I recently purchased a Max Nighthawk X8 mechanical keyboard(orange backlight). This is the second mechanical keyboard that I’ve bought. The other is a Das Keyboard S Pro which I will use as a comparison on some notes.
Overall the packaging is very nice. The box seems a little big for the keyboard but there is a lot of padding to protect your new baby. The palm rest which feels like a gel pad is protecting the underside of the keyboard. The board itself is wedged between foam blocks on either end. I don’t remember there being any padding on top. That shouldn’t be a problem because it was packed within another box filled will foam peanuts to protect the top. There is a plastic bag covering the keyboard which protects it from dust and debris. The only thing I did not like was a slip cover over the keyboard box. I’d rather that the image/info be printed directly on the box. The slip cover though is a high end matte black and very nice. The box itself is matte black and stiff. You can tell it’s quality cardboard and what’s protecting underneath is something special.
Appearance and Function
The first thing I noticed was the matte black texture of the keyboard and keys. It has a soft look and velvet feel to it. The weight of the keyboard is significant but doesn’t feel as heavy as my Das Keyboard. There are no distracting logos which is good because I place a high value on my desk looking slick and streamlined/professional. There is a thin ridge and trench outlining the entire keyboard which, as soon as I saw it, knew would collect dust and be hard to clean. I haven’t had the keyboard long enough for that to happen but I know eventually it will. The braided cable is sturdy to the point of being rigid. Once you hook it up though, who cares? The cable connection to the keyboard is off-centered to the right. I don’t have a problem with this but I know others do. The cable is long enough that it’s a non-issue for me – and my rig is setup to the left of my desk. The back stand legs are decent and leave the keyboard at a good angle. I haven’t had any problems typing because of that. The rubber pads under the lower part of the bottom are smaller than the Das Keyboard. I wish they were bigger. The USB and audio ports I have not used at all because I have a USB powered headset that plugs into the front of my tower. The USB ports on the keyboard are low powered which limits their use. I feel like they could have done without them and lowered the cost a little.
The key lettering is centered which I do not prefer but I know that is due to the back light position which is in the center. The function keys row doubles as media keys and the media function symbol is written below the F#. This means the LED cannot illuminate the media key symbol because the connector to the key cap is blocking the light. This makes me sad. Also the space bar has a long bar of clear plastic for the LED to shine through but 1 LED is not enough to illuminate the entire bar. If there were 2 or 3 LEDs under the space bar it would look more impressive. The numlock, capslock, and “G” (gamemode) notification area is well lit. Adjusting the LED brightness is easy and the “breathing” mode is very cool.
The X8 comes with Cherry Brown MX switches which provide a soft tactile bump and are known to be clicky. Compared to my Das Keyboard it sounds less clicky and softer to the touch. This may be due to the finish of the keyboard which is that velvet matte finish. The key faces are a little small. They seem to fall somewhere between cylindrical and spherical whereas the Das Keyboard is a flatter cylindrical shape. I would like it if the key faces were larger like the Das Keyboard because I have fat fingers.
Overall I am very impressed with this keyboard and see myself typing and gaming on it for a long time. It is almost exactly what I was looking for, just needs a few tweaks.