Welcome to T3's Aukey KM-G12 mechanical keyboard review. Aukey is best known for its power banks and chargers, but they produce a whole host of affordable tech products covering everything from gaming peripherals to webcams. So how do they fare when it comes to mechanical keyboards?
There are tons of gaming keyboards out there, most of which start at prices of $100 or more, with those at the highest end reaching well over $200. The Aukey KM-G12 mechanical keyboard offers a cheaper alternative while maintaining some more premium features. We aren’t expecting it to perform as well as the likes of the Logitech G915 TKL or the Corsair K100 RGB. But at a fraction of the price, is it worth considering?
The Aukey KM-G12 is a mechanical gaming keyboard that really won’t cost you much at all. We think it’s the best gaming keyboard you could find on a small budget.
Aukey KM-G12 review: price
At the time of writing, you can buy the Aukey KM-G12 mechanical keyboard direct from Aukey for $79.99, or from Amazon for $54.99 in the US and £59.99 in the UK. Take a look at the widgets for the most recent prices.
Aukey KM-G12 review: design and setup
The Aukey KM-G12 mechanical keyboard has a black aluminium top plate and plastic base, with an RGB lighting strip around the side. It feels solid and sturdy, weighing 1kg and measuring 43.3 x 12.6 x 3.7cm.
This is a keyboard that keeps things simple, resisting the temptation to have eccentric, show-off design features. The 105 double-shot-moulded ABS keys are placed edge-to-edge of the keyboard, with a discreet black logo in the top right corner. Having slightly curved tops on the shiny plastic keycaps made them conveniently shaped to rest your fingers on during gameplay. There is also an included keycap puller if you did want to switch them out.
On the underside are two rubber-coated plastic feet that flip out, so this keyboard can only lay flat or at a slight angle. Some may want more than just these two options to use it comfortably, there isn’t a wrist rest included either.
Setup couldn’t be easier, you plug it in using the plastic 1.6m USB cable. It can’t be detached and comes out from the centre on the back of the keyboard. The Aukey KM-G12 is compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It doesn’t have the option for wireless connectivity, but on the plus side, that should mean faster response times.
Aukey KM-G12 review: features and performance
The Aukey KM-G12 uses Aukey Blue switches which seem to imitate the lightweight quality of Cherry MX Blue switches found on pricier keyboards. The Aukey switches are noticeably louder, in fact, they were almost too loud. We definitely wouldn’t recommend using this keyboard in a quiet office environment.
Despite feeling cheap with somewhat plasticky keycaps, the switches do have 4mm of travel and fast actuation, they are also built to withstand 50 million presses. So whether it was gaming or home-working, typing on the Aukey KM-G12 felt satisfying and quick.
RGB fanatics will love the range of 7 colour presets and 12 different lighting configurations to choose from, as well as the strip of light surrounding the keyboard. The keys themselves illuminate through the characters. You can edit and cycle through the lighting effects using certain keystrokes, for both the keys and the surrounding light.
As well as the standard lighting effects like the wave and reactive illumination, there are genre-specific gaming presets too. One thing to note is that in comparing it to other more expensive gaming keyboards, the colours aren’t quite as vivid or as bright.
Aukey KM-G12 mechanical keyboard review: verdict
For anyone who is new to using a mechanical keyboard for gaming, the Aukey KM-G12 is a great starting point. Its easy setup and simple design will ease you into a gaming experience that feels much faster than with a membrane keyboard, you'll never look back.
It certainly has a few flaws like the plastic Aukey Blue switches, which to be honest, were a little too loud for our liking, as well as the slightly dull RGB lighting. But in spite of that, we liked the choice of illumination effects, as well as the fact that this was a pleasant, responsive keyboard to type on.
All in all, the Aukey KM-G12 mechanical keyboard is the best gaming keyboard you will find at a price this low.
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