Gaming Keyboards – REDUX

I was able to get a hold of a few more keyboards that I wanted to check out that weren’t available when I did my previous post on keyboards a short time ago. Today I have four more to go through following the same general rules as before.

The keyboards we are taking a look at today are the Backth Three Color Luminous Characters Back lit Keyboard with palm rest, Redradon Asura K501 USB Gaming Keyboard, EagleTec K005 Gaming Keyboard with Gaming Mouse Combo, and the Tt eSports Commander LED Illumination Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo.

EagleTec K005 7 Colour Backlit Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo – $34.99


Through some investigation I have found that the EagleTec line of products are built by the same company that Redragon devices are built and thus I initially expected them to perform nearly the same. It turns out that I can’t say that. The K005 sports pretty much all the same features that the Redragon Asura does minus some programmable keys. It has the same multi colour back lights which are pretty bright and can be adjusted lower it you like. Visually the keyboard is pretty conservative in looks compared to many gaming keyboards in this category and I cannot fault EagleTec for going this way. I don’t care a lot for flashy keyboards just for the sake of being flashy.

Physically the keyboard is easy to see why its the price it is. The frame is pretty flexible though to be honest I didn’t have an issue with this while typing. Would have been nice to see a little reinforcement to keep it a bit more rigid though still. It has a partial wrist rest but its relatively useless considering how it’s shaped. The keyboard has a standard layout though so kudos for that. Especially the regular shaped Enter key is really nice to have. The space bar on the other hand it so mushy. It’s not the worst thing out there but it doesn’t feel good while typing and offers even less feedback than the rest of the very low feedback rubber dome keys.

I wish I could find my key cap puller so I could take a look at the keys. Texture-wise they are nice to type on. I have been typing this section of the review on the K005 and it’s not the worst experience I’ve ever had but it’s far from the best. If you were in a pinch though this really isn’t the worst thing you could buy. In fact since it comes with a multi-DPI gaming mouse it’s incredible value.

As a quick look at the KS03 mouse that comes with the keyboard it’s a decent mouse for an ambidextrous design. The blue leds are very bright and only match the keyboard if your keyboard is on the blue back lighting setting. This is sad as the blue back light setting is the dimmest by far out of the colours that can be selected. The mouse only has a blue back light. That said what can you expect for a cheap mouse? I really don’t have any performance complaints with the mouse though and it does add value to the keyboard.

Tt eSPORTS COMMANDER LED Illumination Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo – $34.98


Thermaltake has been in the gaming peripheral market for a while now and this is one of their esports budget gaming bundles. This keyboard doesn’t boast a bunch of different back light colours but it Thermaltake does put some of their money into the keyboard itself. Visually the design looks industrial with blue back lighting. I like the look but with the extra styling use the frame of the keyboard is much larger than I would like and as such takes up so much space that i can barely fit my mouse on the keyboard shelf where I prefer to have it. The back lighting is lackluster. The blue lighting barely pushes up through the keys to illuminate the letters. There is more light exposed between the keys than anything. It seems Tt was more concerned with lighting accents on the outside of the keyboard.

Physically the keyboard is more rigid than the EagleTec mentioned before but it’s not perfect. The wrist rest has a rubbery surface feel that I really like. The real work went in to the keys and the switches beneath them. Thermaltake uses proprietary Tt Type II Plunger switches with mechanical style key caps. The key caps can be swapped out for Tt’s metal key caps and though I do not know what those caps are like they may be worth it. I am not impressed with the key cap style. The edges of the keys feel almost sharp and the recess in the keys feel too deep for me. That said the style looks to be compatible with Cherry MX style key caps and that may be a good choice.

I typed this section on the Tt Commander. I am not a fan of the key caps but the membrane/mechanical feel of the keys is surprisingly satisfying though I still prefer a real mechanical switch.

There is a mouse included with this keyboard and I cannot say it’s terrible. It has multi-dpi settings and all the requisite buttons but the scroll wheel is not good. It does have steps to it but they feel nondescript. It is ambidextrous but it does feel good in the hand.

