Gaming keyboards are often expensive, and the best gaming keyboards, in particular, typically cost anywhere between $100 and $200. Fortunately, you don't have to shell out a ton of cash to get a quality keyboard thanks to the rise of high-quality budget-friendly options in recent years. One such device is AUKEY's 104-key KM-G12 Gaming Keyboard, roughly half the price of more expensive options but still offers strong core performance. And even though there are a few problems with it, the KM-G12 overall is a great pick for gamers looking to get a keyboard on the cheap.
Quality at an affordable price
AUKEY KM-G12 Gaming Keyboard
Bottom line: The AUKEY KM-G12 is a well-built budget gaming keyboard with some nice features, though it isn't without some downsides.
- Great overall build quality
- Comfortable low profile keys
- Full N-key rollover
- Snazzy RGB lighting
- Blue switches not ideal for gaming
- Can't disable or change sidelights
- Software could use some polishing
What you'll love about this keyboard
The best thing about the KM-G12 is that it's built well and is comfortable to use. The keyboard's chassis is made out of solid, sturdy steel, which isn't always a luxury that budget keyboards have. The low profile keys are also very comfortable to use and properly actuate without issue, and the double-shot-molded ABS keycaps are nice and durable as well. Overall, this budget keyboard punches way above its class in terms of build quality.
Secondly, the keyboard also features N-key rollover, which is always great to see in gaming keyboards. This basically means that your inputs will never be delayed when rapidly punched in, which is crucial for games where you need to pull off quick combo presses.
Finally, the KM-G12 comes with some sweet RGB lighting options. Out of the box, the backlights underneath the keycaps cycle through a rainbow color pattern, but you can tweak the colors to your heart's content in AUKEY's G-Aim software, which is available on its website's downloads section. You can change the lighting effects too, which is ideal for folks who prefer things like flashing or actuation-based lighting. This software also lets you create macros or change keybinds, which is very useful for gamers.
What you'll love less about this keyboard
While I love the majority of what the AUKEY KM-G12 brings to the table, I'm not a fan of the switch choice. AUKEY went with their own "AUKEY Blue" ones here, aiming to imitate Cherry MX Blue switches. These types of switches are directed towards type enthusiasts due to their tactile feedback and clicky sound, not gamers. Some may not mind these types of switches, but I think the vast majority of folks would prefer Cherry MX Red-like switches that have faster actuation and a quieter sound. This is a gaming keyboard, after all.
Secondly, the RGB lights on the keyboard side can't be changed using AUKEY's software, which seems like an odd design decision. This means that regardless of what you set the colors of the key lights to, the exterior trim will have a rainbow cycle. This is far from a serious problem, but people who care about having a consistent lighting theme will be disappointed.
Finally, the G-Aim software could use some polishing. It works fine most of the time, but it can bug out and revert changes on occasion. Again, this isn't a huge issue, but it is a bit annoying.
Should you buy this keyboard?
While I'm not the biggest fan of blue switches, and while it's true that the RGB lighting and software issues are annoying, the AUKEY KM-G12 is nevertheless a well-built and comfortable budget gaming keyboard. It could be better, but it's still great, and it's one of the best gaming keyboards out there to opt for if you can't afford to get a more expensive option.
If you don't like the sound of the AUKEY KM-G12 and don't mind paying more to get something of even higher quality, check out the SteelSeries Apex Pro. If you're looking for a budget-friendly keyboard that gives you quality performance for a low price, though, you should absolutely pick up the AUKEY KM-G12.
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