The best gaming keyboards usually deliver swanky RGB lighting, premium mechanical switches, and customization software — but they often cost $100 or more. The Hver Stealth from IOGear attempts to deliver all of these features for the impressively low price of $50. It has a good-looking, quality chassis despite the price, and the RGB lighting has 15 built-in effects that are gorgeous if light shows from your peripherals are important to you.
And if you turn off the lights, the aptly named ‘Stealth’ will blend into any office environment thanks to its understated design and fairly quiet (brown) switches. But while the price is appealing and things look good on the surface, making a mechanical keyboard affordable means cutting some corners. And with the Hver Stealth, that mostly has to do with the keycaps and switches which gives the keyboard a feel that doesn’t match up to its looks.
Hver Stealth Specifications
|Switches||Boxed mechanical switches (brown)|
|Lighting||RGB per-key backlighting|
|Media Keys||Yes, with Fn|
|Software||Kaliber Gaming software|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||17.6 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches|
The Hver Stealth uses a brushed aluminum base for its build, and it has a high-quality feel despite its budget price. Not only does it feel nice and sleek to the touch, but it’s also glossy and reflects light nicely. The full-size chiclet keyboard has a number pad and, right above it, big “Kaliber Gaming” branding. The branding isn’t overly obnoxious and it’s tucked behind the keys well enough to not be an eyesore.
Above that are four LED lights to indicate when Num Lock, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, or Windows Lock are active. The keycaps have multi-zone RGB lighting beneath them that can be customized with Kaliber Gaming software. There is also a strip of RGB lighting wrapped around the edge of the keyboard’s base plate that looks great.
The RGB may be the biggest perk of this $50 keyboard at face value. The lighting and its varying options are beautiful, and you can fine-tune it to any color you like using the Kaliber Gaming software’s color gradient scale. Options for lighting presets include twinkle, retro snake, sine wave, neon stream, and even a game mode that reacts based on your gameplay.
My favorite is the flash away effect, which lights up the entire horizontal row of whatever key you press. There are a surprising number of lighting presets for a budget keyboard, and they’re nice to look at. Unfortunately, the strip of RGB along the bottom of the keyboard cannot be customized and remains rainbow-colored no matter what color you designate for the keys.
As we’d expect from basically any gaming keyboard at this point, the Hver Stealth features anti-ghosting with n-key rollover, plus the ability to swap the WASD key functions with the arrow keys, keeping MMO players in consideration. There are also secondary media keys embedded in the function row that are accessible by holding the Fn key. Legends on some of the keys vaguely indicate what they do. The F1 key also shows a monitor, for example, and pressing it with the Fn key launches the GeForce Experience overlay. The F9 key shows three dots in a circle, which sort of indicates its function of cycling through lighting effects.
The Hver Stealth also promises “five programmable keys for macro functions, shortcuts and more,” but there are no dedicated keys for this. The first five number keys also have alternate labels (CM1, CM2, CM3, CM4, and CM5), which makes me think they’re meant to be used for macros — perhaps in combination with the Fn key. But pressing Fn plus those keys just cycles through various lighting modes. It seems like you can assign macros to any keys, so it’s not a huge issue (especially given that the keyboard has full numpad), but the product page makes it sound like there’s a bank of dedicated macro keys and that is not the case.
Underneath the keyboard are two rubber feet that flip out from the top. The feet on the top and the accompanying rubber pads on the bottom keep the keyboard secure when typing. The Hver Stealth never slipped away from me no matter what I did on the keyboard — from aggressive typing to gaming.
The Hver Stealth looks pretty understated when you turn off the lights. It’s even a bit quieter than most mechanical keyboards when typing, so it wouldn’t look or sound out of place in an office (or a home office). And you should have enough cable length for most setups, because the Stealth has a 61.02-inch (155cm) braided USB cable. It’s not removable, but we wouldn’t expect it to be at anything close to this price.
