- Incredible value for under $50
- RGB Backlighting with aluminium frame
- Available in a variety of switch types
- Non standard layout means that some keys are in of places.
- Small shift key took some adjusting to.
- RGB lighting could be brighter
There’s no doubt that mechanical keyboards have become incredibly popular in recent years. Their combination of durability, tactile feel and improved actuation force have made them favorites for gamers and typists alike. A mechanical keyboard is a must-have upgrade for anyone who spends long amounts of time on their PC.
The Ajazz AK33 boasts RGB backlighting, a compact tenkeyless design (i.e it doesn’t have a numpad) and black mechanical switches for under $50. Is it any good? Read my Ajazz AK33 review to find out.
What is the Ajazz AK33?
The $49.99 Ajazz K33 is a compact tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that features per-key RGB backlighting for an impressive range of lighting effects.
Mechanical keyboards differ significantly to most keyboards in that each key is a separate switch, instead cheaper rubber domes. This design improves durability and responsiveness at the expense of added cost. That said, once you’ve gone mechanical, it’s hard to go back.
There’s a variety of different switch types that affect the “feel” of the keyboard and the Ajazz AK33 comes with black mechanical switches that offer light activation force and reasonably silent operation.
- Compact 82-key layout
- Per-key RGB lighting with a wide variety of lighting effects
- Available with a variety of mechanical switches
The Ajazz AK33 is a nice looking mechanical keyboard, featuring an elegant aluminum back plate that does a good job reflecting the RGB backlighting whilst provided extra rigidity.
There’s a nice weight to the unit that makes it feel well-built – surprising given its budget price tag.
It’s also compact, at 310x120x37mm. Of course, getting a keyboard down to this size requires some compromises. Dropping the numpad has let the company shave off a few inches. They’ve also gone with a slightly modified key layout with only 82 keys.
Unfortunately, this means some keys have shrunk to fit (like the right shift key) and keys like Home and End just aren’t where you expect them to be.
Whilst this won’t be a massive issue for gamers (the AK33’s target market), it did make it more difficult to type on than a standard keyboard layout. Some of these keys are also non-standard sizes, so it may be difficult to find compatible aftermarket keycaps if you’re wanting to swap out the included set.
Ajazz also managed to fit in a host of multimedia controls, app shortcuts and keyboard settings which can be accessed by holding down the function key and F1-F8. You can even switch the WASD and arrow keys by pressing Fn+W.
The keycaps themselves are ABS with transparent letters that lets the RGB lighting shine through. They’ve got a nice, clear font that’s easy to read and a welcome change from the “gamer”-style fonts seen on some mechanical keyboards.
Underneath the keycaps are Ajazz-branded black mechanical switches. They look identical to Cherry Black switches and it’s obvious the company has tried to replicate the feel, with a linear, non-clicky actuation. There’s also variants available with red and blue switches available, depending on your personal preference.
The back of the keyboard is glossy black plastic which attracts fingerprints like crazy. A matte finish would have been far better for a cleaner look. There’s also rubber feet and risers to angle the keyboard for a more comfortable experience.
At the top of the keyboard is a mini USB port that’s used to connect the keyboard to your PC using the included mini USB cable which is a little on the short side. Whilst I think micro USB or USB Type-C would have been a better choice, I like the fact that you can replace the cable if you need to.
The per-key RGB lighting looks fantastic. Ajazz have managed to cram in an impressive range of RGB lighting effects, including spirals, waves and more. Most can be configured using key shortcuts, changing colors and speeds. There’s even some reactive lighting which lights up keys as you type. My personal favorite was the shockwave that moves across the keyboard as you type.
There’s even a mode that let’s you set up a custom profile and save it onto the keyboard. For example, lighting up the WASD and other shortcut keys. It’s a great feature to have if you’re a gamer.
Getting up and running with the Ajazz AK33 couldn’t be simpler. It’s literally plug and play.
There’s no special software to install, with all customisation being handled using the keyboard’s built-in shortcuts for adjusting key colors, lighting patterns and speeds.
Ajazz also offers their own software that lets you tweak the lighting, polling rate, set up macros and more. Having the option is nice, though I didn’t bother installing the software as all the customisation I needed could be done on the keyboard directly.
The black mechanical switches were great for gaming, with relatively light actuation force and smooth travel. This made playing faster paced games a pleasure compared to my current mechanical keyboard’s blue switches.
The typing experience was fine, though I definitely prefer blue mechanical switches for typing as the black switches lack the tactile bump and audible click I’ve grown to love.
That said, the black switches are far quieter than the blue switches I’m used to – something my partner definitely appreciated.
That non-standard layout was also a pain when typing, as I occasionally found myself hitting the wrong keys until I adapted to the modified layout.
Should You Buy the Ajazz AK33?
The Ajazz AK33 is an impressive mechanical keyboard for the price. For under $50, you’re getting a compact RGB mechanical keyboard with an impressive range of lighting modes and solid build quality.
Whilst typists won’t enjoy the non-standard key layout, gamers wanting to enter the world of mechanical keyboards without spending a fortune will be impressed with what the Ajazz AK33 offers for under $50.