Mechanical keyboards are getting more compact, and one of the smallest you can get is a 60% keyboard. Several companies, mostly gaming-focused, are manufacturing these, so there are a few choices if you’re into the form factor.
Our Redragon K530 Draconic review takes a look at a 60% mechanical gaming keyboard with multiple function keys and Bluetooth connectivity. Read on for our full review!
The Redragon K530 Draconic 60% gaming keyboard we reviewed has the following features and specifications:
- Key Switches: Redragon Mechanical Brown Switches
- USB Connector: Detachable Type-C Cable
- Keyboard Connectivity: Wired/Wireless (Bluetooth v5.0)
- Matrix: 61 Keys (Full Rollover)
- Height Adjustable: Yes
- Battery: 3,000mAh
- Dimensions: 291.7 x 101.7 x 36mm (11.48 x 4 x 1.42in)
- Weight: 0.8 kg (1.76 lbs)
What’s in the box
- Redragon K530 Wireless Keyboard
- Keycap Puller
- Switch Puller
- Switch Backup Box (4 Switches with Black/Red/Brown/Blue)
- User manual
So here’s the thing. I recently reviewed another 60% keyboard and was a bit harsh on the design (I’ve since updated the score for that one). At any rate, 60% keyboards are compact and small, but if you compare them to a standard laptop keyboard without a number pad, they are roughly the same size.
The Redragon K530 Draconic 60% mechanical keyboard has five rows with full-sized keys. Gone is the number pad on a full-sized keyboard, the arrow keys, and the Home/End/PgUp/PgDn block that is usually present. The biggest difference with 60% keyboards is where they place the alternate key functionality. Because of the size, there is no space for these keys.
Most 60% keyboards have extra writing on the front of the keycaps. These indicate the missing keys and can be accessed with the function button. Redragon’s placement is different than most others, but it works very well. Typically speaking, the arrow keys are assigned to the I/J/K/L or I/J/K/M keys. In the case of the K530, these are instead mapped to the W/A/S/D keys. Also, the Delete key is usually doubled up with the backspace key. Redragon has instead placed it on the /? key, which really makes it easy to access as it is right above the function key. Personally, I found it a more natural feeling to access those specific keys with this placement. The keyboard has two FN keys and a Magic FN key doubled up on the Caps Lock key. More on that below.
The keys themselves float in a tray of sorts. The tray’s front lip is about 3/4-inch in height, while the back lip is about an inch. The side lips, of course, increase in height from the front to the back. As for branding, the Redragon logo is printed in silver. On the keyboard’s underside are two flippable feet to allow you to raise the back of the keyboard when using it — pretty standard fare.
On the left side of the keyboard is where you’ll find your USB Type-C port, on/off switch, Bluetooth selector switch, Bluetooth LED, and power LED. The included USB Type-C cable has an L-shaped connector, which is nice when using the keyboard in wired mode.
The Redragon K530 Draconic also has RGB lighting. You can choose between thirteen different presets, some of which come with colourful or single colour options, and be able to change the direction of the movement. The Caps Lock key doesn’t light up, but this is by design. When Caps Lock is on, the key is lit in red. When it is off, the key is not lit. As there are no LED indicators as is the norm on larger keyboards, this is a thoughtful design choice.
Ease of Use
There is no question that 60% keyboards take a bit of getting used to when it comes to using them. To use the printed keys located on the front of the keys that have them, hold the FN1 or FN2 down and then press the corresponding key. For example, FN1+/? will instead invoke the delete command. FN1+A is your back arrow, FN1+S is your down arrow, FN1+SHIFT+Esc lets you type a ~.
Where things get a bit messy is when using the macro recording for gaming. It’s not difficult but does require a bit of a process. The included manual outlines the necessary steps, so it’s something you’re not going to want to lose.
Oh, and that MAGIC FN key I mentioned earlier? In the app, you can assign this to FN1 or FN2, giving you even more access to the secondary typing commands and functions. If assigned to FN1, holding down the Caps Lock key and waiting for a second will allow you to use the arrow keys, delete, key, or other keys assigned to FN1 without having to hold down the FN1 key. In other words, you have two options to enable the FN1 key depending on your typing style. However, one thing to note is that this will toggle the Caps Lock key, so you’ll have to press it again once finished using it as the function key.
