Our website focuses on all kinds of gadgets; phones, watches, tablets and sometimes even speakers or other toys. But most of these things have something in common, Chinese origin and some kind of mobile technology connection. There were few exceptions like the Xiaomi scales or robotic vacuum cleaners in the past, but today we are entering uncharted territory with reviewing purely a PC accessory. Let the Elephone EleEnter Game 2 keyboard review begin!
Hardware and specifications
The packaging is pretty plain. Except the large box protecting the keyboard itself , there is only a manual with some basic info about changing the modes, backlight etc… Some extra keyboard legs or rubber feet would surely come in handy.
It’s a good idea to mention right away that this is a mechanical keyboard so it’s way above the ordinary level of cheap or midrange membrane keyboards regarding the build and overall quality. The build is reflecting that fully and so is the 80$ price tag, which can be way too intimidating for many people looking for a affordable keyboard.
Because the keyboards is mechanical the keys have a more distinctive and precise keystrokes than for example laptop ones with the scissor-switch mechanism, where you just gently touch the keys. Mechanical switches under the button covers look at the first sight just like the Cherry MX Blue original ones, but their manufacturer is one of the Chinese companies named TTC. Unfortunately I don’t have any Cherry product at home for direct comparison so I can’t say whether the switches are the same or if they have different characteristics. But according to the datasheet the switches should be very close to the original German ones. But with some Google Translate action i managed to datamine some relevant specifications of the switches.
•The switches have a transparent cover with better backlight
•Each switch has its own multicolor LED
•Key travels 4,0 mm, actuation is registered at 2,2 mm ± 0,5 mm
•Actuation force needed is 60 ± 15 gf
•Lifetime of the switch is over 50 million strokes
You could say that the switches are really identical to the original with the only difference being the name. Similar to Cherry MX, the blue switches mainly destined for typing purposes and not for gaming, which slightly contradicts the Elephone claim about a “Gaming keyboard”. But of course you can use it for playing games just fine (my Skyrim lvl 40 character says hello), but real gaming keyboards have different characteristics, but on the other hand not so great for typing. Pick your poison.
The weight of the keyboard is 1.176 kg, which is pretty good considering the usage of quite thick aluminum material and mechanical switches. The dimensions are 470 x 210 x 40 mm.
Design and practical use
The keyboard itself has the top part made out of aluminum and feels pretty good upon touching. The bottom cover is of course made out of plastic, no need for aluminum there. On the other hand aluminum keyboard legs would be much better than the hinged plastic ones. They don’t have the anti-slip rubber feet so the keyboard is slightly traveling on your desk when the keyboard legs are used.
Fortunately there are two big rubber feet in the front which can partially compensate for that. And when you are not using the keyboard plastic legs there are two more rubber feet sections just behind them so the keyboard is then rock solid rooted in place.
Personally i didn’t need to use the legs almost at all, the keyboard is high enough itself and even without the extra padding the typing is good. But of course it depends what are you used to. Each key is separated by a bigger gap than I’m used to and the keys are also a tiny bit smaller, but that’s a matter of minutes before you get used to it, it’s really not an issue.
The key layout is a classical “IBM” layout with the only difference being the smaller Enter key than usual. Rest of the stuff if fairly normal, long Shift keys on both sides, separated key blocks above the arrow keys and independent numerical block on the right side.
The silver USB cable is quite unyielding, but it’s not as annoying as it would be with a mouse for example. And it’s braided so theoretically should offer some better longevite and resistance to wear and tear.
The keys are of course made out of plastic with transparent symbols, which are individually backlit by the LED-equipped switch. Even when I turned the backlight off the symbols stayed visible and so the keyboard was still usable. But why would anyone turn the backlight off when it’s so great…
Backlight is one of the main selling points for this keyboard, at least according to Elephone logic. On the other hand I have to admit that the individual LED backlight for each key is amazing and the quality of the backlight as a whole is great. It’s consistent over the whole key and even illuminates the the gaps between the keys thanks to the transparent cover of the switch. But there are also available optional opaque key covers so the backlight is really restricted on the key dome.
