I’ve used a lot of gaming keyboards in my time but in all honesty, not all that many of the premium standard. The Alienware 510K gaming keyboard most definitely fits in the premium gaming keyboard category.
The Switches and keys
First, let’s talk about the keys included. Each key features low-profile Cherry MX keys which are in a floating key architecture – ie. they sit off the base of the keyboard. The full-sized keyboard with numpad also includes hot keys and a scroll wheel that sits above the numpad for quick volume control.
The keys are soft touch with a fast rebound and feedback – exactly what you want for accurate, fast gaming. Each key has a travel of 3.2mm which is a decent amount but not too much such that it affects response time in a fast-paced game.
The low profile keep the Cherry MX feel and the sound is a red switch sound which is my favourite for gaming switches. It is nowhere near as loud or clicky as something such as a brown switch but still offers decent audio feedback.
The cable connecting the keyboard to the PC is a giant, thick braided USB-A cable which has two heads on it — one for the powering of the keyboard and the other for the USB passthrough. The back of the keyboard houses a single USB port to give you back that port you are using for the keyboard.
There are no other connectivity options for the keyboard – it is a true gaming keyboard designed for that and basically only that and as such Alienware has opted for the fastest response time, a cable connection. An included proprietary USB dongle from Alienware would not have as low a latency as the wired option but in 2022 it isn’t far off at all according to online tests and that extra connectivity option for a less cluttered desk would be nice.
Each key has RGB lighting underneath it and through the AlienFx app on my PC I was able to control the colour and function of the lighting of each key. It was exceptionally handy being able to code different colours to different keys used in that game – you can set a profile per game as well so that when you load a certain game the app will load that profile onto the keyboard and change the colours how you prefer them for that game.
For gaming the keyboard is awesome though. The above profiles really made it extremely useful when switching from one game to another but also to help me hit the right keys for that game. This is handy if there is a key that you don’t use all that often and need to find it quickly on occasion during a game. Make it a different colour and bam, it’s easy to find and hit.
I use my PC for both gaming and productivity meaning that if I have my gaming keyboard connected I often need to use a different keyboard to get the best productivity – I find it difficult with the traditional Cherry MX switches. These low-profile ones on the Alienware 510K though were relatively easy to tap and type on. Obviously, I typed this entire review on the Alienware 510K and although there were a few typos, there was nowhere near as many as I’d normally see with a gaming keyboard with the traditional Cherry MX switches.
I would highly recommend the Alienware 510K gaming keyboard. It offers a great gaming experience with its low-profile Cherry MX red switches along with supported macros and hot keys and per-key RGB lighting control.
More connectivity options such as a wireless dongle (not Bluetooth due to the large inherent latency) would be nice but given that it is a gaming keyboard first and foremost it is difficult to truly fault Alienware for focusing on the one connectivity option.