Update 2, 10/27/16, 9:06am PT: G.Skill confirmed that the KM770 project is currently on hold.
Update, 10/26/16, 8:27am PT: G.Skill announced that the KM570 is now available. It appears that the final version is unchanged from what we saw at Computex (detailed below), and the price is indeed $100. There is no word yet on the availability of the KM770.
Like several companies that have come to the gaming peripherals market by way of other technologies, memory maker G.Skill added new SKUs to flesh out its lineup at Computex 2016. Joining two variants of its KM780 Ripjaws keyboard is the KM770 and KM570.
KM770--Not A Flagship, But Almost
Although the KM770 ostensibly slides into the product stack just behind the reigning KM780, it seems that G.Skill is trying to make a better keyboard. For example, a G.Skill representative told me that the KM770’s LEDs are 20% brighter than the KM780 (LED brightness is something G.Skill could stand to improve on, if the Ripjaws 780M mouse is any indication).
The KM770 also did away with the rolled sidebars of the KM780 that made the latter a substantially wide device, and the KM770 got better cable routing channels under the chassis. It also received the ability for users to play with RGB lighting on all the keys, including the media keys hotkeys.
The wrist rest on the KM770 is straighter than the one on the KM780, which is a welcome design upgrade, as the KM780’s split wrist rest design was problematic for typers (but just dandy for gamers).
The KM770 will retail for $149.99 or $159.99, possible depending on switches; it will be available with Cherry MX Red, Brown or Blue switches (although the Blues will be harder to get ahold of due to a shortage from Cherry).
A Little Brother, The KM570
When filling out a product stack, particularly with keyboards, if you want to offer variety, you can go in one of two directions (or both, we suppose): You can release a SKU with a stripped-down feature set, or you can offer more form factors (such as tenkeyless). G.Skill has opted for the former with its KM570.
The KM570 will not use G.Skill’s software, instead baking all of the lighting controls onto the keyboard itself (meaning it’s driverless), and it has red LED lighting instead of RGB. These red LEDs are the older, not-as-bright version, but you do get per-key backlighting.
The biggest cost-cutting measure, though, is the chassis; it will be plastic instead of aluminum. At $99.99, the KM570 is a significant cost savings compared to the KM770 and KM780 variants, but only if the corner-cutting wasn’t taken too far. We saw the new keyboard in person at Computex, and we can say that it looks downright “plasticy,” with a textured plastic top plate that makes the brushed-metal finishes of G.Skill’s other keyboards shine in comparison.
|G.Skill Keyboards||KM570||KM770||KM780||KM780 RGB|
|Switches||Cherry MX||Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue||Cherry MX RGB Red, Brown, Blue|
|Passthrough||No||Row 5 - Cell 2||USB and audio||USB and audio|
|Misc||-Dedicated volume control-On-the-fly macro recording-No software-7 lighting presets-No palm rest||-Brighter LEDs than KM780||-6 macro keys-Dedicated media-Mouse cable holder-Detachable palm rest-Software support|
|Dimensions||Unknown||518 x 172 x 48 mm|
|Warranty||Unknown||2-year limited||2-year limited|
|Price||$99.99 (Q3 2016)||$149.99 or $159.99 (Q3 2016)||$129.99||$169.99|
Seth Colaner is the News Director for Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter @SethColaner. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.