“Good value” is a term that gets thrown around a lot. To some people it’s a euphemism for “cheap”. Real value, however, comes from something that isn’t necessarily cheap but is good for the price. The SAHARA GAMING R20 is not the cheapest tenkeyless mechanical keyboard to come with RGB backlighting, but in this review we’re looking to find out if it’s still good value.
There is an odd thing that we need to highlight. In a way, this keyboard has already been reviewed once here at Play3r. Back in 2018 Jake took a look at the Drevo Tyrfing V2, and they appear to be exactly the same design. We do have Brown switches this time, but otherwise the difference seems to be the logo on the spacebar. With that said, we’re all still stuck at home and can’t compare the two directly. Regardless, we’re here to assess how good it is – not how original it is.
SAHARA GAMING R20 Keyboard Specifications & Features
|Switch Type||OUTEMU Brown|
|Switch Characteristics||Tactile, Non-Clicky, MX Stem|
|Maximum Key Travel||4mm|
|Switch Lifetime||50 Million Actuations|
|Interface||Wired (USB 2.0 Type A)|
|OS Support (software)||Windows 7 and newer|
|Accessories||Keycap Puller, Switch Puller|
The keyboard also supports other operating systems like Linux and Mac OS. However, the media keys are only supported on Windows.
SAHARA GAMING R20 Keyboard Closer Look
The packaging is minimal but sufficient. A simple cardboard box and recyclable plastic sleeve provide adequate protection without taking too much space. We love to see this – nothing wasted and no landfill.
Sahara include a small booklet with operating instructions in English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Japanese.
The manual covers prebaked RGB effects, shortcut keys, and even the ability to record macros without software.
Visually, this is a good-looking keyboard. The body is made from a solid plastic topped with black brushed aluminium, and the LEDs are very bright with distinct colours. The double shot moulded keycaps provided with the UK version illuminate very nicely. A braided cable completes the look.
Moving to the underside, we see the first set of design features that I really like. Most keyboards have just one set of rubber feet, meaning that in the raised position they’re being pushed at a slight angle. This makes them less grippy, and more likely to peel off over time. Sahara have gone the extra mile with two sets of rubber feet at the front – one for the flat position, and one at a slight angle for when the keyboard is raised. On top of this, they’ve also given the legs grippy rubber ends. This shows a real attention to detail.
A second thing I want to gush over is the cable. A channel in the base allows positioning of the cable in the centre or either side, for better management. There’s also a little panel screwed into the base and, well, I couldn’t help myself.
Behind this little panel, there’s a piece of solid plastic attached to the USB cable. This provides strain relief – if the cable is pulled, this part pushes into the cover. The connection to the keyboard itself is protected.
In use, the keyboard feels great. I’m a very heavy and quite imprecise typist, with big fingers. Despite this, I make very few typos on this keyboard. The keys are well separated, and the fairly long travel no doubt saves me as well. The compact tenkeyless design allows plenty of desk space, and personally I like how high the legs lift the back of the board.
There aren’t dedicated indicators for caps lock, scroll lock and the windows key lock. However, the individual LEDs for these keys change to white when the relevant functions are active. Another piece of thoughtful design is that when the FN key is pressed, keys it can work with also light up in white.
SAHARA GAMING R20 Keyboard Software
The Customize screen allows key reassignment. Keys can be set to mimic other keys, shortcuts, keyboard/mouse functions and macros. You can even set the keys to launch programs or websites. The interface is intuitive – there’s a picture of the keyboard, and you click a key to select it. A new assignment is then selected from the dropdown menu.
The Macros screen allows recording and editing of macros. You can control delay, and also import and export macros. These can then be assigned to any key via the Customize screen.
The lighting screen allows various effects to be selected, or a custom backlight to be designed. Colour can be defined individually per key, from the traditional 16.8 million. Hex codes are supported, in addition to an effective colour picker. You can select multiple keys at once by holding CTRL while you click, speeding up the process of defining an entire keyboard’s worth of backlight. There are also templates from a variety of popular games.
Some cheap “RGB” products can only select from a few colours, or prebaked effects if you’re lucky. It’s great to see full customisation here.
We should mention that since Sahara are still pretty small, the software is unfamiliar to some antivirus programs. The system I’m testing with uses Avast, and the automatic sandboxing caused an error message launching the installer. We still got it installed no problem without disabling the AV – you just need to be patient. We can’t blame Sahara for this, but it’s worth mentioning for anyone who runs into the same issue.
Overall, all the major functions are not just present but working well, with an intuitive and user-friendly design.
The SAHARA GAMING R20 Keyboard Review: The Verdict
We said at the start of this review that real value comes from something that is good for the price, rather that just cheap. This keyboard is very, very good. Every aspect of the design is well-thought-out. There’s a definite premium feel, and very little lacking.
- Compact tenkeyless design
- Very grippy rubber feet
- Lots of thoughtful design features
- Great for typing on
- Intuitive and capable software
- Tenkeyless isn’t for everyone
This keyboard is full-featured, well-designed and a joy to use. With that in mind, the SAHARA GAMING R20 Keyboard is available from Amazon UK for just £59.99. A premium product for a mid-range price definitely qualifies as great value. If a tenkeyless keyboard is what you want, look no further than the SAHARA GAMING R20 Keyboard.
Thanks to SAHARA GAMING for sending a sample of the R20 Keyboard in for review.