PC gaming can be an expensive hobby, and there's certainly no shortage of companies making great hardware. A good keyboard is at the center of the experience, and whatever your budget, you want a quality product that can deliver when you need it to.
The KLIM Lightning comes from a company you may not be familiar with, but don't let that put you off. This is one of the finest examples of a budget gaming keyboard you'll find.
$28Bottom line: This is a brilliant gaming keyboard with exceptional build quality.
- Great build quality.
- Good key travel and feel.
- Individually-lit keys.
- No drivers or companion software required.
- Fantastic price.
- No QWERTY layout in Europe.
- Fans of macro keys can look elsewhere.
- Cable placement with no built-in channeling.
What you'll like about the KLIM Lightning keyboard
Starting at the top, with the price, it's incredible. For less than $30 you can pick up the KLIM Lightning with it's hybrid, semi-mechanical switches.
As this implies, it's between a fully-mechanical and a fully-membrane keyboard, and the difference to the latter is noticeable. Comparing the Lightning to my Razer Cynosa Chroma, there's slightly more noise (for fans of clicky keyboards), and a longer, more satisfying key travel.
This makes it a worthy keyboard for gamers on a tighter budget. It's not quite the same as a mechanical keyboard, but it's close and a little quieter. The keys feel soft, and your fingers will happily dance around them with only a light press required for activation.
The style is aggressive but tasteful, and KLIM even describes its build as "a tank." That's accurate, as this keyboard has an all-metal frame and weighs over a kilo. There's little danger of it sliding around your desk during a frantic gaming session.
No gaming keyboard would be complete without LED lighting, either, and the good news is it's software-free and as well executed as the rest of the keyboard. Each key is individually lit, and there are seven different solid colors to choose from. There's no disco lighting as you'd get from Razer, but it works and it looks the part.
What you'll dislike about the KLIM Lightning
If you're buying in the U.S., there are no layout issues and you'll be able to pick up a standard QWERTY keyboard. In Europe, however, there's no availability of QWERTY units, leaving folks in the UK either missing out or having to settle for a French, German or Italian option. All can be used with the standard UK layout in Windows, but it's something that could be offputting for some.
There's also nothing in the way of extra keys for fans of macros. Media control makes it in, but if you're looking for extra buttons to map some shortcuts for your gaming fun, this isn't the keyboard for you.
The cable placement is also slightly annoying on the Lightning. It's a high-quality braided cable, which is excellent. But it's situated on the right-hand side, and there's no built-in channeling if you need it to go the other way. It's a minor quibble, but given the positioning of my PC, and the fact it isn't particularly long, there's a bit of a messy setup on my desk.
Should you buy the KLIM Lightning?
There's very little to dislike about this keyboard. There are some things that might mean it's not the keyboard for you, but there's little to fault with what you actually get.
It's better for gaming than a membrane keyboard, while being substantially quieter for normal typing use than a fully mechanical one. It's a very good middle ground.
It actually is built like a tank, too, has subtle lighting that looks good without being overpowering, and the whole thing is backed up by a five-year warranty. For under $30, this is an extremely good keyboard and should be on the shortlist for any budget-oriented gamers. KLIM's Lightning keyboard is far better than its price tag suggests.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine