With the Redragon K565, the Chinese manufacturer Eastern Times offers a comparatively inexpensive full-sized mechanical gaming keyboard. Its 105 keys are programmable, conflict-free, RGB-lit and can be replaced by hand. So in addition to durable materials and the Outemu switches used, you get a lot for the money.
At the time of testing, the K565 with German layout is available in the store of Geekmaxi.com for a reduced 38 instead of 58€.
Whether it is a cheap and reliable entry into the world of mechanical keyboards for you or not, you can find out in the following review.
|Type:||Mechanical gaming – keyboard|
|Layout:||German QWERTY layout|
|Connection:||USB – wired connection|
|Backlight:||RGB backlight with 18 lighting effects|
|Key cap:||Double-shot – ABS – keycaps|
|Number of keys:||105 keys|
|Switches:||Hot-swappable red switches|
|Anti – ghosting:||All 105|
|Keyboard driver software:||Support|
|Compatible with:||Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11|
|Weight & Size|
|Product weight:||1.16 kg|
|Package weight:||1.26 kg|
|Product size (L x W x H):||43.5 x 12.2 x 3.6 cm|
|Packaging size (L x W x H):||45.5 x 15.7 x 4.5 cm|
|Price:||€ 47.99 *|
Packaging and scope of delivery
- 1 x keyboard
- 1 x key puller
- 4 x additional outemu switch
- 1 x user manual
Design and finish
Stylistically, the Redragon K565 is kept absolutely neutral and lacks any gaming-specific shapes or imprints. Only the Redragon logo could be considered a design element. The RGB feature, the striking dark color and the used mechanical switch types, which are especially aimed at gamers, otherwise establish the reference to gaming.
Keycaps and switches
105 mechanical keys make the K565 a full-size keyboard, so those who don’t want to do without the right-side number pad, also called NumPad, usually go for this keyboard size.
The keycaps were manufactured using the so-called double injection process, which is supposed to increase their durability. Due to this process, some of the key inscriptions contain gaps, which makes the respective character look unclean at first glance. Apart from that, however, the lettering on the Redragon K565 is sharply defined and easy to recognize. The lower edge of the keycaps facing the keyboard surface is comparatively sharp-edged, but this is insignificant during use. The other edges of the K565 are pleasantly rounded.
The K565 uses mechanical switches from the Chinese manufacturer Outemu, which are cheap copies of more expensive Cherry switches. According to the manufacturer, they are supposed to withstand 50 million keystrokes, be dust-proof and hot-swappable. They certainly made a good impression on us in terms of quality. You can read more about the switches below.
Case and cables
Both parts of the case and the keycaps of the K565 are made of a finely textured ABS plastic. The top of the case, on the other hand, is made of a painted aluminum plate and is visually a bit more coarsely textured than the keycaps, which prevents it from looking like piano lacquer despite being fairly black.
There are four non-slip feet on the case’s underside, plus two more that fold out to improve ergonomics. According to the manufacturer, the keyboard is dust- and splash-proof. The metal plate contributes to the keyboard’s stability, but also to the relatively high weight of 1.16 kg.
The K565’s 1.60m long cable is missing a nylon braided sheathing, which is often used in this hardware category, and which would improve its gliding properties considerably. The USB port is gold-plated and has the type A format.
Practical Test on the Redragon K565
During our test, we used the K565 extensively as an input device for various applications, including this review. Keystrokes were always recognized correctly, and there were no multiple or even missing triggers per keystroke. The N-key rollover function, also called anti-ghosting, reliably ensured that we could always press as many keys as we wanted at the same time without individual keys being ignored or the input stopping.
Ergonomically, we also didn’t notice anything negative. The shape and feel of the keycaps feels familiar. The two rear fold-out feet provide a pleasant tilt of the keyboard.
The volume of the switches is within a tolerable range. For example, it’s a bit quieter than the red Kailh switches on our SPC Gear GK630, but louder than the black Romer-G switches on our Logitech G413 Carbon.
Switches on the Redragon K565
The switches of the K565 are described as “ChromaRGB DUST-PROOF RED” on the packaging. As already described above, Outemu switches are used here, i.e. inexpensive clones of high-quality Cherry switches. The red version stands for a linear switch without acoustic or haptic feedback during operation. Switches with these characteristics are usually marketed for gaming.