Typing Experience on the Hver Stealth
The typing experience on the Hver Stealth leaves a bit to be desired. The double injected keycaps have hard, angled corners that don’t feel great when your fingers miss the middle of a key. The keycaps also feel cheap and are somewhat slippery — they didn’t make my keystrokes feel as precise as I like.
What makes the typing experience worse are the weak brown boxed-style switches the mechanical keyboard uses. Although they provide quieter keystrokes, which is great in an office setting, they feel mushy. Granted, some of this comes down to personal preference, but the tactile feedback from the brown box-styled switches is not particularly pleasing. Paired with the slippery, sharp, and otherwise cheap-feeling keycaps, these switches make for a less-than-ideal typing experience. There doesn’t seem to be much keycap wobble, which is one thing the company says the switches help prevent — but I just wish they felt better.
That said, these issues did not hinder my typing skills and I actually saw improvements in typing speed and accuracy, despite it not feeling great to type on. I tested my typing ability on 10fastfingers.com, and managed 59 words per minute (WPM) with 89.73% accuracy with the Stealth. This is faster than I type on my personal Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro with Razer Green switches (55WPM) but less accurate (93.52%). It’s also faster than I type on my work keyboard. I got 53 WPM on the Asus ROG Strix Scope TKL Electro Punk with Cherry MX Red switches with a 90.58%.
Gaming Experience on the Hver Stealth
Despite the sub-par feel of the keycaps and switches, the Hver Stealth felt pretty good while gaming. I didn’t feel any discomfort as I plowed my way through Big Daddies in Bioshock: Remastered. But the Hver Stealth didn’t really benefit my gaming performance, either. The tactile clicky switches on my Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro are snappy enough that they feel like they affect my gameplay for the better, but the mushiness of the Stealth’s keys seemed to reduce my rapid-fire inputs, and I got taken down by Splicers and returned to the Vita-Chamber far more often than I’m willing to admit.
The keycaps also feel better to the touch on the V3 Pro and played a factor in my gaming performance. The keycaps on my BlackWidow V3 Pro hug my fingertips and feel less slippery than the Stealth’s keys. This might not be a totally fair comparison, though, considering the Razer keyboard costs over four times as much as the Stealth.
The Hver Stealth uses the company’s Kaliber Gaming software to control backlighting and assign keyboard functions. It doesn’t automatically install when you plug the keyboard in — you have to download it from the product page on IOGear’s website. The interface is simple enough, and has three profiles that can be tailored to suit your gaming and typing needs.
There’s a macro editor button where you can make new cycles or import/export old ones in batches. There’s also a lighting section where you can turn the RGB on or off, assign one of its 15 lighting effects, adjust brightness and strobe speed, or pick a solitary color. The only thing that I disliked about this useful but barebones software is that you can’t adjust the windows and font size — the letters are too small to read easily, but that just may be my old-man grievances.
The Hver Stealth is stacked with premium features typically seen on keyboards that cost twice as much — or more. Even Logitech’s G413 SE can’t compete with the Stealth’s features or its $50 price. This alone makes the Hver Stealth an enticing choice for gamers on a budget. While the brown switches aren’t amazing, they’re a big leap over the membrane keyboards that normally occupy the lower end of the market.
Beyond the specs and the pretty RGB, the user experience on the Hver Stealth feels a little cheap, especially compared to higher-end mechanical keyboards. The keycaps and switches just don’t feel great, and while the switches are mechanical they don’t do much to enhance gaming ability the way more premium options can. The keyboard has no media controls or dedicated macro keys, and no switch options other than brown. If you prefer linear or clicky switches, you’re out of luck.
If your budget is strict at $50, the Hver Stealth is a better option than membrane keyboards, and it’s not a bad choice for first-time mechanical keyboard buyers who are averse to spending more. But increasing your budget by $25 will get you a much higher-quality keyboard — something like the TKL Redragon Vishnu K596 or Cooler Master’s CK552 (our current pick for the best budget mechanical keyboard).