Pairing is easy as well. With the keyboard power switch turned on, select B1, B2, or B3 on the Bluetooth switch and look for the corresponding keyboard in your Bluetooth settings on your laptop, tablet, or another device. Once you’ve paired it, selecting that Bluetooth setting on the keyboard will re-pair with that device.
The Redragon K530 can be used out of the box. However, a software app makes it easier to create macros and bind macros and allows you to easier change the RGB lighting. Finally, you can also toggle if the Magic Fn feature applies to the FN1 or FN2 key bindings. The keyboard must be connected with the cable to use the software app. The app itself is pretty straightforward to use, even though it’s edgy look feels a tad dated.
Typing and response performance is essential, especially for gaming. The Redragon brown switches on the keyboard have that nice tactile bump in them and aren’t as clicky as some other mechanical keyboards.
I didn’t have issues with delay or anything for gaming, whether I was in wired or wireless mode. I mostly just played some Heroes of the Storm with it and actually found it was nicer to play with the mouse and keyboard closer together. I don’t generally notice it but going back to a full-sized keyboard definitely feels like you’re reaching a bit more with the mouse, depending on your setup.
When typing, once I got used to the size, I was able to get about 108wpm with 100% accuracy on Monkeytype.com while in wired mode. Having wireless capabilities, I ran a second series of tests in Bluetooth mode. I was still able to hit over 100 wpm with 100% accuracy here as well.
When used in Bluetooth mode, the keyboard does come out of sleep mode fairly quickly. If it’s been a while since you used it, tap a key and it will come out of sleep mode without registering that key. If it’s only been a short time, pressing a key will register it once the keyboard wakes up.
With Bluetooth 5.0 powering the wireless connectivity, you shouldn’t have to worry about the distance you are from your connected device. Most of the time, you’ll likely be close to your computer, but if you’re connecting to a computer in a boardroom with a larger screen, you should be good to go. I did test the keyboard from about 20 feet away from the laptop I had it connected to, and typing was fine.
Redragon doesn’t specifically mention the specific amount of time you’ll get out of the 3,000mAh battery included within the K530 Draconic gaming keyboard. Of course, battery life will vary, especially if you have the backlit function on.
During testing, I did leave the backlit function on and found that the keyboard would lose roughly 2-3% battery per hour of use. After about 6 hours of use, I was down to 80% battery life left. Based on that, you’ll definitely be able to get through an entire day (if it’s a long one) or a few regular 8 hour days without having to plug it in. After further testing, the K530 offers insane battery life when the backlit function is turned off. With nine days of use for about 9 or 10 hours a day, the keyboard is sitting at 51% battery life remaining according to Windows 10.
While the keyboard does have an on/off switch, I’m one to forget to toggle it when I’m not using the keyboard. Fortunately, the sleep function works rather well, and I didn’t notice any battery bleed between uses. For example, I’d check the remaining battery life when I was done using it for the day, let it go into sleep mode, and up to 20 hours later the battery life would still be the same or 1% lower when I started to use it again.
The Redragon K530 Draconic gaming keyboard is a steal at US$69.99. Not only is this well below some of the more well-known brands, but it offers decent performance and wireless capabilities, making it even more portable. Even better, it’s currently on sale for $64.99 on the Redragon website and Amazon.
As I’ve mentioned before, 60% keyboards aren’t for everyone. I’m still not a huge fan, but I can definitely appreciate the appeal.
If you’re looking for a 60% mechanical keyboard for gaming or even for stowing away in your laptop bag, you can’t go wrong with the Redragon K530 Draconic 60% mechanical keyboard. Priced right, it offers great value and decent performance and is deserving of a Top Pick of 2020 Award here at Techaeris.
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Redragon K530 Draconic 60% KeyboardUS$69.99
Ease of Use8.5/10
- Compact 60% design
- Brown tactile switches
- Excellent placement of Fn arrow and delete keys
- Switches are replaceable
- USB Type-C or Bluetooth connectivity
- Great battery life
- L-shaped USB Type-C connector on cable
- Two FN keys and a MAGIC FN key
- Includes four extra switches
- Has a bit of a learning curve to use
- No media option keys by default
- No onboard profiles
- Included spare switches are four different kinds
- Doesn't work with USB-C to USB-C cables