You know that expression “this is the Ferrari of keyboards”? Well, it seems that Gigabyte got inspired by it and created a great gaming keyboard that, aside from really behaving like a Ferrari of gaming keyboards, it also features a design clearly derivative of the Italian car maker. The Aivia K8100 comes in black, red and yellow versions and features an emblem on the wrist rest that just looks too much like the ones found on sportst cars. Let’s take it for a ride then.
The keyboard has a sleek body design and comes with a large wrist rest (it can be detached by loosing four tiny screws on the underside). It features backlit keys, two USB ports (one on each side) and a touch-sensitive volume control on the top, just besides the five programmable buttons. On the upper left side there’s a blinking mode button to change the user profiles. The cable is cloth-wrapped, a market standard.
Figure 3: USB port and the backlight button
Figure 4: USB port and the profile button
[nextpage title=”The Special keys and the Ghost Engine”]
Knowing that some keys see more action than others in gaming sessions, Gigabyte assigned different elastic forces to the keys, some get like 50, 60 or 70 grams. What is elastic force? In layman’s terms, it’s the force a spring exerts to return to its natural (resting) state after being stretched or compressed. The keys most used in gaming, like the WASD cluster, Space and arrow keys, for instance, were assigned 70 grams of elastic force. Others like Caps-Lock, Tab and Shift got 60 grams. The remaining keys were assigned 50 grams of elastic force. The objective is to lessen the pressure on the fingers while pressing the most used keys during gaming sessions.
The Aivia K8100 features an “anti-ghosting” system in 20 keys to guarantee that the keyboard recognizes the pressing of up to 20 keys simultaneously without skipping a particular command or misinterpreting some communication – the usual keyboard is limited to recognizing up to six keystrokes at the same time. It’s a lot of keystrokes, but it’s nice to know that the keyboard won’t fail to recognize that heroic jump that saves the virtual life of a character in mid-combat.
The Ghost engine allows the recording of up to 100 macros in the internal memory of 4 MB. The Mode button, on the upper left corner of the keyboard, changes color to indicate the current user profile. The Ghost application lets the user drag and drop icons of pre-configured functions (e-mail reader, copy+paste, calculator etc) to slots representing the programmable buttons.
Figure 7: Profile configuration
Working with icons makes the experience of recording macros easy, which it’s not always the case with other applications. If the user wants to go further than the suggestions made by the Ghost software and record his or her own command sequences, there’s no difficulty at all.
[nextpage title=”Using the Aivia K8100″]
At first, the sheer size of the Aivia keyboard left a negative impression but after some time testing it, the wrist rest proved to be comfortable, even though it’s made of rugged plastic. Detaching the wrist rest was easy, it just took some unscrewing of the underside.
Figure 9: Loose wrist rest and silicon cover
The keyboard also comes with a silicon cover to protect it from dust. We used the keyboard normally with the protection over it and even played a little, but we recommend it solely for working (and when the keyboard is not in use, of course) since we missed a couple keystrokes because the Aivia is not that precise with the silicon protection over it. But it’s a great feature for those who, like us, have the bad habit of eating grimy food while using the computer. Gigabyte also provides a spare WASD cluster and a very useful tool for removing the keys, good for changing the extra keys and also loosing others for cleaning purposes.
Figure 10: Extra keys, extraction tool and silicon cover
The typing experience is one of the best we had. The keys exert the exact amount of pressure, the response is precise and pleasant. The Aivia K8100 is a great working keyboard. But what about gaming, its primary focus? Well, it features a simple, efficient and comprehensive software (100 macros!) and it has an engine that prevents the misinterpretation of keystrokes – no key left us in a tight spot while gaming. We only have a major gripe: the programmable buttons sit too far away from the regular keys. The hand really has to leave the keyboard and reach for the buttons to engage the presets. In the thick of the action, the performance maybe compromised. It’s better to programm the buttons with non-essential or less urgent functions that can
be engaged in quieter gaming moments. It the buttons were at the left of the regular keys, the pinkie could reach them by reflex more quickly.
The color scheme may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but it’s nice to have an all-black option that fits on any kind of workspace decor. The sliding touch-sensitive volume control is a nice idea but contributes to the overall big size ot the keyboard. The sleek design could make space for a better placement of the programmable buttons and also the two USB ports: they are located on each lateral of the keyboard’s body, so the plugging of a big pendrive or a headset wireless unit requires extra table room. So the user better have a big enough table for the Aivia K8100.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the Gigabyte Aivia K8100 keyboard include:
- USB gaming keyboard
- 2 USB ports
- 100 programmable macros
- 5 user profiles
- 20 anti-ghosting keys
- Peak force: 50 g, 60 g, 70 g
- Available colors: Black, yellow, and red
- Weight: 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
- Dimensions: 19.2 x 10.3 x 1.2 inches (490 x 263 x 32.8 mm)
- More information: https://www.gigabyte.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 69.00 (black) or USD 79.00 (yellow or red)
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Below you can see a summary of our impressions about the Gigabyte Aivia K8100.
- Sleek design
- Great typing experience
- Precise response during gaming sessions
- Easy to use software
- Silicon cover
- Extra WASD cluster
- Tool for extracting keys for replacement and cleaning
- Detachable wrist rest
- Programmable buttons too far away from the regular keys
- USB port lateral placement begs for more tableroom
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