Author Topic: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It  (Read 2635 times)

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Offline micmil

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Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« on: Sat, 06 February 2021, 22:15:24 »
Nobody demands it, I know.  But I got you to click on this crap so  :p

I'm always looking for value and this combination of features seemed too good to pass up. 104 key, full RGB with 18 lighting modes, macro capability, metal construction. So where were the corners cut?

The keycaps are trash. The edges are jarringly sharp and it seems like the spacebar is the worst offender. When typing on this thing I have to remember to keep my thumb above parallel otherwise the bruising starts. Keep in mind, I'm a four-time Professional Thumb Wrestling World Champion as far as you know so I can deal with some thumb pain. This design, however, is just bad. The surfaces of the caps are glossy and while they seem durable they also seem very not durable. Like they're made well from crap material. They're doubleshot but somehow it feels like the lettering will wipe off if I tried. I think this is just down to the gloss finish feeling so cheap. I'm going to be replacing them as soon as possible.

Somewhere else corners may have been cut is the PCB. The one I'm typing on now is actually the second. It's a hot swap board and includes extra switches so you can experiment with them. Cool. So I swap a couple of keys out and... tilde through backspace died. Hwut? The switches worked, but I got no signal across the traces. I have no idea why this happened but Amazon swapped it out so whatever. This seems to be a known issue with a number of reviews talking about DOA keyboards or problems that cropped up after some use. If I have any issues with this replacement I'll come back and post it here but I don't really have a reason to think it's super common for these things to fail. No more so than any other low-price keyboard of dubious manufacture, that is. For all I know it was some sort of pilot error that killed the previous one.

Oh, the software is kind of incredibly lame as well. On my system it doesn't even fully load everything so I have minimal configurability. Eh. That's not why I bought it anyway. This may be a show-stopper for others. I don't care.

So what are the positives?

Let's start with this base. Holy hell. It's just a solid chunk of aluminum channel with some aluminum caps bolted to the ends and an aluminum top plate. It's solid as hell and by itself provides a solid start for building something much more interesting out of. It's nice and weighty. Flex? Nah. Not going to happen. Need to make a hasty exit through a window? Just throw this thing at it. It will win.

The switches are decent. They're Redragon branded MX-compatible browns. I've read in a couple of places that they're rebranded Outemu but can't comment on that one way or another. Compared to my CM Storm Stealth that has Cherry MX browns the Redragon feels a bit stiffer. The bump is more pronounced and happens earlier. Overall they come across like someone had the idea of Cherry MX browns described to them, they created what they thought that would feel like, and they got pretty close. They're not great, they're not terrible. Construction quality seems perfectly fine. Tolerances probably aren't as solid as Cherry branded switches and I have a feeling they won't last for tens of millions of keystrokes but who the hell has so few boards they'll put that many keystrokes into one? Just play the odds, you'll be fine.


For $60 you're obviously not getting a top quality board. So who should buy it? Noobs. Noobs should buy it. It's cheap enough that if you forget not to let the hot pokey thing sit too long on the black squarey thing you won't cry over it. The base alone is damn near worth the price of admission. Get some new keycaps, maybe get a couple cheap sets of MX-compatible switches to try out, and see if you want to jump full force into the insanity of this weirdass hobby. If you're already in the deep end you're not buying this board. It's as simple as that.

TL;DR: Hobby noobs rejoice.

Offline Maledicted

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  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 16 February 2021, 14:45:32 »
Nice write up, the humor was great. I have a few Red Dragon boards (or other boards Red Dragon also renames and markets, along with 30 other random Chinese brands). They've always seemed like remarkably solid boards for the price (even though I just got mine second-hand for almost nothing).

One potential problem is it probably has Outemu hot swap sockets, which really only work with Outemu switches without modification (I think Outemu blues are some of the best MX clone clickies, not that it is competing against particularly good switches in that field). It sounds like the problem you had with the first one might have boiled down to one of the hot swap sockets tearing the solder pad right off of the board ... and the solder pad was likely an essential part of continuity for that row of switches. Things like this are a good example of why a lot of people prefer to solder their switches, although well-designed PCBs and better sockets aren't likely to fail that spectacularly.

Boards like this are fine for anybody. Why not have a cheap board to use and abuse and not have to worry about babying? Enjoy the ride.  :thumb:

Offline HungerMechanic

  • Posts: 900
Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 16 February 2021, 17:26:30 »
Yes, I use my K552 as my "Loaner" board for when people are repairing their stabs or whatever.

Offline micmil

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Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 17 February 2021, 10:36:44 »
Nice write up, the humor was great. I have a few Red Dragon boards (or other boards Red Dragon also renames and markets, along with 30 other random Chinese brands). They've always seemed like remarkably solid boards for the price (even though I just got mine second-hand for almost nothing).

One potential problem is it probably has Outemu hot swap sockets, which really only work with Outemu switches without modification (I think Outemu blues are some of the best MX clone clickies, not that it is competing against particularly good switches in that field). It sounds like the problem you had with the first one might have boiled down to one of the hot swap sockets tearing the solder pad right off of the board ... and the solder pad was likely an essential part of continuity for that row of switches. Things like this are a good example of why a lot of people prefer to solder their switches, although well-designed PCBs and better sockets aren't likely to fail that spectacularly.

