Ajazz AK60 “FirstBlood” Mechanical RGB Keyboard Review

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Introduction & Specification

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{showerthoughts} If Rambo was a gamer, I wonder what keyboard he would use.

Hello dear readers, I am back with another mechanical keyboard review, this time my desk is holding an Ajazz AK60 Mechanical RGB “FirstBlood” Keyboard at a comfortable typing height.

Ajazz is based in China, I have been aware of the company for about 4 years, they produce keyboards, mice, and other gaming peripherals and are mainly geared towards the eastern markets, however you can buy their products from places like Amazon and Banggood.

Doing some investigating, the Ajazz AK60 uses Ajazz’ own branded red switches, I am interested to see how these compare with other red offerings from the likes of Cherry and Kailh. First though a rundown of the specifications and features of this keyboard.

Features

-Anti-ghosting 110-key Keyboard

-Key click, RED Switches

-Multi-Colour Dynamic RGB Backlighting for Virtually Unlimited Customization
Every single key can be assigned with a unique backlighting colour.

-Programmable Keys
create both single key and macro definitions, with the ability to activate a combo with the single press of a key. The macro editor also allows users to set and edit the millisecond delays between keystrokes.

-Durable
Keys can bear 50 million times keystrokes. Made of metal material, with matte-finish texture, it is sturdy and robust enough to protect it from scratch, bump and corrosion.

-Complimentary Key Cap Puller Tool
We offer you a key cap puller for free. With this gadget, you can pull your key caps easily when you want to clean your keyboard or frequently change your key caps.

Specifications

Colour: Black

Key Quantity: 110

Product Size: 458x154x40±0.5mm

Weight:1300g±20g

Working Voltage: 5.0V DC

Interface: USB interface with copper plating

System support: IBM Unified Kernel, Microsoft windows XP/ Win7/ Win8/Win10, iOS

Mechanical Switch Type: Key click (RED switch)

Current: 5mAh-150mAh

Key Elastic Force: 60±20gf

Key Stroke Travel: 4.0±0.3mm

Key Lifespan: 50,000,000 times strokes

Software: Gaming Keyboard Driver 1.0

 

Well it says that the colour is black, however the top metal plate that surrounds the keys is more of a brown colour, you used to see this on HiFi components back in the 80’s and 90’s, let’s bring up some pictures so you can see what I mean.

A Closer Look

Keyboard

ak60 box front

First up the box and as you can see it is quite a minimalist packaging design. The FirstBlood and Oriental text are the only imagery on the box. The whole thing is black, it doesn’t even have the Ajazz AK60 name and model number on it. This is actually quite nice, no marketing blurb just an unassuming yet slightly ominous monolithic presence.

ak60 box contents

Getting everything out of the box and we have a slightly familiar looking keyboard, a warranty certificate with no English on the parts that get filled in, a manual that calls the keyboard Aureole-Alloy instead of AK60 which however does have instructions for the FN functions that control lighting/media etc. We also get the free keycap puller, which is of the better wire variety and features a blue switch tester on top.

ajazz ak60 keyboard topside

So here is the keyboard, and how attractive is that? The Ajazz AK60 is quite a weighty affair coming in at just over 1.3Kg on our kitchen scales, it does have some design similarities to the DAS Professional 4 range with the wheel off to the right-hand side. This is used to control volume and lighting depending on the mode set by the button beside it. The cable comes just above the F12 key and is a thick braided affair with a gold plated connector on the end, which the specification describes as copper but it looks just like the gold ones to me. The keycaps have front legends on them leaving them very smooth and blank on top, I find these to be quite slippery, as my readers will know I prefer textured keycaps for grip. The Ajazz AK60 does have an HIFI quality feel to it, which brings me to another similarity, as I mentioned earlier the keyboard is described as black, but it is in fact brown in colour on the very pleasant metal top plate. It reminds me of the 80’s and 90’s HIFI components finished in a brown brushed aluminium like this, which took me a while to find a half decent picture of one.

aiwa stack

Now I find myself wanting matching shiny brown brushed aluminium components to go with the keyboard.

ajazz ak60 keyboard bottomside

Getting to the bottom side of the keyboard is achieved with a quick flip over. Here there are 4 rubber pads to stop it moving around during use, and two flip up feet which also have rubber toes, so you can change the angle of the keyboard to suit your preference. Embossed into the casing is a large AJAZZ logo along with a label with some information such as part number and serial number.

