E-BLUE Mazer Mechanical Gaming Keyboard review

Not long ago, we reviewed the Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Keyboard. The STRAFE is truly an excellent mid-level mechanical keyboard, with optional textured keys optimized for gaming, a USB pass-through port, and an attractive red lighting scheme. But it also rings up at $109.99, making it too rich for some budget-minded Windows PC gamers.

Mechanical keyboards simply cost more to make than cheaper keyboard types, so you're never going to find a decent one for less than the price of say, a retail game. But affordable models do exist, such as the E-BLUE Mazer Mechanical Keyboard. The Mazer packs Kailh switches, rainbow lighting, a variety of keyboard shortcuts, and a tiny form factor at less than eighty bucks. Is it a good alternative to brand name mechanical gaming keyboards? Read our detailed review with video to find out!

Form factor

The E-BLUE Mazer is an 87-key keyboard, so it lacks the numeric keypad you'd find on larger keyboards. That could be a plus or minus depending on your space concerns and preferences. Games don't tend to make much use of the numeric keypad, so its absence certainly doesn't affect the Mazer as a gaming keyboard.

E-BLUE Mazer mechanical keyboard review

The Mazer is available with either white or black keys. The base of the keyboard consists of two sections: a steel plate on top and a translucent white plastic underside. The undercarriage sports blue LEDs behind that plastic.

You connect the Mazer to your Windows PC, tablet, or gaming console via USB cable. Said cable is a silver braided cable that measures approximately five feet. The actual USB plug has an E-Blue logo on both sides. I find the cable fairly solid overall though it might be too short for couch gaming.

Note that my review unit suffers from a ding in the steel plate along its left side next to the Tab key. The plastic base has no such dent, so the plate must have been damaged prior to assembly. Minor defects like that are a risk you take with cheaper products.

Kailh Switches

The big differentiators between a mechanical keyboard and rubber dome keyboard are of course the individual microswitches found beneath each key of a mechanical keyboard. These keys provide a uniquely satisfying tactile feedback and sound that you don't get from cheaper keyboards. They also last much longer and can be replaced individually should a switch fail.

Most premium mechanical keyboards use Cherry MX switches, although Razer brand keyboards pack that company's own custom switches. The Mazer features Kailh switches from Chinese manufacturer Kaihua.

E-BLUE Mazer mechanical keyboard review

Kailh switches are simply clones of Cherry MX switches, with similar construction. As I understand it, they don't include gold-plated contacts, but they certainly look and feel very close to Cherries. E-BLUE offers the Mazer with blue, red, black, or brown switches – all equivalent to the same color of Cherry MX switches.

I'm no expert in mechanical switch construction, but the blue switches included in my Mazer certainly provide an enjoyable feel and level of responsiveness. The Cherry MX Red switches of the STRAFE probably feel a tad better, but the Mazer and its Kailh Blues don't disappoint.

A key cap removal tool is not included, unfortunately. You can always get a nice mechanical keycap remover for six bucks (opens in new tab) on Amazon if needed.

E-BLUE Mazer mechanical keyboard review

Shortcut keys

The Mazer doesn't have any unique keys for gaming or media functions. But like other Chinese keyboards I've used, it certainly packs lots of shortcut functions onto existing keys. You activate these shortcuts while holding the Function key, found just past the right-side Alt key.

The most useful of these shortcut functions include the media playback and volume shortcuts. F5-F8 will stop, rewind, play/pause, and fast-forward in media playback apps. F9 launches the system's default media player. F10-F12 control and mute the system volume.

This keyboard features adjustable response time. Pressing Function with Insert, Home, or Page Up will switch between 8ms, 4ms, and 2ms response times. The key for the current response time stays lit up, so you know which one you have selected.

Function + Windows toggles Windows key lock on and off. If you don't want to hit the Windows key while gaming, simply lock it, and you won't have to worry about it.

The remaining shortcuts all deal with lighting modes.

E-BLUE Mazer mechanical keyboard review

Lighting modes

In addition to blue undercarriage lighting, the Mazer includes six different colored lights behind its keys – one color for each row of keys. From the top down, that's red, orange, blue, green, purple, and pink.

You can adjust the brightness of the keys with Function and the Up and Down arrows. Some of the keyboard's lighting modes allow the number of lit keys to be adjusted. At minimum, the current response time key will always remain lit. The undercarriage lights can be fully toggled with Function + Page Break.

