The more you look at Acer's Predator Aethon 500, it looks weird. It's not that ugly keyboard itself, but you could call it "challenging". Where most companies can solve one or two transparent design elements to highlight, Aethon 500 is all the flash, the mess of design elements that often contradict each other.
Acer definitely declares entering the mechanical market of the keyboard, but I'm not quite sure what statement.
Note: This review is part of ours best keyboard play get together. Go there for details on competitive products and how we tested them.
Aethon 500 is a combat station. Let's get started there, with her. This is the keyboard monster, so hard I actually handed the box to my colleague Adam Patrick Murray to see his look of surprise. You might think that 3.9 pounds does not sound like much, but it's almost full of pounds weaker than other keyboards like Razer's BlackWidow. It's great, yes, with thick frames and a range of macros – but all the way to that point thick, There is a lot of plastic here, but also a thick metal base and sides. If you need a keyboard for potentially abusing zombies, Aethon 500 will be your best friend.
This is an interesting lightweight Futura contrast that is embedded in (most) keyboards. And if these two elements, the sans-serif typography and the thick keyboard pad, were enough to describe Aethon 500 then I could say that Acer has the design winners.
There are so many strange choices. For one you will notice that I said Futura would use it most keyboard. Strange, is not it? Do not ask me why, but Acer has chosen to use a completely different, more aggressive type of five macro keys. It is not a terrible contrast, but it does not like it either.
Branding is also a bit exaggerated for my tastes. The keyboard itself is not too bad, but the word "Predator" written over the bottom edge is not the choice I would make. Thin wrists (thin plastic) are the real offender with the Acer Predator logo engraved in the silver right. Every time I look at it, all I can think is, "Someone has pushed Optimus Prime onto this keyboard."
Aesthetics is, of course, subjective, but in the case of Aethon 500 it does not seem to be a unified aesthetics. The logo and macro keys scream "the keyboard for the game," while the rest says "a workstation ready to work". The combination of the two features does not make Aethon 500 many benefits.
One of the first elements you will notice is the volume wheel. Why? Because it moves away from the keyboard, Like so many Aethona 500, I'm fond of this choice. It is useful – if the wheel does not stretch the side, you will be left with one half of your thumb and find it difficult to find it. Like the latest Razer Circular Media Keys, the Aethon 500 makes it easy to handle the keypad, find the button and rotate.
On the other hand, that's ugly. He reminds me of someone who wrote a sign and made the first few letters huge, and then thinking, "Oh, shit, I'm out of the universe" and crashed the other half. Unique? Of course, but not the way I would like to see other copies. The wheel is also flimsier than looks, bending up and down even mildly press.
And that's just the most obvious Aethon 500. There's more. For example, Acer uses the arrow keys to illuminate the backlight, plus … another volume control set. Why? You will find that the same type of redundancy is also present in the Caps Lock / Scroll Lock / Num Lock, where Acer turned on the standard turn signal lights over the upper right edge and it has made the lock keys illuminate only if they are active. Again, why?
The WASD buttons are light blue and there are no substitute caps in the box. You are afraid, which is an unusual and limiting choice. The Windows key is also replaced by a function key, which may not affect you, but it certainly agitates me. I normally open programs by knocking the Windows key and typing the first few letters, and my muscle memory means holding the function key instead.
Perhaps the most confusing: the "5" button has two secondary function tags, one for the standard "%" sign and the other for the euro symbol ("€"). It is the only EurEY symbol that appears on Aethon 500, and the accompanying "Alt Gr" key you would use to access it (according to my findings) even by default in the US. This is only the default value for the second Alt key.
Namely, Acer has made many unusual choices with Aethon 500 design. None of them is really banned, and I did not hate what he had on his desk for the past few weeks. That said, there are better keys out there, especially for $ 180. This could be the standard price list for the RGB keyboard, and indeed, the backlight of Aethon 500 is enough to compete with Corsair, Razer, Logitech, etc. But the rest of the design? I'm not quite sure.
Blue for blues
This $ 180 price is twice as hard to swallow when it comes to Acer's choice of switches.
Did you know that Acer once produced his mechanical switches? Well, mechanically adjoining perhaps – were altered the ALPS switches, with the core of the membrane.
Anyway, those days are long. Instead of reviving its old switch, Acer has instead chosen the right standard for Kailh Blue on Aethon 500. There is nothing wrong with Kailh Blue theory. It's one of the better Cherry MX knock-offs, with somewhat lower startup power – so it's a bit suspicious to notice, really.
Kailh switches also have a reputation for poor quality control though they deserve it or not. Whether you buy in that argument, it means that Kailh switches generally do not order the same price as the actual Cherry switches – except here, at Aethon 500.
Corsairove keyboards list about $ 180 and use the actual Cherry MX switches. Razer and Logitech do not, but everyone has developed a proprietary switch to justify the price – in other words, "You either get from us or you're not buying our keyboards."
Kailhs, however, is a third-party sharing and can be directly compared to other keyboards on the market. Other RGB keyboards equipped with Kailho can be found at the $ 60 Amazon.
Now, Acer has a lot of work in Aethon 500 and I'm no doubt building a general quality is better than most of those $ 60 keyboards. That said, Aethon 500 probably deserves a price between two extremes – say $ 120. More than feeling a little steep.
Before we finish, touch the software that is awkwardly called "Predator Gaming Device Integration". It is Alright.
These types of software tools are always hit-or-miss, but the Acer is at least pretty intuitive when it comes to changing the effects of light, what most people are touching. Macro customization is more unpleasant, but can be decoded by someone who cares enough.
My only true complaint is that desperately needed a graphic design. Integration of the Predator Gaming Device (seriously, the name) looks like it has swirled WinAmp since about 2003.
Acer Predator Aethon 500 is not a bad keyboard, and if you buy an Acer Predator computer, there's no reason to throw it out. We've come far from the old rubber dome that came with a lot of buckwheat machines.
But Acer now sells Aethon 500 to the public and this is a more questionable search, especially at full cost. One of the few keyboards that these days contains macros, which might be enough to persuade certain players, but switches that are not standards, the price of polluters and the unpleasant design choices make Aethon 500 also in my eyes,