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Bloody B188 8 Light Strike Keyboard Review

Our Verdict

A great idea executed poorly, the B188 should probably be ignored either for a fully optical keyboard, or simply a keyboard from another manufacturer.

For

  • Smooth, consistent, fast key action
  • Durable keycaps

Against

  • Limited backlighting options
  • It’s really mostly a rubber dome keyboard
  • False and/or misleading marketing

Introduction & Specifications

Bloody is the key brand of A4tech, a Taiwan-based peripherals manufacturer seeking to innovate in the gaming market with mechanical keyboards based on optical switch technology called “Light Strike” (LK Optic 1). It’s these Light Strike switches that are the main unique selling point of these keyboards.

Although optical switches aren’t new (Burroughs used them all the way back in the 1980s) their resurgence with these keyboards are an interesting re-introduction of the optical keyboard switch. Although quite simple in construction (an infrared LED and photoresistor separated by a movable view blocker between the two), such a type of switch offers several inherent advantages.

Specifications

The Bloody B188 is one of the lowest-priced models in the company’s extensive keyboard range. This budget version is a stripped-down model with limited three-color backlighting, and crucially, Bloody’s proprietary optical Light Strike switches on just eight keys (QWERASDF). The rest of the keyboard has rubber domes (non-mechanical). The idea behind this is obviously that gamers who don’t care too much about all the bells and whistles can still enjoy the technology where it benefits them most - around the WASD cluster.

Unfortunately, in a bid to appeal to the (nowadays highly lucrative) gamer market, Bloody has gone rather over-the-top with its advertisement of its products, using aggressive marketing buzzwords and misleading, unsubstantiated, or even outright false claims. We have discussed these issues extensively with Bloody, but even so, not all our questions could be answered, and some answers were conflictive or demonstrably untrue.

This is unfortunate, especially because the Light Strike technology is actually quite appealing and has several key benefits, which are being mis-advertised by overly aggressive marketing.

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Aside from the Light Strike switches, the B188 also includes a gaming lock; the aforementioned three-color backlighting; and textured, high-grip QWERASDF keycaps - all of which to appeal to the gamer market. Media shortcuts are also available, and there’s an included ring keycap puller. It also has rubber-coated feet to prevent the keyboard from slipping.

The Bloody B188 comes in an ISO international layout, which is a hybrid between the U.S. and UK layouts.


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  • Jake Hall
    No media keys. No thanks
    Reply
  • ZRace
    Chinese marketing is just ridiculous. Apparently nobody cares what the marketing says about a product over there, so they just threw together some random keyboard stuff to appeal western clients (that's at least how it reads).

    In the end, I'd very much like a review of a fully optical keyboard, as it seems those might be quite interesting!
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    ISO or modified ISO isn't the key layout I prefer. (Give me an ANSI layout.) I think, for me though, the biggest issue for it (besides layout preferences for me) is that this specific model is mostly (vast majority) membrane keys, I like the price, but if I hunt hard enough, I can get a cheap fully mechanical keyboard.
    Reply
  • hauser01
    I have both the BLOODY B188 and the corsair K70 RGB red mechanical switches .The Bloody B188 is much more responsive (faster response) WASD keys than Corsair in game. You can actually see and feel the difference . For normal every day typing computing i see no difference.I purchased 2 B188 on sale for $10.00 each.It has been 8 months and the B188 works as new i play online 12 to 15 hours a day.I recommend the B188 for gamers every were as it takes a beating and still works great. I have Razer ,corsair and logitech i would buy this keyboard over those companies any day. I as well have the Bloody V8 mouse and it is awesome as well. I no longer use my G502 Proteus core its a good paper weight now .
    Reply
  • Blazer1985
    -Honey where is your mouse?
    -It's right next to my bloody keyboard
    -Ok... calm down...
    Reply
  • grumpigeek
    There has been a lot of focus here lately on mechanical keyboards.
    I am not a gamer but would like a simple standard, full size backlit keyboard.
    I don't need a wireless keyboard and want the F1 to F12 keys illuminated as F1 to F2, not just the alternative functions like the Logitech K740 does.
    The Logitech K800 looks OK but seems very expensive.
    I was wondering if there are any other options.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    19965878 said:
    I purchased 2 B188 on sale for $10.00 each.It has been 8 months and the B188 works as new i play online 12 to 15 hours a day.

    Welcome to the site, person who just joined the other day and will probably never be heard from again. : P

    I do question whether someone who games for 12 to 15 hours a day would use a keyboard they got for $10 though. Also, these aren't normally $10 keyboards. At $10, they could be a great value for a rubber dome keyboard with some enhanced gaming keys. Even at around $25 they might be an alright product for someone looking for an inexpensive gaming keyboard. The problem is that this keyboard is currently priced $40 on Amazon, with $80 listed as its supposed MSRP, and on Newegg its priced $55, with a $100 MSRP, and those prices are a lot less competitive considering that most of the keyboard isn't even mechanical. You can find quite a few fully-mechanical keyboards on Amazon with cherry-clone switches for around $40 or less, so paying that much for just a handful of mechanical keys on an otherwise rubber-dome keyboard seems a bit much.

    Also, on that topic, it would be nice to see Tom's Hardware do a roundup of cheap mechanical keyboards in the sub-$50 range. It would be interesting to see how these keyboards compare to those costing two or three times as much. Is the variance between switches substantially worse? How does the overall build quality compare? I get the impression that there may be some keyboards in that price range that are nearly as good as some of the higher-priced models.
    Reply
  • ZRace
    19979230 said:
    Please go to the BLOODY website

    While I can sort of agree with what you're saying, I don't with this part.

    After all that has been said about the marketing from Bloody in this article, I wouldn't trust anything stated on their website. Better search for independent tests in this case.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    19979230 said:
    How old are you 12 or is that your IQ .

    Whoa. That was quick. Toes stepped on? He was just questioning, not attacking you personally.

    Unfortunately for you, the only people I know that react like that, are usually not very mature and/or have no real facts to back up what they say. Should I accuse you of falling in that group? Should I accuse you of being a paid shill for your promotion of the BLOODY brand of keyboards? If I was to do so, not really knowing you and only basing it on two messages, wouldn't say much of me. (Personally, I don't see the Bloody B188 8 keyboard worth more than $25 USD and not worth it for my usage. But that is beside the point.) Please show me that you're better than those types.

    Reply
  • rgd1101
    19980484 said:
    19979230 said:
    How old are you 12 or is that your IQ .

    Whoa. That was quick. Toes stepped on? He was just questioning, not attacking you personally.

    Unfortunately for you, the only people I know that react like that, are usually not very mature and/or have no real facts to back up what they say. Should I accuse you of falling in that group? Should I accuse you of being a paid shill for your promotion of the BLOODY brand of keyboards? If I was to do so, not really knowing you and only basing it on two messages, wouldn't say much of me. (Personally, I don't see the Bloody B188 8 keyboard worth more than $25 USD and not worth it for my usage. But that is beside the point.) Please show me that you're better than those types.

    Next time just alert the mod, with the

    hauser01, read the forum rule.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2668512/tom-forums.html
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2083458/read-forum-rules-styling-posts.html
    Reply