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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
4 LED lighting zones
No driver needed
Rubber feet leave behind residue on surfaces
Floating key look isn’t for everyone
Slightly mushy key feeling
The NPET K10 Wireless Gaming Keyboard comes with four RGB lighting zones, Windows and macOS compatibility, and an almost-but-not-quite mechanical keyboard feel at an affordable price.
The NPET K10 Wired Gaming Keyboard champions the idea that a gaming keyboard doesn’t need to cost a fortune to get the job done and offer some enjoyment too. This inexpensive wired gaming keyboard comes in a full-size build with a number keypad, RGB lighting effects behind a floating keycap design, media controls, and anti-ghosting keys. Of course, it lacks the kind of software customization options gamers usually love, but for the price, it could please the casual gamer and get you through the workday with a comfortable typing experience.
Weighing just over 2 pounds, the K10 is a lightweight computer keyboard and easy to move if you feel like it. Even though it’s nearly 17 inches long, the lack of a border reduces bulk and allows it to share desk space nicely. The stainless steel base gives it a solid feel contrasted by the airy, floating keys, which are easily removable with the provided key-puller. It’s light and easy to slide around on a desk, but I learned quickly to avoid that since the rubber feet left a streaky black residue, almost like a black crayon. The 6-foot USB cord is long enough to accommodate a more involved setup or reach farther in certain situations.
Weighing just over 2 pounds, the K10 is a lightweight computer keyboard and easy to move if you feel like it.
The 104 keys are made of a heavier-duty ABS plastic, which NPET says is much more durable than the typical plastic you’ll find on some keyboards. The keys feel quite light and have a sort of shiny appearance. I didn’t notice any smudging at all, even on the much-used spacebar key, which is where I usually notice residue on keyboard surfaces. This earned high marks in my book considering that much pricier membrane-style keyboards I’ve tested smudged almost immediately. The keycaps are also reinforced with a double shot injection molding process that creates a strong binding that’s resistant to keycap fading. It’s also water-resistant, which I tested gingerly with a generous spray of water from a bottle. All systems were still good to go.
The NPET K10 also comes with four LED lighting zones, which you can cycle through with a touch of the LED button. Lowering the lighting effects, changing the breathing speed, and accessing the media keys is also convenient with the help of the function key. And for those who really like throwback keyboards, the K10 also features a scroll lock, number lock, insert, pause, and break keys. There are also 26 anti-ghosting keys for conflict-free gaming. But there is no USB passthrough for other computer peripherals and this isn’t a mechanical keyboard, which many gamers prefer for a more engaging experience.
While not a mechanical keyboard, NPET emphasizes how the experience of using the K10 is similar to the feel of a mechanical keyboard that doesn’t require a full push of a key to engaging it. This results in a faster and more responsive experience overall.
While most mechanical keyboards range between a 45 gram to 70-gram actuation force—or how hard you have to press down on a key to engage it—the K10 has a 55-gram actuation force, which is slightly lower than the average range for membrane keyboards: 60 grams to 80 grams. Another area where the K10 supposedly equals mechanical keyboards is the click rating. While it’s rated for a 60-million-click lifespan, most mechanical keyboards top out at 50 million clicks, though you can find 70-million-click options. And the average membrane keyboard is supposed to last between 1 million generally or up to 5 million to 10 million clicks in higher-end models.
I did find the keys somewhat comparable to mechanical switches, though slightly clickier and much less springy. Like a membrane keyboard, I felt the key bottoming out with every tap. This was even more obvious when using the WASD keys while gaming. While I agree that the anti-ghosting claims held up, keystrokes felt hard and flat. This is adequate for most, but serious gamers will likely find it less appealing. There’s also no accompanying software to customize keybinds for ease of play, which also puts another hashmark in the cons column for more involved gamers.
Even for the casual puzzle gamer like myself, though, I didn’t find it very enjoyable to use. In contrast, for regular daily typing, it was preferable to a flat membrane keyboard on the average Windows laptop and offered a more tactile feel the way that mechanical keyboards do.
For regular daily typing, it offered a more tactile feel the way that mechanical keyboards do.
The floating key design of the K10 and the option to elevate the keyboard with the attached feet offer some ergonomics. The cylindrical keycaps are also comfortable with an intuitive indent in the cap for comfortable fingerprint contact. Controls for media shortcuts and the number pad also offered convenience over daily use, and of course, the Windows lock button on a, which is handy for interruption-free gaming, is a must-have for many.
But while the typing experience was generally comfortable, my fingers sometimes slipped off the keys because of the glossy finish. They also delivered a spongy feel with any type of use. The bottoming out and lack of give are definite giveaways that this is not a true mechanical keyboard, though it tries its best to mirror one.
Retailing for $25, the K10 is not going to break the bank. And considering the RGB lighting options, solid build, and the full-size design with handy shortcuts and anti-ghosting keys, this is a steal in many respects. Many basic membrane keyboards far exceed $25 and don’t come with the gaming-centric features that this one does. And mechanical keyboards can soar well above $100. Overall, this is a pretty resilient and capable keyboard at a very reasonable price.
Overall, this is a pretty resilient and capable keyboard at a very reasonable price.
The K10 isn’t alone in the market of affordable RGB gaming keyboards. The Pictek Gaming Keyboard (see on Amazon), retailing for about $32, comes with two media extras: a spot for a phone and a volume scroller. Beyond these media flourishes, the Pictek also surpasses the K10 with RGB lighting effect options related to speed, color options, and cycling. But the Picteck will take up much more space on your desk: it’s almost 2 inches longer and 3 inches taller and slightly heavier. You’ll also get one less non-conflict (anti-ghosting) key.
The Pictek RGB Gaming Keyboard looks the part of a gaming keyboard, which could sway you if you prefer that look, while the K10 arguably has a more professional appearance. Users also say that the Pictek is not at all clicky. If you’d like to save a few dollars for a clickier experience, the K10 has the advantage there.
A comfortable RGB keyboard for casual gamers who want to save.
The NPET K10 is an appealing launching point for the casual gamer that doesn’t want to shell out a lot of money toward a general use/gaming keyboard. You may want to upgrade in the future, but this keyboard offers enough of the familiar bells and whistles—RGB lighting effects, anti-ghosting keys, media shortcuts—that more high-end keyboards offer and charge a premium for.