Keyboards are core to most people’s daily work. At some point or another, during your day, I guarantee that at least 99% of you reading this post type on a keyboard (whether it be digital, or physical) at least once per day. Gone are the days where these keyboards are all a plain, black matte plastic molded into a single form factor. Nowadays, we have RGB options, different switch options, such as membrane, mechanical and everything in-between, we have wireless options, integrated options, foldable options, the choices are. The Arealer Roarer RGB keyboard I am reviewing today falls into the budget RGB backlit, Blue Mechanical switched, USB wired, 104 key category!
- Full, RGB backlighting
- 16.8 million colours
- 9 preset lighting effects, 21 levels of brightness and 10 levels of animation speed
- 104 keys
- Programmable macros
- Blue switches (unknown brand)
- “Extreme Durable” ABS keycaps, with “dual colour injection for never fading” and supporting up to 60 million keystrokes
- ANSI layout (slim enter key)
- ABS and Aluminium construction
- Full anti-ghosting over all 104 keys
- Non-removable USB 2.0 cable
- Support from Windows XP through to Windows 10 as well as MacOS
Mechanical Switch information
Blue switches are known for being amongst the loudest switch. They’re of the “clicky and tactile variety”, adding a distinguishable “click” sound when pressing the key as well as the noticeable bump when pressing a key.
Blue switches are the most common “clicky” switch and are generally favoured by typists, due to the click and bump – which confirms a key press.
Blue switches are generally not used by gamers, due to the higher “actuation force” required for each keypress, which typically comes in at 50cN. This makes double tapping a key a little harder.
Design and build quality
When I initially pulled the Arealer Roamer out its relatively plain and unexciting brown box, I was pleasantly surprised! Pictures online don’t quite do the front-plate colour justice as it has a slight blue tinge to it, rather than the simple silver colour I was expecting. The keyboard has a fair bit of heft to it, weighing in at 916g (2.020lbs) you definitely notice it if you have to move it around. Saying that, once you’ve chosen the location you’ll be using the keyboard at – that’s it, it’s not going anywhere unless you want it to! The weight and rubberised feet will keep it firmly wherever you place it. Arealer have clearly gone all in in terms of design when it comes to the Roarer.
Sticking to my usual process, moving from top to bottom through the product: the first thing you see are the keys/keycaps. The standard keycaps installed on this keyboard are double injection ABS keycaps, designed for extreme durability and limited colour fade over time. Underneath these keys are some unbranded blue switches. As you can see in the explanation above, these switches are the clicky, tactile bump variety – I’ll go more into the typing experience later on.
The top row of keys have secondary functions to them and by holding down the FN key and tapping each of the F keys you’ll be able to control things such as media, key lock and a few of the preset lighting effects.
Moving further back into the Roarer, you’ll find the aluminium alloy front-plate that has a slight blue-ish colour to it. Branding on the front-plate is relatively minimal, with the keyboard brand and name in the top right, as well as a “PRO GAMING” logo just above the arrow keys. This was a bit of a strange inclusion in my opinion simply due to the fact that they Roarer is making use of blue switches rather than reds, blacks, browns or clears. Sadly, I think this is purely down to the whole RGB = Gamers only perspective of the keyboard market.
Carrying on through the device, we reach the base, USB cable and feet. The base is constructed out of ABS, giving us the aforementioned weightiness. There are two fold out rubberised feet in both top corners and the USB cable is non-removable and non-braided.
Setup and install of this keyboard is dead simple. It’s simply plug-and-play – easy to setup and start using. Whilst the keyboard can run without any extra software, if you want to make full use of the RGB backlighting, you’ll want to install Arealer’s software, which allows you to customise lighting effects, create macro’s and run statistics. This software comes included as a CD in the box, however CD drives are slowly disappearing and I had trouble actually finding one to get the software installed! For those of you that don’t have a CD drive (who does these days?) I’ve uploaded the software to my site, so feel free to download it if you need it!
