Interference while gaming is incredibly frustrating. This is especially true when that interference is easily avoidable… say, from your keyboard. Issues like ghosting and input delays are unfortunately pretty common among some modern keyboards – but they don’t have to be.
Insert the Summoner Gaming Keyboard, XPG’s answer to any gaming difficulties you might have. The idea behind this peripheral? To make your gameplay as buttery smooth and flawless as possible.
While the Summoner Keyboard can definitely be an enjoyable experience at times, there’s a lot to talk through. So hunker down and let’s explore the Summoner.
Zoom In: Specs
- Dimensions: 449 x 135 x 44 mm
- Weight: 951g
- Keys: 104
- Switches: Cherry MX Mechanical
- Interface: 2x USB 2.0 type A, 1 Pass-through port
- Lighting: 7 RGB Lighting Modes
- Extras: Built-In Wrist Rest & 5 Macro Keys
The XPG Summoner has a lot going for it right out of the box:
- A gaming mode
- Several color profiles
- Easy audio controls via a metal roller
- Nine optional accent color keys
- A passthrough USB slot
- And, of course, a magnetic wrist rest
Each of these aspects perfected would be enough to gather quite an audience. Unfortunately, where the Summoner falls short is in attempting to do it all.
Summoned into the Realm of Gimmicks
Overall, the XPG Summoner Keyboard elicits “meh” as the base reaction. Not great, or groundbreaking, or even grand, just… meh.
Even the backlighting, a standard feature on entry-level gaming keyboards, is just okay. While I appreciate the visual enhancement, it’s more of a hassle than anything else. There is only a handful of different presets, and with no way of adjusting or altering the color profiles, the RGB aspect of the Summoner falls quite short of the standard for most gamers. It’s rather sad as the saturation of the RGB has the potential to be breathtaking.
Moving more towards the overall design, the Summoner looks enticing. The air-blasted steel gray contrasts with the dark matte black give the entire keyboard a refreshing palate. And the optional red replacement keys are a delightful bonus.
Unfortunately, the accompanying wrist rest doesn’t share the same color scheme. Instead of the welcomed gray backing, the wrist rest falls into the standard of the matte black, leaving the final result a bit disjointed.
As for the USB passthrough? An excellent feature to have in most cases. Except, the Summoner requires the use of two USB slots. Two of them! How XPG isn’t able to put the RGB and keyboard functions together into one USB is beyond me.
Now for a little good news. There is an aspect of the XPG Gaming Keyboard that I’ve found to be thoroughly enjoyable, and that’s the volume wheel. Ultimately simple in design, the volume wheel and accompanying mute button make any listening situation extremely adjustable and unobtrusive. It’s honestly such a minute component to the keyboard that I’m surprised it’s new to me. I love it.
Hooked on a Feeling
Then, we have the most crucial component of all: the switch.
If you’re new to the realm of keyboards and gaming, you should know that Cherry MX switches are as close to industry standard as possible. Thankfully, the XPG Summoner Gaming Keyboard includes them! Choose from three options: Red, Silver, or Blue. Just remember that each one sports its own stats and subtle differences to change your gameplay experience. You can check out our guide on Cherry MX Switches here.
My Summoner has the Silver Switches, which are a new experience for me. These switches feel incredibly similar to those on the HyperX Alloy Origins (another keyboard I reviewed), save for one aspect: tactility. The Silver Switches on the XPG Summoner have slightly more of a response to each keypress, which for me, makes the experience of typing that much more enjoyable.
In fact, with the Silver Switches, I feel that my typing accuracy has risen several-fold. This change translated to a noticeable increase in my typing speed and accuracy. That said, that’s not so much attributable to this keyboard as it is to the switch manufacturer.
It can’t be a thoroughly vetted review without at least discussing the price point.
The XPG Summoner Gaming Keyboard comes with three MX Switch options, and the price fluctuates slightly depending on the model you choose. Averaged out, it’s about $100.
While the Summoner could be an excellent keyboard for $50 less, the additions the Summoner makes aren’t unique enough for the asking price. You could drop $70 on a respectable eSports model like the Corsair K63, and with the extra $30, you could find yourself a beautiful wrist rest catered to your needs.
With all that in mind, the XPG Summoner Gaming Keyboard is a mediocre peripheral in nearly every category. While I enjoy the typing experience, the ever-present inconsistencies clash with the more favorable components, leaving me, sadly, disappointed.
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Zoom Out: Verdict
Features - 6/10
Switches - 6/10
Aesthetic - 7/10
An unfortunate conglomeration of quantity over quality. While multiple aspects of the XPG Summoner elicit joy, most bring about a sense of insecurity of what the Summoner should be.
- High quality RGB
- Comfortable wrist rest
- Switches and audio wheel are welcome components
- High price for what it is
- Disjointed design choices
- RGB options rather limited