The Redragon KUMARA K552 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard was kindly provided to me by Redragon free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The Redragon KUMARA K552 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available in the UK from Redragon Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £52.99 with free P&P. In the US the KUMARA K552 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available from ChallengerUSA Fulfilled by Amazon.com at a cost of $89.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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– Extensive lighting options with 7 main different colours.
– Programmable lighting mode with memory retention.
– Full Anti Ghosting feature not limited to certain keys.
– Unlike red switches blues are excellent for MOBA, RTS and MMO games as well as for typing and productivity.
– Some of the best retractable feet I’ve seen on a keyboard.
– No wrist rest.
– Not as good as red switches (or even brown switches for that matter) for FPS games.
– Blue switches are loud, headphones are a must.
– Sadly only available in US layout (at least at the time of writing). Not much of an issue when playing games, but can be for productivity related tasks.
– Very noisy spacebar, far louder than other keys in operation.
– No rear non slip pads on rear of the keyboard (when the feet are not extended the keyboard can move about a bit as a result).
– Possible build quality issue regarding cable reinforcement. (Only of concern to those planning to use the keyboard on the go such as with a laptop).
PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The Redragon KUMARA K552 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard comes supplied in flat cardboard retail packaging accompanied with an instruction booklet. The keyboard is wrapped in bubble wrap and the cable is coiled, secured with a Velcro cable tie, sadly that is the extent of the protection offered to the keyboard within the box.
The instructions included are in English, Chinese, Spanish, German and French. Despite the rather thick booklet there are simply two pages of use that provide information on the additional functions of the keyboard which I will cover within my review.
There are no software or drivers included in the box, however, such is not required. The manual indicates the keyboard is compatible with Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP, the product listing states the keyboard is also compatible with Windows 10 but neither the manual or product listing mention anything about Mac or Linux systems. (According to the manufacturer the keyboard is Mac compatible, however the programmable lighting function does not work with Mac systems).
Having personally tested on Windows 7 Pro 32-Bit and 8.1 systems the keyboard is plug and play, with the OS installing any necessary software as soon as it is plugged in and is usable within seconds of being plugged into either system with all features working without the need for additional software.
Measurements taken at their greatest point using a digital calliper accurate to within 0.1%.
The keyboard measures 35.4cm x 12.4cm x 2.6cm. The depth measurement is taken from the rear edge with the feet retracted and does not include the key caps. Including the key caps the measurement is 3.6cm and extending the retractable feet on the underside adds 1.1cm to the overall depth (of the back). The front edge measures 2.1cm deep excluding the key caps or 3cm deep including the key caps.
The keys on the keyboard are marginally but noticeably smaller than budget business class membrane keyboards offered by Microsoft and Logitech some key measurements are as follows
(Measurements taken of top surface of keys)
Space bar = 112.68mm x 14.08mm
Arrow & Letter Keys = 12.5mm x 14.7mm
Enter Key = 36.9mm x 14.7mm
Shift Keys = 46.1mm x 14.7mm
Backspace Key = 31.4mm x 14.7mm
The spacing between keys is 6mm
The keyboard weighs 858g (this reading unavoidably includes a small section of the cable).
The switches on the Redragon KUMARA K552 RGB are OUTEMU Cherry MX blue clones. Specific information about these types of switches is not exactly easy to find compared to other MX clones. One particular review I managed to find did imply that the resistance of the switches did somewhat vary implying an inconsistency in the quality of the switches. (The resistance varies between 55g and 60g for the actuation point).
The switches and key caps, however are most defiantly MX compatible with the key caps from both my Corsair K70 and MAX Blackbird fitting the KUMARA K552. The key caps of the KUMARA K552 are “double-shot injection moulded keycaps” double shot moulding describes the process of moulding plastic around a preformed metal or plastic insert. This makes the key cap far more durable, but the greatest benefit is that the character markings on the cap is entirely flush with the key surface and is undetectable to the touch.
The usual traits of a blue switch is a clicky, tactile and linear feedback, however unlike Cherry blues there is no detectable feeling of a bump when you hit the actuation point of the OUTEMU switches. (The actuation point is when the keystroke is registered on the computer). This means that the user does not have to press down fully to get the keystroke to register, leading to faster typing. The blue switch is widely regarded as the best switch for use playing MOBA, RTS, and MMO style games as well as the best type for productivity and fast typists.
The clicking sound that blue mechanical switches make is rather loud compared to the sound of other switches and much more so than rubber domed keyboards. In the case of the KUMARA K552 the sound generated is fairly reasonable, the spacebar however, generates a rather distinctive tinny, metallic sound when pressed that is much louder than any of the other keys.
With a background sound level of 54dba a single key press of the KUMARA K552 registered a sound level of 56dba (the spacebar registers a sound level of 65dBa) at a distance of 18” and repeated typing registered a sound level of 68dDa (excluding the spacebar) at a distance of 18”.
Blue switches are a bit harder to double tap than brown and red switches, as the release point is above the actuation point. As such red switches are widely regarded as the best choice for FPS games and browns are regarded as the middle ground between the two. (Or rather browns are the switch of choice for those who do not know what switch they actually want).
The KUMARA K552 frame is entirely made from black finely textured ABS plastic both back and front. The keyboard is tenkeyless in design (has no separate number pad on the right side) but it still retains the directional arrow keys with Ins, Home, Page up and down etc… cluster of keys above.
Located just above the directional arrows is a raised rectangular patch of plastic that bears “Redragon” branding in red lettering and just two LED key lock indicators on the outside edge. (Being a tenkeyless keyboard, there is obviously no NUM lock indicator). The only other feature of note on the front of the keyboard is the raised lip that runs around the edge of the board. I quite like this style / design, however it does mean that a keyboard vac will be required for cleaning as it can become a dust trap.
The edges of the keyboard are entirely smooth and without feature except for the cable coming out of the rear in a centralised position. Reinforcement is short and is a slight cause for concern, holding the keyboard in place and moving the cable you can clearly hear something moving within the keyboard which isn’t a good sign especially for those looking for a keyboard to accompany a laptop on their travels.
The cable measures 182cm long (excluding reinforcement and connector) and 4.47mm in diameter. The cable has a PVC jacket, but no braiding but there is a small EMI suppressor located 11cm down the cable from the gold plated USB A connector.
On the underside near the front edges there are small textured non slip pads measuring 4.5mm x 17mm, as effective as these are there is sadly none located on the rear edges. In their place there are just 2 small raised plastic bumps which have no non slip properties and also risk marking or scratching some surfaces such as stained or painted wood.
There are however two retractable feet that are simply fantastic. They lock securely into place, only retracting when intentionally done so (you would be surprised at the number of retractable feet that collapse when the keyboard is pushed backwards). The feet have a full silicone coating which, coupled with the front edge non slip pads are highly effective on every surface from glass to wood and even metal.