Drevo is working on a wireless, TKL, RGB mechanical keyboard called the Blademaster. Beyond the promise of esports-grade wireless dependability, the Blademaster features a four-command knob for the left hand.
People have been clamoring for wireless mechanical keyboards for the longest time, but only recently have some of the big names in peripherals begun responding. Corsair launched the K63 Wireless at CES 2018, and Logitech launched the G613 late last year. Although these keyboards are unquestionably for gaming, they still don’t combine the full suite of everything that people expect of a top-end mechanical gaming keyboard. The Logitech has macro keys but isn’t TKL. The Corsair is TKL but lacks macros. Both keyboards lack RGB lighting.
The nascent market of wireless, gaming-focused mechanical keyboards is where Drevo hopes to make a splash with its new Blademaster Pro. Sporting Cherry MX RGB switches, the Blademaster Pro combines per-key RGB lighting with 2.4GHz or Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity. The former allows for a 1000Hz polling rate for gaming situations, whereas the latter saves power in more conventional typing situations.
Gaming is why the Blademaster Pro is available only as a TKL design. Because such keyboards are used overwhelmingly with only the left hand, Drevo chose to augment the classical TKL design with what it calls the Genius-Knob. It looks like a scroll wheel that hangs off the left edge of the keyboard, at a position ideal for the pinky and ring fingers. It’s actually a self-centering knob that can be rolled upwards and downwards or single- or double-clicked. The four actions provided by the Genius-Knob can be bound to anything from media controls, to keyboard keys, to macros. Functionally, it’s just like a very compact grouping of four macro keys.
The Blademaster Pro’s other big feature is, of course, RGB lighting. Many companies have forgone advanced lighting on wireless keyboards because of concerns about battery life. Drevo isn’t removing the choice between practicality and aesthetics from its customers, however. The Blademaster Pro will last 20 hours with all lights enabled, and 64 hours with all lights off. This is impressive considering that the Corsair K63 lasts only 15 hours with its static blue backlighting enabled. What’s more, the Blademaster Pro features more than just keydeck lighting. It also has RGB accents around its uniquely styled, metal body.
Drevo is releasing two versions of the Blademaster on Kickstarter. The Pro is what we’ve discussed already and can be had with Cherry MX RGB Red, Brown, Black, or Silver switches. The Blademaster TE is a lower-cost, wired-only version that uses Gateron Red, Blue, Brown, or Black switches. Drevo smashed its $20,000 goal in less than 24 hours, and its campaign goes on for another two months. To get the Blademaster Pro, you can back the campaign by purchasing a $99 package. To get a Blademaster TE, you can purchase a $55 package.
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Sixty-four hours of battery life is kind of a disappointment when the Logitech G613 advertises 18 months of use. Tom's Guide's review mentioned that was assuming 8 hours of use per day, but that's still a tremendous amount of time. Even under those qualifiers, 64 hours for 8 "days" of use is not very long. That said, if you're really into the aesthetics, 20 hours of use per day for an RGB wireless mechanical keyboard isn't bad if you're willing to just plug it in to charge every night.Reply
A "wireless keyboard" that you have to plug in with a wire to charge after every 20 hours of use. : 3Reply
Did they stop to think that maybe there's a reason why you don't typically see backlighting like this on a wireless keyboard? And since the keyboard is quite thick, with large keys that stick out, it's not exactly going to be all that portable. So, it will probably just sit plugged in with a wire at a desk most of the time.
Too bad it can't be made where every key is a piezoelectric generator. The more you type and game. The longer the charge lasts. Perhaps it can but costs too much. Pair that with a bank of solar cells along the top.Reply
What I do wish is someone would create a an extended, 103 key, ergonomic, wireless keyboard with Cherry switches for under $100. I don't care about gaming, lighting or media keys. I just want a nice, comfortable keyboard for typing and ten key. Preferably Logitech, so I only need one transceiver, but another major brand would suffice (Microsoft, Corsair). The Logitech G613 looks nice but it's not ergonomic and I don't know how well Romer-g switches hold up.