The packaging comes with four replacement switches, which should be able to be replaced in a few steps thanks to the included tools, without having to open the keyboard for it or apply the soldering iron, and even while the keyboard is running.
Switch replacement by hand
We wanted to try out the replacement process, but for this we first disconnected the PC despite the hot-swap capability and then removed the keycap of any switch with the red plastic gripper, which was also pretty much the easiest part of the exercise. According to the instructions, we were then supposed to use the metal gripper to enclose the switch at the base on both sides and pull it out towards the top. This only worked after a while with greater effort and repeated attempts.
Finally, however, the circuit board, to which all switches are connected via two contacts each, reluctantly released our candidate. Inserting the new switch and putting on the cap by hand was now easier again. The new switch immediately fulfilled its intended function. Changing the switch was more difficult than expected, but compared to soldering out the contacts as known from other keyboards, it was still done much faster.
Due to the similarity of the Outemu switches to other Cherry clones, the keycaps and switches of the K565 may be compatible with those of other manufacturers. This allowed us, for example, to easily transplant a keycap from our SPC Gear GK630 (Kailh switch) to the K565’s Outemu switches and vice versa.
Windows PC software for the Redragon K565
First, we had to download the Windows app from the download section of the manufacturer’s site and install it.
The first thing we noticed after launching the app is the gaming-typical design of the interface. The app is only available in English and Chinese, is rather sparsely designed and offers the most important functions, though. Thus, all keys of the K565 can be assigned their own functions or entire macros. Macros can be created and recorded beforehand via the macro editor.
In order to be able to adjust the LED function of the K565 via the app, you first have to set the unobtrusive checkmark labeled “Light”. The keyboard comes with 18 predefined LED animations, some of which can be customized. In addition, keys can be colored manually or the LED function can be deactivated completely. We found the “Music Mode” particularly entertaining, which turns the K565 into an audio visualizer based on the current system sound, as known from various audio players.
Adjustments can be saved to three different profiles, which in turn can be exported, imported, and reset.
Overall, we would describe the software as a Trabant in a Porsche outfit. It works and looks chic at first glance, but it is technically only fundamentally elaborated and therefore remains rather a means to an end.
RGB LED lighting
Under each key of the K565 is hidden an adjustable RGB light. This makes complex color gradients and animations possible, which can be selected and adjusted via the keyboard software.
We noticed negatively that pure white was not possible as an LED color and always appeared bluish to us. Other “mixed” colors beyond the basic palette, which we could select ourselves in the software, were also often only displayed as a more or less saturated blue tone. The color gradients during animations, on the other hand, seemed to be rendered correctly. Overall, the colors of some of the selectable animations seemed rather blue-heavy.
The RGB themes can be changed directly via the pressed function key “FN” plus editing keys (Insert, Remove, ImageOn, etc.) of the K565. Here we noticed that depending on the illumination type, a quiet beeping of the keyboard could be heard, which became stronger with increasing brightness of the LEDs and disappeared with deactivated LEDs.
Summary of the test of the Redragon K565
The K565 with German layout is available at the time of testing (December 2022) via the Shop by Geekmaxi.com for a reduced price of 38€. However, we assume the original price for our review, which is between 58 and 60€ depending on the store (currently € 47.99 *). In our opinion, some of the K565’s weaknesses outweigh its strengths here, so we’re awarding it the Silver Award in this review.
The installed Outemu switches ensure a high compatibility with other Cherry-like replacement parts and also appeared to us to be of impeccable quality in the test. The replacement process required some skill and perseverance in our case, but the possibility to change individual switches even during operation without a soldering iron is clearly a big plus.
The aluminum plate makes the keyboard heavier, but also more robust. We still rate the ergonomics as good, even without a palm rest. We rate the build quality and the RGB lighting as mostly satisfactory, but these points are already borderline.
Definitely unfortunate are the sometimes clearly perceptible coil whining in bright LED lighting, as well as the equally clear blue cast in some manually set LED colors. The somewhat meager Windows software and the missing nylon jacket of the connection cable are largely acceptable.
Since there is no accounting for taste, we have left out the simple and thus comparatively somewhat boring design.
The Redragon K565 is a reliable full-sized mechanical keyboard with Cherry-compatible, easily replaceable keys. If you are looking for exactly these features and can overlook the aforementioned weaknesses, you are still well advised with it in the end.