While strapped into our battle stations, fingers at the ready, the XTRFY K4 RGB is no slouch when it comes to a barebones for anyone with a penchant for eSports. It looks great and stands out while staying true to the feel, sound and build quality we come to expect from decades of iterative improvements to mechanical keyboards.
The XTRFY K4 RGB TKL is the little brother of the K4 in a ten keyless form factor. Priced at $179AUD, it comes in 3 colourways: Black, White and Retro - dual-tone greys and accented red keys. If you have XTRFY’s M4 RGB RETRO mouse, this would be the perfect accompaniment.
It features minimal rounded bezel design with a nice incline and adjustable feet for one level of angle adjustment. The sturdy metal plate construction with a reinforced PCB and plastic housing gives it a nice solid weight and includes RGB lighting that is vibrant and smooth - Thanks to the LED mounted on the topside of the switch, directly under the keycaps as opposed to being on the PCB. Connection is via a braided USB cable that is fixed and centre mounted to the top of the keyboard.
The driver-less and software-less features means that you are spending less time messing about with macros and zoned RGB lighting in clunky and often, poorly-implemented software solutions. This allows you to get straight into clicking heads while controlling your favourite tunes using the media control keys and customising your lighting on-the-fly, from the keyboard itself. The keyboard also features a lock function – something I didn’t know I needed until my cat learned that anything and everything can be a comfy place to sit and sleep.
The keyboard has soldered Kailh Red switches – They are linear and have an actual force of 50g which is slightly heavier compared with Cherry MX Reds which have 45g of actuation force. If you’re after tactile or clicky switches, unfortunately you are going to have to look elsewhere as the XTRFY K4 RGB TKL only comes with Kailh Reds suggesting that XTRFY is really wanting to target the eSports genre of gamers with the smooth keystrokes and rapid actuation that come with Reds.
The keycaps are ABS with a smooth surface which feels nice under the fingers. The lettering on each key is clean and crisp with no signs of feathering along the edges or bleed-through even on the brightest light settings. The keycaps are the standard MX style which means, should you want some customisation of your keys there are a plethora of options available to make your keyboard unique.
There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing the notable absence of pings and rattles through the muted and dampened “thock” of a key stoke bottoming-out. The pre lubricated stabilisers on the Enter, Spacebar, Backspace and Shift keys is the secret sauce in achieving that. Gaming and typing on the keyboard is smooth and comfortable as one would expect although my only wish was for the rest of the keys to sound and feel more muted and damped similar to lubricated ones.
The XTRFY K4 RGB TKL certainly lives up to its expectations as being the eSports Pro choice with a balance of enough bling and handy features in a TKL form factor. While the highlights are focused around its barebones nature, some extra brownie points have to be awarded for the nice implementation of driver-less/software-less RGB and functions as well as the Retro colour-way which sets it apart aesthetically. Priced in the sub-$200 range I would class this as a mid-range keyboard that is well worth it’s price tag. However, I feel that there could be room to be a bit more competitive with pricing considering other alternatives in the same segment have more switch offerings which may ultimately sway prospects. All things considered, I would not hesitate to add the XTRFY K4 RGB TKL to the collection if not for its superb performance, then for its nostalgic Retro colour-way.
A list of XTRFY resellers is available here, locally they are stocked by JB Hi-Fi, MWave and Scorptec. DRN would like to thank XTRFY for their support.