Sunday, January 13th 2019

Hexgears at CES 2019- Hands on with Keyboards and Mice

Hexgears is, in their own words, "a global gaming brand with influences from the USA, Germany, and China". We briefly covered them before thanks to their first adoption of the new Kailh Sun switches, and at CES 2019 they had a booth on the showfloor for this very keyboard and other products. The GK760 from Hexgears is still the only keyboard announced to use those new Sun switches, which effectively allows for a central backlighting similar to Omron switches, while still retaining Cherry MX keycap compatibility. The GK760 is a full-size keyboard with 104 keys and ABS plastic keycaps, which also appear to be low in profile even though the actual switches are not necessarily so. There is an entire column of programmable G-keys (macro keys), as well as a dedicated volume scroll wheel and a thick plushy wrist rest. Read past the break to know more about the products they showed off at CES.
Next up was the new Impulse keyboard which is priced at $100, with a promo sale at $90, and comes in white and RGB backlighting combined with a light ring that goes along the edge of the keyboard as seen below. The keyboard is also available with the so-called pudding keycaps, which makes for a more intense light show, or you can go with a more usual and yet different two-tone keycap set. The Impulse is IP56-rated, and is available with Kailh BOX Brown (Tactile), BOX Red (Linear), or BOX White (Clicky) mechanical switch options.
Adding to their keyboard lineup is the Nova (TKL) and Supernova (full size), both of which are wired keyboards meant for the more entry-level market. These also feature RGB, because apparently that is something even the entry-level consumer wants these days on a gaming keyboard. Further adding to the list of generally premium features is a full metal construction, a light ring (but on a more subtle scale compared to the Impulse), per-key backlighting, and three color options (black, silver, and blue) for the case. The Nova and Supernova cost $90 and $100 respectively, making them no more entry level than the Impulse, and are available with Kailh BOX Brown (Tactile), BOX Red (Linear), or BOX White (Clicky) mechanical switch options.

Rounding off their keyboard showcase was their first keyboard from yesteryear, the X1 low profile wireless keyboard. Targeting the Apple low profile keyboard, Hexgears wanted to offer a more premium, mechanical keyboard experience retaining the wireless functionality via Bluetooth and also allowing for a wired connection option via USB Type-C. It has customizable per-key RGB backlighting, uses a CNC-machined aluminium body in black or white color options, and a three month battery life in Bluetooth mode that is reduced to all of four hours with RGB lighting on constantly. The Hexgears X1 comes with a hard carry case for added portability, costs $120, and is available with the Kailh Choc low profile White (clicky), Brown (tactile), or Red (linear) mechanical switches.

Deciding that keyboards were not enough, Hexgears also showed off new mice concepts that they hope to get to market sooner than later. These include the Hexgears Dragonfly and Ironclad that used an unnamed Pixart optical sensor, Kailh click switches and encoders, support multiple onboard RGB lighting profiles and adopt an ergonomic design for right-handed users with the former, and a more ambidextrous design with the latter. One of the mice concepts also used a 9-button side layout popular with many FPS and MMO gamers.
There was a section to also show off the NovelKeys Glow deskpad, which is currently up for order as a group-buy on the Kono Store that has a strong tie with the Hexgears brand. Available in three color options (blue, pink, and green), the Glow deskpad is 900 x 400 x 4 mm in size, USB-powered for the RGB light ring all along the edge of the soft pad, and had stitching in clear and black thread to retain the aesthetic pattern while preventing fraying with use. The deskpad features a cloth top and a rubber bottom, allowing for use with all mice as a mouse pad as well.
In the very center of the booth was a real eye-catcher in the form of a fully assembled keyboard using the NovelKeys Big Switches (manufactured by Kailh again). I had to make sure to have an image with a Hexgears rep in it to provide scale context to what is easily the most absurd and large keyboard I have seen, and it is fully functional too even though it is really just a very expensive showcase piece for trade shows.
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