Anyone who knows me knows that I collect the best keyboards. I spend a lot of money on them too, shelling out $150 or more on a top-tier mechanical keyboard that looks just as good as it performs. And some people have on several occasions called me out on my lifestyle choice – even though there’s an entire community of enthusiasts doing the exact same thing.
An ex-colleague has even admitted that he’s been using the same superhero-themed non-mechanical keyboard that he got for free for gaming, saying that it’s served him well for years.
This is the fourth in a regular series of articles in which we test really cheap gadgets to see if they're worth even the small amount of money you'll pay for them. Read them all here.
This had obviously left me wondering; if a gaming editor is satisfied using a cheap keyboard for all his gaming needs, and I’m pretty sure thousands of people out there would say the same about their Dollar Store-bought versions, was I misguided in my quest to collect and invest in all these expensive keyboards? Have I been wasting my money all along?
Umm, not so much.
I bought a $15 keyboard off of Temu that looks very and shamelessly similar to the famed Razer BlackWidow V3, one of the best gaming keyboards out there, to test this. I didn’t just choose a random keyboard off of the notoriously cheap e-commerce website, by the way; I actually chose one that actually looks good and premium in the photos and currently enjoys a 4.5 out of 5 rating with over 780 reviews, many of which are five stars.
And let’s just say that I’m sticking with my life choices.
Yindiao K500 Luminous: In a nutshell
That isn’t to say that the Yindiao K500 Luminous gaming keyboard is completely useless, and I’ll get into that more later. Like I said, it’s gotten a lot of five-star ratings on the site, many praising it for its cute aesthetic, lightweight design, and good performance. And while I agree with them to some degree, I’m not entirely convinced.
At only $14.23 (Temu says it’s really $32.19 but discounted 55%, like we should all just pretend that online stores don’t do that to make products more appealing to people), it is an absolute steal. That is, if you want to replace your keyboard every year or so.
|Yes, white, not customizable
Yindiao K500 Luminous gaming keyboard: Design
Disappointment immediately set in as soon as I received this keyboard in the mail. It came in a box that was flimsy enough to be partially crushed during transit, and I could already tell that the item inside wasn’t going to be any better.
To its credit, the Yindiao K500 Luminous does have its advantages. It’s lightweight and the pink variant that I got really does look like the Razer BlackWidow V3 from afar, like from a few feet away if you’re near-sighted. It has the same sort of pink shade as the Razer and similar keycaps as well. And it is a full-sized keyboard, giving you access to the whole set of keys, from the arrow keys to the numpad.
Up close, however, things start to unravel. Like its build, for instance. Unlike the Razer BlackWidow V3, this keyboard is clearly made of cheap, thin plastic – so thin you can actually see some backlight bleed through its thinly-painted top case. That’s good in that it’s actually very lightweight; bad in that if this thing falls off your desk the wrong way, that case will crack. The keycaps aren’t any better, either.
There is backlighting that you can turn off if that’s distracting to you, but you only get the white color, which really isn’t fun when you’re gaming. Also unlike the original, this one has a thinner profile, which means it’s kinder to your wrist and less bulky. In addition, there are two front feet for a better angle. Plus, there’s a lot of space between the keycaps and the top case for the white backlighting to really shine through, which does improve how it looks.
Yindiao K500 Luminous: Features
Because the Yindiao K500 is a bargain-basement product, there aren’t a lot of features to speak of. It is a USB wired keyboard so it’s essentially a plug-and-play. And, like the original Razer, it has three light indicators at the top right corner to indicate power, Caps Lock, and backlighting (which is unnecessary because you don’t really need an indicator to let you know whether that backlight is on or off).
But that’s pretty much it. What did you expect?
Yindiao K500 Luminous: Performance
Admittedly, the Yindiao K500 delivers good performance, and by that, I mean you can type with it all day long and not experience any issues or delays. But, seeing as it is a wired keyboard, that’s kind of the bare minimum you can expect really – although it does experience a bit of lag when you first plug it in or when you’re waking it.
Because it is a membrane keyboard, you’re getting squishy keys. Combine that with the fact that it has a deep actuation (you do have to bottom out the keys for responses), and the experience is really not all that comfortable. I immediately experienced wrist and hand fatigue within 30 minutes of using it, which may be ok for a lot of people but is definitely not if you’re in the know.
Speaking of typing, the keys are wobbly, so wobbly that every single key makes a sound at the slightest touch. And don’t even get me started on the spacebar, which makes a squeaking noise every time you press it – and I mean every single time! Like a little mouse getting tortured.
It’s also not really the fastest keyboard either. While Yindiao makes no mention of its polling rate, I’m pretty sure it’s not ideal for fast-paced, especially considering that you do have to bottom out every key for presses to register. And I honestly wouldn’t count on its build to last all that long when you’re button-mashing.
It certainly pales in comparison to the original, not just in build but also in speed and comfort.
$20 challenge: Is it worth it?
Save your money for a better option is my recommendation here. I’m not saying throw a wad of cash on the table for a premium gaming keyboard, especially if you’re not a collector like me, but the Yindiao K500 Luminous is proof that a bargain-basement keyboard is not the best route, especially if you take your gaming seriously.
It’s ok for typing, if you don’t mind that constant annoyance of the wobble and the squeaks and experiencing wrist fatigue within an hour of using it. However, it’s just not a good gaming keyboard. Get it, and you’ll spend even more because you’re likely to keep buying a replacement.
I would say save your cash, and get a better quality option. In fact, save your money and go the Razer route instead, or check out our Logitech MX Mechanical vs Razer Pro Type Ultra, if you can't decide between the two top-performing mechanical keyboards.
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Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.