Hardware Reviews By Matthew Keith on August 16, 2017
Keyboards have come a long way since my early days of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. With so introduction of everything RGB lighting, optical switches and custom macro programming it can be hard for a gamer to know where to begin in their search for their next gaming keyboard. Over the last week, I have spent some time with Bloody’s B820R Light Strike RGB Animation Gaming Keyboard. The B820R is from their premium line of keyboards and features a long list of bells and whistles ranging for their proprietary Light Strike optical switches to their robust RGB customization. After a week of thrashing, smashing, and playing with the B820R, I’m ready to share my thoughts.
Key Style: Optic switch
Gaming Keycaps: 8 Convex Silicon Keys
Backlit?Customize RGB Animation, Adjustable Brightness
Memory Backlight: 6 Preset/Customizable RGB lighting modes
Key Lifetime: Up 100 million keystrokes
Report Rate: 1000Hz/1ms
Look, Feel & Build
The B820R is a well designed and structurally solid keyboard. The black keys have a solid ABS plastic design and sit well into the aluminum faced board. The keyboard came with an additional set of 8 gamer keycaps that cover the most commonly gaming keys. They have a slightly different cut and color (orange for those interested) that set them apart when seated in their respective slots. I found that the gamer keys themselves had what feels like a light rubberized coating on them which provided a bit of extra padding which added some adhesiveness for those long intense gaming sessions. The build itself feels heavy and solid and helps justify to a degree it’s premium price point of around nearly one hundred dollars at the time of writing.
As someone who enjoys the clicking sound of a mechanical keyboard, I find that the B820R delivers a satisfying amount of tactile feedback. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that this is your standard mechanical keyboard. The Bloody comes equipped with A4Tech’s Light Strike tech which swaps out the traditional metal contacts with infrared lights and photosensors. In theory, when using light to communicate a base signal you get a faster keystroke response. I cannot say that I individually measured the keystroke time between the LKs and my traditional mechanical board, but I did note that the B820R felt extremely responsive both while gaming and doing general office tasks.
I spent some time testing the anti-ghosting feature on the B820R and didn’t run into any issues with ghosting on keystrokes. For those new to the concept of keystroke ghosting in a nutshell ghosting occurs when you try to simultaneously stroke multiple keys. Because of the sheer amount of input the board typically can’t register all of the keystrokes leaving you one more keys being missed. After multiple rounds of some of my favorite online shooters I can say that you should be able to do your multikey simultaneous striking to your heart’s content.
Another feature to note is that the board is water repellent. The design of the Light Strike switches coupled with specially designed internals direct liquids to run away from sensitive components. I did a couple quick tests of this for science and can confirm that the only thing that was damaged was the carpet in my office… I probably shouldn’t have used cold coffee for testing but that’s what these tests are for!
The keys themselves are rated for 100 million keystrokes and feel durable. They are easy to swap out with the handy tool that came with the keyboard and overall the look and feel of the board is durable and sleek. The keyboard comes with a braided cord for extra durability and adds to the already long list of things that make this feel like a premium keyboard. The weight, construction and look are all complimentary to create a well-rounded slate.
I only have two issues with the aesthetics of the board. The first is with the font choice for the swappable keycaps. For the life of my I couldn't identify that the ‘Q’ was in fact a ‘Q’ without using the process of elimination. The other issue I ran into was the custom buttons in the top right corner of the board. I spent several minutes pushing them with no idea what they actually did. They are poorly labeled and without some extensive reading it really was tough to determine what they did.
Function and Features
The Bloody B820R comes with some great customizable functions and features that with some work can allow you to really give your board a unique feel and design. The keyboard comes with a link to Bloody’s KeyDominator Software, which once installed, is where the real magic happens. By default the board comes with a preset of 10 color and animation combinations of lighting and effects. I was particularly impressed with the ripple effect which created a wave across the board with each keypress. Although this isn’t necessarily desirable when in the middle of a game does nonetheless look spectacular.
With KeyDominator you can create up to 10 profiles for the lighting and animation with the ability to customize each individual key to your heart’s delight. The software allows you to easily group keys together as well so you're not spending hours selecting each individual key. The aforementioned mystery keys can also be programmed from here allowing for some great custom scripting and macro control. My only real issue with the software was that I couldn’t find much by way of online manual or instructions. It wasn’t the most intuitive to use and did take some trial and error to get to work customizing my board. That being said, once I had a basic handle on how the software functioned it didn’t take long to get my keyboard flashing.
The Bloody B820R Light Strike RGB Animation Gaming Keyboard is a solid entry the premium keyboard market. There are cheaper options, of course, but with the build quality and customization allotted by the 16 million colors, the B820R really does bring a lot to the table. If you’re in the market for a premium level board this is one to consider. With a long list of features and functions and a solid build quality the B820R has a lot to offer everyday gamers.
The product discussed in this article was provided by public relations for the purposes of review.