Xtrfy K2 is a killer RGB keyboard with a few unfortunate flaws
The Xtrfy K2 is one of the best keyboards you can find today ... except when it comes to the RGB lighting.
The keyboard boasts that it's the "world's fastest keyboard," but you may be wondering what the heck that even means. We'll get to that, but in simple terms, the K2 promises exceptional performance and a top-notch typing experience.
And it delivers. No joke, this is one of the best keyboards I've ever used. But it's still not without its flaws, and it's currently only available in Europe.
Here's a quick list of the Xtry K2's technical specifications:
- Available layouts — Nordic, UK, German.
- Illumination — RGB, 16.8 million colors.
- Keys — Standard 105.
- Key cap layout — Step Scalpture2 Type.
- Anti-ghosting — Unlimited USB & and PS/2 N-Key rollover.
- Key switches — Mechanical Kailh Red RGB.
- Special keys and shortcuts — Media controls, gaming mode key, macro keys, illumination setting keys, quick access to Google, Facebook, HLTV, Steam and other websites.
- Connection — USB, PS/2 (PS/2 adapter included).
- Weight — 44 ounces (1.25 kg).
- Size — 440 mm x 140 mm x 35 mm
- Cable — Two meters, braided.
'World's fastest keyboard'
So, what does that even mean? From the manufacturer:
Essentially the response time from the K2 is the fastest you'll find anywhere, and it's on point. I'm not going to argue if it is the fastest, but it's incredible. Even though it's a mechanical keyboard with that satisfying clack as the keys press, you only have to glance over the keys to get your desired action.
It's capable of being one of the quieter mechanical keyboards you'll come across simply because you barely have to press each key to get a response. So your fingers can glide effortlessly across the keyboard.
This has its own negative side effect: It's really easy, at least at first, to make too many mistakes. If you just happen to touch the wrong key, you'll get a response. So it takes a little programming to get your brain and fingers adjusted, especially if you're a touch typist. It's not very forgiving.
The Kailh Red switches are very good, though. The noise if you're giving them some real stick isn't particularly loud, and they're incredibly responsive. From a daily typing or a gaming perspective, the K2 excels in both regards. Unlimited anti-ghosting and built in macro support in particular useful to the latter.
One issue I encountered, and it seems not to be isolated, is a squeaking noise from the left side of the space bar. It's annoying because that's where I press the space key every time, and customers and reviewers alike have experienced the same thing.
A sensible looking gaming keyboard
The K2 might have full RGB lighting, but aside from that, it's a perfectly average looking keyboard. That's what attracts me to it the most. It looks almost boring. There are no aggressive angles or wild design choices.
Not everyone wants peripherals that shout "I AM A GAMER" or look like an extra from Star Wars. This is a well-built, subtle looking keyboard that has the performance you crave without looking like a 10-year-old designed it.
It's fairly hefty for a keyboard, the USB cable is braided, and while it's plastic all over, it's good quality.
I also like that there is a groove running the full length of the underside of the keyboard to help you channel the USB cable to better organize it rather than just leave it flapping about out of the middle. That's a thoughtful touch.
Lighting without software
How the RGB lighting is handled on the K2 will split opinions. Personally, I hate it, and thankfully I'm not so bothered with the LEDs that it spoils what I really love about this keyboard. Xtrfy has taken the approach of having everything accessible on the keyboard and doesn't use companion software to set up macros or lighting effects.
This means you have to read the manual. And even if you do, you might not get where you want to go.
Instead of accessing an app on your PC, you have to execute a series of key combinations to change the lighting or setup your macros. In principle, it sounds great, but in practice, it's confusing. I don't want to have to open the manual every time I want to change something.
The Fn key is at the center, and holding it down will at least show you what lighting mode you're currently in. And turning the lights off completely is easy enough. But I haven't found a static color effect. I don't even really know if it has such a thing.
The principle is good, but the execution isn't exactly straightforward. If it's worse than using a companion app, you should just have a companion app.
The lighting looks fantastic though. It's bright, and the built-in effects are very nice. They're just too difficult to use.
Aside from the ridiculous way you have to change the LED lighting effects, the Xtrfy K2 is pure gold. For all intents and purposes, the Kailh Red switches feel a lot like Cherry MX (something they were going for anyway), and this is genuinely one of the nicest typing experiences I've ever had on any keyboard.
The response time takes a little getting used to, but once you're there it's an absolute dream. Hopefully I can sort out the squeaky space bar. But where it matters, the K2 is a beast. It's definitely a premium keyboard at a list price of €189 ($214). And if you shop around, you'll find it for a lot less than that, on Amazon UK I picked one up on a deal price of £89, which makes it exceptionally good value.
It is, however, only officially sold in Europe right now, at least as far as I can tell.
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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