You can toy a lot with the backlight, there are plenty of modes, styles, colors and combinations for everybody . That doesn’t mean you have to set up a miniature disco parlor on your table though. You can choose just one color, tone down the backlight intensity or turn it off completely. It’s entirely up to you.
The change of the backlight modes is done using several shortcuts using the FN key. In combination with the Insert key you can switch between effects like a Christmas tree, a sinusoid, a random blinking or a Knight Rider (this one is cool!). There are more of them of course and you can check them out in the video bellow.
Using the keys PageUp and PageDown you can change the color layout or the color of the backlight. Using the arrows up and down you can cycle through the four-step intensity levels, the left and right arrows change the speed the chosen effect changes. Using the PrintScreen key you can turn the backlight completely.
Then there are two other interesting features. The first are “Game Modes” using the combination FN and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in the top row with special symbols. These modes will backlight only the keys that are used in one of the five preset games or gaming genres (FPS, CF, COD, LOL and QQ race). The second and more interesting mode appears when you press the FN and Home key combination. This mode can customize the settings of the Game mode exactly to the player’s wishes.
Except these changes the key FN is also used for the usual multimedia controls like Play, Pause, My Computer, Search, Player, etc. Shame these symbols are not backlit on the keys F1-F12 so not so visible.
Using the multicolor LED you can get to 16 million color shades even though this number is only theoretical. The keyboard can only display correctly a few dozens of colors. For example pink is not very good (if you ever desired it).
I must say that the backlight is really good and it has really grown on me. It’s homogenous, strong and the colors can be clearly seen even in direct sunlight, but it doesn’t blind you at night and it’s no problem to set the brightness lower.
If you don’t want to customize the keys or backlight directly on the keyboard there is also a small Windows utility program provided by Elephone. It can do all the setup work plus you can create macros or link some multimedia shortcuts without the use of the FN key.
Finally we are getting to the most important part- how is the typing experience with this keyboared Well, for someone who is used to typing on keyboard with a plastic membrane it will be quite a shock, because he will find the response just amazing. You will know exactly when and what key you pressed. Even though the higher stroke is not for everyone, especially for someone coming from the membrane keyboards you can get used to it very quickly and if you give it a chance you will discover a whole new world.
You can only half-press the key, exactly 2,2 mm, and the actuation is registered. The needed stroke force is slightly higher but it just decreases the amount of mistakes one can make when typing, because you have to make some effort.
The keys have the U shaped cover so pretty standard and it makes the keys easy to hit and they don’t wobble any more than any comparable competition.
Ergonomy suffers a bit with the lower row of keys with the spacebar, because the edges are lined up directly against your fingers. It would be much better if at least the spacebar was more rounded and thus more user-friendly for the writing purposes.
There are only two advantages of membrane keyboards compared to the mechanical ones. The first is a price, because shelling out $80+ for just a keyboard can scare many potential customers. The second thing is the noisines and I must say that Elephone EleEnter Game 2 is really a loud keyboard. It’s not because of the switches, those are decently quiet and just pleasantly clicking, but the impacts of the pressed keys into the body of the keyboard and the plastics of the switches themselves emits a pretty unpleasant amount of noise. You can surely get used, but it’s just not ideal and can get on your nerves quickly. On the other hand the key response is fantastic which makes Elephone EleEnter Game 2 a great companion for any writer rat like us at Gizchina.
Summary and conclusion
Elephone EleEnter Game 2 is definitely a good keyboard, perfectly built with high quality backlight and interesting modes. Typing experience is great like on almost every mechanical keyboard, thanks to the excellent response. It’s a shame that “Gaming” designated keyboard uses switches designed for writing purposes mainly but it’s really not a problem and you can play games on it just fine.
The downside is the loudness, which makes is quite annoying to your surroundings especially in the night during long writing marathons.You can get find the keyboard sitting in the $80-$85 price range for example in here or here.
I would like to thank the MGCOOL company for providing the Elephone EleEnter Game 2 review sample for us. You can learn more about this new Elephone sub-brand on their official Facebook, Twitter or website.