A long time ago in a gaming universe far, far away a company introduced the DOME, a hybrid of the flat-panel membrane and mechanical switch keyboards. Now Azolt in 2016 brings us their Special Half-Mechanical Switchers for the latest incarnation of keyboards the gCrusader and gReformer.
I asked one question, what do you mean, when you use the term ‘Half Mechanical,’? one solution was, only certain parts of the keyboard where mechanical, the rest were standard, then I found out this “You can think that it is a product between normal keyboard and true mechanical keyboard. It is giving the user a mechanical feeling and its reaction time better than a normal keyboard. Also, its price is middle of mechanical keyboard.”
This review is going to be about the gCrusader you can read the review of the gReformer here http://invisioncommunity.co.uk/2016/01/25/azolt-greformer-review/
First off the Crusader has to be the best of the two, but best comes with an increase in price, but you will be surprised to know that it’s only $70
This keyboard comes with a shed load of features, the F1 to F8 keys are all Multimedia Keys, F9 opens the mail, F10 opens your browser, F11 locks or unlocks your keyboard and for some reason, I guess they ran out of ideas, F12 opens calculator. F12 could of been used to rotate though the colours, used to highlight the keys, Red, Purple and Blue of the keys.
The keyboard also offers the opportunity to macro up for commands via the 4 macro keys on the left hand side of the keyboard. Many games require you to perform more than one skill or a multiple number of skills in quick succession, by macroing up these moves, you can easily perform them, with a stroke of a key.
Also attached to the keyboard is a volume rocker, that allows for quick, on the fly volume control, which is something I find is always great to have, if your headset does not have the option or your speakers are a reach away. Everything created these days were about ease of access, making our lives easier and more comfortable, this is a great example of this in practice.
The keyboard feels weighty as well, not cheap and flimsy,which is great considering the price attached to the keyboard, being so cheap. Full metal front, blueish in colour with a full red plastic underside, keyboard legs to tilt,and rubber feet to stop the keyboard from sliding. One other thing, is the added addition of a palm rest, which is always great for long gaming sessions.
I have had many mechanical keyboards from Razer and Steelseries to name a few, and I simply cannot tell the difference with this half mechanical version, it feels mechanical, has the sound of a mechanical and works like a mechanical. When testing the keys for it’s time delay from key stroke to on screen display, again, it was fast, no delay from what I could see. Using the keys felt great, thanks to the keys being beveled and easy to roll across and find, much better than flat keys. The laser etched keys allow the light to shine through them perfectly, easy to see which key is which, yes, plain white etched keys do just as good, but having a colour behind them, allows the keys to last a lot longer, as you know etched white keys, slowly but surely lose their colour.
Playing games with this keyboard really impresses, I got this reaction from my partner first “ooo me likes” then I got “ This keyboard is 100% better, to feel, design and functionality, compared to my old keyboard. Playing games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate to Skyrim, using the keyboard just felt right and we could say better.
Using the FN key allows you to control your media (Music, Movies and volume), activate the run key, which records your keystrokes and allow you to save to a macro key, decrease and increase the keyboard brightness levels.
You can also exchange the WSAD keys to the arrow keys if you prefer to game that way, some do, personally not something I would ever do.
Recording a macro is so simple, press the ‘Run’ key, don’t forget that it is a FN function keystroke, then press a macro key, create your macro, then click the run key to save. Using a macro is as simple and clicking on M1 through to M4, the macro will run immediately.
If for some reason the keyboard is not working, after it was, first check connections, but if the lights are on, then check to see if you have not accidentally not locked the keyboard out, press FN+F11, and F11 is a lockout key. As with the WSAD keys, make sure they are not assigned to the arrow keys by clicking FN + W to reverse this option.
So would you buy this keyboard, would you see it on the shelf? Would it be able to stand out for the rest? Have a look yourself, image below, I personally feel it looks rather eye catching, the back though, not so much, need a little work on the marketing side. Everything you need to know about the keyboard is marketed on the packaging, it’s just lack the final touch on the back.
After purchasing, you will find out that Azolt have really packages the keyboard and palm rest really well, and I can not see it moving around at any time during transit or display.
I am not going to tell you to go out and purchase this keyboard and I am certainly not telling you not to, if you are on a very tight budget, then, maybe a basic keyboard is all you need, if you cannot afford a mechanical keyboard but want all the features and lastability of one, then maybe look at this one, I can not complain, Macro keys making some games easier to play and makes my reaction time faster, the RGB lighting system allows me to see the keys under any light condition and of coarse being half mechanical gives me a life time worth of usage.
Have a look around see what is best suited for you, for me this has great features, will last a very long time, feels great to use, nice and weighty and looks snazzy, differently not cheap and nasty.