Redragon Asura K501 USB Gaming Keyboard – $39.99

I compared this keyboard to the the EagleTec earlier and you’d think that at nearly the same price point you’d be getting a similar keyboard. This couldn’t be less true. This keyboard is my all means superior to the EagleTec except for the Asura’s size. It is so large with it’s odd shape and extra buttons that I can’t use my mouse on the keyboard tray. As I have mentioned previously I am not a fan of this. The back lighting is as good as the EagleTec and has all the same colours with an added feature. The dimmer switch for the back lighting is controlled by a knob towards the top of the keyboard which is neat though I would have been fine with pressing the Fn button and the Page UP/DOWN buttons that most other keyboards use for brightness.

I gotta say I appreciate how rigid the frame is but then I have to mention that the outer frame is made out of shiny plastic. I think Redragon missed their target audience here. Most gamers hate surfaces that pick up fingerprints and this keyboard picks them up just by seeing your fingers nearby. The wrist rest is slippery because of the shiny plastic used on the frame but it is serviceable. The keys feel fantastic and even though they are membrane style keys I really like how they feel. They don’t require a lot of travel to work which is really nice. They are a little smoother than I am used to but They are incredibly comfortable to type with. One other ding though is the non-standard layout. This keyboard has that sill weird enter key that seems to be popular with some Chinese manufacturers. Not a fan of those again as I tend to accidentally hit the “\” key instead of “Enter”.

Typing this section out was an absolute pleasure for a non mechanical keyboard. Everything just felt right. Now $40 CAD is getting towards the top end of what I would spend on a membrane style keyboard and in most cases I would say wait a bit and save a little more for a cheaper mechanical one. In this case I would say go for Redragon Asura. It sadly won’t be a staple of mine as it takes up too much space on my keyboard tray but it may be used in our studio down the road.

Bakth Three Colour Luminous Characters Backlit Keyboard – $29.99


So last but absolutely not least is the Bakth Back lit Luminous keyboard. Firstly, the keyboard is not luminous but it is back lit. Luminous means that it would have some glowing function when in low light. That is not the case. Technically they do not claim this keyboard is for gaming but it has features of a gaming keyboard so I went ahead and picked it up. The keyboard is simple in design which I appreciate. The back lighting is interesting on this keyboard. It has three choices. Dark blue, light blue and green. I like them all but curiously they made the WASD and arrow keys a beige colour. I actually kinda dig it even if it seems a but weird.

Physically the keyboard frame is made out of steel making it completely rigid and a bit on the heavy side. I like this. A lot. The buttons feel a bit on the mushy side but with average feedback for membrane style keys. The keys themselves on the other hand are easy to remove and reveal what is probably the Achilles’ heel of the keyboard. They are cheap, thin, painted keys that will wear out relatively quickly in heavy use. I wish they had use a mechanical style mount for the keys so I could replace them with other key caps. At the same time the layout isn’t standard again with the that silly enter button again.

I typed this out on the Bakth and I loved every minute of it and for $30 bucks I’d be pretty happy with this. I would say that if there is some way to get different key caps for this it may be a good thing but I wouldn’t even know where to start looking as I’ve never seen this style of key cap.

So what I can conclude from all these keyboards is that it can be hit or miss when it comes to deals and quality in this range of entry level gaming keyboards.

RBG Technobabble 013 – Ryzen has Rizen?!

Join Jeff, Cynth and Dan as they dodge fireballs while recording live to tape under the CN Tower in Dan’s secret bunker. We talk about AMD’s Ryzen, Blackberry KeyOne, Nokia’s return to the chocolate bar phone and more.


Blackberry KeyOne

Ryzen Launches

Nokia Chocolate Bar Phone

Asus Tinkerboard

Nvidia GeForce 1080ti

Google Resets OnHub Devices

Seiko channeling Steve Jobs for sales

Tesla Model 3 Production starts

AMD Ryzen Now Up for Pre-Order

Today AMD announced that the new Ryzen cpu’s were available for pre-order at 1PM Eastern. True to form the Canadian retailers partnered for this release were a little slow to the draw but we do have some news to share.

AMD held a media conference yesterday to detail information on the new R7 1800X, 1700X and 1700. We now have more accurate details on specs and on the availability of motherboards at launch. The official launch date is March 2, 2017.

