Gigabyte Aivia Osmium
Aivia, Gigabyte’s high-end peripheral sub-brand, produced a really interesting piece of equipment with the Osmium. This product sports pretty much all the features as you would expect from a gaming board coasting over a C-note. While its overall design doesn’t have quite the gamer flare of the other two boards, this allows it to look appropriate in just about any home or office setting. Impressive use of heavier plastics gives the thing a good weight, and with four adjustable feet, the Osmium carries this heft pretty well.
The backlights are blue, and a softer, calmer shade that we personally find much less distracting than bright white or neon green - again, lending to the Osmium's ability to not stand out in a conservative environment. The brightness is adjustable via a roller towards the top of the board, positioned next to the volume slider.
The Osmium might be the most oddly-shaped of today's three keyboards. Macro keys are located above the function keys rather than to the left side, and there’s practically no buffer space or bezel on either side of the keyboard - after about 1mm, the keyboard just sort of ends. In a sort of comical juxtaposition, the included wrist rest is ridiculously large. The desk we used for this roundup is only 18 inches deep, not including the keyboard tray. We had some trouble squeezing both the base of our 24” Asus monitor and the Osmium on there at the same time. It’s not a problem most will have to deal with, but if you have limited desk space, another board (or a shorter wrist rest) might be better suited for your situation.
There is another rather large rectangular button emblazoned with the Aivia logo located at the top-right of the Osmium. Hitting it changes the backlight color, but only for that button. You see, the color acts as a kind of short-hand for the macro set that you’re using. There are five different colors for five different modes. Multiply that by the five "G" keys and you get 25 total macros – more than either of the other boards. As far as we could tell, there isn’t any way to record your own macros on-the-fly, however. The Osmium is also missing a gaming mode which disables the Windows key and context menus. Proprietary keyboard software isn’t really optional here. If you want to make use of macros at all, you’re going to need to download and install Gigabyte’s Ghost program.
Media controls for Play/Pause, Stop, Back, and Forward share space with the first four function keys. The Osmium also sports gold-plated mic and headphone jacks, as well as a USB 3.0 port.
The Gigabyte Aivia Osmium retails for $130, but can be found for $10 less pretty regularly.