The last of the Alienware products to come across our desks in the past few months is their Pro Gaming Keyboard, the AW768 to be specific. Aside from the fact that it’s the shiniest keyboard we’ve seen in a while, it piqued our interest to have another mechanical keyboard to test against others we’ve received over the past year. We plugged this board in, messed with the colors, tested and typed as much as we could with it, and are now ready to review.
The first thing about it is the weight, as this keyboard actually feels slightly heavier (3.26 lbs) than a couple of the others we got recently. Now whether that’s part of the inner-workings or the design of the board itself, we can’t really tell. However, as we mentioned above, this board isn’t the usual grainy piece of black plastic, its smooth to the touch and doesn’t feel like your average board would. It was a nice feature to feel as we would type and rest our hands between sequences on a game. The LED light system for the keys is brighter than we’ve seen in other models as well as if Alienware wanted you to find the keys you were looking for in the middle of a game no matter what light was in the room. Often times you look at programmable lighting and you can tell its meant for darker rooms and settings, but the keys and the surrounding lights under the board made it a treat even in the middle of the day with the windows open.
The bottom of the board has three large rubber nubs to hold it in place along with two stands that fold tot he sides instead of the back. Its still connected through a USB port as the company chose not to make this a wireless setup, which works fine with the 6′ cable it comes with. When it comes to programming the keys with the lights, you got multiple options to run with as they offer 15 programmable macro key functions and the ability to set up the board to be lit in any color and style you wish, all through the use of their TactX program that’s pretty easy to use. Essentially, you can set the system to recognize your favorite games and have what you need highlighted ready to go on the fly, even if you switch between games.
The keys themselves are mechanical and respond very well. With this keyboard, in particular, there seems to be an extra layer of protection when it comes to the key’s usage as if to make sure a passing stroke doesn’t register as a hit unless you truly hit it. That’s a nice little touch that assures you don’t misfire or toss the wrong weapon or utilize the wrong item in a crisis situation. I especially enjoyed that it made sure the macro keys went through the same process, as wandering hands looking for the Tab or Shift key may misclick. The F-keys have been given additional functions to operate the board on the flu, however, one of the missteps in the layout is the media buttons. These have been set on F9-12 rather than be given their own independent home on the board while leaving the volume control to a roller and a mute button. This feels like the one out-of-place design to the keyboard, which can be forgiven and forgotten, unless you use your PC for a lot of Blu-ray and Netflix watching.
After putting the board through the test of about 50 hours of different shooters, an MMORPG, and a number of quirky indie titles, we’ve come to enjoy the AW768. You can tell Alienware put a lot of care into this to make sure this is the all-in-one keyboard for competitive gamers while also making it accessible to average gamers who have other stuff to do beyond gaming. The one hitch, which comes with a lot of these boards, is the price. The Pro Gaming Keyboard will set you back $120, but considering what’s currently on the market for 2018, that’s actually on the mid-to-lower end of the price scale. It won’t be a steal, but it will be a lot cheaper than some of the other big names. I would say this is an appropriate upgrade for average players who want an upgrade but aren’t looking for a board with a ton of bells and whistles that may distract or overwhelm them. As far as pros go, it’s sleek and simplistic and easily programmable, not to mention having some of the best light schemes around, which would make it great for tournament play as well as nightly sessions.
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