With competition always growing in the peripherals market it comes as no surprise to see decent mechanical keyboards lurking at affordable prices. The affordable boards seem to pack more features each year and it’s no different with this board from Redragon. The K552 Kumara RGB keyboard is a tenkeyless(TKL) board that retails for under £50/$50 yet still boasts impressive specs.
Its a nice looking compact board (80%) that features some very clicky blue Outemu switches, RGB lighting, and some secondary function keys for media and other applications. The board is fairly lowkey in terms of design but it’s visually very attractive with a floating key design encased in a solid sturdy base. First impressions are great but let’s get into this Redragon K552 gaming keyboard review and see how it compares for the price.
- Feels Solid – Heavy base and a good build
- Switches – Clicky and responsive, great for gaming
- Sleek – Simple and attractive design
- RGB – Lighting with some effects
- Plug and play
- Cheap and Cheerful
- Limited Features and customisation
Keyboard Size & Weight
- Weight: 835g with cable
- Size: 80% (TKL)
- Length: 35.3cm – 35.3 inches
- Width: 12.4cm – 4.9 inches
- Height: 3.8cm – 1.5 inches
- Switches: Outemu Blues
- OS Support: Windows XP,Vista,7,8,10
- Media keys: Yes (not dedicated)
- RGB: Yes
- Passthrough: No
- Connection: Wired
- Cable length: 1.8 m
- Cable: Non-braided
Table of Contents
What’s in the box
The first thing to say about the packaging is it’s… nice, the board arrived in a very compact box that’s pretty much the same size of the board. It was riddled in stickers that appeared to be put on by some factory worker as they were slanted or put on wrong not that anyone cares! It’s red and black following the brand and features a picture of the product on the front. One of the stickers advertises you can change out the switches by just using a tool but they don’t provide this tool in the box which is a shame.
Inside we get:
- Redragon K552 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- User Guide
- Cap Removal Tool
Keyboard Design Section
Size & Weight
The Redragon k552 is a TKL board so it sits at about 80% the size of a normal board. Smaller boards are an attractive option for people with limited space or often gamers who play at tournaments and take their peripherals. This board is 35.3 cm long and could easily fit into a small rucksack if required and basically looks like the number pad has been chopped off. It has a width of 12.4 cm and it looks like a very compact board with most of the space being utilised. The board has a standard depth of 3.8 cm which is roughly the same as most boards that don’t feature any low profile technology like the Cooler Master SK630. So overall the size is great and the spacing for typing isn’t something you have to get used to as the board features a standard layout while trimming the edges to give you a visually pleasing keyboard.
The keyboard actually has a bit of heft to it and this is due to a metal base beneath the keycaps, the weight makes the board feel very durable and keeps it planted on the desk. The board surprisingly is heavier than some full-size keyboards some of which to be fair are made of plastic. It’s a good 50 grams heavier than the Corsair K55 which is a full-sized board and thanks to the metal plate its nearly 300 grams heavier than the Cooler Master SK630 TKL board. The fact it’s heavier than some boards shouldn’t put you off as the weight makes the product feel high quality and it’s not like it’s too heavy to carry so there aren’t any issues in the weight department.
There are a total of 87 keycaps on the board all of which were double-shot injection moulded. Of course, being a TKL board there is no number pad which did take me a little getting used to as my hand naturally gravitates to the ‘numpad’ for typing numbers. The caps are made from ABS plastic but the printing process of double-shot is used to create the legend. This differs from the other methods as there are two pieces of plastic used, one with the legend, and one with the rest of the outer material. This process can make some ABS keys more durable than even some PBT keycaps depending on thickness. The caps feel fine and are fairly low in profile with that gentle curve for your fingers but there does seem to be a bit of excess chatter. The keys feel a bit lose and it’s not a real issue but they can even twist around a little bit.
The board features Outemu Blue switches and they are very comparable to Cherry MX Blue with the same clicky noise, tactile feel, and a blue MX like stem, however, they don’t have the bump you feel in Cherry Blues. The switches have an actuation force of 55g which is 5 more than the Cherry counterparts and are a noisy bunch but were very satisfying to type on and accidental pressing was nonexistent. Another interesting feature to the board is the fact you can take these switches out with a small switch removal tool without any soldering and swap them out for an alternative switch that suits you. For gaming, I often prefer the Cherry MX Speed or the MX red as they give me better response times but the bottom line is I can’t notice the difference in-game and these Outemu blues did the job perfectly.
