The Redragon Devarajas K556 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Review: Jack Of Most Tradesby E. Fylladitakis on February 4, 2021 9:00 AM EST
The market of mechanical keyboards has been on the rise for nearly a decade, with an ever-growing number of products and the sales volumes to match. The high margins triggered the diversification of many known companies to include mechanical keyboards into their products portfolio, as well as the founding of many new companies, be it either as daughter companies of established manufacturers or as entirely new startups. Most of these new companies failed to reach a global presence, mainly due to the lack of resources and production capabilities.
Established manufacturers, however, took advantage of the growing market and diversified outside of their region’s borders. One of these companies was Redragon, a Chinese manufacturer of PC gaming peripherals. Although the brand was unknown outside of Asia until recently, Redragon has been around since 1996. They also are one of the largest gaming peripherals manufacturers on the planet, with over 1.000 employees.
In today’s review, we are taking a close look at one of Redragon’s most popular mechanical keyboards: the Devarajas K556 RGB gaming keyboard. Designed by the company to be a jack-of-all-trades gaming keyboard, the K556 boasts top performance, full programmability, RGB lighting, and a very competitive retail price. With its name roughly translating as “god king”, we definitely hope that the product will live up to it.
Packaging and Bundle
We received the Devarajas K556 RGB in a relatively sturdy cardboard box with a carrying handle. The artwork on the box is based on a colorful rendering of the keyboard itself. Inside the box, the keyboard is protected only by a nylon bag, with the walls of the box being virtually the only layer of shipping protection.
Inside the box, we found a user’s manual, a vinyl sticker, a plastic keycap puller, and a metallic switch puller. One can, in theory, replace the switches of the keyboard without dismantling it, either for mixing-&-matching different switches or for replacing a bad switch.
The Redragon Devarajas K556 RGB Mechanical Keyboard
The core design of the Devarajas K556 is similar to that of many other minimalistic mechanical keyboards, with the exception of Redragon adding a few features to aesthetically enhance the keyboard. It has a metallic top and side plates, with chamfered and polished edges, and a plastic bottom frame. The top plate acts as a support for the mechanical switches, with the keys “floating” over it. Redragon’s logo can be seen on a metallic badge right above the arrow keys.
We received the US layout version of the Devarajas K556 RGB. The company fully adhered to the 104 key ANSI layout, with the sole overall deviation being the replacement of the right OS key with an Fn key that allows for additional keystroke functions. Most are simple multimedia functions, but there is a rudimentary macro recording feature available, allowing for the on-the-fly programming of basic keystroke macros. It has a 6.25× Spacebar and seven 1.25× bottom row keys.
Redragon is using a futuristic font on the keycaps, which have both the primary and the secondary characters printed towards their top edge. They also painted the sides of the keycaps glossy black, making them partially reflective.
The bottom side is very simple and plain. There are two large anti-skid pads near the bottom of the keyboard and two smaller pads surrounding the tilt adjustment feet surround. The feet are small considering the weight of the keyboard and will easily fold if the keyboard is forced backwards. Moreover, when the keyboard’s feet are open, the front anti-skid pads barely make any contact with the surface, meaning that the front metal part of the keyboard is what actually touches the desk – which is not healthy for desks made of softer materials, such as real wood. A sticker with the keyboard’s basic data and serial number is present at the center.
Beneath the keycaps of the Devarajas K556 RGB, we find Redragon's dust-proof Brown switches, which are made by OUTEMU. OUTEMU is a Chinese manufacturer that effectively copies Cherry’s products, meaning that the OUTEMU brown switches are an almost direct copy of Cherry’s tactile MX Brown switch. OUTEMU is also using clear plastic for the switch housing, much like what Cherry does with their RGB switch variants. Redragon also copies Cherry’s cross-type supports for the larger keys, even though most keyboards that come with OUTEMU switches stick with the classic bar supports.
The RGB lighting of the Devarajas K556 RGB is crisp and well applied. The basic colors are bright and clear, with minimal backlight bleeding around the keys. Redragon’s glossy keycaps, however, reflect some of the LED lights and it is not a pleasant visual effect, especially when seen from side angles and not from the user’s point of view.
After taking the keyboard apart, we are left with a green PCB and its metal support plate. The assembly job is clean and we can see Redragon applying clear lacquer over the vital parts of the assembly, probably to enhance their resilience against moisture and acids.
The heart of the Devarajas K556 RGB keyboard is branded as an eVision VS11K09A-1 – which, however, actually is a keyboard model number from another Chinese OEM. The actual manufacturer of the MCU is Sonix and the MCU itself probably is the SN32F248B. This MCU is very popular amongst Asian designers and manufacturers. It features a 48 MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 CPU, 8KB of RAM, and 64KB of Flash ROM, which generally tend to be enough for a gaming keyboard.
