Xtrfy K2-RGB Review
Xtrfy might not be the most well-known peripheral manufacturer in the world, but the brand that's part of the world famous (definitely in CS:GO) Ninjas in Pyjamas franchise has slowly been making waves. They make periperhals as part of the NiP organisation, but they don't exclusively supply that specific team; the K2-RGB is one of the most popular keyboards in the (CS:GO) pro scene so it's bound to have some things going for it.
Xtrfy advertise it as being 'the world's fastest keyboard' and it's not hard to see why that can offer advantages for professional players who often find themselves on the biggest stages in the world. The board is also completely plug and play, which is another thing that pro players tend to love. Is this keyboard also worth it for more casual players as well, though? Our reviewer found out for us.
"Built for the highest level of esports, the K2 is trusted by professional gamers around the world."Xtrfy
Xtrfy K2-RGB - First Impressions
The first thing that I noticed before I even opened up the package was the fact that this keyboard is white. It's not a color that you often see for a keyboard anymore and that's a shame to me as I have to admit that I like the look of white peripherals. The K2-RGB is also available in black and that has the exact same specs by the way, so everything you read here when it comes to performance and features will be the same for the black version.
Back to the keyboard, then. Another thing that's easily noticeable is just how much is printed on all the different keys. Aside from the main letter keys almost every key has at least one extra symbol or function on it somewhere. That combined with the Xtrfy logo on the spacebar and above the arrow keys makes for a board that's not exactly subtle when it comes to showing its true colors as a gaming keyboard. Obviously if you buy a white gaming keyboard with RGB backlighting you're not planning on flying under the radar with it, but still. I personally don't mind this, but if you're after a super sleek and understated kind of keyboard this might be good to know up front.
The exterior of the K2-RGB is completely made out of plastic, but there's no real budging or creaking when you apply pressure to both sides. Yes, if you apply a large amount of force to both ends it starts to twist a little bit but I have no doubts about the rigidity of this board in the long run.
The keycaps feel pretty decent and the font on them is very neutral, so if you'd think away the Xtrfy logos (and perhaps all the extra printing on the keycaps) this could fool someone as being any regular old-school keyboard, but of course we know that it isn't. If you need to convince someone that it isn't you can just turn on the RGB lighting, by the way. I'm not someone who absolutely needs RGB lighting on my keyboards (I do want backlighting, but it doesn't have to be programmable per se) but the combination of the white exterior along with the really nicely done RGB lighting does look really impressive, I have to say. There's very little bleed between the different keys and the brightness is on point as well, so if you're into this kind of thing you need not despair.
Xtrfy didn't go through a whole lot of trouble to give you a crazy unboxing experience here, and I don't mind that at all. I prefer packaging that's easy to unpack (and repack) over intricate mazes of plastic and useless accessories anyway.
Inside the box (which has a flap that you can open to view the keyboard in all its glory behind a plastic sheet) you'll encounter the keyboard, an instruction manual (which you will definitely need, but more on that later) and a PS/2 adapter. That adapter is a cool touch, but if there's anything I like to see included with high end/flagship keyboards it's a keycap puller and that's sadly missing here. This isn't the biggest deal since these things cost nothing and I personally have at least ten of them lying around at this point but it's always a thoughtful little addition that can actually come in handy when it's time to clean the board, so maybe that's something they can think about in the future.
Size & Dimensions
Features and build
Despite the fact that the K2-RGB is a full size keyboard it's not as big and bulky as some other keyboards of this nature. There are no extra rows of keys or media buttons anywhere so the overall footprint of this thing on your desk is relatively limited. I will say that I personally prefer TKL (Tenkeyless; without a numpad) keyboards but I obviously can't hold that against this board. Still though, I'd love to see Xtrfy come out with a smaller version of this product in the future.
The keyboard comes with a braided cable that's not detachable, but as far as I'm concerned that's not required for a full size board. What I really like are the routing options they've given you; you can rout the cable straight through the back in the middle, straight out either side of the board, or somewhere in between on either side. I'm not a fan of having many exposed cables lying around on my desk so the fact that you can neatly rout this one is a subtle, but much appreciated touch.
Still on the underside you can find five rubber feet that do a great job at holding the keyboard in place wherever you've decided to put it, and you can pull out a pair of adjustment feet to tune the height of the keyboard if you so desire.