Take a look at our switch guide here.
Design, Shape & Texture, Case/Internals
The first thing you notice from this board is that it is truly compact and appears like a perfect little tray of keys. It’s a sleek board, almost completely black and the overall design is simple yet I absolutely love it. Even when not taking the price into consideration the board is fantastic. The main body is encased in a thick sturdy plastic that has zero give in it, making the board feel sufficiently durable.
The base of the keyboard beneath the keys is a metal sheet which is where the surprising weight comes from. The weight in my eyes is a positive though as it makes the board feel more expensive and prevents it from moving too easily on my desk. The board is pretty much a perfect rectangle with defined corners and a bit of a lip. The Redragon K552 has a floating key design but thanks to the lip it all sits neatly inside the casing which improves the overall aesthetics. There is almost no edge to this board and it looks great, the lip does protrude about 1 or 2 millimetres but that’s it! The board cuts off at the top of the F keys and just below the space bar which helps add to the overall compact look. We have a small amount of branding on the front just above the arrow keys and it looks fine but I’m not sure why they had to put it on a raised bit of plastic I would have much preferred this to be a little bit more subtle.
The underside has two rubber feet towards the bottom for grip and 2 extendable feet at the top. The extendable feet actually feel of better quality than Corsair keyboards and they do come with a rubber coating but I’m not a fan of this extra grip as it makes it harder for me to slide the keyboard back and forward. That being said the feet didn’t collapse when I moved the keyboard around it just makes the board vibrate. The cable is a pretty standard 1.8-metre non-braided cable and unfortunately, you can’t detach it but it’s not a major issue and it feels thick and durable.
Features & Performance
The Redragon K552 version we have here is the slightly more expensive RGB board which retails at around £45/$45 and it’s worth noting if you don’t really care about RGB you can save a few pennies. The Non-RGB versions of the K552 are around £10/$10 cheaper and give the same level of performance. The RGB on this board isn’t bad and it comes with a few preprogrammed effects for you to customise your board with which is a nice touch. The RGB as you would expect isn’t particularly vibrant, especially in a bright room but with the lights off this will satisfy your flashing light needs. There are 6 different effects to cycle through by using the Fn key +’Insert’, ‘Home’, ‘Pg up’,’Delete’, ‘End’, or ‘Pg dn’. These different keys let you switch between a backlit option, full RGB wave, and a few other cool effects. The RGB isn’t as vibrant as a board with Cherry MX RGB as the lighting is coming from the boards base and shining through a gap in the switch itself, with very little seethrough plastic making it a bit less impactful.
The board is limited in terms of features and space so to make the most out of the available room Redragon have enabled a lot of buttons to have a secondary function. these extra functions range from media keys, RGB control keys and some generic application buttons that can open up your emails or lock your windows key. There is no on the fly macro recording on the board and sadly no software to customise it.
There is no wrist rest for the board but it remained comfortable throughout use. I actually enjoyed typing with it and it sounded great to me but I’m not sure my colleagues would agree due to the noise. That being said it’s not so loud that it’s unbearable and I have definitely used louder boards in my time but I think it does require some O-rings to dampen the noise. In-game the board was responsive and it didn’t matter what I used the board for there was no accidental pressing or ghosting that I could notice occurring.
- Sound Test – test the noise when typing
- Compare the keyboard to similar competitors or to its own brands previous model
The Redragon K552 board may be a bit too clicky for some but its simplistic approach to giving gamers a solid mechanical RGB keyboard has been welcoming. This is a tenkeyless board and if you’re used to massive amounts of key binds or maybe you use your number pad for work/ education then consider a full-sized board like the Zowie Celeritas II. If you are up for a TKL then this is a serious option, it retails for less than some Corsair boards and delivers a much more satisfying user experience. It’s a compact budget option with enough features to keep you happy whilst also providing seriously good performance in and out of the game. I know the blue switches may not be the most desired for FPS gamers but the Redragon K552 is a solid board and it’s small enough to fit in your bag and take to LAN so well worth considering!