User Review Wireless mechanical keyboard : review from a non-keyboard-nerd

I recently bought a wireless mechanical keyboard from a brand I had just heard of - Cosmic Byte. It can connect to 3 bluetooth devices, selectable using 3 buttons, and it also can connect using a Micro-USB cable which also charges the keyboard's battery. It has brown switches, manufactured by outemu. The layout is TKL, so it has no numpad, but otherwise the layout is close to standard. It has RGB backlighting.

TL;DR, overall verdict : 4 stars out of 5, recommended. Details follow.

1. Why this review ?​

Generally I don't review hardware products because I think experts can do a better job, but user-facing hardware like keyboards also need a layman perspective. I also note that most of the mechanical keyboard reviews on the internet are by keyboard nerds who talk about terms and features a layman truly doesn't care about. After some research, I came to the conclusion that even if the laymen came to know about the meanings of those terms, they would still not care. The only reason I bought a mechanical keyboard, and also write this review, is that in the last 10 years or so, popular brands of keyboards are producing horrible products. Most of them are membrane keyboards, but that didn't use to matter, and I have happily used membrane keyboards bought in the period 1999-2007 for 5+ years, without any problem. But the keyboards bought after 2007, develop irritating hardness in certain keys within 6-10 months of using them, especially when not pressed with a perfectly vertical force at the centre of the key. So, the real utility of this keyboard for me will be known only in 10 months.

2. Initial feeling​

Typing on this keyboard is a great experience. At least in the first few weeks, there are no missed key presses, nor any double key presses. But it should be noted that typing on any new keyboard is a great experience for me, even the Rs 250 keyboards that I bought every 6 months, and which developed hard keys very soon.
Keys "travel" is more than most membrane keyboards I have tried i.e. the height of vertical motion a key makes when pressed is more. This makes the angle of the wrist a bit weird, and it had some discomfort after 1 day of usage. I planned to get a wrist rest which should fix this problem, but there is not much space on my desk in the current configuration. While I was still thinking about getting a wrist rest, my wrist got used to this height of the keyboard, so I might drop the plan of getting a wrist rest.

3. Layout​

It is important for a keyboard to have a standard layout, because I don't feel like retraining my muscle memory for each new keyboard. I've used 30 different keyboards in office, home and laptop combined over last 14 years due to the unreliability of most keyboards, so it is important for keyboards to retain the same layout. I don't like the "Indian" layout (as found in TVS gold keyboards) which has a tall and wide "Enter" key, moving the pipe and backslash key (|\) elsewhere, and which also has a small backspace key. This keyboard, and most Cosmic Byte keyboards have the "standard" keyboard (I think the US layout), and it is a plus point in its favour.

4. Battery life​

I have not checked, and I might not check it for a long time because I plan to leave it connected to my desktop always being charged with the Micro USB cable. I needed a wireless keyboard only because I want to be able to connect to one of my laptops without rewiring everything, and also occasionally step away from the desktop with the keyboard to watch a movie on my desktop. But it is an important metric for most people buying a wireless keyboard, so I am mentioning the lack of this information up top here.

5. Bluetooth connection​

Even though it is an older Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard, once made a connection remains solid. After pressing the key to connect to a new device over bluetooth, there is a slight delay of 1-5 seconds before the keys start registering on the new device, but this delay could be the fault of the other device or of this keyboard. When pressing on the "USB" button to start talking to the device connected through micro-USB, the connection seems to be made instantaneously.
Bluetooth does disconnect after a timeout of a few minutes - maybe 10 minutes, I cannot be sure. This kind of disconnection always gets reconnected quite reliably after pressing a key.
BUT when changing from USB to bluetooth by pressing the bluetooth1, bluetooth2 or bluetooth3 buttons : it is quite unreliable. Frequently I need to try multiple times. I've also needed to restart bluetooth on the other device (laptop, desktop etc.) and then occasionally it works. I don't switch devices very often, but I do switch sometimes, and when this problem happens it is always a pain. Note that all the devices I connect this keyboard to run Linux, somewhat latest kernel and bluetooth stack, and hence the experience might be different with other kinds of devices.
Working on this keyboard when bluetooth connection has been established is smooth, though one can perceive the latency of the bluetooth connection. The key takes a noticeable while to take effect, but it takes effect without fail, so I don't see it as a problem.

6. The included user manual​

There are spelling and grammatical mistakes in the user manual. Not so huge that you cannot understand the sentence. Even ignoring the errors, it does not instruct very clearly. E.g. connecting a device with bluetooth, should I press the "Bluetooth" button ? Or press the associated "Bluetooth1", "Bluetooth2", or "Bluetooth3" button ? The manual asks us to do both, in different sections. And it is not clear in which order we should press those buttons. Actually what works best for me, when I am connected via USB to some device, if I press the "USB" button again, the keyboard somewhat reliably switches back to the last bluetooth device it was connected to. This is not written in the manual.

