choice.
[Editor’s Note: Aukey KM-G14 keyboard was provided to us for review purposes.]