The Mazer has a variety of lighting modes accessible with four function key combinations. Check out the video review to see them in action:

  • Fn + Escape: Default, Pulse, and Windows key-only lighting modes. Pulse causes all of the keys to light up and down rhythmically while the latter mode deactivates all lights other than Windows and the current response time key.
  • Fn + Delete: Default, WASD, MOBA, and custom modes. In WASD mode, the W, A, S, D, Left Shift, and Space Bar keys light up. In MOBA mode, the 1-4, QWER, and ASDF keys light up. Custom mode activates the specific key lights you set up in the separate Programming mode.
  • Fn + End: Programming mode. Select which keys will light up – perfect for lighting up just the keys you use in a specific game.
  • Fn + Page Down: Marquee, Ripple, and Single-key modes. Marquee causes waves of keys to light up in horizontally descending fashion. Ripple causes ripples of light to emanate from whichever keys you press. I love it. Single-key mode temporarily lights up whichever keys you press. The speed of these three effects can be adjusted with Function + the arrow keys.

E-BLUE Mazer mechanical keyboard review

Quirky but solid

Other than the complexity of the lighting modes and some of the keyboard shortcuts, the E-BLUE Mazer has only one significant flaw: its key label font. The keys are labeled with a strange industrial font. It looks ugly at best, and difficult to decipher at worst.

The letter B and some of the punctuation marks are particularly tough to make out. A few of the keys have unusual symbols rather than standard English labels too, such as Caps Lock and Shift. Also, the "Program" shortcut on the End key is (seemingly) misspelled as "Progame."

You'll get used to the labels and what all the keys do after a little use, but they serve as a reminder that this keyboard was designed by non-English engineers.

The E-BLUE Mazer Mechanical Keyboard costs $68 from online retailer Gearbest. For the price, the Mazer is a strong 87-key keyboard. You don't get a lot of bells and whistles other than colored lighting effects, but the keyboard itself is responsive enough for gaming and heavy-duty typing.