Dr. Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD announced that the new CPU’s not only met their target of 40% more efficiency but surpassed it at a whopping 52% over the older excavator core. That is impressive since my A10-7890k system (CapSupreme) is based on that architecture. To see a 52% performance increase over that chip would be incredible.

According to AMD the R7 1800x is marketed to compete against Intel’s i7 6900k. The R7 1700x is to compete with the i7 6800k and the R7 1700 is to compete with the i7 7700k. Along with that the R7 1700 will be releasing with AMD’s new RGB Wraith Tower cooling solution. Pretty neat.


The chips available at launch are the R7 1800x, 1700x and 1700. The “x” denotes that these chips not only will overclock better than the non “x” counterparts but will automatically overclock another 100MHz over their turbo boost speed depending on your cooling solution.

R7 1800X: 8 Core / 16 Thread – 3.6GHz base clock – 4 Ghz turbo clock – 95W TDP – $499USD/$669CAD on NCIX

R7 1700X: 8 Core / 16 Thread – 3.4GHz base clock – 3.8Ghz turbo clock – 95W TDP – $399USD/$529CAD on NCIX

R7 1700: 8 Core / 16 Thread – 3GHz base clock – 3.7GHz turbo clock – 65W TDP – $329USD/$439CAD on NCIX

Along with the cpus launching there are a select few motherboards also available today from various manufacturers like Asus, ASRock, MSI and Gigabyte.

It’s an odd move for AMD to set up a pre-order on a CPU at least according to most of the media reports and indeed I don’t believe that I’ve heard of this myself for a cpu before but I more or less chalk it up to the fact that AMD is on the bleeding edge of what people like to do nowadays. Pre-orders, like it or not, are here to stay and AMD is taking advantage of this.

I will be waiting on the reviews but I will be seriously considering upgrading, or rather building a R7 1700X system in the future.

You Me and Tech 003 – Robots and AI

On this episode of You, Me & Tech, Cynthia and Jeff dive into the world and history of artificial technology and robots, and reveal the fears that people have with developing this specific technology.

Show Notes:

Cheap gaming mice. Are they worth a shot?

Along with the cheap gaming keyboard shootout that I recently did I also picked up four of the cheapest gaming mice on Amazon to check out against each other. I don’t get too geeky with the specs on these other than what is listed on the Amazon pages. One thing to remember is that everyone has a different hand and different style of grip. For this review keep in mind that I have a large palm but short fingers so I fit small to medium mice quite well. Every one of these mice fits the category of a small to medium mouse. Again we didn’t come up with this list for you to go out and spend your money so we can make money as an affiliate.

Gaming mice seems to be a vague definition but today that seems to mean colourful LEDs and adjustable DPI settings. It’s funny because not that long ago to get mice with these features you would need to spend a lot of money. The most expensive mouse on my list is $14.99 CAD. The cheapest is $7.90 CAD. That’s pretty incredible really. I will be comparing this to the Zowie EC2-A which is my regular mouse. One thing to note. The boxes were so boring for these mice (in fact one didn’t even come in a box but in a ziplock style bag) I’m not even going to talk about them.

I think what we will do is start with cheapest and go to most “expensive”.


POTO 1600 DPI Optical USB Wired Gaming Mouse – $7.90 CAD

The Poto 1600 DPI gaming mouse promises a few things on it’s Amazon page. They say that the design is ambidextrous. Not really. I mean you could use it in your left hand but then you wouldn’t have access to the back and forward thumb buttons. Also the shape just isn’t right for left hand. There’s nowhere to put your thumb. In the right hand thought it fits rather nicely though the mouse is a bit on the wide side for mice. There is a wierd ridge along the middle of the mouse that would take some getting used to and I believe it may give some fatigue after a while.

It also promises that it’s good for internet surfing since it has six buttons and a scroll wheel. This is true enough. The buttons are all there. The main left and right buttons feel pretty good actually for a budget mouse. The scroll wheel is decent and has a good feel. Actually very similar to my EC2-A but perhaps a little tighter and a bit rough. Pushing down on the scroll wheel reveals button number three and it works. Not particularly satisfying to push down on. I perhaps would like a bit more travel in the button. The back and forward thumb buttons feel much less mushy than the EC2-A but they feel like you could push them in to the mouse frame. There’s also a DPI button that from what I can tell changes the acceleration of the mouse movement as the sensor is supposed to be a straight on 1600 DPI. At that DPI setting with I believe is the middle of three settings the mouse feels the most natural.

