You may be unfamiliar with the Hexgears brand, but the company has been around for a while, and the upcoming Venture is its third attempt at creating a superior typing (and gaming) experience at a more affordable price. Unlike previous attempts, which were met with some minor criticism, the new Venture mechanical keyboard promises to be one you actually want to type on. There are plenty of features included to help entice PC owners too.
The company sent us a review unit ahead of the October launch and after spending some time with the keyboard, I'm ready to relay my thoughts.
$130Bottom line: Hexgears almost nails it with the Venture mechanical keyboard.
- Low-profile switches
- AA batteries
- Sleek design
- Subtle RGB effects
- Keycap font
You'll love how great it feels to type on the Hexgears Venture
The most important part of a mechanical keyboard is the switch. This is what determines the characteristics of each key and how the keyboard as a whole feels to type (and game) on. For the Venture, Hexgears teamed up with Kailh to use Choc switches in brown, red, and white flavors. This provides some degree of choice, with the brown switches offering quieter tactile feedback, red switches being linear (great for gaming), and white sporting a more clicky feel. All are rated for 70 million actuations, so be sure to rage quit away.
It's good Hexgears used low-profile Kailh Choc switches, as they're among the best in the business. It's the same switch family used in the exceptional Havit mechanical keyboard, but the Hexgears Venture seems to indirectly address all the minor complaints I had with Havit's mechanical typing machine.
The low-profile switches make it feel like you're typing on a laptop, rather than a desktop-class keyboard, but it works. If you could take the accurate, fast-firing keys of a modern Ultrabook and combine them with a sturdy, sleek-looking mechanical keyboard base with reliable switches, you'd get the Hexgears Venture. The Kailh Choc switches feel amazing to type on, and the Venture is no different here.
The review sample we received had white switches installed and I found no issues with any of them after a full week of testing — this review was crafted using the Venture. The actuation point of the white Kailh Choc switches is so short, it's easy to type up thousands of words without missing a single character. The most important aspect of the mechanical keyboard — the overall typing experience — is excellent.
The visuals of the Hexgears Venture are also strong. I wasn't a fan of the older Hexgear keyboard design, but this latest keyboard certainly looks the part. You've got a clean aluminum base — our review sample is the grey version with black keycaps — with low-profile keys arranged atop without a cover shroud. This not only keeps the keyboard looking clutter-free but also makes it easy to clean around and beneath the keycaps. The underbelly of the keyboard is plastic to aid with Bluetooth connectivity.
There are plenty of RGB LEDs here since this keyboard is also marketed as a gaming product, but thankfully the lighting effects are more subtle. Each key is backlit, obviously, but there's also a strip of LEDs that go around the base of the unit. All of this can be configured, disabled or turned up to 11 depending on your preference. I found the rainbow lighting effect with strip and keycaps active to be pleasant to look at without overpowering.
Hexgear hasn't listed a ten-keyless (TKL) option just yet, so you're stuck with the full-size keypad and accompanying function keys. Finally, a row of shortcut buttons can be found at the top of the keyboard, which includes Bluetooth, a shortcut to the Microsoft Store, lighting effect controls, and a full keyboard lock. Media controls are present on F keys, with the option to control which Bluetooth device you're connected to (ability to store up to four devices), alongside macro recordings, and more. It's the full package.
The Venture is a rather heavy keyboard, weighing in at 712 g (around 1.57 pounds). This prevents it from moving around while you're typing away or preparing to score some kills. It's not too heavy for portable use, so you won't mind having it on your lap in Bluetooth mode. The aluminum base flexes very little even when pressing down with considerable force in the middle. It's a sturdy and well-built keyboard.
When you consider the fact that many Bluetooth keyboards like this aren't great, it's good to see a new option for those who enjoy a mix of wired and wireless that isn't terrible. The AA battery usage is an excellent choice since it not only allows you to use your own rechargeable batteries (that charge through the keyboard while it's connected via USB), it also allows for hot-swapping while you're out and about. Simply take some spare AA batteries with you.
The Hexgears Venture has only a few minor drawbacks
I'm not a fan of the keycap font. The letter keys are fine, but Ctrl, Alt, Fn, and other function key fonts are way too large and look strange. If the company was to make any changes ahead of production, I would like to see the font refined a little. However, it is a minor gripe since you won't spend much time gazing down at said keys. The lack of USB passthrough can be a bummer for some people, too.
There's also no supporting software available just yet, which shouldn't be much of a surprise since this is a pre-release unit, but it may be something to consider if you purchase the Venture once it's available. It's unclear whether Hexgears plans on releasing a companion tool suite.
Should you buy the Hexgears Venture?
If you're looking for a mechanical keyboard you can not only hook up to your PC but unplug and use elsewhere, the Hexgears Venture is a solid offering. Even if you only plan on having it connected to your desktop, it's still a stunning mechanical keyboard that offers a blissful typing experience with the Kailh Choc low-profile switches. The price tag may be a little out of reach for many when it comes to keyboards, however, so it may be worth holding off until a TKL or non-Bluetooth version is released.
There's only a single complaint I could conjure up, which was the keycap font. Other than that, it's a stellar keyboard. Hexgears will also include Mac-specific keys so you can use the keyboard with macOS, which is a neat little addition if you reside in a cross-platform PC world. The keyboard is expected to be available for purchase in October 2019.
A sublime mechanical keyboard
Hexgears is taking customer feedback into account and learning from previous keyboards. The Venture is ever closer to competing with established branded mechanical keyboards and is worth shortlisting.
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.