The $50 Keyboard You NEED To Know About!
Well guys, I have a confession to make. You see when this keyboard arrived here at the studio nothing really interested me that much until I looked at its price. We are all aware that everyone is making gaming keyboards right now since they all can be sold for a small fortune. Everyone from Corsair to Logitech to Razer have been doing it for years. Now G.Skill still offer some expensive peripherals out there, but this KM360 is a bit different because it offers genuine Cherry MX Red switches at a $50 price point, and that makes it one of the most affordable Cherry MX keyboards around. Come to think of it, this reminds me of 2015 because I remember reviewing a G.Skill keyboard. It was called the KM780. It was a super expensive keyboard loaded with features. It’s actually still available right now, which is very interesting. But let’s switch back to the KM360, what sacrifices were made to hit the lower cost? Well, let’s actually find that out.
Black & White Models
Okay, so let’s get something off the table right now. The KM360 is marketed to as a versatile keyboard that can pretty much do anything. It isn’t necessarily a gaming keyboard, so you’re not going to get macro inputs, dedicated drivers, software, RGB lighting, and some other fancy features that the marketing team loves to add to their products. And I kind of like the simpler approach because you are sure paying a lot less. Right now, G.Skill is offering the KM360 in either white or black, and only in TKL size with the white backlighting. I think they made the right call here with the right size, since it’s easy enough to transport and it doesn’t get in the way when gaming. The only switch available is Cherry MX Red and that’s a pretty safe starting choice since they’re fast enough for gaming but also okay for typing. Personally, I prefer a Browns or Blues for typing, but that’s just me.
The first thing I noticed was the overall build quality. For $50 I wasn’t expecting much, but this thing just feels robust. There’s an aluminium top plate that features a sandstone finish, which I absolutely love and a thick plastic case that hardly shows any flex. I’m not 100% convinced of the plastic to aluminum transition on the white model, but otherwise the KM360 is pretty impressive. However, there are some small issues that I want to mention quickly too. First of all, the material joints are well done, but I’ve found the left right and bottom edges really sharp.
Also when the keyboard is in its lowest position, it slides all over the place since there’s only two rubber feet at the lower edge. Luckily the height adjusting feet have rubber on them, so it’s only an issue when the KM360 is at its lowest angle.
I’m also not a fan of the USB-C connector since it’s not really secure, and it wobbles around a lot. The included chord’s braiding tends to kink too, especially when you’re wrapping it up for transport. Luckily it can be swapped out for any other USB-C cable.
The keycaps are straight forward, double injected ABS plastics, so the letters won’t fade away. Now let’s talk about those letters folks. Now you might not agree with me on this, but this is one of the ugliest fonts that I’ve ever seen on a keyboard. I mean the general keys are okay, but the secondary keys like Enter, Shift, and Home are just terrible. Turn on that white LED backlight and it gets even worse on the black keyboard. The white one looks a bit better though. It’s also too bad that secondary commands through the Function key – like volume adjustment with Function + F11 and media playback options – are completely missing.
As for the backlighting. It’s adjusted by pressing the Function Up and Down Arrow keys. It really gets bright and take note that you can actually see the LEDs shooting from the top row. That can cause some pretty distracting light bounds in some situations. Even with that, I think the white keyboard ends up looking much better than the black model. But let me know what you guys think about this in the comments down below.
And what about the typing and gaming experience? Well for gaming I’m used to the Corsair K70 with the Red switches and jumping over to the KM360 went without any problems. The heads of the G.Skill keycaps are a bit wider than the K70’s, but they actually had less wobble. That stability wasn’t really noticeable until after I switched back though. I also noticed that G.Skill Cherry switches had a bit more internal resistance, so they didn’t feel quite as fast. But that and the stability difference could be due to the Corsair keyboard being a bit older and already broken in.
I think for typing the best way to look at it is with a quick sound test. Now I’m aware that I’m comparing a $50 keyboard to another keyboard that costs almost twice the price, but I actually preferred the sound coming from G.Skill keyboard, and not just with the spacebar but some other keys too because there’s less stabilizer rattle. Let’s listen to it again.
So there you have it. For $50 I think the KM360 is a pretty killer deal, especially if you’re looking for Cherry MX switches. The design is perfect, it has excellent build quality, and the TKL form factor is just fantastic. That being said, there are some trade-offs. You don’t have media playback controls as secondary function commands, so that’s certainly something to consider. You don’t get RGB lighting, dedicated driver software, macro inputs, and the font choice is certainly uglier in my opinion.
However, you can replace it with custom key caps because they still use the standard Cherry MX stems, so that’s nice. I quickly added some HyperX HyperX Double Shot PBT keycaps on the white model, and I’m already loving the change. Just remember that the LEDs are above this switch, so these Pudding style keycaps look a bit odd. So let us know what to think about the KM360 from G.Skill. Would you consider picking this up for $50? If so would you go with the black model or the white model? Let me know the comments down.