The led lighting is a nice touch and would fit in with any computer setup as it rotates through the RBG spectrum. It looks very tasteful with the decidedly tribal sort of graphical designs on the mouse. Interestingly the logo on the back portion of the palm rest says “Jite”. I have no idea what that refers to.

Overall the mouse performs like a mouse. It feels OK in the hand with a slightly rubbery outer shell but the width of it may put it out of contention. The mouse has a braided cord which is something even my premium EC2-A doesn’t have.


JETech Wired Backlighting Gaming Mouse – $7.99 CAD

The JETech wired backlighting gaming mouse also makes a few promises but it doesn’t push too hard. It gives a few facts that are nice to know and I think I may even believe them. The specs on the manufacturer’s website are the same as what is mention on the Amazon page. This is not an ambidextrous mouse and JETech does not claim to be one. It actually is really comfortable in the hand reminding me of some Razer designs (that said I have never owned a Razer mouse but the style is similar). It fits my hand quite well.

The mouse features Kailh Micro Switches thoguh I am unsure whether they all are or not. I’ll be honest and say they all from the left and right mouse button to the forward and back thumb buttons feel incredibly consistant. The slightly rubberized coating in nice and the static led lighting looks good as well. If anything the DPI button is too far back on the body. The good news about the DPI setting is that for a cheap mouse it doesn’t feel like the mouse is messing with acceleration. The movement feels very linear on all four settings (800, 1200, 1600, 2000). The scroll wheel is a bit wishy washy in movement but not the worst I’ve ever felt.

Overall I really like this mouse and for $7.99 CAD it is an amazing value. The only thing I could do without is the blaring red LED on the back of the mouse. It doesn’t fit the look of the mouse that great. Maybe a blue one would have been better. This mouse is the only mouse of the four that does not have a braided cord and it does suffer from having a much more tough rubber cord making the cord a bit unweildy. Not terrible but for some that may be a deal killer.


iKross G2 High Precision Optical Gaming Mouse – $9.99 CAD

The iKross G2 IKPC33 as it’s called on the mouse itself is another six button job with many of the same features the other mice have had so far. The specs mentioned on the Amazon page are actually accurate and identical to the iKross product page. This is a right-handed mouse (sorry lefties, I’m sure you are detecting a theme now). This mouse has a great ridge to rest your thumb on which is very remeniscent of the Logitech Performance MX mouse which I recently retired but still love. This is by far the most comfortable of all four mice. My hand fits almost as perfectly to this as my EC2-A.

So all the requisite 6 buttons and scroll wheel are present here and they all feel fantastic. Even the back and forward thumb buttons. The only complaint I have here is the positioning of the scroll wheel. It’s just a little to far forward for my taste but it is still usable.

LED colouring is nice but the rest of the colour choices on the mouse are a bit confusing. The iKross “G” logo is in a bright yellow-green. The led lighting is in blue. And the braided cord is red and black. Wierd choices to be honest. It’s very comfortable though so I’d look over that. The DPI settings again feel very linear again and I don’t detect any acceleration. Very nice. I could recommend this as well to anyone that wants a cheap but decent gaming mouse.


TeckNet Raptor Gaming Mouse – $14.99 CAD

The TeckNet Raptor gaming mouse is the last and most expensive on the list. So far I have been incredibly impressed by what you can get with these budget mice. This is yet another 6 button mouse with scroll wheel with some LED lighting. The Amazon page is factual once again listing the facts on the mouse properly. This mouse is technically ambidextrous but you can only access the back and forward thumb buttons on the left side of the mouse.

The left and the right buttons feel pretty good. The scroll wheel is too loose though not giving much feedback. The pressure required to push on the scroll wheel mouse is actually pretty good. The back and forward thumb buttons are very loud but they are not mushy which is nice and are located actually in the perfect place for my thumb. The DPI button feels good and the settings are set in OK steps (1000, 1600, 2000). I am not sure if this is a true 2000 DPI mouse. It feels like there’s some acceleration in play here.

