Thanks for stopping by and checking out this gaming keyboard review. Samantha, the Havit rep who reached out to me, hooked me up with their HV-KB390L Mechanical board. Read on to hear about my experience with the keyboard and whether or not it’s worth the $60 price tag.
What’s in the Box
- Quick Start Manual
- Havit HV-KB390L Mechanical Keyboard
- Micro USB Cable
- Social Media Promotion
In the Trenches: Two Weeks with the HAVIT Mechanical Keyboard
The Havit Game Series HV-KB390L is a well built, compact TKL (tenkeyless) mechanical keyboard that is a joy to type on. Up until I received this keyboard, I was using a pack in wireless keyboard from HP that underwhelming to say the least. One of its favorite things to do was get stuck on a key mid sentence and enter in about 20 W’s before it figured out I only wanted one W. That broke up the flow of my typing and dropped the whole efficiency score down a few notches, which is quite unacceptable! At any rate, keep in mind that was my typing experience before getting this new mechanical keyboard and that’s I may seem a little excited with this new upgrade. I have used the SteelSeries 6Gv2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Cherry MX Black Switches) as well as the iMac Magic Keyboard so I do have a little more breadth of experience with keyboards than just the lousy HP board.
Overall, I dig the keyboard and it’s a big upgrade for me over the HP keyboard. I think the audible click and tactile clickiness of this mechanical keyboard has definitely improved my typing accuracy and perhaps even my typing speed thanks to the low profile design. It was plug and play out of the box, and the user manual guided be through playing with and setting up the backlighting feature to my preference (pulse and medium brightness). As of the time of this review, I can only speak to the typing performance of this keyboard (which I’m very pleased with) but haven’t had a chance to do any gaming on it yet—work has been keeping me entirely busy. I’ll come back and update the review with my take on it’s gaming performance soon.
All the lightning settings are controlled using commands on the keyboard itself but you can download software from Havit’s website. Part of me wants to install it and have some snazzy software to control things like popular brands Logitech and Razer offer, but the other minimalist part of me is okay with controlling everything with hotkeys (less bloatware, less settings to optimize). By pressing FN + F6-F11, you switch between 6 preset backlit modes, FN + (+/-) increases or decreases brightness, and FN + F1-F5 for customization modes. The only obvious flaw that stood out to me was when I switched the keyboard to “Constant Light Mode” and the LED under the Caps Lock, Prnt Scrn, and Scrl Lock buttons went dark. When caps lock / scroll lock is activated they light up, but preferably all the keys would be lit up at all times under Constant Light Mode.
The Havit HV-KB390L employs Kailh PG1350 Blue Switches to do its bidding. Some Cherry Switch only diehards may turn up their noses at Kailh switches, but I think they have a place in the mechanical switch realm and are a decent switch. Cherry makes a great product no doubt, but there’s room for more than one brand. These are a series of low profile metal contact switches from Kailh (7mm less thick than your average traditional mechanical keyboard). Click collars are not used in this design, a click bar takes its place. Every keystroke the rod spring is pushed aside much like you’d find in a click leaf. Like all blue switches, these keys make an audible click sound when actuated. It isn’t overly obnoxious, but I’m not so sure it would be the best fit for a keyboard in an open office environment and could draw the stink eye from nearby co-workers.
The keyboard feels sturdy and has a decent amount of weight thanks to its aluminum alloy cover. It isn’t as heavy as the SteelSeries Mechanical keyboard I own, but it isn’t light nor does it feel flimsy. One of the standout features of this board is how slim it is for a mechanical keyboard. Viewing it from either side makes it deceivingly appear to be a membrane keyboard. At 0.89 (22.5mm) inches thick and with its TKL design, this keyboard is certainly portable and easy to store in a backpack or messenger bag.
Overall, this model is a no frills keyboard. Branding is also minimal, everything has been kept clean besides one Havit logo placed above the arrow keys. I like the way the keyboard looks and am pleased with Havit’s decision to keep it simple. However, my preference is utilitarian/minimal and I’m not big on all the flashy stuff.
This specific model from Havit has what they call an ice blue LED backlighting. You can upgrade from TKL and the ice blue only to a full size keyboard with RGB functionality for another $20.
For $60, I think Havit’s price is fair. I think at $50, this is a great deal, and maybe it will make it to that price point in the future. But considering the quality new Kailh switches, aluminium build, and functional backlighting you’re getting your money’s worth. The big win here is the Kailh switches/low profile keycaps. If you’re on the market for a blue switch and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a cherry blue switch board this is a great option.
Zoom In: Specs
- Size: 13.9 x 5 x 0.89 inches (354 x 127.5 x 22.5mm)
- Weight: 18.3 oz (520g)
- Price: $59.99
- Switch Type: Kailh Blue
- Key Travel Distance: 3.0mm
- Operating (Actuation) Force: 45±10gf
- Total Key Count: 87
- Interface: USB
- Product Life: Over 50 Million Key Strokes
- Anti-ghosting: N-Key Rollover
- Cable Length: 59 inches (1500mm)
- OS: Win 10/8/7/Vista/Mac/Linux
- Software: Available on Windows Only
Zoom Out: Final Thoughts
- Thinnest 87 key mechanical keyboard out there right now
- Excellent choice for those looking for minimalist board with a Kailh Blue Switch
- Compact, tenkeyless board that is relatively portable for a mech
- I love the feel of the low profile PG1350 Kailh blues
- LED backlit functionality isn’t perfect
You can find this keyboard on Havit’s website.
For more gaming keyboard options, you can visit our best gaming keyboards page.
Build - 9/10
Backlight - 7/10
Look - 8.5/10
Switches - 8.5/10
Price - 8/10
Havit’s new HV-KB390L is a thin, compact TKL mechanical keyboard with low profile keycaps and Kailh Blue switches. With a competitive price and sturdy build it’s worth a look for gamers desiring a TKL mech board.