The Raptor Gaming LK1 is an entry level gaming keyboard made by Raptor-Gaming.com, a self-proclaimed innovator in the gaming-hardware sector. According to their site they invented adjustable-weight and adjustable-size mice, among other features usually seen in most modern gaming mice and keyboards. Despite these landmark claims I have never heard of Raptor Gaming or its products.
Their obscure reputation does not mean they make shoddy products though. The Raptor Gaming LK1 is very light and sturdy, and has a long braided cord (nicer than those on premium Logitech products). However at the same time their website redirects to a subdomain on a free webhosting site, and the company claims the LK1 has some very odd features, such as “Fast-Mover-Technology.” The point of this so-called technology is that it allows you to remove keys from the keyboard to avoid pressing them on accident, and that it “automatically locks removed keys.” In fact this is not a real thing, and they are just referring to the fact that the key switches are sunken into the casing – a “feature” which every keyboard I’ve ever used has. So the LK1 and Raptor-Gaming exist in some area of semi-professional existence… straddling the line between known brand and a really big e-bay store.
Most US keyboards feature even-sized shift keys on both sized and a one-row height enter key. The LK1 uses a smaller left shift key (only slightly larger than a standard key) and an L-Shaped Enter key, which are more common in European keyboards and is explained by its German-designed origin. It’s hard to say that this is a flaw, but it will be annoying to adapt to. Raptor-Gaming.com says the keyboard is produced in a US layout, but I’ve only seen the European version for sale.
There are some other problems with the LK1’s design. The non-slip pads are positioned in a way so that when the legs are extended they are blocked on the right, making the keyboard slide on the right side only, which is far more annoying than expected. There is also a glossy coating around the outer edges that is unpleasantly smooth and feels like a thick layer of potato chip grease smeared around the board.
However in the large scheme of things these flaws are minor and hopefully will be addressed in a future redesign.
You can see in the below diagram that the LK1 does not support the same range of key rollover support as more expensive keyboards do. The first diagram below shows how many consecutive keys can be registered on the LK1, with as many keys as possible being pressed on the top row, starting with Q, and then as many modifier keys (Shift, Control, Alt) as possible. Interestingly, despite supporting fewer keys along the QWERTY row, the LK1 does support the space bar, however along with that is a mis-registered press of the “U” key.
This second diagram shows how many keys can be registered, starting with Q, then A,W,S,E,D (and then modifier keys). The purpose of this is to see how many keys in the left section of the board can be registered. Since W,A,S,D are the most common movement keys, many gaming keyboards add extra diodes in this area to allow for higher rollover. The G15 supports a 6-key rollover here, while the LK1 only supports 2. Note that this is consecutive rollover, and the LK1 has limited support for 3, and 4-key rollover in this area (for example: A,W,E and W,D,X, register but not W,E,D or W,E,C).
The LK1 also advertises its “water-resistant structure”. This translates to five extra empty screw holes on the bottom of the keyboard, which will help drain liquids, but does not really provide extra protection, especially from sticky sodas and energy drinks. Among the other non-features the LK1 includes 8 extra red keys to really give you that competitive edge – the back of the box tells me the bright design helps for “instant location in the dark” (something that LED backlights on nicer keyboards do in a better way…), however they are screen-printed. There is also a bundled key-remover; however it does not fit around the one key I would want to remove – the Windows Key.
At only $35 the Raptor Gaming LK1 is a low priced keyboard, in fact there is only one cheaper gaming-keyboard listed on Newegg.com. The downside to this is that you can tell it’s only $35. There are no hot-keys, no backlight, no macros, and limited key rollover (probably due to limited diode use). In fact, the only feature that really shouts “gaming-keyboard” is the extremely light actuation force of the keys (amount of weight needed to activate the keys). I have no empirical way of testing this, but it feels to be amount half the weight needed to activate the keys on my Logitech G15. Lighter key actuation means theoretically faster response, and is a feature advertised by more expensive mechanical-switch keyboards (though for some people this may lead to inaccurate typing).
The problem with the Raptor Gaming LK1 is that a budget gaming-keyboard seems counterintuitive. While other manufacturers like Razer and Logitech make budget gaming-keyboards, their models start at around $50, which allows them to bolster their products with more premium-features. For such a barebone price, there is no way the $35 LK1 can compete. It’s a fine keyboard, it just doesn’t make sense to buy the LK1 – it’s like buying a budget luxury car that lacks the soft ride and comfy interior. And since keyboards last so long, it doesn’t make sense to skimp on the one piece of your rig that will last. For only $30 more you can grab a keyboard with a backlight, key profiles, and custom media keys – while that’s twice as much as the LK1, it’s not enough in absolute value to warrant the saving.