ajazz firstblood

No Ajazz logo to be found on top of the keyboard, just Firstblood engraved into the bottom right-hand corner. This does seem to be a habit with Chinese manufacturers, some putting the name or model just above the arrow keys, but generally a very clean casing with nothing cluttering it up.

ajazz switch

The red linear switch has Ajazz as its name, in the past Ajazz had used Zorro switches, it looks like either these or others have been brought under their own brand. The clear housing suggests these switches are replicas of Cherry RGB red switches. They bottom out a little easier than Cherry reds so are just a little lighter to type on.

ajazz ak60 cable

The cable as mentioned is a fairly thick braided affair which does give off a sense of quality, the gold plated USB connector continues the quality offering, although I have yet to notice any difference between a gold connector or a plain aluminium one.

ak60 keycap puller

The included keycap puller has to be one of the best I have seen included with a keyboard so far. The addition of a switch tester on top is a nice little touch, it is a blue switch giving you an idea of the sound/spring resistance and actuation point of the Ajazz blue switches. I wonder if they include a red one with their blue switched keyboards? The puller is pretty sturdy and I had no issues using it.

ajazz ak60 keyboard running

Attaching the USB plug to the back of a PC brings the keyboard to life, the illumination is very well done, the front legends while being opaque have enough transparency for the colours to shine through, this is a very attractive keyboard, the quality of the RGB lighting is as good as any I have seen. As usual with many backlit keyboards the Ajazz AK60 includes an FN key and plenty of options to change the lighting modes from the usual breathing or rainbow scrolling right down to configuring the colour of each individual key, using the dial on the top right in lighting mode with the speaker/light button allows dimming and on/off of the lighting as the dial can be pressed. In sound mode, it changes the main system volume and mutes when pressed. Using FN and the windows key locks and unlocks it for use by gamers or people using any editing software that doesn’t want an interruption from an accidental windows key press. There are other media and application functions available on the F keys too, this keyboard has many tricks up its sleeve. Interestingly rather than putting play/pause and track-selection buttons on F keys, they have their own flat buttons under the lighting and sound control selector.

Software

A keyboard driver is also available for the keyboard, while this is not included in the box, it can be downloaded from the Ajazz site here.

I had some difficulty getting the right keyboard driver initially, the site could really do with an overhaul, near the bottom of the keyboard page there is an Ak60 RGB Mechanical Keyboard English–2016/12/13 link (this was the latest driver at the time of writing). This link downloaded a file with this name 黑爵AK60幻彩驱动20160901V0101保留自定义蒙版英文.rar.  To start with its a RAR file, so a decompression application such as Winrar is required to unpack it. The executable is also a very long file name containing characters that prevented it from running on my PC, I was getting a runtime error, I even tried different packages, the Chinese version installed but was unreadable once launched. In the end renaming the file to AK60install did the trick and I finally got a readable installation done.

software main screen

Opening up the software written by a company called Acresso we have the main screen which has various options available, first of all, there are three configurable profiles, this is great if you want to have different settings depending on task or environment. There is also a Report Rate or polling rate that can be changed, this has four stages from 125Hz to 1000Hz which is normally something you would find on a mouse, being able to fine tune this to your liking is a great feature especially if the switches are capable of keeping up. A lighting mode option allows you to go through the different pattern modes available. Clicking on a key on the keyboard allows you to assign it a task or even another key, this could be useful to assign a key to any desired task. If it’s a repetitive task then you’re going to want to venture into the Macro area.

macro programmer

In the Macro section, you have all the tools you would expect to program functions into individual keys with a macro recording function.

While the software doesn’t have the clearest interface it is completely functional and you soon get used to it.

Performance & Testing

With its weighty build and full size frame, the Ajazz AK60 really makes its presence felt on the desk, it is an undeniably attractive keyboard with just about all the bells and whistles you could wish for, which at this price point is very encouraging. Of course all that is great, but what it really boils down to is how the keyboard feels and performs during use.

General Use

Of course, with a couple of thousand words to hammer down, one great way of testing this Ajazz AK60 is by writing out the review. The keycap shapes help keep my accuracy in check, with the slippery nature of the top surface fighting against those great shapes, I do mention my issues with slippery keycaps quite a lot, it is something that is very important to me personally, I am sure others will find them spot on. Of course, this is never the end of the keycap story because as ever they are replaceable with any Cherry stem compatible keycaps that match the layout of the keyboard. I am very tempted to have a full switch out of caps on this keyboard. Another thing I am finding with these Ajazz red linear switches is that as they have a weaker spring than their Cherry counterparts, they bottom out pretty much all the time, saying that I think I generally bottom out browns and blacks too due to my old school typing tuition. These switches would definitely benefit from ‘o’ rings, so I will probably have a go with some that I have when trying out alternative keycaps. ‘O’ Rings are a very inexpensive way to reduce noise from a keyboard that allows them to be fitted to the keycaps and I can recommend them as a possible solution even just to try out considering you can grab a bag full for less than £2.

