Performance of the Nighthawk really breaks down into two parts. How did the normal features of the keyboard perform, and how did our custom LED and keyswitch design work out. For starters the Nighthawk uses a traditional full keyboard layout meaning the numpad is in the proper location and they haven’t moved any keys closer together to save space. The F keys all have double functions that can be activated by using the function button on the bottom row of the keyboard, next to the alt key. This gives you media keys to be able to play, pause, skip, and volume controls. Max Keyboard also has software available on their website to help you program any of the keyboards keys to be a macro key. This is a great idea that doesn’t require adding any more keys to the keyboard but I having tried the software, I found it to be difficult to program and slightly confusing.
In the top right corner of the keyboard there are microphone, headphone, and USB connections available. The USB connection is very important to me, I have gotten used to keeping my mouse cords short and plugging them into my keyboards, I personally couldn’t live without this at this point. Of course, these ports are limited in voltage and Max Keyboard makes a point to show this when you first get the keyboard with a sticker that covers them. As long as you don’t plan on charging your phone from the ports you are good to go though, it is more than enough power for your mouse.
Under the Nighthawk we have four rubber feet to keep things from sliding around while gaming. On the back there are flip out feet as well. The feet lack rubber on them, so if you are like me and run an angled keyboard there are only two feet keeping it from sliding. On my plastic fold out table for a desk this was noticeable right away and took a little adjustment to get used to. There is a little bit keeping the keyboard secure, but with the feet up, it’s not enough.
What about the custom part of the Nighthawk, how did that help things? Well the most obvious difference was in the LED lighting, everyone who has seen our keyboard have been very impressed with the look that the multiple color layout gives the board. I think going with 5 different colors may have been a little excessive, but we wanted to see how all of the colors looked as well as create a challenge for Max Keyboard when they put it all together. Between that and the different key switches, this is a worse case situation for them really. If I were to do it again I would love to do something with white and purple, both colors you rarely see in keyboards.
The mix of brown, red, and black key switches worked out better than I would have expected. I love the tactile feedback that the brown switches game me but when it came to the other keys it wasn’t needed. This had the added benefit of setting there feel apart, making it more obvious what keys I was pressing. The single black switch used on escape required a little more force, making it harder to accidently press.