Alienware isn’t really known for amazing gaming peripherals, in fact, due to their own ecosystem, some people put them dead last, but they aren’t low quality or anything. They are just aimed toward Alienware owners because their design and aesthetic matches the current generation of PCs and laptops that are out. This is only the second Alienware keyboard I’ve ever used as the last one was released almost a decade ago. I have to say, this keyboard definitely caters to this generation of computers, and especially my Area-51m R2 in white. I have the matching mouse and headset, so why not try the keyboard right?
Well, I’ve always been against using full-size keyboards with laptops so what’s the point? There’s a keyboard built into the thing! However, with the emergence in popularity with 60% mini keyboards, I decided to try this first at a lower cost, and while I don’t mind it, a full-size keyboard does not pair well with a laptop, especially with a chunky braided cable. Even wrapped up and held with a cable tie the thing was always in the way and the cable was so stiff I couldn’t really get it to sit where I wanted it constantly pushed the keyboard back and hit my mousepad and whatnot. While this isn’t an issue on a desktop I’m not going to knock points for this as it’s obviously a full-size keyboard meant for desktop PCs.
When it comes to looks Alienware nailed their current design blueprint. It matches my laptop perfectly and looks minimalistic. This isn’t a flashy keyboard with lots of macros and gimmicky spinning things and whoopdy-doo-dads. There’s a volume wheel and that’s pretty much it outside of standard FN media keys. The low profile is nice and thanks to this the keys are raised up away from the base plate. I did notice some deck flex in this thing, probably due to the low profile design, but it wasn’t noticeable while typing. The keys themselves are Cherry MX Reds so there is some clicky noise when typing. There are multiple RGB lighting zones, but for those who don’t want to install the Alienware Command Center for RGB control the keyboard has built-in lighting effects to cycle through which look nice. I didn’t have to install any drivers on my Area-51m R2 and Command Center just recognized it. There was no firmware update needed either.
Typing on the keyboard feels nice. The response of the Cherry Reds is great, but I did hear a little pinging when typing, but it was only with particularly hard presses. There is a USB 3.0 passthrough on the keyboard, but it requires a separate cable to be plugged in, so what’s the point of the passthrough then? I guess it could bring a USB slot closer to you as an advantage, but if you don’t need a USB slot closer to you right at your keyboard then don’t bother plugging it in. Overall, the keyboard is mostly recommended for current Alienware owners who want to keep their aesthetics matching, but for anyone else I wouldn’t really bother as there’s not too remarkable about this keyboard that the competition hasn’t already done or done better. But, if you want a minimalistic RGB keyboard with nothing fancy going on then this is a great choice as most gaming keyboards can be pretty gimmicky and flashy.