Everything else about the keyboard is absolutely spot on, the lighting works flawlessly, the volume control is very handy especially as a quick mute button.

Gaming

The Ajazz AK60 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard needs to now show its mettle while being tested on some games so here we go.

Right off the bat, I am upping the polling rate to 1000Hz, if I am pressing a key, I want the PC to know about it, then off into Counter Strike Global Offensive I go, and yes, the keyboard does it’s job without me even having to think about it. Fantastic response from the keys, not one bleep or missed movement due to the NKRO preventing input group errors.

Battlefield 1, a high-end game demanding lots of PC resources, was still happy with my 1000Hz polling rate on the keyboard.

I really cannot fault this keyboard in any of the games I used it with. The keyboard has a very solid base, it will take quite a bit of heavy-handed use, although that is never advised we all know how intense games can get. I would say the AK60 is easily as solid as a Corsair or Ducky keyboard.

Conclusion

Ajazz appears to be making a bold attempt to expand their marketplace, the AK60 being a product that appears to be testing the water to see how successful they can be outside of China. Armed with both productivity features as well as desirable gaming features it certainly is a contender.

Performance

With its variable polling rate and linear mechanical switches this keyboard is as responsive as any I have used. Typing is comfortable with the Ajazz switches bottoming out a little easier than your Cherry mainstream switches, which would be due to a weaker spring. NKRO works well to avoid keypress failures in games and there were no issues with any of the extra functionality such as lighting and macros. The software does however need a bit of a facelift and the download web page and filenames need to be overhauled to make it more approachable and easy to install, once installed however it does work.

Design

The Ajazz AK60 is very, very attractive, the design similar to a DAS Professional 4, it has a premium look which is less garish gamer style, it would look great in an office as well as next to a gaming rig. This keyboard is pretty heavy, I measured it at around 1.3Kg on our digital kitchen scales, it has a solid metal top plate in a rather attractive brown tint which reminds me of old stereo stack systems and the switches are mounted on a metal plate whereas the base tray for everything is a solid plastic material. The Ajazz switches are a nice clone of the latest Cherry red RGB switches with less force required to bottom out, it would benefit from some ‘o’ rings. The keycaps have the legends on the front which while white, allow the RGB lighting to shine through with a striking effect, the only downside to these keycaps is that they feel a little flimsy and are very smooth so are slippery to use. Keycaps are of course down to personal preference but I would have liked to see some PBT or equivalent at this level. The volume/lighting wheel has a quality feel to it, it is quite solid and movement reminds me of high-quality HIFI components. The thick braided cable and gold plated USB connector serve to finish off the premium feel of the AK60.

Value

Shopping around for the Ajazz AK60 with red switches, as it is also available with a blue/purple switch combo, I found it here at CCL for just under £70 at the time of writing. This is a fair bit less than the competition it is up against; the premium build quality, full RGB capability and macro programming will normally set you back north of £100. You are getting a heck of a lot of keyboard for your money here, only time will tell if the Ajazz switches and hardware build match the quality of the likes of Cooler Master or Corsair.

Final Thoughts

So with the Ajazz AK60, having switches that are unknown to me before this review but showing a very solid performance and build quality, I am going to give this a more long-term run as my main keyboard, giving my Keycool 87II a well-deserved rest. Over a longer period I should be able to ascertain if this keyboard really does provide the value its price tag indicates, the two-year warranty is encouraging although there isn’t an English warranty card. I suppose the question is would I buy one? Well the above mentioned Keycool 87II was a budget TKL chance purchase from a Chinese vendor, I was looking for real Cherry Browns without the price tag and at over three years old the keycool has proved it’s worth. Now it’s time for Ajazz to step up. For now, this keyboard is getting top marks, along with a Gold award and a Value award.

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Ajazz AK60 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value

Summary

Pros:

- Beautiful Design
- Excellent Performance
- Gives the big players some real competition
- Incredible value for money for what you get

Cons:

- Cheap Keycaps
- Software installation not easy
- Longevity unproven/No English warranty

5
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