IOGear makes a lot of budget-friendly PC accessories, with a dedicated "Kaliber Gaming" brand aimed at gamers. While it released an HVER PRO RGB mechanical gaming keyboard a couple of years ago, the new HVER PRO X is a recent addition that makes a change to optical-mechanical switches. It's an otherwise similar design, so is the extra cost worth it? I used the HVER PRO X as my main gaming keyboard for a couple of weeks to see whether or not it's worth being the next addition to your PC.
RGB Optical Gaming Keyboard
Bottom line: The HVER PRO X brings optical performance with brown mechanical switches, per-key RGB lighting, and supporting software. For the price, it's a tempting buy, but there are some things to consider before making a final decision.
- Macro customization support
- Per-key RGB lighting
- Snappy keypress response
- Solid aluminum chassis
- Anti-ghosting on all keys
- Loud keys with a loose feel
- Support software could be more intuitive
- Metal chassis is a bit overdone
What I love about IOGear's HVER PRO X
The HVER PRO X, much like the sibling HVer PRO RGB, is built into a metal chassis with a plastic bottom. It's solid and heavy enough that it doesn't easily slide around on your desk, helped by rubber pads on the bottom. It can lie flat, but there are flip-out feet that prop it up at a much friendlier angle. The keyboard doesn't come with a padded palm rest like some premium options, but it's comfy enough without. A tool to pull keys is also embedded into the bottom panel. It's a nice touch that makes the tool far less prone to disappearing into another realm (a seemingly common issue in my office).
The full-size keyboard includes a number pad you can use for productivity work or to set up macros with the custom software. Along with the flared metal edges, the board is not exactly compact. It'll no doubt fit fine on most desks, but if you like a minimalist setup, you should probably check out some other options.
The main selling point of the HVER PRO X is its optical-mechanical switches, which IOGear claims are nearly 25% faster than the ordinary switches found on its HVER PRO RGB. The PRO X still uses brown switches for a mechanical feel. Yet, instead of a metal contact inside each one, there's a beam of light (moving from interrupted to uninterrupted) that brings faster and more precise actuation. These optical switches should theoretically last longer than traditional switches.
Anti-ghosting and fast actuation with optical switches make the HVER PRO X a smooth keyboard that's great for gaming.
Actuation feels short, and playing frantic games like Call of Duty: Warzone and DOOM Eternal is as smooth as I've experienced. The board also features full N-Key Rollover (NKRO) for all its keys. This anti-ghosting design cuts down on key presses going unnoticed, which sometimes means the difference between virtual life and death.
Because there are no metal contacts inside the switches, IOGear claims the HVER PRO X is "nearly immune to spills and dust." I wouldn't want to test it out since pouring water on anything with RGB lighting seems like a bad idea, but at least those with pets can pull off the keycaps and wipe the board down with a damp cloth and not be as worried about ruining any internals. The keycaps don't merely have the letters and numbers printed on, either; all are embedded, so they don't wear off.
What I disliked about IOGear's HVER PRO X
The metal cover has a beautiful brushed-aluminum look, but I'm not a big fan of the extra flared metal on the edges. Some might like the stylized approach, but it just seems a bit tacky for my taste. At least when gaming in a dark room, the per-key RGB lighting — which is adjustable for brightness — takes over. In a well-lit room, the LEDs are hard to see, even cranked up to maximum brightness.
Customization is handled through proprietary software that offers plenty of fancy presets and the ability to set up macros for any key on the board. The only gripe is that the software could be a bit more intuitive to better compete with some of the more premium brands on the market.
Finally, coming from my usual Logitech G513 with proprietary "Romer-G" switches, the HVER PRO X's keys are quite loud. It's not as noticeable while gaming and hitting WASD and a few surrounding keys, but sitting down to type even a short message is a bit aggravating. Keys just feel and sound a bit loose, and it's not something I'd like to put up with every day if I was buying a keyboard to double for productivity work.
Should you buy the IOGear HVER PRO X?
The bottom line here is if you're using the HVER PRO X only for gaming, it's going to please. It's no doubt not the best performing optical keyboard on the market, but for the price, it's quite tempting. The keys are annoyingly loud, but that issue is only noticeable when typing for productivity. Software is more on the basic side compared to other options out there; however, it still allows for per-key RGB customization and macro setup.
The HVER PRO X is still relatively new, so it's still demanding a higher price compared to the HVER PRO RGB. If you like the look of these boards and don't mind the metal contacts that don't have quite the same performance (though still great for most gamers), you can pick up the PRO RGB for about $50. Otherwise, you're looking at spending closer to about $90 for the PRO X.
If you prefer an optical keyboard with no bump at all, you'll want to check out something like Razer's Huntsman Elite TE. And be sure to have a look at our roundup of the best overall gaming keyboards for more buying options.
RGB Optical Gaming Keyboard
Great for gaming, not so much for typing
Optical-mechanical switches deliver faster performance than standard mechanical switches, all in a well-built metal deck with per-key RGB lighting.
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