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Wereweeb - Thursday, February 4, 2021 - linkThere's nothing "inherently premium" about mechanical keyboards. They were very common a few decades ago, and as someone who's used to type for a living, even these Outemus are much better for my fingers than the horrible chiclet keys that became the standard for laptops.
Operandi - Friday, February 5, 2021 - linkFYI, its not decades ago its today. Today if you want a high-end, premium (whatever adjective you want to use) typing experience you get a mechanical keyboard. If you just need a keyboard get whatever is cheap.
psychobriggsy - Thursday, February 4, 2021 - linkI bought an 'Omoton' tenkeyless mechanical for about £24 a couple of months ago. It uses Blue Outemu switches. It's okay, I think the switch sounds a bit 'springy metal'. I suspect a single OEM has made a couple of keyboard designs and these are simple rebrands. The main issue is occasional 'first key response' not occurring, which is odd on a wired keyboard.
mrvco - Thursday, February 4, 2021 - linkMy first MX mechanical keyboard was a Redragon. I only used it for a short period of time due to the noise made by the Cherry Blue (CLICKY) switches, I stuck it in a box and sold it earlier this year for the cost of shipping to some teenager that was happy to get it. I also can't abide the Razer gamer aesthetic, but if you can't or won't pay a bit more for a Ducky, GMMK, etc., then it's probably not a bad deal for a 100% starter mech.
IguanaC64 - Thursday, February 4, 2021 - linkI have owned a Redragon VATA keyboard and it works as well as it did when I bought it a bit short of two years ago. My only complaints about it are the software (not hard to use except for macros, and there doesn't seem to be a continuous loop option for the macros). The LED colors are not very true (really only apparent if you try to make them white). The separate macro keys could not be programmed in the software (macros for the regular keys could be programmed just fine).
On the plus side, you could change the keys out for cherry switches if you wanted and it's supposed to be "spill resistant". It was cool that it came with examples of all the different types of switches inside the box so you had spares or could test the clicky-ness of the different types.
I bought a MSRP $180 Logitech Orion. Software was great and the lighting was great...it was absolute garbage hardware. I started getting a lot of chatter after about 8 months. They sent me a replacement. That one was starting to give me chatter after another 6 months before my son spilled something on it. For such an expensive keyboard, it was annoying that they didn't make it spill proof at all.
I'll take a semi decent/reasonably priced keyboard over a much more expensive one that's going to make me angry when it breaks (esp in the timeframe those Logitech keyboards did) due to incredibly stupid design flaws. My next keyboard will likely be Redragon (but maybe not this one because I really like separate macro keys...games that have anti-macro logic seem to be fine with these types of macro keys).
WaltC - Thursday, February 4, 2021 - linkWhat would be nice in these mech kbd reviews is, first, an included link to the manufacturer's product page, and secondly, some kbd measurements in inches & centimeters (w X h.) I ask because mech kbds tend to be too small for my hands--at least, every one I've tried feels like my fingers are in a straightjacket--not comfortable. This one doesn't appear any larger from the photos. So I tend to stick with non-mech kbds. Seems like a decent price, however, for this kind of kbd.
hansip87 - Friday, February 5, 2021 - linkDunno, but i don't see why people are so willing to buy standard profile mechanical keyboard. i mean my Logitech K740 or even my office's basic K200 is faster to type than my own standard mechanical keyboard with standard profile height. low profile mechanical keyboard should be the norm rather than this tall as heck keys.
RSAUser - Sunday, February 7, 2021 - linkWell considering I am using a wrist wrest and the keyboard feet are out, taller keys are good.
If I wasn't using a wrist rest I'd probably want low profile keys. Do remember, for mech keys you should not be bottoming them out, so it's not an issue that they're taller and is more of a preference thing.
I do want to try out a low profile keyboard for a week or two, currently have only ever used blue, brown and red, settling on brown, always full-sized. Want to try out the Logitech G815, but not really wanting to drop ~$200 on it as a test, and don't have any friends with it (me and about 10 friends swap keyboards with each other whenever someone is interested, have gone through the original K556, coolermaster mk750 (my current), the steelseries 64 something (forgot the suffix bit), a corsair K95 (was very tempted by this one), and a G513 in the recent year or two.
thuckabay - Friday, February 5, 2021 - linkI could never purchase from a company that worships Satan: see Revelation 12:3, 12:9.
m16 - Saturday, February 13, 2021 - linkYou shouldn’t be using satan boxes (computers, smart phones and tablets) then, made by atheist, Hindi and Muslim men and women.