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Bloody B188 Light Strike Keyboard Review

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Gaming Keyboard Final Thoughts

I have to admit that I like the Bloody B188 keyboard better than I liked its more expensive cousin, the B720. Functionally, these keyboards are virtually identical, with the only real difference being Fn-activated media keys on the B188 that the B720 lacks.

The kicker is the price: for $62.99 (Newegg | Amazon), the B188 is less than half the price of the B720, and with identical functionality, and that makes all the difference. The tradeoff, of course, is that only the QWER and ASDF keys use Bloody’s innovative Light Strike optical key switches, while the remainder of the keys are traditional rubber dome switches. Still, this price compares favorably with programmable gaming keyboards from other companies that use all rubber-dome switches.

bloody_b188_backlight

Of course, there’s the issue of the mixed switches: you get both a visual– as shown above– and tactile disconnect between the optical switch gaming keys and the rubber dome everything-else keys. Still, after using the keyboard for a week and typing much of this review on it, I found that I grew used to the tactile difference between the keys and it ceased to bother me. One could argue the aesthetics of the mixed keys, I suppose (Bloody does not supply replacement standard key caps for the gaming keys of the B188 as they do with the B720, but in this case the different key switches used would make that clumsy anyway), but gaming peripherals are expected to be dramatic in appearance, right?

As for the Light Strike switches: well, they have a smooth, linear feel, very similar to Cherry MX Red or Black switches (the spring weight seems to be somewhere between the two). They’re somewhat quieter at the end of their stroke, although not as quiet as the new Cherry MX Silent switches. Bloody says they actuate 1.5mm into the stroke, quicker than the 2mm actuation of standard Cherry switches, although whether this brings any sort of real-world benefit is hard to say.

I do wish Bloody would invest some time in properly documenting their macro utility. The documentation they have, while excellent in sections, is incomplete, and the user is left to attempt to figure out how to use some features on their own.

Bloody B188 Light Strike Keyboard Conclusion

The Bloody B188 is a very functional and reasonably priced gaming keyboard with the advantage of unique mechanical keys for the “gaming” part of the keyboard. A robust macro utility provides extended functionality, including absolute and relative mouse positioning and full editing of macros, although parts of the utility are poorly documented and can be difficult to figure out.

Although there is no metal evident in the construction of the keyboard, it feels very robust and doesn’t flex at all, even when twisted; I imagine it will hold up well to the rigors of gaming. For the price, it’s a competitive entry in the field.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Unique “Light Strike” switches for gaming keys
+ Extensive and versatile macro system even allows mouse movement to be programmed
+ Double-shot key caps and quality construction

Cons:

– Lighting effects are limited
– Key Dominator software needs better documentation
– “Tactile disconnect” between gaming and normal keys
– Only a 1-year warranty?

Ratings:

  • Performance: 8.75
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.00
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 9.25

Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: What do you demand most from a gaming keyboard?

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