I’ve switched to the Redragon Rudra from a £150 Ducky One 3 keyboard. With this costing just a third of the price, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. But I’m pleasantly surprised.
Redragon is a brand you’re probably not familiar with – I wasn’t either. But on unpacking the Rudra mechanical gaming keyboard, I’ve found a solid, well-built product. The biggest surprise for a keyboard of this price is that it comes with true mechanical switches which can be swapped out. They’re not Cherry MX – they’re Outemu Red switches, which we haven’t come across before. According to Keyboard website Switch and Click, they typically don’t last as long. But they’re pleasant to press: the travel distance is short but they’re very tactile, with a pleasing but not too loud click on each press.
If you’ve never used a mechanical keyboard before, you’ll find it’s hard to go back to anything else once you do. Regular keyboards tend to be too spongy and don’t provide enough feedback on each pres. And whether you’re gaming or typing, that feedback becomes very important.
The Redragon Rudra feels very nice, then, especially considering its relatively cheap price point of £49.99. It’s the cheapest true mechanical keyboard we’ve had our hands on, and it’s very impressive. Not only does it feel great to type on, but it looks the part, too. This is an understated keyboard that’s all about the keys: there’s no unsightly plastic board sticking out around the edges, and there are no additional features. You do have RGB lighting, though, with 24 pre-programmed light patterns. You can turn it off if RGB lighting isn’t your thing, but we like it, and we’ve opted for a soothing colour cycle on our keys.
Despite not having any extra controls, the Rudra gaming keyboard does pack in a useful set of function keys. Pressing Fn + an F key will let you control volume, stop, start and skip music tracks, jump to your home screen, bring up a search box and even bring up the calculator. That’s one we haven’t seen before, but we’re digging it.
Its budget price point does mean it’s missing some features you might expect as standard on something a little more expensive. Its USB cable isn’t braided, for example – something you might take for granted on mid-range gear. The keyboard’s body is made of plastic, too – but it doesn’t feel cheap. In fact, it’s surprisingly sturdy. There’s no palm rest in the box, either – although that’s something we rarely see these days. And, as you’d expect, there are a couple of foldaway feet on the underside of the keyboard if you’d rather it be angled slightly on your desk.
We’re not so keen on the typeface used on the keys of the Redragon Rudra – we imagine it’s designed to look somewhat futuristic, but it’s a little ugly, with some of the letters looking unusual – the O, for example, looks more like two square brackets side-by-side. And we’re not even sure what the B is supposed to represent.
It’s a very small complaint, though, and certainly not something that would stop us recommending the Rudra. For its price point, this is one of the nicest budget keyboards we’ve used, and we don’t think you’ll find much else in the same price bracket to rival it. Yes, its font of choice might not be the nicest, but ultimately, when typing on it feels this good – and it’s only costing you £50 (or less – there’s currently a £10 off voucher available on Amazon) – it’s nothing to complain about.
Thanks to Redragon for providing a sample unit for the purposes of this review.