The shape of the mouse is great until you factor in the ambidextrous design. I am right handed and my pinky has nowhere to rest due to the design. It’s actually off-putting enough that I cannot stand it. Quality wise it feels cheap and theres no nice rubberized feel to it and the plastic feels strong but cheap at the same time. The LED lighting is blue but subtle which is fine. I could not recommend this mouse which is too bad since it’s $14.99 CAD.

I encourage you to read my review on the Zowie EC2-A and while it doesn’t compete in this category it’s worth it to know what a real quality mouse can do. My top pick here is the JETech. Really comfortable. Looks great. Performs well.

RBG Gaming Lounge Podcast 000

Join Dan, Jeff and Cynthia as they lounge around and talk a bit about gaming. We talk about Nintendo, Steam, E3, South Park and Nvidia. We also talk about what we’ve been playing and what the upcoming releases are on console and PC.

1) Nintendo Has “Mastered” the Unreal Engine for the Switch
2) Steam Greenlight Shut Down
3) E3 Open To Public
4) South Park Delayed Again

Cheap gaming keyboards. Are they worth a shot?

In the never-ending quest to help you all at home choose good gadgets on a budget, we picked up four of the cheapest gaming keyboards and mice to test against our everyday higher quality devices.

Today we look at keyboards from Rii, COOKI (Motospeed), Redragon, and Tesoro. With the exception of the Tesoro (which is typically a more expensive product), the Rii, COOKI and Redragon are value and gaming keyboards. The rules for purchasing were simply to search Amazon Canada for keyboards that claim to be gaming keyboards at the cheapest prices.

While you will be getting my personal opinion (Jeff) with all the devices, I will get Dan and Cynthia to comment on them down the road and add their experiences.


Rii 3 Color LED Backlit Multimedia Gaming Keyboard – $26.68 CAD

As keyboards go I am going to start with the Rii (Real internet idea) 3 Color LED Back lit Multimedia Gaming Keyboard. Yup, that’s a bit of a mouthful. To be honest this starts well as the box looks OK. It does not have a picture of the actual keyboard on the cover but it is in full colour. The inside is typical for a keyboard box. Once the lid is open we find the keyboard sitting in a foam-like bag and the cord is wrapped up in a twist-tie. Not a bad start I’d say. Well, it sort of falls apart after this.

The keyboard does not come with any instructions so it’s up to you to figure out how to switch between the three back light colours and the brightness settings. That said, if I looked a little harder I would have found the key combos on the back of the keyboard box. This is actually a smart place to put them, although I doubt that Rii was actually thinking smart but rather how can we save money on the production of this keyboard.

The keys themselves are made of cheap painted plastic that I expect will wear out under high gaming use. The keys require a lot of travel to activate though for rubber dome style switches feel pretty good. The space bar is a bit mushy but performs OK. The narrow enter key is a drag as I tend to miss the enter key and hit the “\”. A bit on the annoying side.

The frame of the keyboard is spill friendly as there’s no bezel around the keys but instead the keys are mounted to a flat frame. Oh, and the frame flexes. Badly. In fact, while reviews on Amazon would say otherwise, this frame really makes for an even more mushy keyboarding experience if you are not a light typist. It does have rubber feet and risers so there is a bit of adjust-ability. The keyboard is light enough that it feels like it may move around on you, though I never actually experienced this myself while typing.

I typed up this section of the review on the Rii. All in all it feels very similar to the cheap keyboards one would received with your old late 90’s computer from Dell or HP. It’s not terrible but for the price I would like to see the frame itself just a wee bit stronger. You do get 3 LED colours and, while they do look nice, they are perhaps a little on the dim side even in a modestly lit room. If the frame was a bit stronger I would recommend this keyboard in a pinch but for serious gaming I would pass.


COOKI Gaming Keyboard, Motospeed K40 High-Speed Professional Ergonomics Wired Gaming Keyboard – $9.99 CAD

The COOKI (or really Motospeed K40 Professional Wired Gaming Keyboard) is second up; not because it’s better than the Rii, but because it’s the second one I plugged in to test. First I should mention that this keyboard comes in cheaper than Amazon’s own Amazon Basics keyboard (17.99 CAD) at the low low price of ten Canadian loonies with free Amazon shipping. I am amazed that one can get a keyboard for ten dollars and it actually works. It can’t be that bad can it? Oh boy. I think COOKI was trying to just hit as many keywords as possible in their title so it would show up in a search for keyboards on Amazon.

