If you’re in the market for a very versatile but super compact keyboard, would the Calibur by Drevo be a wise purchase?
In the box
With the Calibur you get a manual, the USB cable and a keycap puller.
Design and Build
The Calibur takes a pretty basic approach, its unfussy and pretty minimal. I honestly like it as it doesn’t look out of place in a gaming setup nor if you were to use it in a more professional environment.
The only sign in which you’d know its not a unbranded keyboard is the logo on the space bar. So if you like keyboards that aren’t plastered with gaming logos, branding and colours, this is a wise choice as its kept really clean in that regard.
The main chassis is Black and made from plastic, its not the best grade of plastic and it does feel and look a little cheap. Yes I realise its not a super expensive keyboard, but a coating on the keyboard would have made it a little more premium feeling.
Round the rear side there is a single USB port that enables the Calibur to be used in wired mode. Its detachable too, meaning if it did break it could easily be replaced.
The underside houses the rubber feet to prevent slipping, the height adjust feet and also the on/off switch for when using in Bluetooth mode. There are two levels of adjsust, one is flat and the other angled and you can of course find your preference between the two. In mu use I found flat to be best.
The Calibur is quite small too, its a ten keyless design but utilising a 72 key layout which isn’t all that common. The Caliburs body measures in at 340.4mm (L) x 100mm x 14mm (H) and its 30mm (H) including the height of the keys. So its super compact and if you’ve got a small desk space, this would be ideal.
The build is odd, the finish feels a little cheap like mentioned but its quite solid, there is no flex during use and it feels planted. If you try to there is some flex, but in reality you don’t really do that to a keyboard anyways. So its well made in its construction (inside), but not so good for the outer finish.
Setting custom colours is easy. You use a combo of fn and either f1 to f12, fn + del (delete), fn + ins (insert), fn + pu (page up) and fn + hm (home).
The custom effects are
- Snake Marquee
- Wave mode
- Ripple mode
- Aurora mode
- Reactive mode
- Advanced reactive mode
- Breathing mode
and can be controlled using fn + ins. If you use fn + del, you can set the colour to solid and choose between Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink, Cyan and White.
The custom effects are cool, but I wanted to do a custom lighting setup. I used fn + pu to do this. So I mapped all the colours I wanted to each key and saved it using the fn + pu combo. It took a few tries for it to save but eventually it did.
There is also some software you can download for the Calibur. However at the time of writing this review, the software does not work and will not detect the keyboard. I tried unplugging it and plugging it back in, a system reboot and I even tried uninstalling and re-installing. None of this worked. Its a shame it wouldn’t work as it would make customising the keyboard that much easier.
The lighting is okay, its not the most vibrant or brightest I’ve ever seen, its also not that colour accurate either.
The key illumination is pretty solid and uniform for the most part, its just the space bar that not quite as fully illuminated as it could be.
The Calibur can be used in both a wireless mode via Bluetooth 4.0 and wired mode via the detachable cable, this is great and makes it very versatile. If you hate cable clutter than having the option to use it wireless is fantastic. It does this via Bluetooth and its easy enough to pair. The instructions in the manual are clear and easy to follow. Unfortunately the Calibur does not come with a Bluetooth adapter, which is a big let down as you have to provide your own at extra cost. In reality and for the price, it should have come with one.
But on the plus side it can be used wired and if you are using it for gaming that is what I would suggest. Bluetooth is very convenient, but with it comes a degree of latency and delay, which is not good for gaming. So for my testing I used it in its wired configuration.
Using the keyboard on a daily basis is odd, well at first. Because its a 72 key layout its really different to anything I’ve used before. For example there are no dedicated “F” function keys, no print screen key and the numpad does not exist. Yes it makes it super compact, but there is a big trade off in functionality. Usually I can swap out keyboards with minimal effort, but switching to this was awkward to say the least. Its not cramped as such, its layout is slightly different to what I’m used to and having a German layout sample didn’t make it any easier. If it were a UK layout then it might have been a little easier, but as is it took some getting used to.
At first I was making a fair few typing errors, hitting keys I shouldn’t and generally making more mistakes than I usually do. It slowed down my typing at first as well, just in the time period where I was getting used to the keyboard.
Once I did get used to it, typing was actually quite enjoyable, they keys are nicely spaced and very easy to press. That is thanks to the Red mechanical switches which barely require any force to register a press. The travel distance is nice and the keys are tactile without being irritating. The Calibur can also be purchased with Black, Blue or Brown switches, so your covered depending on your preference. If you are unsure which is right for you then check out this site here.
The keys have a nice subtle convex which makes them feel nice and my fingers seem to conform really well to the shape of them. It just feels much nicer than when the keys are flat topped.
Onto gaming and its actually pretty good, the Red switches are responsive, quick and have minimal bounce back which helps improve precision. The keys also, like mentioned don’t need much force to register so you want have to heavily mash the keys for it to register. There is also no noticeable delay between an action and response on screen, you press a key and it does it.
On the downside the switches don’t feel quite as premium as fully fledged Cherry switches, they do give good feedback and are responsive, but compared to Cherry Reds, they can’t quite match them. They feel a little cheaper in comparison, by that I mean they just aren’t as smooth. Don’t get me wrong they are good, but Cherry just offer a more premium feel. But then again a Keyboard with Cherry switches is likely to cost a lot more. So the above is not a complaint, but if you want the real deal, then you have to pay for it. These switches offer a better experience than some other none Cherry that I have used though. So again not quite as good as Cherry, but good in their own right.
Its comfortable to use whilst gaming as well. This is thanks to it being a short keyboard so you don’t have to over extend to press the WASD keys. I keep mine flat and it doesn’t cause much fatigue in my wrists when using it. Of course a wrist rest would make things more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be as compact as it is.
Also the included feet on the underside to a pretty good job on keeping the keyboard planted whilst gaming. So its not going to slide around.
To wrap up, should you buy the Calibur. Its a solid keyboard, the design is pretty basic but nice, the comfort is good, using it takes some getting used to, but is nice when you do. Its good for gaming and for typing in general use and can be used wirelessly.
The downsides are the build finish issues, the lack of working software, no included adapter and some minor inconveniences in the layout. But as a whole its a good keyboard. But for £59.99 its tricky. So I’ll do my best to explain.
Under £60 is a good price point for a fully mechanical wireless and if that is what you want, then go for it. Also I can recommend it if you want a versatile keyboard that you can swap between wired use on PC and wireless on a laptop. Not many other keyboards at this price can do that, especially that are fully mechanical.
But If you want it for solo wired use then your better off with an alternative and you’re likely to find one that is much cheaper than this.
So what I’m trying to say is, for certain uses I can suggest you pick one up, but in some cases you are better off with something else.
Pick one up here: www.amazon.co.uk/drevo-calibur