I'm currently writing this article on the Enermax Aurora Premium keyboard, which holds the
distinction of being the blingiest keyboard I've ever had my hands on. The
aluminum-bodied Enermax Aurora Premium keyboard comes in silver and in a more
conservative black finish, it connects to the PC with a USB cable and
includes audio and mic jacks. It retails for around $85CDN ($65 USD, 40 GBP), which
definitely puts it in the price range for premium keyboards. Premium keyboards
have features like back-lighting, bluetooth, on-device displays and dedicated
macro functions that distinguish the very best toys from the cheaper
me-too typing tools on the market. To put this in perspective, the Enermax
Aurora has none of the above features - so what
exactly is it doing to warrant its high price point?
Well, there is the build quality - this keyboard has a big slab of aluminum
in it. To be specific, the keyboard body is made out of a brushed aluminum
plate with 104 silver-painted plastic keys. The brushed aluminum is quite nice -
according to the box it's diamond-cut, and certainly looks quite sharp. The
edges are thankfully rounded to prevent accidental cuts while typing or
adjusting your keyboard tray, and the overall weight of the keyboard feels
satisfyingly hefty once it's taken out of the box.
The texture of the 104 keys is a bit of a letdown, however. While the
aluminum surface of the keyboard conjures up synonyms like 'expensive' and
'opulent', as soon as your fingers slip from the metal borders to the
plastic keys the fantasy crumbles, and you find that instead of an Aston Martin
Vanquish you're left with a Chrysler Sebring.
Aurora KB007US Keyboard
While the keys are of standard 19mm pitch, they feel quite slippery to my baby soft writers fingers,
and slippage is the cardinal sin a keyboard can commit. Some
manufacturers go as far as spraying their plastic keys with rubberized coating
so they maintain a good grip, so any a keyboard that
comparatively feels like you're typing on keys made out of wet soap is tricky.
This is certainly not a keyboard for extreme FPS gaming, in my book at
Keys are silver
painted plastic. The body of the keyboard is
Fortunately the keys, slippery though they are, do have quite a nice action to
them. They feel responsive, and even though there isn't a whole lot of depression
depth when compared to older, larger keyboards (think: those clackety
beige IBM PS/2 keyboards from your high school computer lab), they
still manage to spring back quickly after a depression. It's really easy to tap
your fingers and get a long line of the letter q. For example:
... that was pretty easy!
USB keyboards go the Enermax Aurora comes with a few extras. There are a pair of USB 2.0 ports that allow
it to function as a hub, so while it takes up a USB port when it's
plugged into a computer, it'll give two more back. Daisy-chain a mouse into the
keyboard, orplug in USB storage devices if you simply can't be bothered to reach all the
way around to the back of your computer.
Headphone and mic
jacks on the left hand side are good for users with
There's also an audio I/O panel on the left side of the keyboard for a microphone and
a headset to plug into, and combined with the USB hub could make the Aurora
a pretty handy method for managing cable clutter. Unfortunately the
keyboard doesn't have any media keys or volume knobs, so while plugging in headphones
to listen to music is easy, controlling that music while playing games
or using full-screen applications isn't available at the touch of a button. Even basic
OEM USB keyboards are coming with these kind of features, there's no good reason for
them not to be included on the Enermax Aurora.
Two USB 2.0 ports
available at the top of the keyboard.
For those who want a
wired keyboard that matches with a case and monitor that already have
a sterling silver finish, and don't
mind spending quite a lot of extra cash, the Enermax Aurora Premium
could very well be a contender.
Similarly, those who want a large shiny object to hang around
their neck in the same fashion as Flavor Flav have definitely found a new input
peripheral to add to their short list. However for those who don't really care
about aluminum finishes there are keyboards that have dedicated media keys,
back-lit illumination, programmable keys, detachable dedicated keypads, and
built-in LCD screens, all for around the same price as the Enermax Aurora.
keyboards are a nice change from all-plastic, but can be kind of cold to
type on in the winter.
there are OEM keyboards that offer the exact same basic
104-key design for less than that of the Aurora's $85
CDN (65 USD 40 GBP) asking price. The
additional built-in audio jacks, aluminum construction and USB hub just aren't enough
to warrant the high cost.
Silver cases and monitors aren't quite as
popular as they used to be, so it might be a little difficult to colour
coordinate this keyboard with the rest of your computer peripherals - although
there are certainly geeks who won't care if their mouse and monitor match up
with their keyboard and case. We'll let you decide this one for yourself. Build
quality on the Enermax
Aurora KB0007US is
good, if the price weren't so high it'd be a good alternative
the ocean of of beige keyboards out there... and much more recyclable at the
end of its lifespan.
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