In all honesty, I really didn’t get along with this keyboard and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I used the Roarer RGB as my daily driver for over two weeks and within those two weeks I found that my wrists ached, as did my fingers. The keys where “spongy”, felt like they had a very short thrown and had a metallic springing sound when released.
The lighting effects, whilst gimmicky, were pretty impressive! There were enough options available to me to have a different animation per day. In reality though, I found that I kept the back-light animation set to “Full-colour gradient” from left to right, an example of which can be seen below.
RGB Lighting effects
As I previously noted, there are a LOT of options with regards to the backlighting on this keyboard – 9 preset lighting effects, 21 levels of brightness and 10 levels of animation speed. There’s even the option to “record” your own custom backlit key layout.
You get the “full” 16.8 million colours to play with per key – so you can customise this until your heart is content! You can see in the GIF above, the choice of colours/animations is endless!
Arealer Roarer software
The Arealer Roarer software has some pretty good functionality to it! It reminds me a little of the Logitech Gaming software, but a little less refined and a bit more…. clunky. As I’ve already mentioned, you have the ability to configure the keyboard backlighting, but there are also some other nifty features within the software such as key press statistics, which shows a heatmap of all keys pressed during the period of recording. This may be useful for gamers, who are looking to only light the keys they use during gaming sessions, with the most commonly used keys at full 100% brightness and the lesser used keys at lower levels of brightness.
You’re also able to record full, custom macro’s and assign them to any key on the keyboard. Once again, this could be incredibly useful for gamers who mash the same key combination multiple times, or even typists who find themselves repeating certain phrases. You could even go insecure and setup your password entry as a macro (do not recommend, but I know people that do)!
The software is pretty clearly laid out and easy to use, however on more than one occasion I found that a change I’d make in the software, wouldn’t reflect on the keyboard without some delay or just didn’t work (such as switching from left-to-right to right-to-left on some backlighting animations). Also, changing lighting effects only changes it in the preview on-screen, not directly on the keyboard without pressing Apply first. This is slightly annoying as it’s one thing to see it on screen and another to see it in-person on the keyboard itself.
Once again, I don’t agree with the “Pro-Gaming” branding on the keyboard, simply because there is RGB backlighting included. The keyboard’s design would’ve been incredibly clean if the slogan had not been included and may even sell/have sold better over time! This keyboard is well-suited to gamers, typists or casual users alike.
I, personally, wouldn’t purchase the keyboard again as-is. It really didn’t suit me and after two weeks of use, I ended up with wrist ache, finger ache and general annoyance at the “sponginess” of the blue unbranded switches. If you’re looking for a keyboard that you’re already planning on switching out the switches – then definitely consider this product!
The RGB backlighting effects, animations and customisability is incredible – especially when you consider the price point of [amazon_link asins=’B01M6UN2HG’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’askanasu04-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’d3f51ae4-705b-11e7-afc0-3b5c73c6be38′]/[amazon_link asins=’B01M6UN2HG’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’askirtandasui-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’dbfd3a32-705b-11e7-96cb-5b91fd736795′]. There are as many, if not more options available here than there would be on a keyboard at twice the price! Typically, at this price point, you’d expect backlighting similar to that of the Geezer GS2 I recently reviewed, which is relatively simple and restricted to a few colours.
The build quality is solid and can’t really be faulted. I’d like to see a braided USB cable, as opposed to a plain plastic/rubber one as this would’ve kept the overall quality tip-top. However, the included non-removable USB isn’t braided and is plastic/rubber, but is pretty thick and is similarly coloured to the overall colour of the keyboard – so no real complaint.
The only area that I feel really needs improvement with regards to this keyboard, is the software. It’s fairly well implemented so far, however it does feel to me that it was developed, left in a “working” state and then never really finished off. There are a few niggles here and there that, if they were sorted – the software would be well above and beyond that of any competitors in the same price bracket and on-par with those more expensive than it.
Arealer Roarer RGB PC software: https://cdn.willstocks.co.uk/download