Let’s start with the packaging. It looks promising with a full colour cardboard box. The greatness ends there folks. Opening the box you are greeted by a 3×3 inch size piece of tissue paper with what I can only guess are the instruction on how to use the keyboard in what I am also assuming to be Chinese text. Good news here is this keyboard is just a keyboard. There are no real settings to know besides the ones that have been around since nearly the creation of the standard keyboard.

I can’t actually tell what the keys are made out of on this particular unit as I can’t currently find my key remover and the keys are super hard to pull out by hand. They physically don’t feel to bad but have a but of a slightly rougher texture to them. The keys themselves are incredibly mushy. They are not nice to type on though their travel distance is a bit shallower than the Rii so the Motospeed does have that going for it. The space bar is down right junk. It feels like the memory foam on a mattress and rebounds like one. OK a slight exaggeration but I feel like I can out-type the speed of the space bar. The typing action is not satisfying on this keyboard and I don’t think I could wish this experience on anyone. Oh and again the thin enter button. Not a big fan of those.

For a plus the frame is very strong and looks like it could take a bit of abuse. It does have relatively sturdy rubberized feet that keep the keyboard in place as well so if you are one that finds their keyboard moving a bit during use I don’t see that happening with this one.

This section was written with the K40. I’ll be honest, it’s almost the worst experience typing I have ever had. The mushiness of the keys provide no feedback and it feels like you really have to push down on them to get them to work. I say ‘feels’, but you really don’t.  I find myself pushing down hard to get the feedback from the bottom of the key travel since there is very little feedback.


Redragon Karura K502 USB Gaming Keyboard – $34.99 CAD

The Redragon Karura K502 USB Gaming Keyboard is next up. Redragon has been sort of on the leader of the value gaming sector for some time. They have value peripherals that seem to have relatively good features for the price. I am not really familiar with them beyond that but we do have the K502 here to check out. This keyboard is similar to the Razer DeathStalker Essential Gaming keyboard ($65.00 CAD on Amazon).

For being the biggest keyboard it actually comes in the most compact box. The box itself is full colour and shows the keyboard prominently on it. Sliding the keyboard out the side of the box is a different experience but here’s where you can tell Redragon sort of cares about its customers and its devices. The keyboard is not only wrapped in bag but its also surrounded by thick foam on all sides to prevent damage. That’s a major plus. It also comes in a multi-language instruction manual. This is another step in the right direction, though I found it relatively intuitive to figure out the functions and controls on this keyboard.

This keyboard breaks a few rules when it comes to gaming. I have never seen a chiclet style keyboard ever advertised as a gaming keyboard but those of you who are used to chiclet keyboards shouldn’t have a problem with this keyboard. I do find myself missing keys every once in a while due to the spacing, but part of that has to do with my small fingers. Travel distance is short on average for this style of keyboard. The buttons don’t inspire a ton of confidence with every once in a while a key doesn’t register. I don’t think that this is a hardware issue in this case but a result of the style of the keys. The backspace button feels tough to press which is a bit annoying considering I do have to correct my typing every once in a while on this keyboard.

The multi-colour backlighting on this keyboard is really good. It shows up well in bright light and can be adjusted duller as well. Even the Redragon logo lights up. My only wish would have been seeing the red LEDs that indicate the status of num, caps and windows button locks would change colour with the rest of the keyboard. And yes, this keyboard does have a Windows key lock.

The keyboard is almost as thin as the Rii earlier but manages to be much stronger. It also has a wrist wrest that though hard it still feels nice while typing. I typically prefer no wrist rest but in this case it works really well. Sadly there were no rubber feet included with my keyboard and it loses marks for that. I know from the reviews it is supposed to come with some to stick on and I can clearly see where they would go on the board. Without those feet this keyboard, while a decent weight, moves around quite a bit. I should also mention that the USB cable is braided on this keyboard in black and red, which is a nice touch.

