Finding an affordable wireless keyboard with a reasonably good build quality can be a challenge. Many of the options on the market are either prohibitively expensive, or else have flimsy designs that can feel cheap. Redragon has recently released a new full-sized, wireless, mechanical gaming keyboard that seeks to solve both of these problems: The K556 Dharma Pro.
They sent High Ground Gaming one of these keyboards for our fair and unbiased review. Here’s what we found.
Zoom In: Specs
- Connection: USB Type-C, 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 5.0
- Redragon linear red switches
- Hot swappable with 3 or 5-pin MX switches
- Aluminum chassis
- Battery: 1600 mAh
- RGB customizable with software
- Price: $79.99
Unboxing and Build Quality
In the box, you will find a detachable USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable, instructions, stickers, a keycap remover, a switch remover and the keyboard itself. The Dharma Pro is a full-sized mechanical keyboard. It has an aluminum frame which gives it a significant amount of weight and goes a long way toward making it feel like a quality piece of gaming gear. The keycaps seem to be made from a matt black, mildly textured ABS, which might mean that they could develop a shine over time.
The keys have transparent characters in a gamer-stencil font that allow the RGB to shine through, though some of them also have secondary functions which are printed on them in white. The keyboard generally feels well built, but it’s quite steep, even with the incline and it doesn’t come with a wrist rest. It also relies on the secondary functions of several ‘F’ keys for things like media controls. There are rubber pads on the bottom of the keyboard to prevent sliding and feet that provide a single angle of incline.
The Dharma Pro has three different modes of connectivity: A wired USB Type-C to Type-A connection and both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connections. The tethered connection will always be the fastest and most stable, but having both wireless options gives gamers some flexibility. The 2.4 GHz connection is faster and has lower latency which is ideal for gaming while the Bluetooth drains the keyboard’s battery slower which is generally better for productivity.
The 2.4 GHz worked well during testing so long as the dongle was plugged in nearby had a clear line of sight to the keyboard. Unfortunately, the signal doesn’t appear to be very strong. Even slight obstructions, such as a PC chassis, can be enough to make the signal spotty which leads to a lot of dropped keystrokes. You should make sure that you have an open USB port for the dongle that is nearby and isn’t blocked by anything that could obstruct the signal if you wish to buy this keyboard.
It’s also worth noting that the battery life on the Dharma Pro is just okay. The 1600 mHa battery is on the smaller side for a wireless keyboard and so those who purchase the Dharma Pro will likely want to make sure they charge it after every 1-2 gaming sessions to make sure it doesn’t die on them mid-game.
Redragon Linear Red Switches
This keyboard uses Redragon’s own brand of linear red mechanical switches. These aren’t the best switches on the market, but they aren’t bad either. The actuation point is about halfway down and there’s just enough tension that accidental keystrokes aren’t common. The action on them feels smooth and even all the way down.
Redragon also advertises that these switches are hot swappable with most 3 or 5-pin MX switches, so those who wish to upgrade to Cherry or another brand of MX switches down the line should be able to do so without trouble.
Redragon does offer software for the K556 Dharma Pro, but it’s pretty limited. You can set key functions, macros and RGB on three different profiles. You can choose from 22 different lighting effects and then manually adjust colors, brightness and speed.
That’s pretty much it though. One major feature that feels like it should be controllable through the software is the amount of time before the keyboard goes to sleep in wireless mode. It comes preset to go to sleep after three minutes of inactivity and there doesn’t appear to be any way to adjust this.
Is the K556 Dharma Pro Worth the Money?
The Redragon Dharma Pro MSRPs at $79.99. That’s pretty reasonable compared to most name-brand wireless gaming keyboards. It’s the same price as the Royal Kludge RK100 and is cheaper than offerings from brands like Keychron, Razer and Corsair.
Its feature set is a bit of a mixed bag and it doesn’t offer much (other than RGB) that really sets it apart as a keyboard designed for gaming. That said, it’s attractive, solidly built and priced competitively. We think that this makes the Dharma Pro a reasonable purchase for those looking to save a bit of money on a wireless mechanical gaming keyboard.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The Redragon Dharma Pro is an affordably priced wireless keyboard. It’s aluminum frame and hot-swappable mechanical switches make it’s build quality stand out amidst its competition, though it’s mediocre battery life and weak wireless signal make it fall just short of greatness.
- Aluminum frame for solid feeling build
- Hot-swappable red linear switches
- Three different connectivity options
- Weak wireless signal
- Mediocre battery life
- Limited software features