As ADATA XPG expands its product portfolio, the Taiwanese gaming brand has introduced a slew of components and peripherals that is outside of their usual memory & NAND storage-based products. After our positive overview of the CORE REACTOR PSU, today we will be taking a dive into their mechanical gaming keyboard – the SUMMONER – and see what they have to offer for the price of RM469.
XPG has a consistent box design throughout its product line-ups. The Black and Red colour scheme even though has been used by plenty of gaming brands out there, the subtle red lines and highlights allow the product image to stand out.
You’ll find more information about the keyboard at the back of the box.
The package is relatively basic:
- XPG SUMMONER Keyboard
- Detachable wrist rest
- Additional keycaps
- Paper documentation
Full-Sized Floating Keys Design
The XPG SUMMONER employs the trendy floating keys design. Just like many other gaming keyboards out there in the market, the metal plate as well as the switches, are fully exposed. Whether if it is for design aesthetics or easy to clean purposes, personally, I’m not a big fan of such design as typing on it sounds hollow-ish.
The SUMMONER only comes in full-sized variant at the time of writing and we are certainly looking forward to tenkeyless variant to be available soon.
At the top right corner of the chassis, apart from the keyboard status LED is the volume scroll wheel and a mute key. The steps on the scroll wheel are prominent and users can easily control the volume steps precisely. The audio mute key, on the other hand, is disappointing with the use of a flimsy & wobbly micro-switch.
You’ll find four pieces of rubber feet underneath the chassis. The kick-stand is reasonably large, however, rubber feet are absent from there. On that side note, the detachable wrist rest has a whopping 8 rubber feet.
It has a soft cushion with a smooth PU leather surface.
Braided Non-detachable Cable & USB Passthrough
As we move on to the connectivity of the keyboard, what we found is a thick braided cable coming out from the top of the keyboard chassis. That being said, yes, the cable is permanently fixed to the keyboard without any option to detach it.
There’s a good reason why XPG opted so – the extra USB passthrough port on the keyboard.
While USB passthrough can only support up to USB 2.0 but at least you can use it for your mouse or USB headphones. Then again, is it really that difficult to make it USB 3.0 passthrough?
Cherry MX Speed Silver
Back to the front of the keyboard, removing the keycaps would reveal the Cherry MX Speed Silver switch underneath it. The SUMMONER also comes in Cherry MX Blue and Red options depending on your personal preference on switch choice. In case you’re wondering, here’s a simple table of differences between each switch.
|Switch Feel||Operating Force||Actuation|
|Cherry MX Speed Silver||Linear||45 cN||1.2 mm|
|Cherry MX Red||Linear||45 cN||2.0 mm|
|Cherry MX Blue||Tactile, Clicky||60 cN||2.2 mm|
There’s nothing so-called perfect switch for everything. It all boils down to your own personal preference. I agree with the fact that Cherry MX Speed Silver is a wonderful choice for gaming purposes due to its shorter actuation and linear characteristics. It is responsive and especially useful for repeatedly tapping actions. For typing purposes, it is a little bit too sensitive for my taste.
The RGB-variant of the Cherry MX Switch has a transparent housing allows evenly illuminated key legends. RGB control can be achieved through key combinations without any software assist.
FN + UP/DOWN to adjust the lighting brightness. (OFF / 25% / 50% / 75% / 100%)
FN + LEFT/RIGHT to adjust lighting effect. The keyboard has seven predefined effects – Static / Breathing / Trigger / Explosion / Colour Cycle / Colour Wave / WASD mode.
While the keyboard does support RGB lighting, for some reason, other than Colour Cycle and Colour Wave modes, users are unable to define their own choice of colour, especially for the static colour.
The only option available for static colour choice is the six built-in profiles with the 6th default profile being Red. Even if RGB doesn’t really give you that extra performance in games, given that most of the gaming keyboards out in the market is capable of doing so, I believe there’s no way XPG could get away with this.
Single Shot ABS Keycaps
Speaking of which, the keycaps used on the XPG SUMMONER is downright basic. The single-shot ABS keycaps have a translucent base with a layer of dark coat. Legends are then laser-etched to allow lights to shine through. That goes without saying, it won’t be as durable as double-shot PBTs but given the fact that the SUMMONER has a standard US ANSI layout, getting a set of custom keycaps is relatively easy.
User Experience & Final Words
After putting the keyboard through its pace for a week, first of all, regarding the Cherry MX Speed Silver switch – it is extremely sensitive to light touches. Even if I’m used to Cherry MX Red, typing on it for the first time still poses a challenge on typos. On the other hand, gaming on the Speed Silver switch allows you to react faster in terms of the input time because of the reduced actuation point.
The keyboard also supports on-the-fly macro recording and saved on the five custom profiles onboard. It is capable of recording up to 40 keypresses or 20 seconds max. The lack of keypress delay control makes it a rather basic macro recording functionality. That said, combined with the uninspiring RGB controller, that sums up the main weakness of this keyboard.
Last but not least, at the price of RM469, the XPG SUMMONER, if were to compare to the locally popular gaming keyboard brands such as Razer, Corsair or Logitech, the XPG’s offering has better price positioning albeit some sacrifices have to be made on the onboard features.
- Good build quality
- Genuine Cherry MX switches
- Onboard media control
- Magnetically attached wrist rest
- Comfortable wrist rest
- Thick braided cable
- USB passthrough
- USB 2.0 passthrough only instead of USB 3.0
- Limited RGB customization
- Limited Macro customization