I wrote this section with the K502 and it was a pretty good experience. In fact it was the best so far. I may take a look at their other products in the future. I would not hesitate to recommend this keyboard to anyone as long as they are fine with chiclet style keys which can be turn off for many.


Tesoro Tizona TS-G2N (BK) Black Mechanical Switch with USB Hub 117.28 CAD (bought at 44.86 CAD)

The final keyboard I have is actually a bad choice overall when it comes to cost. I bought it at 44.86 CAD which I think must have been a typo on the sellers part as immediately after purchasing the price jumped up to 117.28 CAD. And looking at Tesoro’s other keyboards this looks to be a pretty regular price setting for them. Which means in this case I got a ton of value for the money. Remember folks, it’s always a good idea to watch prices online because you mey be surprised to see what you can get for your dollar.

OK that said, let’s go over the keyboard. The box is the most premium of all with a flip up panel proudly displaying the keyboard behind some plastic. This keyboard is also a tenkeyless design which is the first of that design I have ever had which also makes the keyboard box the second smallest of them all. It’s not protected as well as the Redragon K502 but it is secure in its box. It did not come with a manual, which is fine as this keyboard does not have any special functionality. Yes, another keyboard with no backlighting. For the price of this keyboard I think that is something that should have been guaranteed. After having keyboards with backlighting, the lack thereof is really hard to get used to even though I am not staring at my keys all the time to type.

This keyboard, unlike the Redragon K502 follows all the gaming rules precisely. First, mechanical switches. Check. They aren’t Cherry switches, but Kailh. This doesn’t bother me much though many people say the Kailh switches aren’t as consistent in quality as the Cherry equivalents. This are black mechanical switches as well which are linear in feel like the Cherry Reds. I don’t much care for the red switches so it seems to have paid off to go with black as the pressure to press them is not quite as high. At least that is the case with this particular example. The switches all the way around on this particular keyboard feel very consistent right down to the backspace and space bar. There are a few complaints on Amazon about inconsistent quality but that does not seem to be the case with this keyboard. If I would complain about anything it would be the three little buttons below the space bar: I don’t understand why they exist considering there are lots of function keys that could be assigned their functions. I find that I inadvertently hit them with my thumb when I’m resting my hand on the keyboard and not typing. It then pops up a window that asks to do something and I constantly have to hit Esc to get out of it. A little annoying, but with proper typing etiquette one shouldn’t really notice.

There is no backlighting as mentioned before but you can buy a version of the Tizona with backlighting with static or RGB flavours. If I was to buy another of these I would have to get one with a backlit. It should be mentioned that this keyboard comes with a built in USB hub with two ports and even a DC port for extra power delivery for the ports; a really nice touch that I would like to see more often on these higher end keyboards.

The keyboard is of pretty average thickness and the frame itself is incredibly rigid. No wrist rest but as I have stated in the past that’s not really a big deal to me.

I wrote this section with the Tizona and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this keyboard to anyone, gamer or just office worker. This is seriously one of the best typing experiences I have ever had, though I do think that the price is a little high for this one.

With all of these keyboards taken in to account I really can’t recommend the Tesoro, as it is not really in the spirit of the story considering the actual regular cost of the keyboard. I would have to go with the Redragon K502. I look forward to trying more of Redragons products in the the future.

In comparison to my Cooler Master Storm QuickFire TK (with Cherry Brown or Blue switches as I have one of both), I would still have to go for it for gaming. It has great backlighting even if not RGB or multi-coloured, It’s not as rigid as the Tesoro either but having access to a compact keyboard that still has the num pad is something I really like (even if I don’t utilize the num pad very often). Right now you can buy the Cherry brown switch example on Amazon for 105.92 which, while still a pretty good price, is about fifteen dollars more than I paid for it.

I plan on revisiting this soon as there are a few keyboards that I wanted to test that weren’t available. Keep an eye out for that.

Technobabble | RBG Podcast 012 – Almost a Baker’s Dozen

Join Jeff, Cynthia and Dan as they dive in to AMD, Intel, Samsung, Time Warner, Bell Canada, and the Stark Smart Watch on Kickstarter.

