Low form factor keyboards have been growing in popularity in recent years. Some people find them an easier transition from a laptop or Apple keyboard, while others simply enjoy being able to keep their wrists in a more ergonomic position. There aren’t very many mechanical options for gamers, though, and many of them tend to skimp on some of the extra features.
Enter the Redragon K618 Horus. This full-sized, low-profile, wireless mechanical gaming keyboard promises a feature rich experience in a lean package. We at High Ground Gaming liked the Redragon K596 Vishnu and K530 Draconic keyboards in our previous reviews, so we were thrilled when they contacted us to give another fair and unbiased review.
Does this keyboard have what it takes to be one of the best mechanical keyboards available in 2021? Here’s what we found.
Zoom In: Specs
- Redragon brand low profile linear red switches
- 7mm Double shot low-profile keycaps
- 5 Macro keys
- 1900 mAh battery (30 hours)
- Software support
- Price: $79.99
Prefer video format instead? Here’s a video from our YouTube channel.
The Redragon K618 Horus comes with black double-shot keycaps and a stylish, metallic black frame. There are two feet at the back that can give the keyboard a slight incline. The primary keys are all backlit with full RGB, although there are some secondary functions simply painted on in white that already seemed to be fading a little out of the box.
There are several nice media control keys and a volume dial that feels nice and tight at the top right. There are also five macro keys at the top left that can be set and controlled through the software, as well as four profile keys and a macro record key, making for a total of twenty potential macros.
There are secondary functions on the 1–5 number keys for switching between the five different connectivity modes — Bluetooth 1, Bluetooth 2, Bluetooth 3, 2.4G, and USB Type-C. A switch on the side can be used for turning the keyboard’s battery on and off. One of the odder design choices Redragon made was placing the USB Type C port on the left-hand side of the keyboard, rather than at the back.
Overall, the K618 looks attractive, but the build quality feels somewhat cheap.
Redragon Low Profile Switches
Not many brands make low-profile mechanical switches, so it isn’t surprising that Redragon made their own proprietary linear red switches for the K618 rather than outsourcing to another manufacturer. These are 12mm in height and have a 1.2mm actuation distance. They don’t currently make any other kind of mechanical switch and the keyboard doesn’t support the use of third-party switches, so clicky and tactile switch users will need to look elsewhere.
Overall, I found these switches to be somewhat mediocre. They aren’t terrible, but they feel loose and don’t compare to premium brands. They require very little actuation force, and it’s easy to make typos on them. You’ll need light fingers if you want this keyboard.
Wireless Mode and Gaming?
To figure out whether the K618 Horus is good for gaming, I tested it out by playing some Halo: Reach in wired, Bluetooth and 2.4G connective modes. The keyboard functioned perfectly in wired mode. The USB Type-C connection was incredibly fast and there were zero issues with latency. There was a small amount of lag when it came to the Bluetooth mode, but that’s to be expected. Bluetooth 5.0 is the fastest form out there, but it’s still more appropriate for productivity tasks than gaming.
The 2.4G connection was a nightmare, however. It was constantly laggy and rampant with dropped and repeated keystrokes, struggling with even simple tasks. I tried updating the firmware, but the issue persisted. Other reviewers didn’t seem to have this issue, making me wonder if the keyboard we were sent was defective, but that in turn calls the reliability of Redragon’s quality control into question.
Redragon RGB and Software
The Redragon software is pretty simple. It essentially just offers RGB and macro control. There are twenty-one different lighting effects, offering a wide variety of options with controls for adjusting color, speed and brightness. You can also set lighting to one of three profiles controlled through the software. The RGB on the keyboard is bright and vibrant, but isn’t exactly consistent. Several of the keys suffer from uneven brightness and one of the keys on our product sample didn’t match the rest when placed in static mode.
Is the K618 Horus worth the money?
The K618 is feature-rich, but the model we received has numerous build quality and functionality issues. That said, a true low-profile mechanical keyboard is rare at this price point. There’s the Cooler Master SK622 and the Corsair K60 RGB Pro, but neither of them are quite as low-profile as the Horus, neither have the same range of wireless functionality, and they both lack other features available on the K618, such as macro keys and media controls.
The only keyboard that’s truly comparable in terms of features is the Logitech G915, which is more than triple the price. $79.99 still seems on the expensive side for this level of build quality, but the features and rarity of the form factor make the value proposition more reasonable.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The Redragon K618 Horus is a true low-profile mechanical gaming keyboard for those who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Its generally poor build quality is balanced with an incredible list of features and a reasonable price tag.
- Comfortable low-profile design
- Attractive brushed metal face plate
- Feature rich, with five connectivity options
- Instances of 2.4G offering spotty connectivity
- Subpar feeling mechanical switches
- Awkward USB Type-C port placement