The market of mechanical keyboards is filled with a plethora of options, and it can get quite tough for an average consumer to pick the right one. Many aspects dictate which mechanical keyboard suits one best, and one of the most common and prominent factors which command the final decision is the Price. Most mechanical keyboards from big brands like Corsair, SteelSeries, Razer, Logitech etc. are quite expensive, so users on a tight-budget often look for cheaper alternatives from smaller, rather unknown brands while still expecting the same features and feel of an expensive premium keyboard.
Not all brands that sell affordable gaming gear are good, but we’ve been surprised to see that the ones which are actually good know what they’re doing. One such brand is Cosmic Byte and I’ve been using their CB-GK-03 Black Eye Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for quite some time now and I’ll be talking about all that is good with it and all that’s not.
Cosmic Byte CB-GK-03 Black Eye is a full-size 104-keyed mechanical keyboard. It features full RGB backlighting with 13 different effects, 3-level brightness adjustment, 4-level backlight speed and 7 colours. It uses JIXIAN Blue switches, has anti-ghosting for all keys, and each key has a keystroke life of 50 million. All this is housed on an understated aluminium body. It is a wired keyboard and uses a thick braided cable of about 1.8m in length with a gold plated USB connector. Other than that, it has 8 multimedia key functions and comes with a full-length detachable palm rest.
In The Box:
- CB-GK-03 Black Eye Keyboard
- Detachable Palm Rest
- Keycap Puller/Remover tool
- User Manual
- Dimension: 440*160*36 mm
- Weight: 1120 ± 5 grams
- Operating Voltage: 4.5-5.5 V
- Current Consumption: 430mA
- Frequency: 16 MHz
When it comes to electronics, not many people give much importance to the quality of packaging a company provides while shipping, but I believe it is just as important an aspect as the technical specs. So I’ll have to commend Cosmic Byte on that front, the keyboard was received in excellent condition, without any damage to either the packaging or the keyboard itself.
Once you open the packaging, you’re greeted by the black coloured mechanical keyboard and the moment you lift it up, you can tell that this is not some cheap Chinese knock-off, the keyboard gives a pretty strong first impression and feels quite solid in hand. Weighing at just over a kilogram, it certainly has a heft to it, which is something you’d expect due to its Aluminium chassis. The metallic body gives the keyboard a nice premium finish along with sturdiness. The build quality is certainly at par with much more expensive keyboards I’ve seen in the market.
Once you connect it to your computer, the RGB kicks in and it becomes even harder to believe the price this keyboard carries. The RGB has almost zero LED bleeding between each cap. This is because each key is given individual backlighting, which is not a very common feature in mechanical keyboards at this price range. As mentioned before, there are 7 colours for each key and it supports 13 backlight effects with 3 level brightness along with 4 level speed adjustment. All in all, the RGB on this keyboard, although not entirely great due to relatively low brightness, is still the best in its price range and looks quite good. Users can also customize their own Backlighting profile and store them in the built-in memory.
Coming to the keys, the CB-GK-03 Black Eye uses JIXIAN Blue Switches and provides the distinct clicky sound we expect from any Blue switch. The keys are responsive and give a nice tactile feedback. They’re quite well suited for gaming. Obviously, these JIXIAN switches aren’t as good as Cherry MXs but they get the job done. This keyboard can also be purchased with Brown switches for a quieter and more versatile use.
The braided cable is long enough and its thickness guarantees its long-term durability. The palm rest provided with the keyboard is made of plastic and is red in colour. Attaching the palm rest actually makes a whole lot of difference and really makes using the keyboard much more comfortable. The keyboard also features 8 multimedia functions for easy access to several applications and functions.
The Cosmic Byte CB-GK-03 Black Eye is a great keyboard, no doubt about that, but everything has some Cons and this keyboard is no different.
One of the few things most of these affordable peripherals lack is a proper customization software. This is sort of a cost-cutting practice these companies follow as they’re already offering great hardware at a much lower price. Although there is a provision of some onboard customization, it can’t really match the highly-programmable keyboards that some bigger brands offer.
Another thing to mention is the lack of macros on this keyboard, which, honestly, can be overlooked considering its price.
One issue that I faced with this keyboard was with the detachable palm rest. While the palm rest is quite useful and actually improves comfort while using the keyboard, the mechanism to attach and detach it could be improved. A magnetic palm rest would make a lot more sense as the current lock-in mechanism can break quite easily, rendering the palm rest completely useless.
Other than this, some minor drawbacks include the lack of a cutout for cable routing on the underside of the keyboard, no RGB on the spacebar – a simple dash would have done it. Now, these are very minor issues and won’t make any difference to the overall functionality of the keyboard.
In addition to all this, one aspect of this keyboard that I personally do not like is the font it uses. It’s an unconventional font and I prefer cleaner, normally styled letters on my keyboard. Now let me be completely clear, this is purely up to personal taste and preferences. In fact, many of my colleagues actually prefer this font over others.
The Cosmic Byte CB-GK-03 offers amazing value for money for people looking for an affordable gaming keyboard. It checks off all the features and functionalities you’d expect from an ideal gaming keyboard and considering the price it retails at, buying this keyboard is a no brainer. Sure, there are some drawbacks, but almost all of them are quite insignificant and won’t affect the majority of users.
As I’m typing this piece with the very same keyboard, I can assure anyone who’s reading this review, you can’t go wrong buying this keyboard and every penny spent will be worth it.
At the time of writing, the CB-GK-03 Black Eye Keyboard is available at a 30 percent discount on Cosmic Byte’s official website and is retailing at a price of just Rs.2,999.
You can also buy this keyboard at its non-discounted price of Rs. 4,299 from Amazon which in itself is quite a deal considering the features this keyboard offers.