Over the previous few years, Razer, Logitech and particularly Corsair have raised the bar in relation to what avid gamers can be expecting from keyboards. With probably the greatest mechanical switches, tough RGB lighting fixtures and nuanced device, those keyboards can justify their $180 costs. The Acer Predator Aethon 500 ($180) has the similar fundamental concept — and the similar payment — however cuts numerous corners alongside the best way.
Sure, the Aethon 500 has mechanical switches, however they are from a Cherry MX imitator. It has RGB lighting fixtures, however your results choices are restricted. It has customizable device, however this system is clunky. From the media controls to the magnetic wrist relaxation, the Aethon 500 technically exams all the “top rate keyboard” containers, however with out the similar consideration to element and luxury that you simply get from the main producers. Stay this keyboard if it got here along with your new Acer PC; in a different way, you want to do a lot better for a similar payment.
The Aethon 500 is slightly a big keyboard: 19.three x nine.zero inches at its widest level with the wrist relaxation and 19.three x 6.four inches with out. There are two number one causes for this length: an additional row of 5 macro keys and a quantity knob that extends out previous the top of the keyboard. (This is without doubt one of the maximum baffling design possible choices I have noticed on a keyboard in a while — extra on that during slightly.) You can want a pretty big table to suit all of it, whilst similar fashions from Logitech and Razer (with rows of macro keys) generally tend to hover round 18.five inches in duration.
Measurement apart, the Aethon 500 seems lovely simple, with a black, aluminum chassis and a full-size keyboard. There is a magnetic wrist relaxation, however it is product of a flimsy-feeling plastic and does not stick on that neatly in the event you raise the keyboard up or attempt to transfer it. The W, A, S and D keys have glossy, blue keycaps relatively than the usual black. They are lovely, however there is not any method to change them out, which it’s possible you’ll need to do in the event you want uniformity.
There may be additionally a discrete-media keep watch over bar — which is at all times a nice factor — with great, large buttons and a quantity dial. Alternatively, the dial extends previous the brink of the keyboard. My absolute best bet is that Acer did this in an effort to snatch the keep watch over from the facet and deal with it like a radio dial. However this can be a pointless extension that makes the entire keyboard glance unsightly and unbalanced. Then again, the dial could be very brief in a different way, so most likely this design selection was once the lesser of 2 evils.
Alternatively, at the best row of the macro keys, there is something cutting edge: a round profile-switching button. Through hitting it, you’ll be able to cycle thru 5 onboard profiles. To make sure, maximum keyboards provide the method to program one thing like this, however having a devoted button for this can be very at hand, in particular in the event you play more than one video games competitively.
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The one thing more to bear in mind is that the Home windows secret’s at the proper facet of the keyboard, while the Fn secret’s at the left. This transposition did not hassle me a lot, however one in all my co-workers spotted the location immediately, and he discovered it exhausting to get used to. Stay it in thoughts in the event you use the ones two keys often.
When you pluck off one of the most Aethon 500’s key caps with a key-cap puller (I did), you can see Kailh Blue switches beneath. For individuals who don’t seem to be aware of it, Kailh is a Chinese language key-switch producer that both “takes inspiration from” or “rips off” Cherry design, relying on whom you ask. Critiques on Kailh switches are break up, to mention the least.
I will be able to say that during my very own enjoy, Kailh switches are completely applicable in less-expensive merchandise, however in a full-price RGB keyboard, they are no longer a really perfect replace for the actual factor. Kailh Blues really feel stiffer and slower than Cherry MX Blues, and it is not transparent but whether or not they will remaining as lengthy. (Cherry key switches can remaining for a decade or extra.) The “click on” on Kailh Blues is loud-ish, however no longer just about as enjoyable as a Cherry’s sound.
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Efficiency-wise, the Kailh Blues are high-quality, regardless that. On TypingTest.com, I scored 112 phrases consistent with minute with 7 mistakes at the Aethon 500, versus 109 phrases consistent with minute with 6 mistakes on my usual Logitech G613. That is lovely nice, bearing in mind that I would been the use of the Aethon 500 for most effective about two days.
Issues get messy at the device facet of the Aethon 500. Fairly than operating with the Predator Quartermaster device, the Aethon 500 calls for a special, clunkier program known as Predator Gaming Integration. Not like device from Razer, Logitech, SteelSeries and different large corporations, this program does not sync all of Acer’s peripherals, help you arrange profiles for each and every sport for your gadget or help you customise intricate lighting fixtures patterns.
You’ll reprogram keys, arrange macros and make a choice from a choice of sexy lighting fixtures patterns, regardless that. Those are all helpful options, however it is not anything that you have not noticed already within the Aethon 500’s competition.
Putting in profiles, particularly, is usually a little bit of a ache. Fairly than let customers customise each onboard and computer-specific profiles, the Aethon 500 has most effective its 5 onboard profiles. When you play greater than 5 video games incessantly and need to arrange particular profiles for each and every one, you will have to save the profiles for your exhausting force, then repeatedly load and sell off them.
Illumination could also be one thing of a sadness. Whilst the RGB lighting fixtures itself is shiny and colourful, the preprogrammed patterns aren’t very spectacular (a couple of colour waves and limited-area ripples), and you’ll be able to’t arrange anything else very elaborate by yourself.
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The “customise” choice allows you to arrange per-key lighting fixtures, however you’ll be able to’t program your personal gradients, cooldowns or transferring patterns, all of that are usual fare in methods just like the Razer Chroma Workshop or the Corsair Software Engine. RGB lighting fixtures is rarely a make-or-break characteristic in a gaming keyboard, however it is another instance of ways the Aethon 500 needs the similar sum of money for a product that does not do up to its top rate competition.
As with typing, gaming at the Aethon 500 works completely neatly. I examined the peripheral with Overwatch, StarCraft: Remastered, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Version and Global of Warcraft. Whether or not I used to be gunning down foes on a battlefield, dismantling a Protoss base with a Zerg swarm, exploring a high-fantasy capital town, or endeavor repetitive quests to kill and loot small animals, the Aethon 500 was once rapid, responsive and correct.
Acer Predator Aethon 500
I did not make a lot use of the macro keys, but when you wish to have them for aggressive FPS or high-level MMO play, they are great to have.
If Acer had knocked a couple of dozen greenbacks off the Aethon 500’s payment, I may just see it as a profitable advice for avid gamers who need a premium-ish enjoy with out paying complete payment. However I can’t call to mind a viable reason why to spend $180 in this good-enough system when you’ll be able to get one thing in point of fact impressive (a Corsair Okay70 RGB Mk.2 or a Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo, as an example) for a similar payment, or much less.
From its atypical quantity knob, to its me-too key switches, to its clunky device, the whole lot in regards to the Aethon 500 feels just a little unfinished. When you get a nice deal on one from purchasing a brand new Acer system, it is value bearing in mind; in a different way, you’ll be able to do higher.
Credit score: Acer