My only other concern is that almost for the same price, you could get the low-end Razer Black Widow Tournament Edition Essential Gaming Keyboard. That keyboard has the Razer brand name but lacks backlit keys. If you want a bright and colorful mechanical keyboard for a relatively low price, give the E-BLUE Mazer a look.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Love the way that only some keys are lightened up.
  • i don't know.. somehow i find the keyboard on older ThinkPads the best available of all time...
  • "budget minded PC gamers" LOL those exist?
  • Those that throw that money towards other hardware do.
  • Sure. I'm building a budget rig at the moment. I'm happy playing my games on an Xbox One but I would like to be able to play some stuff on a PC. But I don't want to throw thousands at it. Not everyone is a #pcmasterrace or specs war kinda person ;-)
  • Yup. Righto.
  • I don't like the way they look. Logitect K100 Keyboard look better than that. I think hardcore gamers will purchase premium keyboard while mainstream gamers will purchase standart one.
  • No number pad, no ty
  • Name one gamer that uses number pad. That's so 80s accountant lol
  • I use the number pad for number entry when typing or whatever, but never for gaming.
  • Wolf3D, doomsday.. There's 2 :) but really rts game supports it. Well any game for that matter if it uses the number row, all i have to do is press number lock, besides its all about personal interest.
  • I'm left handed and I do use some keys of the num pad...
  • Cheap Chinese crap and the Mazer logo bit is infringing on Razers logo, typical.
  • Logitech > than razer while Mazer and Razer Sounds like LoL and DotA but in poor way
  • Logitech's a fine keyboard maker, but Razer and Corsair have some amazing mechanical keyboards as well. Any one of those companies' mid- or top-tier mechanical keyboards is awesome for gaming.
  • Get a Ducky and stop insulting your fingers. I suggest a Shine 4 or 5. The Shine 5 releases this month sometime, IIRC. Plus Ducky's are such high quality they'll nearly last forever.
  • Naw.... No Numpad means no interest. I am an old gamer from the Wolf3D / Doom days and still use the arrow keys & surrounding keys. Easier to manage where I have my hand without looking down or having to think.
  • The 1970's called....they want their keyboard back ;).
  • I want a new board but nobody is making anything like the merc stealth
  • The STRAFE keyboard is alright, but that spacebar is a clacky beast.
  • Shame it's USB, PS/2 is so much better.
  •   After updating my Gaming PC with: - PS/2 keyboard - VESA Graphics card - ISA SoundBlaster stereo soundcard (great upgrade from Adlib FM btw). I will consider upgrade to a Gravis Ultrasound later.   All I can say is: This PC seems faster!  
  • What's better about it? I didn't even know they still made PS/2 keyboards.
  • Come on. The guy was clearly joking :) PS/2 is dead long ago. Remeber: VESA Graphic Cards is the way to go now.
  • Awesome!!!  I've got a case of VESA cards and one of PCI cards and even one of the venerable 3Com ISA NIC (don't ask lol ).  Heck , I have a veritable museum of every computer I've owned, all the way back to 1983 (Sinclair ZX81 kit) ; I'm not saying I'm cool... More like, I'm old.  And have too much stuff lol.  One realises this when they are forced to move :(( My olf XT Keybioard would still be used, if the DIN to PS/2 to USB adapter axtually worked under Windows (yeah yeah).  I think it's a power issue , was the last reason from years back working with CTG to make a single adapter - and who wants extra power needs for a keyboard... when tghe board itself wasn't designed to handle power in that way, blah blah... Great post,  Made me laugh on a sad day :))   PS: Gravis Ultrasound !!! lol  Where's my QEMM floppy... lol  
  • It's great to see that someone understands the joke :) The old Speccy...Yes, I've had the 48K and the incredible +3 with it's floppy disk drive, yes! Late 80's and the 90's.... Time passes fast! Great times tough :)
  • I think this is priced a little high for missing a large portion of the keyboard that I use a lot. I'd probably go for the newest Corsair or Razor first.
  • Do silent mechanical keyboards exist? I hate the clicking noise on keyboards, and turn the noise off on mobiles & tablets. My G19 (non-mech) is one of the more quieter keyboards I've used, but I have yet to find a non-clicking mouse (a man can dream!)
  • Depends on the switch color. For example, blues are extremely loud as they make the clicky noise. Browns are fairly quiet. Best way to know which switch is for you is to get a switch tester. Also there are Cherry MX Silent switches coming out fairly soon, IIRC. I suggest checking out /r/mechanicalkeyboards for more details on this topic.
  • Corsair is releasing the Strafe RGB Silent soon. It uses special switches that are quieter than normal ones.
  • OK i spent half an hour writing a post and click something and lost it.  Sigh been so long since on PC forums I forgot its best for me to type in my loss less text editor the paste in.  ah well. anyway, since you did the hands on, it seemed pretty positive more than negative.  someone Gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday last week and i normally buy just old religion books (getting doctorate _) , but with the card that makes the cost basically $39. Would you buy one for $39 ( if you didn't get a free one that is lol ).  And for me personally the video highlights something VERY useful for me !  The scrolling colour function would be PERFECT to add light in my bedroom for when i awaken in the dark and stumble around the bed to the door.  The 20 or so LED I have arranged on devices around room help.. IF i wait and adjust eyes.  Normally I forget and just hit a wall,  slam the two cabinets i taped together for 32" HD Monitor at foot of bed, trip into stuff, oh and yeah, the window that one time lol.  ( btw where I am moving to i will NOT have this issue as the room is 2x space, has own accessible bathroom including a shipboard cabin size shower that well, i barely fit in it so i Can't fall lol , and a full size hospital bed - though the lights on that are TOO bright and they flicker and a fortune to replace !! ).. I THINK that it looks Bright enough to pretty much be a " night light " almost in that mode.  That would help me a lot since I think with the changing colours it would allow my eyes to adjust far faster , and it is bright.  Oh and btw, the video issue with the keys appearing to blink when solid illuminate, you can see that during the bit showing that scroll function that they DO NOT blink when illuminated.  Just a thought if you want to edit that video and pop up text bono there to " prove " that.  Why do they flicker like that anyway in the video?  Just curious.  Well, since that paragraph, I have fallen asleep a few hours and discovered my spill proof mug, isn't. Sigh.  And the http session has prolly timed out... we Shall see lol ...Anyway sorry for this rambling message but maybe it make s enough sense to you.  If I try and edit it down, ill prolly wind updeleting it all again.  Thanks for the review and taking time to read this message.  Cheers! -Derek ps: i found spell check so that should help lol
  • Great....  That wasn't a PM .  I'm a moron .  A moron with about 30 years IT experience , and about every cert that mattered at the time ( the REAL way ) .  Read my bio if you care about why I am disabled .  Sigh . So now... WOULD A FORUM MOD PLEASE DELETE THIS POST AND THE REALLY LONG STUPID ONE ABOVE ? Many thanks ! :))