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Gigabyte has finally stepped into the mechanical keyboard ring with a fully loaded Cherry MX gaming keyboard named the Osmium. Though the keyboard is stuffed with useful features, it has a few faults that prevent it from taking up permanent residence under our fingertips.
Osmium is actually an element in the platinum family that’s used in ballpoint pen tips.
The build quality is excellent, giving the Osmium a sturdy and well-made feel with crisp, responsive keys. We like the matte-black finish, as well, because it looks badass and repels fingerprints. The stars of the show are the Cherry MX Red switches that lie underneath the keys and are known for their quiet and smooth typing experience compared to their clickier Blue or Brown switch brethren.
The keys are backlit with bright-blue LEDs, the intensity of which can be easily adjusted via a rubber scroll wheel at the top of the keyboard. You can also depress the scroll wheel to turn off the backlighting, a handy feature if you and your rig are roommates. Adjacent to the backlighting wheel is a volume control wheel that allows you to adjust or turn off the volume on your headphones or speakers.
Five customizable macro buttons lie just above the F1–F5 keys for easy access, and are easily programmed with Gigabyte’s GHOST macro software. You can store up to 70 macros on the board’s 32K of onboard memory, so you can plug your keyboard into any computer and have your macros handy—a cool feature indeed, even if we're not sure we’d ever use it. You can also record up to five different macro profiles.
The Osmium features a detachable palm rest that’s almost as large as the keyboard itself, but we actually appreciated its full-size footprint. There is a problem, however, in that the palm rest is angled upward, so when the keyboard lays flat on your desk, the two parts are not flush, causing the keyboard to flex when you type, which we found annoying. However, when the keyboard was raised up via two sets of “legs” underneath it, the board and palm rest were as snug as a bug.
The Osmium is sprinkled with a few other features that gamers will appreciate, including a convenient USB 3.0 port on its right-hand side that’s useful for USB hard drives. Headset and microphone inputs are next to the USB port, which could cause problems if your USB stick is extra wide. The Windows key can be disabled, making it RTS friendly.
In the final tally, the Osmium is a full-featured keyboard with comfortable, responsive keys and a lot of useful tweaks for gamers. We didn’t like the flex that occurred when the keyboard was flat on our desk, but thankfully it was fixable by extending one set of the keyboard’s legs. The board is also a bit expensive at $130—the same price as our latest Dream Machine board, the Corsair K90. We prefer the K90, although it admittedly lacks inputs for headphones and USB 3.0. Still, we’ll take comfort over features any day.
Price $130, www.gigabyte.com
Note: This review appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Adjustable backlighting; USB 3.0 pass-through; onboard memory for macros; comfortable, responsive keys.
Palm rest flexes too much; USB port next to headphone jack.