It’s been a while since I last posted a review on this blog. Surprisingly though, my various SADES headset reviews are still getting a decent amount of hits both on the blog and my YouTube channel.
Today, however, I want to chart new waters by reviewing a keyboard for the very first time. I got in touch with E-Blue a few weeks ago and managed to receive one of their latest products for sampling. I had a lot of fun testing this product out for them and I’m sure you’ll be pretty interested in learning more about this budget mechanical keyboard too. It’s been pretty impressive so far!
What is it?
The E-Blue K729 (EKM729) Black OPS XL is a wired mechanical keyboard featuring Outemu switches (with a choice of blue, black, brown or red), floating keycaps, and LED lights with several patterns and customization options.
Compared to E-Blue’s previously released mechanical keyboard, the K727 (EKM727), the K729 is larger and made to be more tournament grade than it is for aesthetics. E-Blue has maintained the K727’s floating keycap design, light arrangements, and the ability to customize light profiles for the K729. But they’ve now added on to that with a larger body, a larger variety of light patterns, and two extra light profiles (making it go up to a total of five).
According to E-Blue, the K729 has a suggested retail price of US$89.99, but I managed to find it on eBay for as low as US$64.93.
Look at that body!
The main body of the keyboard is made out of plastic, just like any other regular keyboard in the market. But what makes the K729 special is the brushed aluminum plate that covers the face of the keyboard. Most budget keyboards don’t include one and those that do are usually models lacking the number pad or are generally built to be smaller.
The alumiunium plate’s geometric cut as well as its various machine-like designs make it seem like the keyboard is wearing some kind of armor, which goes in line with the kind of aesthetic competitive gamers are going for. If you’re playing to win, you want your gaming peripherals to look tough and resilient. The metal face on this keyboard does just that.
The shiny surface of its face also does great in tandem with the LED lights under the floating keycaps. The bright lights shine through the clear Outemu switch housing and onto the aluminium plate, spreading the colours on a wider space and making them seem more vibrant.
The product images shown online and on the packaging really don’t do the product justice. When I saw the K729’s box for the first time, I was skeptical about how attractive the product would be. I mean it is quite strange to have different colours on each row and in addition to that, the colours didn’t seem all that bright when looking at the pictures.
Seeing the keyboard in action is a much different experience. When the lights shined at me for the first time, I was mesmerized at how much it glowed. The lights seemed to be much brighter than the ones found on my significantly more expensive Corsair K70 keyboard.
Light it up!
Of course, another big highlight of this keyboard is the various lighting effects and profiles that serve as eyecandy for your setup. They’re conveniently accessible by using the Function key on the keyboard, so there’s no need to wait for any software to load up before being able to change anything.
They K729 includes six lighting effects: breathing, wave, marquee, ripple, light shadow, and reactive light. You can see a brief showcase of them here. All lighting effects have five different speeds and four brightness levels, and all generally transition quite well.
Some effects have additional customizations to them. You can change the direction of the wave, and you can choose between having a backlight or no backlight with the ripple effect. Definitely welcome additions to add to the variety of options already available.
The option for creating five different lighting profiles also serves more practical purposes for those who play a few games quite seriously and would like to illuminate specific keys for each of them. The K729 comes pre-programmed with five profiles with some for popular games in Asia such as Blade & Soul, League of Legends and CrossFire.
You have the option to fiddle with these profiles yourself since the keyboard allows you to program your own profiles, which again is accessible through the Function key.
All in all, there’s a lot you can do with this keyboard. The LEDs do have a very slight flickering to them but I don’t think it’s too much of a deal-breaker unless something like that really bothers you. It’s also very possible that the multi-coloured rows could be a turn off for some people, so be sure to think about that if you’re considering buying the K729.
Ow, my wrists.
One thing I would like to see E-Blue to improve on for this keyboard is the wrist support. There’s very little elevation provided for your hands and the feet to prop the keyboard up only gives you one choice for height.
While it’s true that the keyboard was made to be tournament grade — for individuals who are unlikely to constantly move their hands around the keyboard — I’m willing to bet that there will be some budget gaming enthusiasts out there who are looking for a well-rounded keyboard.
With a price so low and a keyboard of such great quality, it would be a shame not to tap into that growing market. So I really hope E-Blue could take this into consideration for their next mechanical keyboard.
I definitely think that E-Blue’s K729 mechanical keyboard is a product worthy to be considered for budget tech and gaming enthusiasts out there. Would probably be best to invest in your own wrist rest but I don’t think that should set you back too much.
If you want to see the keyboard in more detail, be sure to check out my video review! Sound sample of the keys, lighting effects showcase and additional comments are available.
It’s certainly worth a watch if you’re seriously considering this keyboard. 🙂