It’s may just be the year of Bloody Gaming. This year, the accessory maker is releasing peripherals intent on bringing them into the spotlight like never before. We saw some of their new gear at CES and were impressed, but it was their new keyboards that most caught our eye. Today, we’re looking at the B975, Bloody’s new full-size RGB keyboard, complete with a new and improved optical switch that’s easily their best yet.
- MSRP: $149.99
- Connector: USB
- Key Switches: LK Mocha Switch (tested), LK Orange Switch
- Key Style: Optical switch
- Key Lifetime: Up to 100 million keystrokes
- Key Response?0.2ms
- Activation Force: 40cN
- Actuation Point: 1.5mm
- Anti-Ghosting Key?100% Anti-ghosting key
- Gaming Keycaps?8 convex silicon keys
- Hotkey?Multimedia Hotkey
- Backlit?Customize RGB Animation
- Backlit Brightness: Adjustable
- Space-Bar: Screw enhanced space-bar
- Memory Backlight: 6 Free driver RGB lighting modes
- Report Rate: 1000Hz/1ms
If this is your first time encountering Bloody Gaming, you’re in for a treat as I firmly believe this is the best time to be discovering their products. The company prides themselves on innovative product designs with real benefits for gamers. When it comes to gaming keyboards, they were producing optical switches long before the current trend caught on. While everyone else was enamored with Cherry (which is great in its own right), Bloody was pushing for more and, through that, started iterating on their innovative Light Strike switches.
In the B975, we find Light Strike 3.0, also known as Light Strike (LK) Libra. When we last looked at Bloody Gaming’s keyboards, it was with the B820R and B845R. We enjoyed both, but I couldn’t help but feel like more could be done in making those switches feel perfect under the fingers. In my review of the B845R, I mentioned that the keys felt looser in their housings, leading to more key wiggle and noise when you’d move across the deck. The clicky keys were also very loud. Both of these weren’t major cons as they didn’t negatively affect the keyboard’s functioning but certainly felt different to use.
Bloody listened, and with the new Light Strike Libra switches, they’ve delivered a keyboard that fixes all of these cons. Each switch now features its own stabilizer bar. To my knowledge, Bloody is the only company using such a solution but it completely addresses both the looseness and key noise issues. They weren’t content to leave things there. The switches also make the B975 a much quieter keyboard than their last generation and most Cherry keyboards too. The closest comparison would be linear Cherry Silents, which is an impressive accomplishment for a non-silenced switch.
The new Libra switches are closer to a speed switch than a traditional mechanical switch. Both varieties of LK3 (clicky “Orange” and linear “Mocha”) activate at 1.5mm instead of the usual 2mm, a full 25% faster. Their total travel is also 25% less, bottoming out at 3mm instead of 4mm. The keys are light to the touch, depressing at 40cN instead of 45cN. Compared to traditional mechanical keyboards, Bloody’s Libra switches have an edge.
In gaming the benefits are clear: the B975 is flat-out more responsive. If your response times are up to snuff, Bloody’s new keyboards will give you a competitive advantage. In general use, I find that they’re some of the best feeling linear switches I’ve ever used - and I’ve used a lot. I’m a big fan of how light they are to the touch and how they seem to bounce right back without making a ton of racket.
A lot of that has to do with the overall construction of the B975. Like the B820R and B845R we last had in, it features a nice aluminum top plate that works to deaden any bottom out sounds. The keycaps are double-shot ABS, so you won’t have to worry about the legends fading over time, and since sub-legends are all top mounted, the RGB illumination is even and vibrant throughout.
Bloody has long been known for its eye-catching, gamer-fashioned product designs, but this time around we find our keyboard’s look more subdued. The keyboard uses a black top plate with milled accent lines in clean silver around the keys. The wrist rest can seat either a bright red panel (above) or a more subdued black one (farther above). One quirk I haven’t seen elsewhere is the shifting of the top row of middle function keys to the right. In general, I find the B975 more in line with other RGB keyboards, while still maintaining its own distinctive look.
For gaming, the 975 is fully featured. Within in the Key Dominator 2 software, you can record and assign macros. You can also string sequences together into combos, which is similar to automation without actually stepping over that line. Again, this is Bloody pushing to give gamers an edge by treating their keyboard like a purpose-built tool, not just a peripheral.
It’s also in the Key Dominator software where you can program in your own unique lighting effects. The board comes with six preset lighting effects that are, for the most part, fairly basic (except for the rainbow wave and the dancing bird, which is pretty cool). You can use these presets as a starting point to program in your own frame by frame animations. Bloody has a unique approach to RGB programming that avoids advanced layers and goes with more straight forward frames of animation. It’s novel and more than a little neat.
The downside? It has a bit of a learning curve. Bloody’s software isn’t the prettiest or most user friendly and, despite taking the frame-building approach, still finds itself lagging behind the likes of Corsair and Razer in custom profiles. It’s fully functional and will allow you much great customization than many boards in this price range, but still has road to walk when it comes to the user experience.
Overall, I find myself extremely impressed with the B975. In this business, all too often we see companies come out and “refresh” their line-ups with small cosmetic changes to charge the “new product” premium. The B975 is a true renovation and a solid improvement in virtually every way. It’s offers the kind of dramatic improvements I wish every new product brought to the table from it’s last generation and that’s worth applauding. It’s too bad the software hasn’t quite caught up to the strides in hardware, but there’s a learning curve there worth climbing for some truly neat lighting possibilities.
- Light Strike Libra switches are a dramatic improvement
- Keys feel great to use
- Extremely responsive
- Blends the best of both silent and speed switches
- Key Dominator 2 still needs improvement in user-friendliness
The product discussed in this review was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.