Published on Friday, 28 October 2016 18:55
With roughly 7 out of 10 of all the new keyboards introduced in the market featuring mechanical switches it's no wonder that most gamers and professionals choose one of those over the classic/typical membrane based models. Mechanical switches however are not the only decisive factor when choosing the right keyboard for you, lately backlight LED illumination plays a large role and with RGB models becoming somewhat mainstream these have a significant head start compared to single color ones. Needless to say build quality (materials used) is also very important when out to get a new keyboard but luckily most mechanical keyboards currently available in the market score high in that regard. HAVIT may not be one of the most recognizable names in the industry but they've released several award winning products in the market (including the HV-KB366L mechanical keyboard which we reviewed earlier this year) and today we're checking out their latest HV-KB378L RGB Backlit Mechanical Keyboard.
Founded in 1998 by Ms. Lee, a lady who loves and respects technology, HAVIT Group provides a tremendous range of consumer electronics with unbeatable value, fashion-forward and trend setting design, but what is never compromised is the quality of our products, which were approved by tens of thousands of satisfied customers. Step by step we have grown from a start-up company to a leading PC & Mobile accessories supplier for customers in over 120 countries worldwide, only to provide products of advanced technology, featuring the best built quality and durability for every intelligent, creative and motivated user. We are all working on something: some of you may be endeavoring to get the best score both in school and in games with your keyboard and mouse combo set; some of you may be engaging in coding a sophisticated program with your mechanical keyboard while chatting with your remote teammates through your webcam; and some of you may be striving to improve your triathlon skills to expand your physical limit with a pair of wireless earphones in your ears… As for us at HAVIT, we are working on making the best equipment to help you reach your goals and make the difference. Learn more at www.prohavit.com.
Just like the HV-KB366L model instead of the usual Cherry, Kailh and Gateron switches we find in most mechanical keyboards the HV-KB378L uses Outemu blue ones (require actuation force of 60g +-15g and are certified for up to 50 million actuations) which are obviously designed to "mimic" Cherry blue mechanical switches (audible and tactile/clicky feedback). Outemu may not be as popular as Cherry, Kailh or even Gateron but their switches have steadily improved and are featured in many keyboard models currently (longevity however is something we can't really comment on due to the how new this company is). The HV-KB378L also features an quality aluminum/plastic enclosure, fixed wrist rest, supports full anti-ghosting for all of its 104 keys, has a total of 5 brightness levels for the keys with 10 different adjustable modes (Always-on mode, Single-color breathing mode, Pro-gamer mode, 7 color-breathing mode, On-click lighting mode, Single-color or Mixed-color-flowing mode, Running-forth and back mode, Ripple-spreading mode) and even sports individual key illumination. Overall the HV-KB378L looks an improved version of the HV-KB366L so let's see if that's really the case.
SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
PACKAGING AND CONTENTS
A large picture of the HV-KB378L is placed at the front of the box alongside some of its main features and of course next to the company logo.
At the rear we see a drawing of the keyboard right next to its specifications list.
The main product box is actually black and has a small note at the top (enjoy what i have).
The keyboard is wrapped inside a synthetic cover and placed between two thick black foam spacers.
Inside the box you will find the HV-KB378L RGB mechanical keyboard (obviously), two feedback papers, user manual and a keycap puller.
The 1117g heavy HV-KB378L measures 447.5mm in length, 217mm in width and 39.3mm in height.
HAVIT has used both aluminum for the main body of the enclosure and polished plastic for the top of the wrist rest and the higher end of the keyboard.
F1 through F8 also double as multimedia keys by also pressing the FN (function) key.
F9 through F12 can also be used to launch various applications such as your email client, web browser, calculator and search command.
You can manually control the RGB illumination modes from the insert, home, page up, page down, end and delete keys.
The brightness levels can be controlled from the up and down arrow keys.
Here we see the Outemu blue RGB mechanical switches.
Taking a look at the rear of the keyboard we see 4 rubber feet and two height adjusters.
These height adjusters are rubber coated on their ends and raise the top end of the keyboard roughly 14mm from the desktop.
The 1.8 meter long cable may not be braided but it ends on a gold plated USB plug.
This is how the keyboard looks the moment you plug it into your USB port.
Here we see the lowest and highest brightness settings (in case some of you are wondering about this).
Some of the available colors you can use with the keys are showcased above.
Finally we have placed some of the different modes above as well.
Many people ask my opinion on what keyboard they should get for their needs. Some want a “silent” model for use in their living room or even in their bedroom while others ask for a model with good audible feedback for use in the office or for gaming. Because of this I decided to test keyboards by placing our ExTech HD600 vertically over each keyboard (5cm distance) and typing NikKTech a total of 6 times with each (after that the max recorded number - max hold - is placed in the graph). I have to admit that this may not be 100% accurate but it does give a good idea on what you can expect from each model since aside the type of switches used keycaps and keyboard material also matter.
Just like with the HV-KB366L the HV-KB378L scored high in our review but again not all is perfect. So although the Outemu blue mechanical switches offer good tactile and audible feedback (perhaps even more than the ones used in the HV-KB366L), the available RGB colors and modes are quite impressive (individual key illumination is perhaps the greatest addition) and the keyboard features good build quality levels (thanks to the aluminum top enclosure) I just don’t know whether or not the fixed wrist rest is something people will like. Personally I’ve always attached wrist rests to the keyboards I use so I don’t really mind but many seem to do so only on rare occasions so I imagine that for them this could be a hindrance. The glossy plastic pieces is also something some people will like while others not so much and I have to admit that I belong to the latter category (I prefer matte or rubber coated surfaces).
As expected really from a manufacturer like HAVIT their products are aggressively priced and so currently you can get the HV-KB378L RGB Backlit Mechanical Keyboard for just USD69.99 inside the USA (Amazon.com) and for 69Euros inside the EU (Amazon.co.uk). In some areas I do prefer the slightly lower cost HV-KB366L model (smaller size without any large plastic parts) but overall the HV-KB378L offers a better bang for your buck and since it’s priced extremely well it too gets our Golden Award.
- Good Build Quality (Aluminum Housing)
- RGB Key Illumination (5 Brightness Levels & 10 Modes/Effects)
- Individual Key Illumination
- Outemu Blue Mechanical Switches (Tactile Feedback - 50M Actuations)
- Full Anti-Ghosting
- Wrist Rest
- Price (For Some)
- No USB Ports (For Some)
- Fixed Wrist Rest (For Some)
- Glossy Top Plastic Pieces (For Some)