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G.Skill Ripjaws KM780R RGB: Satisfy Your Inner Alien

Hardware Reviews By Robert Baddeley on November 06, 2017

G.Skill Ripjaws KM780R RGB: Satisfy Your Inner Alien

RGB keyboards are a dime a dozen these days and it can be difficult for manufacturers to set themselves apart.  Companies like Corsair and Razer have brand recognition for their peripherals but when you think G.Skill you probably think RAM.  I was surprised that they made keyboards and even more that the accompanying software was polished and versatile.  This is our review of the G.Skill Ripjaws KM780R RGB.

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Specifications

  • Cherry MX RGB Switches
  • Military-Grade Aluminum Backplate
  • Fully Programmable Keys
  • Per-Key RGB Backlighting
  • On-Board Profile Storage
  • Full N-Key Rollover and 100% Anti-Ghosting
  • Dedicated Macro Control and Mode Selection Keys
  • Windows Lock Key
  • Backlight Toggle Key
  • Timer Button
  • Media Control Corner and LED Volume Display
  • Soft-Touch Wrist Rest and Five-Level Contoured Keycaps
  • Mouse Cable Holder
  • USB Pass-Through and Audio Jacks
  • G.Skill Unified Driver System

A rather impressive list of features for a keyboard.  You can claim all the features you want, however, but if the execution is poor they don’t really matter.  Luckily that’s not the case for the KM780R, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using for the past few weeks.

Design and Build

The first thing you’ll probably notice about G.Skill’s keyboard is the “gamery” (aka alienish) design.  While I’m not personally a fan of stylized keyboard designs (just give me a rectangle and I’m happy), but I don’t feel that this keyboard overdid it like some have in the past.  It features a lot of angled corners and metal rod that wraps around the entire keyboard and acts as a frame of sorts. 

There’s no top plate on this keyboard, allowing for the effect that your caps are floating on light. The braided USB cable for the keyboard features an audio jack, a microphone jack, and two headers.  The cable is thick and stiff, and I found it unwieldy when doing cable management, Lastly, the keyboard features a mouse cable holder, which is a first for me on a keyboard.  It allows the user to route their mouse cable to prevent the annoying experience of having your cable constantly pulling on your mouse. I use it heavily and it actually enhanced my gaming experience.

Features

Outside of your standard keys, the KM780R features six programmable macro buttons located on the left side of the board, three mode select keys and a macro recording key on the top left, and a suite of media buttons on the top right, complete with a volume spinner and LED volume display. The media features are hands down my favorite, especially the volume roller.  I’ve never personally used one on a keyboard and it’s far preferable to secondary function controls.  The LED volume display is a great touch but is only backlit with red LEDs, a large oversight in my opinion on a customizable RGB board. 

Using the macro recorder key yielded mixed results, and I found it much easier to use the software.  The three mode buttons allow you to select between three profiles each of which houses the lighting profile, key bindings, and macros in the onboard memory.  It’s nice to be able to switch between profiles without opening software when you switch from, say, and FPS to an MMO.

Software

The software of a fully programmable keyboard can make or break your experience.  I’ve used some terrible software in the past as well as some exceptional (though overwhelming) programs as well.  I would say that G.Skill’s is a pleasant middle ground.  With the software you can customize your lighting presets, record macros, and rebind any key on the keyboard.  Macro recording is pleasantly simple and included the option to record delays - something that can help keep you within the rules of some games.  I stuck to using the six macro keys on the left side of board because I’m not a heavy macro user, but being able to bind any key to a macro is a great feature for some.

The lighting capabilities are fairly extensive and customizable.  The board comes with a plethora of presets, far too many to describe.  I really enjoyed the fact that I can customize each lighting effect with custom colors and a base background lighting layer.  I’ve always loved the rainbow wave effect and being able to get rid of my least favorite colors was a pleasant surprise.  Unfortunately as of this writing you are not able to layer multiple effects.  I hope it’s added in the future as this level of customization really adds to the potential of an RGB keyboard.

Conclusion

The G.Skills Ripjaws KM780R RGB is a solid, quality keyboard that would be an asset to any build.  Coming in at about $130 on Amazon it’s on par with other mechanical RGB keyboards on the market.  For me, the profile switching buttons, mouse cord clip, and volume control wheel are enough to set it apart from it’s competitors.  I just wish it wasn’t quite as stylized as it is.

Note: The product was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

PROS

  • Cherry MX Mechanical RGB Switches (Red, Blue, Brown)
  • Complete per-key customizability
  • Dedicated media and profile keys are a plus

CONS

  • Stylized build is a bit of a turnoff
  • No RGB backlighting on volume LEDs
  • Braided USB cord is thick, stiff, and hard to manage