7. Keycaps​

The quality of keycap plastic material seems good to me. It doesn't look like it would break, or my fingers would slip on the keys in the near future. Other aspects of keycaps are in later sections.

8. Price, contents, buying experience, other options​

Getting this from the seller's website is typically cheaper, though it is at times listed at Amazon and other online stores too. I chose the free delivery, yet it was super fast - came from Pune to Chennai in less than 72 hours, and used an expensive service like BlueDart for its last mile delivery. I got it for Rs 4499 shipped from https://www.thecosmicbyte.com/gamin...-with-per-key-rgb-outemu-brown-switches-black. There are red and blue switch options too, presumably the other details would remain same as those of this keyboard.

There is a keycap puller included, and keycaps of the + variety can be used to replace the included keycaps. The switches are not hot-swappable.

9. Things I don't care about in keyboards​


9.1 RGB​

The best part about the RGB of this keyboard is that disabling it is very easy. Press on the left dial for 3-5 seconds, and RGB lighting is off. For those who like it, there are lots of preset RGB lighting patterns, which I might use some day to entertain kids younger than 5 years of age. Each key can have separate light, and it seems all colours are possible for all keys. Probably the software of Cosmic Byte to manage RGB lighting doesn't work on this keyboard, but I cannot be sure of that. But there are dedicated keys to record and enable lighting macros, which might work for you.

9.2 Sound​

The keyboard sound ASMR videos in keyboard reviews, and the amount of importance this gets, seems silly to me. I couldn't find a precise definition of the word "mushy", used with abandon to diss any cheap product. On the whole internet, I viewed many keyboard review videos, and none of them sounded bad to me. This particular Cosmic Byte keyboard doesn't have a very loud, or a bad sound either that would cause any problem to me.

9.3 Tactile bump​

While the brown switches are supposed to have a "tactile bump", I could not notice it. Nor do I care. My fingers are reasonably confident of having pressed a key successfully after pressing it, I am not making many more typing errors than I used to, and that is enough for me.

9.4 Font of keycaps​

Font of keycaps is really weird. But I don't care - I rarely look down on the keycaps and if I do look down, I just need to get a vague idea of what is where. So while the keycaps are replaceable, I might not do any replacing for a long time, except maybe for fun.

9.5 The dials​

There are 2 dials, about an inch in diameter. One for adjusting RGB, and the other for adjusting audio volume of the connected device. They seem to work fine - I don't care about this feature. Later, when I find time, I might try to remap the dials from the operating system side to do something more useful.

9.6 Build quality​

While seems quite good, I don't really care about it. The board has a lot of metal and good plastic, overall feeling is one of heft and strength. But much cheaper keyboards with bad light plastic frame also never gave any trouble to me due to the build quality, so this one does not matter very much to me.

9.7 Adjustable feet to adjust the keyboard angle​

There are no adjustable feet, just 4 tiny rubber fixed feet on four corners. I like my keyboard to be horizontal, so I don't miss the adjustable height feet.

9.8 Looks​

On the website, the keyboard looks extremely tacky. In real life, it is not so bad. And anyway I don't care about how it looks.
 

Attachments

  • cosmicbytesirius.png
    cosmicbytesirius.png
    361 KB · Views: 109
  • IMG_20220213_194505.jpg
    IMG_20220213_194505.jpg
    229.7 KB · Views: 98
  • IMG_20220213_194251.jpg
    IMG_20220213_194251.jpg
    161.1 KB · Views: 92
  • IMG_20220213_194422.jpg
    IMG_20220213_194422.jpg
    223.4 KB · Views: 89
  • IMG_20220213_193902.jpg
    IMG_20220213_193902.jpg
    173.5 KB · Views: 100

superczar

Skilled

4. Battery life​

I have not checked, and I might not check it for a long time because I plan to leave it connected to my desktop always being charged with the Micro USB cable. I needed a wireless keyboard only because I want to be able to connect to one of my laptops without rewiring everything, and also occasionally step away from the desktop with the keyboard to watch a movie on my desktop. But it is an important metric for most people buying a wireless keyboard, so I am mentioning the lack of this information up top here.
how it looks.
I was thinking of getting this but the blue keys were a turn off.
Didn't know there was an option for brown.

I understand you can't check for battery life but wouldnit be possible to check if the backlight can be turned off completely? Without b backlight, the battery life should likely be quite acceptable.
 

kiran6680

Disciple
I was thinking of getting this but the blue keys were a turn off.
Didn't know there was an option for brown.

I understand you can't check for battery life but wouldnit be possible to check if the backlight can be turned off completely? Without b backlight, the battery life should likely be quite acceptable.
Yes , as I said : The best part about the RGB of this keyboard is that disabling it is very easy. Press on the left dial for 3-5 seconds, and RGB lighting is off.

Although YouTube has some reviews, and which cover battery life also. I remember it has a decent battery life.
 
