Redragon KUMARA RGB Keyboard Review
NOTE: This is an non-affiliated and non-sponsored review. We purchased this gear ourselves.
Upon searching Amazon for mechanical keyboard the top result is for the Redragon KUMARA keyboard. This keyboard comes in many configurations including, no back-light, a static backlight, a static RGB type backlight, and a full-on configurable RGB backlight. For the purposes of this review, I thought it would be best to go for the top end RGB model so that I could compare all features vs other keyboards.
The keyboard comes with a small instruction manual and surprisingly a keycap puller.
The first thing I notice is how incredibly small this keyboard it. It measures just 13 7/8” x 4 3/4”, and has to be one of the smallest keyboards I’ve ever seen. You’ll notice also that it’s compact size means it does not have a number pad. This size-factor alone will interest anyone looking for a compact space saving, or easy to take along keyboard.
The keys on this model are Outemu Blue, essentially Cherry Blue knockoffs. The blue keys both make a clicky sound as well as have a tactile feedback, with ~50 grams of actuation force. The actuation point feels a little deeper than I’m used to on my Razer green keyboard. The keys are rated at 50 million keystrokes, which is the same as Cherry keys. If you are interested more in different keys and what this means, check out our mechanical keyboard guide.
After just a few minutes of typing, I was able to pretty much get used to them. The keys generally feel good and are responsive. At times some keys feel a little mushy if you bottom them out, particularly the backspace, enter, and right shift keys. They do make a noticeably more, almost echo or chatter type of sound as well. They just don’t sound as good and solid as a Razer green switch, or any Cherry switch keyboard I’ve used in the past. I don’t think it’s a big deal or anything it’s just one of those really small things I noticed. Overall the keys are not bad but not great in my opinion.
The keycaps have a nice matte finish. The texture allows them to grip nicely to your fingertips. The font used on the keys is pleasant and gamer looking, and everything is easy to read.
Aesthetically speaking the keyboard looks rather plain. It’s literally a bunch of keys crammed into a rectangular plastic frame. At the same time, I find myself liking it more and more every time I look at it.
The backlight is not overly bright and comes with 5 different levels plus completely off if you wish to disable it. The backlight has a number of effects, which you change by pressing Fn + another key. Some but not all effects you can change the color using Fn + right arrow, of which there are up to 9 settings. Some but not all effects can reverse direction with Fn + left arrow. There are 18 effects in total (see the above video for a visual reference):
- The trial of light – which slowly rotate from one random color to another.
- Breathing - keys dim and come back to full brightness as different color.
- Normally on – allows you to set one of 9 different color/patters to always be on.
- Ripple Graff – when you press a key, other keys light up in a radial pattern from that key.
- Pass without a trace – when you press a key it lights up and slowly fades away.
- Coastal – when you press a key, keys light up on the same row going spreading out away from the key you pressed.
- Hurricane – a wave light pattern.
- Accumulate – light moves from the outside to an inner portion of the keyboard and swirls and then dissipates.
- Digital Times – a matrix style effect.
- Go with the stream – light scrolls across the keyboard.
- Clouds – like the previous but more subtle.
- Winding Paths – light swirls around and follows paths on each row.
- Flowers blooming – keys are all random colors and slowly randomly change, sort of like flowers blooming I suppose.
- Snow winter jasmine – like the previous but more abrupt changes in color.
- Swift action – colors change and scroll up the keyboard, each row being a different color.
- Both ways – a bar of color goes across the keyboard, and then comes back, pong style.
- Surmount – seems to change between similar colors ever so slightly, and when you change the color it radiates out from the center.
- Fast and furious – Color comes in from both sides and meets and dissipates in the center of the keyboard.
Outside of that, the keyboard has the normal multimedia keys you expect to see on any keyboard these days, including volume up/down, start/pause, forward/backward, among others.
This keyboard has a nice built-in feature allowing you to disable the windows key by pressing Fn + the Windows key. This is obviously great for gaming when you want to make sure to disable the windows key.
Update Dec 8, 2018
A helpful YouTuber viewer pointed out that you can change the colors of individual keys.
