Deciding on the perfect keyboard for a PC can be a difficult task. When it comes to mechanical keyboards, there are many choices available, but you should give HV-KB395L by Havit a look. At just $79.99, you'll be picking up a somewhat affordable mechanical keyboard with a super-slim design (seriously, it's really thin) and some handy features.
About this review
Havit supplied Windows Central with a review sample for this piece. Our unit is the 104-key version but there is an 87-key variant available for those who don't need a number pad (for $59.99).
Havit HV-KB395L specifications
- Keys: 104
- Switch: Kailh PG1350
- Dimensions: 436 x 126 x 22.8mm
- Operating force: 45±10g
- Travel: 3mm
- Actuation Point: 1.5mm
- Interface: Micro-USB
- Weight: 570g
- Illumination: RGB backlighting
Seriously thin design
The first thing you'll notice with the KB395L (official website) is just how thin it is — 22.8mm is seriously thin for a mechanical keyboard. It may look uninspiring but don't let that fool you. The company clearly wanted to keep the form factor as small as possible and it's a positive payoff when we move to the typing experience. Getting back to sizes, this keyboard comes in two variants, one featuring 104 keys and another with only 87 (removing the number pad).
All the keys are raised off the plate without a shroud surrounding, which is great for shining RGB lighting all over your desk and also makes it easier to keep clean. These keys are individually lit with RGB backlighting and caps, scroll, and number lock functionality are clearly illuminated. A chrome edge that surrounds the top plate, which gives it a slight premium appearance.
On the bottom, we have two feet and general model information, which keeps everything simple. The Micro-USB port can be found on the rear towards the center. This can aid in keeping the cable away from any mousepads in the immediate vicinity. Overall, build quality is great, but there is slight flex in the center of the keyboard if you press down hard — it's not something that worried me about its long-term durability, but if you're the type that pounds away on keyboards it's something to keep in mind.
Slim switches, joyful typing
What low-profile mechanical keyboards like the KB395L offer are a chicklet-like typing experience. Think typing on a laptop but with clickier, better feeling keys. The total travel of each key (using the low-profile Kailh PG1350 switches) is just 3mm, which means you can often find yourself reaching the desk after activating each keystroke, but it's a small learning curve that eventually leads to one using less force. Typing on this Havit keyboard is a blissful experience.
While it's mostly down to personal experience, I found myself making far fewer mistakes on the KB395L than the Razer BlackWidow or HyperX Alloy FPS. The layout is standard, but Havit chose to use the secondary function of all F keys for the RGB backlighting.
This means there are no dedicated media controls at all. I understand why with the company not having a software suite readily available for owners to manage backlighting, macros, remapping and more, but once it is available these keys lose their dedicated function and will likely be remapped for media and volume controls. Then you have the issue of these remapped keys having incorrect legends on the caps themselves.
That issue aside, I've had no issue at all typing on the KB395L.
Conclusion: Havit's HV-KB395L is a great keyboard
There are many great keyboards out there, and most of them sport mechanical keys. The Havit HV-KB395L comes from a brand that isn't best known, nor is it considered among giants like Razer, SteelSeries, Ducky and others. But this keyboard offers a solid typing experience and works wonders in-game, all at a more affordable price.
To some, this keyboard may appear to be too thin and the flex may cause some concern but it's a tradeoff that can be easily fixed. Also, there's no software suite to manage colors and other features at the time of reviewing. You'll have to do everything on the keyboard itself, but this will be addressed once Havit rolls out its software package, which should also solve the media key issue.
- Great value
- Great typing experience
- Mechanical keys
- Super-slim profile
- Detachable cable
- RGB lighting is weak on secondary legends
- The thin design causes flex in the middle
- Would be nice to have a software suite (coming soon)
- No media keys
In the end, Havit has released a solid low-profile keyboard with mechanical keys. That's a feat in of itself, but to have such a sound typing experience is icing on the cake. But that's not all, it's all wrapped up in a package that only sets you back $79.99, which is considerably less than more premium alternatives.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.