1) Ford Invests Monies In Driverless Tech
2) AMD Ryzen Roundup
3) Intel Fires Back
4) Samsung Factory Fire Triggered by Batteries
5) Time Warner Lawsuit
6) Stark Smart Watch Kickstarter


An NVMeaningful Upgrade? Samsung 960 Evo Review

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the latest in Samsung’s SSD technology (and the latest in Dan’s questionable purchasing decisions): the Samsung 960 Evo.


Haunted by my dwindling storage reserves on my 256GB drive and a desire to test the latest NVMe speeds, I decided to pick up a 500GB variant of everyone’s favourite Korean company’s new shining star.



Using Samsung’s 48-layer TLC V-NAND technology, this particular version of the 960 Evo comes rated at a 3200 MB/s sequential read and a 1900 MB/s sequential write, with a 380k IOPS read and 360K IOPS write on the 4KB random QD32 side.


Coming in on the M.2-2280 form factor, this thing is tiny – coming in at 80.15mm x 22.15mm x 2.38mm according to Samsung. I must say one of the benefits to using an M.2 SSD is the ease of deployment. Gone are the days of mounting a 2.5” drive to a drive cage and running cables to it. Now, you can simply screw the little bugger directly into your motherboard with the single, solitary, tiny M.2 screw included with your motherbo-and oh crap I dropped it into my case fan.



After a couple minutes of fishing with a magnetic-tipped screwdriver, I was back on track and ready to slam face first into the next obstacle – making my M.2 drive bootable. Some motherboards are a bit finicky about booting from an NVMe SSD (if they support it at all – be sure to check before purchasing). You can set your BIOS to CSM (Compatibility Support Mode) and set your PCI-E configuration to EFI if you run into any trouble. For me, I merely had to tweak the configuration setting to “Solid State Drive” and away she went.



After the hurdles were cleared, though, reinstalling Windows 10 was a breeze…followed by an angry gale-force wind of uninstalling all the bloatware and disabling every.single.option for “helpful” spyware that Microsoft so lovingly includes with Windows 10. Thanks, Microsoft!



I immediately noticed incredibly fast boot times, even coming from a slightly older SSD. The PC now boots after POST in ~5 seconds, which translates to about 22 seconds from button press. Everything is snappy and up to snuff. Fantastic.



Now on to the real-world applications; this of course means gaming. Do you notice any real improvements in game performance or load times? Well, no, not really. This one is a subjective eye test of course, but I have not noticed any real change from an older SSD despite costing around $150 CAD more than Samsung’s consumer champion, the 850 Evo.


So in conclusion, is this worth the extra price tag? I’d have to say probably not. Unless you’re absolutely dead set on having the fastest tech, I’d stick with the cheaper 850. I would, however, recommend M.2 regardless (which retails for the same price on the 850), as I do like the convienience over the standard 2.5’’ drive.  I’ve heard they have had overheating problems in the past, but I have yet experience that.


With that said, do I love it? Yes, yes I do.

Oddball Game of the Month – Nefarious

To cater to the secret supervillain in all of us, February’s game of the month is Nefarious.

Nefarious is a 2D action platformer where you play as plucky supervillain Crow, a witty mechanical genius from a long line of bird-themed bad guys. Your goal? Why, to capture princesses to power your death ray and subdue the nations of the world under your iron (mechanical) fist, of course!

In a world full of references to old video games, you must work your way through levels with nothing but your wit, jumping skills, a fist that can punch through blocks so long as they are purple, and a grenade launcher.


The real interesting bit of this game is the boss battles, in which you, of course, are the bad guy. This means you drive giant mechanical abominations of doom and attempt to squish the annoyingly hoppy heroes as they attempt to bring an end to your evil plans.


The platforming itself is decent (despite me being terrible at platforming), but there’s nothing revolutionary. The boss battles and humour is where it really shines.


Unfortunately, this game still has a few glitches to work out. During my run, I fell through the earth to my untimely death on several occasions. Sometimes, after loading the game, the characters on your ship are just missing and cannot be interacted with. On one particularly frustrating level, I kept bouncing off of invisible walls.

The game is also around 3-4 hours unless you are a real completionist, and features two possible endings. A bit on the short side.

For $15 USD/ $17 CAD on Steam, I found it an entertaining venture.