It turns out to be true, and does not appear in the keyboard documentation. So very easy to miss by anyone.
By pressing Fn + ~ (tidle), you will activate a special mode. From there press Fn + right arrow to change the color. You can tell what color will be set by looking at your tidle key. Press any other key to set it to that color. Press Fn + ~ to leave that mode.
How the KUMARA stacks up vs the Razer Chroma
The Razer Chroma keyboards are the best RGB style mechanical keyboard on the market in my opinion. So even though they cost a lot more (> $100 USD) I think it’s interesting to compare the two so that you can make an informed decision if you were thinking of purchasing the KUMARA, and what the differences are.
The Chroma has a gaming mode which allows you to disable Alt+Tab, Alt+F4, and the Windows Key. You can only disable the Windows key on the KUMARA.
The Chroma allows you to set any key as a macro, the KUMARA features no macro mapping of any kind. There is no software all to set up any of the options.
The Chroma you have much more control of the lighting scheme, you can do things like set individual keys to specific colors. You can also set any color you want. The KUMARA has an option to set specific colors but it’s also undocumented (see above). The KUMARA limits you up to 8 different predefined colors and one multi-color option on most lighting settings.
The Chroma only has 8 different lighting effects. The KUMARA has 18.
The Chroma is much brighter. At full brightness, the KUMARA is about as bright as the 35% brightness setting on my Chroma (V1). The Chroma has 20 brightness adjustments via Fn key to set brightness levels, along with the ability to fine tune it in the software to almost anything. The Chroma can switch off the lighting when the display turns off as well. The KUMARA has 6 lighting levels, and no ability to turn off when the display turns off.
The Chroma has a USB pass-through and has a nice braided cabled. The KUMARA USB cable is just a basic cable and has no USB pass-through. The Chroma has audio and microphone pass-throughs. The KUMARA doesn’t.
You can get many Razer keyboards in green (clicky), orange (tactile), or yellow (linear) keys. The KUMARA only comes in one switch, blue (clicky).
Razer keys are rated for 80 million keystrokes, the KUMARA keys are rated for 50 million strokes. Don’t really think this is an issue, that’s a lot of strokes either way.
There is noticeably more friction and grip with the KUMARA keycaps than my Razer Chroma keys, which are more smooth.
The key information is laid out better on the KUMARA in my opinion. For example, the quote key has the single and double quote on the top half of the key so it all get’s properly backlit. With the Chroma half the key information in some cases is not backlit.
The lettering on the keycaps of the Chroma is noticeably much better looking and has sharp, crisp edges. The KUMARA lettering looks blurred around the edges. Some of the KUMARA’s keys have other noticeable marks on them, I assume from injection pins or another part of the manufacturing process (you can see these in the closeup I do in the video).
The KUMARA has an 18-month warranty. Razer keyboards I believe are 24 months from the date of purchase. I’ve never dealt with Redragon as a company so I couldn’t say how reliable or easy it would be to get a new keyboard under warranty. I can say I do know that getting a keyboard fixed under warranty with Razer is fairly easy.
I’ve never worked on a keyboard this small but it is relatively nice actually. I’m used to using a full sized keyboard on an everyday basis, but this little guy might change that.
The Redragon KUMARA delivers a surprising amount of value for the price of $43 USD if you consider that a similar Razer Tournament Chroma keyboard is around $110 USD on Amazon currently.
However it’s also not as full featured as mentioned in the above, uses knock off switches, and the overall quality is mediocre. In the end though, you could get 2-4 KUMARAs to one Razer or Corsair mechanical RGB style keyboard so the value proposition is obvious.
If you can live without the features I’ve outlined above. Are looking for your first mechanical keyboard. Need something on the cheap. Then I would recommend this keyboard. My initial reaction was really good, but the more I use it the more I realize it’s not amazing. There are better keyboards out there, but the Redragon KUMARA is a solid basic mechanical keyboard that is good for the price.
- Lighting effects.
- Doesn’t feel as good as a higher end keyboard.
- Poor brightness.
- Lacks features seen on higher end keyboards.
- Uses knock off switches.
Update Jan 8, 2018: Added details for setting individual key colors.