The market for gaming and esports apparel has always been a very creative and risqué one. We had the phase where Gunnar provided eyewear, which ultimately never took off. We had modular mice where you can add and remove weights and other parts of the mouse (the new Razer Naga is attempting this again). We also had one handed gaming pads which were supposed to replace keyboards somewhat. There was Icemat from Steelseries, which was essentially a glass slab which functioned as a mousepad & salad chopping block – which also lost its charm before long.
Among the long list of attempts at revolutionizing the way we game, only one of them truly stood out. The revival of the mechanical keyboard.
The younger generation might not remember, but this new fad of mechanical keys in a keyboard is certainly not a new one. Some of the first keyboards ever had metal mechanical switches and only through the growth in popularity of the home PC, did these keyboards make way to a cheaper and easier to build plastic-switch keyboard.
The revival of mechanical keyboards from around 2012 had a slow start, but in 2017 there is just no excuse for any serious gamer or esports player to not have a mechanical keyboard.
The benefits of a mechanical keyboard is profound not only for vanity purposes but actual competitive advantage, down to a very technical level. I am however not going to bore you with the details, there’s enough of it on the internet!
I recently acquired the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire which replaced my old Razer Blackwidow which I’ve used for over 5 years. I bought the Corsair due to it being dubbed, at the time of purchase at least, to be the very best mechanical keyboard that money can buy, especially due to the Rapidfire switches. It’s been my daily driver ever since and didn’t really expect any competition could come it’s way.
Aperture gaming was nice enough to send the Redragon Yama my way and despite being a complete gear snob, I decided to unplug my Corsair and give the Yama a whirl. What a pleasant surprise.
The Yama has a strong metal base with a good spacing between the keys and the base, making it aesthetically pleasing yet easy to clean. The keyboard is sturdy and has a wrist-rest for those long gaming marathons.
The keyboard has a sound slider which is similar to the Corsair which is a really nice feature which gives you quicker way to hit that sweet spot.
The RGB is vivid and you have quite a few options to choose from – there is a flux colour setting that I really like, giving you all the off colours – something I just can’t find on other RGB products.
The switches are responsive and their clicky-factor is right up there with the Razer. I prefer the hard click snaps on the Yama over the Corsair’s. The sound confirmation of hitting a key is very satisfying and probably my biggest pro of mechanical keyboards, even if it’s just vanity.
The keyboard has several macro keys on top of the keyboard which I find incredibly useful – especially when playing CS:GO. I bind all my utility and weapon buys on the macro keys and I put a different category in each row. I also use the rest of the macro keys for opening different kinds of software on my PC.
There is a quick-bind function where you can bind a key combination on the fly, which I found useful and changed them frequently in-game to suit my needs.
In-game I found the Yama to be responsive and I still felt comfortable peeking and strafe-shooting.
What makes the Yama even more impressive is the price tag. You can get your hands on a Redragon Yama K550 RGB for R1,200, which comes in more than half the price of its competitors – putting it way up on my list of mechanical keyboards to buy.
My overall experience thus far has been great and I would recommend this keyboard to any esports player who wants the quality of a top-line mechanical keyboard at an affordable price.
I give the Redragon Yama 4/5
– Affordable price tag.
– Quality build.
– Vivid RGB
– Quick-bind macro keys
– Flimsy packaging
– Cable not braided