Are you turned off by gaming keyboards that are so overstylized they literally look like some kind of a Transformer in disguise? Well then this keyboard should be right up your alley.
The Poseidon Z RGB mechanical gaming keyboard packages a host of essential features into a streamlined build that does away with unnecessary aesthetical flourishes in favor of a cleaner and more professional look. You won’t find any angular protrusions, bulky borders of wasted plastic dead space, or even a wrist rest (which may be a pro or con depending on personal preference, though the keyboard does have a lower profile than many mechanicals and is easier on the wrists). All the fat has been trimmed to make the Poseidon Z a lean, mean typing machine. There’s even a groove on the backside for channeling the USB cable to the right, left, or center of keyboard for organizational uniformity with the configuration of your PC and desk space. Too bad the cable isn’t braided, though.
Available in Blue (clicky) and Brown (quiet) switch models (I’ve been testing the Blues), the Poseidon Z RGB’s keycaps are smooth with just the right amount of curve to comfortably caress the fingertips. Though subtle, the space bar’s rounded, tapered edge lowers the impact on the thumbs over long sessions. On the downside, the lettering on the keycaps isn’t as bold or defined as it could be. Obviously this isn’t an issue with the backlighting on, but when used without backlights visibility of the characters isn’t always clear under certain ambient lighting conditions.
It’s important to point out that the switches are Kailh and not Cherry MX. There has been a lot of debate about the differences between the two; Cherry MX is a tested commodity that is known for reliable quality, while Kailh is a cheaper alternative that isn’t as proven. Hardcore Cherry MX users probably can, but personally I have a hard time noticing a difference. In my time pounding away at the keys for the past couple months, the Poseidon Z RGB’s Blue switches have been incredibly accurate, with fast actuation, a nice tactile bump, and a noisy clack that is just as satisfying for regular typing needs as it is for gaming, if not more so. I’ve heard previous accounts about Kailh switches being quicker to deteriorate in performance, but they’ve been nothing but consistent and durable so far for me–and I’ve certainly been pushing them hard, between typing reviews and playing recent typing-based games like Epistory and Typefighters. Tt eSports also claims a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes, and backs it up with a 5-year switch warranty should anything go wrong. I don’t know the company’s track record on fulfilling warranty claims, but five years is unprecedented coverage for a gaming accessory, so I think you can feel confident the product is equipped to endure the tap, tap, tapping of a daily workload.
The keys are protected from ghosting and jamming. Holding down the Function (Fn) key and pressing the Page Down key toggles between N-key and 6-key rollover. N-key rollover is particularly beneficial for gaming, because it means every key press is registered independently regardless of how many different keys are pressed or held down at the same time. Most average gamers will likely never take advantage of this, but in a more competitive arena n-key rollover ensures accurate keystrokes for situations when a number of simultaneous actions need to be executed without fail.
Additional Fn key functionality includes media controls for rewind, fast forward, play/pause, stop, mute, and volume up and down, which are mapped to the F1 through F7 keys, as well as an on-the-fly macro recorder that is as simple as pressing Fn plus F9, choosing an assignment key, and then typing in the desired macro. An optional software download offers deeper macro recording options and customization across up to five different profiles. The Fn key can then be used with the Insert, Home, Page Up, Delete, and End keys to seamlessly switch between saved profiles. By pressing the Ctrl / Windows button located off to the top-right corner, the keyboard can be switched into Game Mode. While in Game mode, the Windows key becomes a Ctrl key and macro recording becomes active. Additionally, Game mode activates the keyboard’s Instant Shift System (I.S.S.), which allows for pressing the Alt, Ctrl, or Shift keys to change between all saved macro groups without the need to change profiles.
Using the app opens up a wealth of options for customizing the keyboard’s RGB lighting as well. Five different effects are supported, including fully lit (plus static, pulse, or spectrum cycling modifiers), color wave, reactive (keys light up and fade only when pressed), arrow flow (pressing a key causes keys in the same row to light up in sequence like an arrow of light shooting in both directions across the keyboard), and ripple (tapping a key triggers a keyboard-wide color ripple). For players who like to have different lighting loadouts for specific games, the software makes it possible to manually set the colors of individual keys or key groupings. Brightness adjustments can then be made on the fly by tapping F11 and F12 with the Fn key–there are four brightness levels, plus an off switch.
Another neat touch is the metal plating underneath the keys, which works as a reflective surface to further accentuate the lighting. So instead of only seeing the keycaps lit up, the colors shine up through the cracks and crevices to more clearly define the key borders and spacing. In addition to the ultra-vivid eye candy, the clearer visibility is very helpful for gaming or typing in the dark.
The only drawback to customizing macro and lighting profiles is with the software itself. It’s completely functional, don’t get me wrong. However, in general the UI is a bit clunky and slow, as well as a little confusing to navigate the first time you try to set things up. The out-of-the-box documentation doesn’t help much either, but thankfully downloadable reference material is available through the official website.
Tt eSports may not have the same brand recognition as major PC gaming companies like Logitech, Razer, and SteelSeries, but if you ask me the Poseidon Z RGB mechanical keyboard stacks up favorably against any competing product. Although I can’t speak to the long-term durability of the Kailh switches at this time, the keyboard feels incredibly sturdy and well made, and I have been nothing but impressed by the high level of performance experienced thus far. The complete and utter lack of a single garish, unnecessary feature is a plus in my book, too. For gaming, for typing, and for all-around PC usage, the Poseidon Z RGB mechanical keyboard is a solid choice.
Disclosure: A Poseidon Z RGB Blue Switch mechanical keyboard was provided to VGBlogger.com for review testing by Tt eSports.