Boards like this are fine for anybody. Why not have a cheap board to use and abuse and not have to worry about babying? Enjoy the ride.  :thumb:

I think you're right on the pad tearout. The switches were difficult to go in, and that was with the switches they include. I tried a Kailh just to see if it would go and no. Very no.

Limited direct switch swap ability. I'm just looking at this case and wondering if it would be worth it to put together a direct swap PCB. It's just a chunk of aluminum and would probably withstand defending you against several home invasions.

Offline Maledicted

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  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 17 February 2021, 11:12:49 »
Yes, I use my K552 as my "Loaner" board for when people are repairing their stabs or whatever.

You actually know other keyboard people in real life? I have gotten people mechanicals as gifts, or convinced them to buy them. They've all liked them, but I don't think any of them have gone beyond, "clicky keyboards are great" yet.

I have seen untold numbers of those K552s for dirt cheap secondhand. They must sell like hotcakes, and why shouldn't they at that price?

Nice write up, the humor was great. I have a few Red Dragon boards (or other boards Red Dragon also renames and markets, along with 30 other random Chinese brands). They've always seemed like remarkably solid boards for the price (even though I just got mine second-hand for almost nothing).

One potential problem is it probably has Outemu hot swap sockets, which really only work with Outemu switches without modification (I think Outemu blues are some of the best MX clone clickies, not that it is competing against particularly good switches in that field). It sounds like the problem you had with the first one might have boiled down to one of the hot swap sockets tearing the solder pad right off of the board ... and the solder pad was likely an essential part of continuity for that row of switches. Things like this are a good example of why a lot of people prefer to solder their switches, although well-designed PCBs and better sockets aren't likely to fail that spectacularly.

Boards like this are fine for anybody. Why not have a cheap board to use and abuse and not have to worry about babying? Enjoy the ride.  :thumb:

I think you're right on the pad tearout. The switches were difficult to go in, and that was with the switches they include. I tried a Kailh just to see if it would go and no. Very no.

Limited direct switch swap ability. I'm just looking at this case and wondering if it would be worth it to put together a direct swap PCB. It's just a chunk of aluminum and would probably withstand defending you against several home invasions.

You should be able to file the legs of any switches you want to install that badly but won't fit. What do you mean by direct swap PCB? A custom PCB that you could drop in to replace the OEM one? You could remove the PCB entirely and handwire it too if you wanted. I really need to get around to doing something like that. Then you know exactly how the matrix is laid out with a glance and if you really needed to modify or fix anything, it is simple as pie ... so long as you don't want/need hot swap.


Offline micmil

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Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 17 February 2021, 11:25:13 »
You should be able to file the legs of any switches you want to install that badly but won't fit. What do you mean by direct swap PCB? A custom PCB that you could drop in to replace the OEM one? You could remove the PCB entirely and handwire it too if you wanted. I really need to get around to doing something like that. Then you know exactly how the matrix is laid out with a glance and if you really needed to modify or fix anything, it is simple as pie ... so long as you don't want/need hot swap.

Yup, just a drop-in replacement. Probably a complete waste of time and money but... we're talking about keyboards.  :))

Offline KaitlyynDuff

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Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 22 February 2021, 07:53:35 »
 Well, the switches are still decent based on the other reviews I have read. Well, compared to other keyboard it is on the mid level of prices. Not too expensive and not too cheap.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 22 February 2021, 08:27:26 »
Well, the switches are still decent based on the other reviews I have read. Well, compared to other keyboard it is on the mid level of prices. Not too expensive and not too cheap.

Outemu blues aren't bad for an MX clone, almost as nice as Gateron blues. Their tactiles and linears seem a little scratchier than MX. If that's what you're used to, then you probably wouldn't mind them.

Offline tex_live_utility

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Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 26 February 2021, 09:24:48 »
Well, the switches are still decent based on the other reviews I have read. Well, compared to other keyboard it is on the mid level of prices. Not too expensive and not too cheap.

Outemu blues aren't bad for an MX clone, almost as nice as Gateron blues. Their tactiles and linears seem a little scratchier than MX. If that's what you're used to, then you probably wouldn't mind them.

They feel nice, but they are ear-piercingly loud, especially in the Redragon case.

I had an old coworker who had one of these with blues in the ****ing office. I am so glad I worked in another building.
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: Redragon K556 Devarajas Review - Because Everyone Demands It
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 26 February 2021, 10:22:15 »
Well, the switches are still decent based on the other reviews I have read. Well, compared to other keyboard it is on the mid level of prices. Not too expensive and not too cheap.

Outemu blues aren't bad for an MX clone, almost as nice as Gateron blues. Their tactiles and linears seem a little scratchier than MX. If that's what you're used to, then you probably wouldn't mind them.

They feel nice, but they are ear-piercingly loud, especially in the Redragon case.

I had an old coworker who had one of these with blues in the ****ing office. I am so glad I worked in another building.

I use capacitive buckling spring and box navies with costar stabilizers (with no lube) in a pingy Das Pro 4 chassis at work (among other less high-pitched but equally thunderous clickies). Nobody has seemed to mind.