Hope you’re ready to see the light.Photo: Elizabeth Henges
Aukey is best known for their power banks, but they also manufacture other tech products with a money-conscientious focus in mind. High-end mechanical keyboards and gaming mice can cost over $100 apiece easily, but you can grab Aukey’s keyboard, mouse, and a giant mousepad for under a Benjamin.
But when you see computer accessories that cheap, there is one question that immediately comes to mind—is the quality up to snuff? In a word, yes, but if you’re a picky hardware nerd you need to be aware of some of this line’s limitations.
When the KM-G12 keyboard, the KM-P6 mousepad, and the GM-F2 mouse came in, I wondered why these items had difficult-to-remember string of letters and numbers as names as I began to squeeze and pull on each of the devices. It seems weird, but I was testing how durable these items felt.
I’m generally gentle with my electronics, but it’s important to know if something will stand the test of time by being a little rough with it. If the USB wire gets caught on something behind my desk and I’ll tug too hard, will the wire get messed up? Does the mouse feel like it’s going to fall apart in my hand? When I buy something for my computer, I want it to last a while, and something that feels flimsy is immediately a problem for me.
But the mouse and keyboard are very solid. The wired mouse fits my hand perfectly (although admittedly a friend said, and I quote, “for my big ass hands not quite [big] enough”), and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart if it takes a few “annoyed mouse slams” we all do from time to time.
Otherwise, the GM-F2 mouse is pretty standard, with a couple of side buttons you can program for whatever you need (Apex Legends Ultimate moves anyone?). There’s also a button under the scroll wheel that can change the sensitivity of your cursor movement, something I find very welcome as a double screen user.
The Aukey mouse feels solid, and looks good too.Photo: Elizabeth Henges
The KM-G12 keyboard itself feels like an absolute tank, too. I feel like it’d last for years and quite a few bad accidents before finally giving out. But it’s important to note that also like a tank, Aukey’s KM-G12 is LOUD. People joke about how loud mechanical keyboards are, but the secret is in the switches. My normal, non-Aukey keyboard uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which are known for being the quietest of the tactile bunch. This one here uses Aukey’s proprietary Blue switches, best compared to Cherry’s MX Blues which are both revered and reviled for their “audible click,” depending on who you ask.
And yes, it’s quite audible indeed. I used the Aukey keyboard for three days throughout my normal workflow (which, of course, involved a lot of typing), and I got used to the loud clicking faster than I thought I would. Discord’s new Noise Suppression mode also managed to cut the clicking out when I was speaking to people on voice chat, which is also good. So, provided you aren’t annoying a roommate or loved one by typing loudly five feet away from them, it’s not too bad.
The mousepad? Well … It’s a giant mousepad. The KM-P6 just barely fit the small desk I had, which is fine—that just means it’ll fit on an average person’s desk quite well. It also immediately got put to the ultimate test as I spilled some of my food on it not five minutes after setting it up.
Yeah, I’m that sort of messy person. It was easy to clean up the mousepad with a bit of soap and water, which means it passes one of the few tests a mousepad needs to pass. The other test, which is how smoothly I can drag a mouse across it, the KM-P6 also passes with flying colors.
But there’s one thing that all three of these products have in common that’s worth mentioning—their RGB lighting. All three of these products have LED support, and you can change the colors around as needed. What’s interesting is that for basic color setups, you don’t need to download any software to tweak it. Instead, some of the function keys are assigned the use of scrolling through some color presets on the keyboard and mouse. The mousepad also has a button that allows you to cycle through some color options.
If you want more advanced color options for the keyboard and mouse, you’ll need to download Aukey’s complimentary software—but it’s not particularly easy to find. Even then the options are somewhat limited— plenty for anyone that is not an LED snob, but I am, in fact, an LED snob. I like my lights varied and not garish, thank you very much!
Also, the keyboard has an additional light strip that runs along the bottom that can’t be adjusted via the software, you can only do it via the function keys, and the options are limited. The default is a dizzyingly fast rainbow, so being able to change it from that at least was nice, but I couldn’t find anything that really matched the rest of my keyboard color setup.
The bottom LED strip is a nice touch, but it’s a shame that it’s hard to customize.Photo: Elizabeth Henges
The mouse and mousepad also have rudimentary LED setups. The mouse colors can be updated in the software as well, but with the mousepad you’re stuck with the preset options. Worse yet, the mousepad doesn’t turn off when you turn off the computer. You have to hold the button on the mousepad itself, but when you do that it also changes colors. Not the best, but ultimately a minor inconvenience.
So, overall, in the LED department, you might find these products a little lacking. But ultimately, it depends on how picky you are regarding these options in the first place. I, for one, recently spent way too much time getting some of my keys just the right shades of orange and pink on my keyboard, so for me, not being able to properly customize the bar at the bottom of Aukey’s keyboard was a sticking point. For others that only want basic lighting, these products are more than acceptable.
In fact, I’d say the KM-G12, the KM-P6, and GM-F2 are pretty solid products in general. I’d liken them to “beginner” tech accessories. Do you want to try out a mechanical keyboard, but don’t want to drop a couple hundred dollars to end up possibly hating it? Or maybe you want to see what the big mousepad craze is all about, but don’t know where to start? Aukey’s lineup has you covered, and it’ll last you forever, too.