The K2-RGB has fully programmable backlighting that honestly has an impressive amount of options, so fans of eye candy won't feel hard done-by and everything looks amazing to boot, as I mentioned before. One tiny thing to note here is that, since there's no included software, you'll have to adjust everything on the keyboard itself. That's doable (the manual is written in a pretty clear and concise manner) but it definitely has a bit of a learning curve. You can also record macros and of course the keyboard has a gaming mode (which turns off the Windows key and other annoying buttons) and media controls, though those have to be accessed by pressing a combination of buttons.
Performance and every day use
There's only one switch option if you're buying this keyboard and that's the Kailh Red switch. Red switches are often recommended for gaming because they're among the fastest switches out there, and while these Kailh Reds do require a pretty average 50g of force to actuate (click here to learn more about switches) this keyboard feels extremely fast. Xtrfy advertises a 'new super scan technology for instant reaction' on their website, but there's not a lot of documentation on that (at all) so what that means precisely isn't entirely clear to me.
What is clear is that this keyboard has a polling rate of 1000Hz, and according to Xtrfy every key press gets registered and delivered to your PC within 0.001 seconds. While I can't exactly test that second claim I can say that it's one of the faster keyboards I've tested so far, so much so that I had to get used to it for a while before I stopped accidentally typing too many letters. If you've got a need for speed this is one to consider, that's for sure.
Fast or not: if a keyboard feels rubbish to type or game on it's not going to be a pleasant experience regardless of how fast and furious it is, and luckily the K2-RGB delivers here. There is almost no key wobble on any of the keys, and the larger keys (which are on Cherry style stabilizers) are pleasant to use right out of the box with very little rattle. The typing and gaming experience is really nice here, and if you don't bottom out the switches completely (note that I did bottom out the switches in the sound clip to the right) it's a rather silent board as well.
Of course I had to test this 'fastest keyboard in the world' claim in a variety of games and I absolutely loved the performance of this thing in all of the games that I tested. I mostly played shooter games and I never missed a beat, and while this is usually the case (I'm not trying to be arrogant; it's just that a good quality mechanical keyboard won't fail on you once you're used to it) I was pleasantly surprised with how the K2-RGB behaved. I usually prefer Browns for gaming and typing since I like a little tactility but I wouldn't hesitate to use this as my main gaming keyboard, despite the fact that these Kailhs Reds are linear switches. With full NKRO you can also rest assured that every individual keystroke gets sent to the PC, even if you somehow find yourself playing a quatre mains with a friend.
It would be a good idea to create some software to handle the deeper customization of the board, though. Yes, you can do everything right on the board itself and I personally love plug and play peripherals (my PC has enough mandatory pieces of software on it as is) I do have to say that it's a little complicated to record intricate macros or get the RGB lined up exactly how you want it.
Also do be aware of the fact that you can't get this board in a US layout right now as far as I know. I normally use US INTL layouts so the transition to the UK layout that I'm using now isn't that jarring, but I think that adding a regular US layout isn't a bad idea regardless, even if only to reach more potential customers.
Conclusion & Recommendation
I have to admit that I didn't expect a whole lot out of the K2-RGB when I first added it to my list of products to review but it has surpassed those expectations with remarkable ease. This keyboard doesn't offer a whole lot when it comes to features or any premium additions such as a wrist rest or whatever, but it does what it sets out to do beautifully; it's a great keyboard for gaming and it's a joy to look at.
The Kailh Red switches don't feel like a downgrade from their Cherry MX counterparts if you're asking me (the Kailhs require a bit more force to press though) and those combined with the 1000Hz polling rate make it an extremely fast keyboard.
On top of that the RGB lighting is really nicely done, and the whole thing doesn't take up too much space on a desk. Whether that last thing matters is of course subjective, but as a low sensitivity gamer I appreciate keyboards that don't try to impose on my mouse space too much.
Lastly I'll say that, in my opinion, it would be a good idea to develop some software to control some of the more intricate things such as macro recording and detailed RGB settings. It's also a shame that there isn't a TKL version of this keyboard (yet?) since that's my favorite size but that is of course a personal note and that doesn't influence the quality of this particular product.
All in all: a great keyboard for gaming. I don't know if it's the fastest keyboard in the world, but it's certainly one of the faster ones that I've seen. If you're after this sort of thing I can only recommend the Xtrfy K2-RGB, but do be wary that there's a limited amount of available layouts and US isn't one of those at the moment.