Hexgears Impulse keyboard will click with disco chicks

Technology | Jim Rossman 15 Apr 2019

When it comes to keyboards, there's no middle ground. People are particular about the look and feel of their keyboards or they don't care at all.

I know plenty of people who are happy with whatever keyboard ships with their computer. I also know people - most of them users like me who make their living typing - who have a favorite keyboard or even a favorite type of key switch, which is the mechanism that lives under each key.

Gamers tend to like keyboards that give a lot of tactile feedback, and they also like to be flashy, so they're all about keyboards that light up.

I've been reviewing the Hexgears Impulse Mechanical Keyboard (HK$702), which ticks all the boxes for tactile feedback, a choice of key switches and the wildest light show I've seen on a keyboard.

The keyboard comes in two models, one with white keys and white LEDs and one with pudding keys and multicolored LEDs to light things up.

What are pudding keys? I had the same question.

Pudding keycaps (the proper term for the actual keys on a keyboard) are double-injection molded with two different colors of plastic on the sides, so that each key looks like a tiny pudding.

In the case of the Impulse Mechanical Keyboard, the keys are white with black tops.

Because the keys are white around their bottoms, the light from underneath each key shines brightly, but the effect is like frosted glass. I like the look very much.

According to Hexgears, the keycaps are made of PBT, a specially engineered plastic that resists shine and finger grease. It also claims that the main letters will never wear off. I haven't typed near enough to wear off the letters, but the keycaps look really sturdy and feel great when you press down on them.

The Impulse Mechanical Keyboard also has a thin strip of LED lights around the edge of the keyboard's base. The strip can be assigned its own colors.

Sorry, Mac users. The keyboard is only available in a Windows PC version. Actually, it will work on Macs, but the modifier keys on the bottom row are Windows-specific. If you use it on a Mac, but you may want to remap those modifier keys, which can be done through the Mac operating system.

The keycaps can sit on top of the user's choice of switches. The choices are BOX Brown (tactile), BOX White (clicky) or Hako Clear (medium-heavy tactile).

Hexgears says the BOX switches are rated for 80 million presses and come equipped with drainage ports and self-cleaning assemblies.

If you know enough about keyboard switches to know the differences, you are one up on me, but it's nice to have choices. I'm sure gamers and typing purists have favorites.

The keyboards are rated IP56 for water resistance, so don't feel bad if you spill coffee on them.

I'd like to say I loved all the color choices, and I do, but after cycling through all the color options, I started to get distracted. I found myself settling on white backlit keys with a multicolor outer ring.

I wish the Impluse came with more documentation. The instructions were just one short page of key combinations and the functions assigned. I made the mistake of just pressing all sorts of key combinations. Before I knew what I was doing, I was stuck with a light show that made me dizzy.

It took five minutes of reading the tiny cheat sheet and trying different key combinations to get back to plain white backlighting.

Overall, I love the look and feel of the Impulse.Maybe I'm not cut out for keyboard color light shows, but if you like a keyboard that looks like a dance floor from a '70s disco, this is the choice for you.

The Dallas Morning News (TNS)

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