Nice review. I wish I was like you all, insensitive or indifferent to noise. But as I am not, now even after more than five years of mech keys I still hate the noise coming out of them more than ever. I probably have a tumour growing inside my head. And the insane travel distance of the keys! It's like with each keystroke my fingers are taking a ride through mt. everest up and down. And the spring tension as well! It's so stiff! Like the keys are fighting back. I simply cannot deal with the fact that typing has to be this much strenuous. Cannot go back membrane, so no idea what to do next! Been searching for a perfect switch for me for past month, one min I am ordering a topre, next min I am with silent reds or silvers!
 

superczar

Skilled
Nice review. I wish I was like you all, insensitive or indifferent to noise. But as I am not, now even after more than five years of mech keys I still hate the noise coming out of them more than ever. I probably have a tumour growing inside my head. And the insane travel distance of the keys! It's like with each keystroke my fingers are taking a ride through mt. everest up and down. And the spring tension as well! It's so stiff! Like the keys are fighting back. I simply cannot deal with the fact that typing has to be this much strenuous. Cannot go back membrane, so no idea what to do next! Been searching for a perfect switch for me for past month, one min I am ordering a topre, next min I am with silent reds or silvers!
You need a good scissor mechanism keyboard.
K380 is a good choice. (although stay away from k480)
 

JMak

Adept
You need a good scissor mechanism keyboard.
K380 is a good choice. (although stay away from k480)
I have both the k380 as well as 480
Both are nice, k380 is silent more compact and lighter,
K480 is heavier with more distance in की press, nice sound, not at all loud

I like them both

@ OP, good review mate, thanks
 

kiran6680

Disciple
Nice review. I wish I was like you all, insensitive or indifferent to noise. But as I am not, now even after more than five years of mech keys I still hate the noise coming out of them more than ever. I probably have a tumour growing inside my head. And the insane travel distance of the keys! It's like with each keystroke my fingers are taking a ride through mt. everest up and down. And the spring tension as well! It's so stiff! Like the keys are fighting back. I simply cannot deal with the fact that typing has to be this much strenuous. Cannot go back membrane, so no idea what to do next! Been searching for a perfect switch for me for past month, one min I am ordering a topre, next min I am with silent reds or silvers!
While only you can understand your problem, but just a suggestion : does it help to tend to your ears, rather than your keyboard ? E.g. earplugs, active noise cancelling earphones, playing instrumental music, or white noise ?
 

superczar

Skilled
I have both the k380 as well as 480
Both are nice, k380 is silent more compact and lighter,
K480 is heavier with more distance in की press, nice sound, not at all loud

I like them both

@ OP, good review mate, thanks
The k480 has domes which makes fast typing / typing long emails/docs etc a chore (each keypress needs to be firm on the 480)
Somehow I really like the k380.. KInd of like the perfect balance maintaining the responsiveness of a mech but the small travel/low noise of a membrane.

I am not a mech key expert but I did try using a wired Kailh blue briefly but did not like it one bit so went back to this.
Now am wondering if it'll be worthwhile to try out the brown variant
 

babhishek

Skilled
The k480 has domes which makes fast typing / typing long emails/docs etc a chore (each keypress needs to be firm on the 480)
Somehow I really like the k380.. KInd of like the perfect balance maintaining the responsiveness of a mech but the small travel/low noise of a membrane.

I am not a mech key expert but I did try using a wired Kailh blue briefly but did not like it one bit so went back to this.
Now am wondering if it'll be worthwhile to try out the brown variant
this makes me sad, never could snag a k380 - out of stock or over priced. have 2 k480s :(
 
@superczar Thanks for the suggestion but I'm afraid I can't go back to the membranes again. As an e-sports player I will probably kill those switches in no time.
Also, if noise is the thing which bothered you with the Blues, then Browns will be more of the same really. They are still very very loud, just slightly less than Blues. I have tried all of them and even the Reds are way too loud for my taste (I have the reds only). Only the Silent swithes are somewhat acceptable, that's why I am going for them, but trying to find a board which comes with dampeners installed as I can't be bothered to build my own and all that stuff.
 

SpaceRim

Recruit
I have the Gigabyte Force K83 mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX blue switches. It is my first mech. keyboard and I loved it. The one thing is it comes with an USB connector and thus cannot connect with multiple devices such as my PC and iPad in tandem and quickly switch between them. Having this can improve my overall workflow as I tend to reach to my iPad more often. So, I'm currently looking out for options which can quickly switch between devices and this review comes handy. Thanks @OP for the great review! Wish this had an even lesser delay while switching.
 

kiran6680

Disciple
I have an Rk84. Preferred to shell out a little more than purchasing a cosmic byte for more durability and customization. Absolutely love it.
Yes, I was eyeing RK keyboards for over a year. My problem was that 84 key piece has extremely non-standard key locations. And the 87 key piece is more standard, but was out of stock in many places for months.
 
Top