Under The Hood: Switches, RGB Lighting, & More

Beneath the keycaps, we found Kailh’s new low-profile switches. Although they appear to be a copy of Cherry’s ML low-profile switch, neither their dimensions or their keycaps match. This is not Kailh’s first attempt with low-profile switches, as they have been trying for at least a couple of years. The new switch is tactile, clicky, with a very low operating force, and has a travel distance of just 3 mm. Combined with the proprietary keycap design that reduces the keycap height by another 7 mm, the new configuration is much shorter than a standard stem & keycap configuration. The downside here is that both the proprietary switch stem and the low-profile keycaps make finding aftermarket replacements practically impossible. The switches are attached to the aluminum frame of the keyboard and have clear bodies to better diffuse the light coming from the RGB LED mounted underneath their top center. Costar-type stabilizers can be found underneath the larger keys.

The HAVIT KB395L features RGB backlighting that by default is controllable via the available keystroke combinations. The primary issue here is not the number of pre-programmed effects, but that there is no option to tune the brightness without having to rely on the software. Although the backlighting is not particularly bright, we suspect that users working in rooms where the ambient lighting changes quickly would like the ability to adjust the brightness equally quickly.

Generally speaking, the backlighting is well applied. Despite the clear body of the switches, there is minimal light bleed towards any side of the keycaps. Secondary characters printed on the lower half of the keycap, like on the Function keys, are barely visible. HAVIT moved the secondary characters of nearly all of the main keys to the top of the keycap, but all of the backlight control indicators and most of the secondary functions of the numpad are practically left unlit. This is not uncommon on a backlit mechanical keyboard, but the design of the Space Bar really left us pondering what the designer was thinking. The Space Bar has an extended backlighting opening, one that is usually combined with multiple LEDs mounted beneath the keycap. The KB395L only has one and the keycap’s outermost translucent openings are entirely dark, which is a significant visual dissonance. Someone looking at the keyboard for the first time will probably think that there were LEDs there that are turned off or dead. It would be much better if the Space Bar had a single short line at its center, like any other key.

Opening up the body of the KB395L reveals only the main PCB of the keyboard. The switches are attached to the aluminum frame and the PCB is soldered directly on their underside. No wires or any additional/removable parts can be seen. Due to the thinness of the plastic lower cover and the fragility of the plastic switch stems, it will definitely will not survive severe abuse, but it is strong enough for typical everyday use.

The heart of the KB395L is a Holtek HT32F52352 microcontroller. It has a 48 MHz ARM processor and 128 KB of onboard flash. It is a chip that we normally expect to see in more advanced implementations and quite a bit of an overkill for the capabilities of the KB395L.

The HAVIT KB395L RGB Mechanical Keyboard The Software
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  • letmepicyou - Monday, March 5, 2018 - link

    My Orion Spark (G910) is wonderfully quiet. Now if I could convince them to create a proper wrist rest for it...
  • Jakuarella - Monday, August 6, 2018 - link

    Hey there, how loud is this keyboard actually? From what I saw on youtube, they seem really quiet. I'm thinking of getting this for the office, but I'm concerned about the noise levels, and more specifically the pitch. How noticeable is the sound? How annoying is it? Can it be used in an office with 20 people without getting punched in the face? Thanks!
  • Findecanor - Thursday, March 1, 2018 - link

    There are keyboards from other brands that are very much like this, probably from the same actual manufacturer.
    I have seen for instance a TKL with Bluetooth but without RGB backlighting.
  • twtech - Thursday, March 1, 2018 - link

    I only use split keyboards, so I wouldn't be in the market for this anyway, but I don't know if I could use a keyboard regularly that doesn't come with a palmrest.
  • mecanled - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    I agree with you, now most of keyboard are RGB lighting keyboard, mechanical keyboard and gaming keyboard, definitely, gaming keyboard seem like is the most suitable keyboard who play game. https://www.ireidea.com a company have different type keyboard
  • bug77 - Friday, March 2, 2018 - link

    Meh, blue switches are not for everyone (in fact I believe they're the least popular among the mechanical switches).
    I've tried one of their previous models and the keys wobbled more than I could tolerate, despite being low profile.

    I ended up buying the GSkill KM780R for about the same price as this one (because of a sale). I got macro keys, USB and audio passthrough. And some terrible software that means macros aren't actually usable.
  • oni-work - Friday, March 2, 2018 - link

    I'm glad to see a review of this keyboard here.
    I've had the TKL version for over a month now and I think it's a great value for money. That said I pretty much agree with your conclusions. I don't understand why they market it as a gaming keyboard because this is clearly a great keyboard to type on. Even though this is my first ever mechanical keyboard, I have tested Cherry switches and I think these Kailhs both feel better and make less noise than Cherry blues.
    Build quality wise I like the aluminum front plate, the way the plastic keys feel (even if they do catch fingerprints easily), the fact that you can dim the lights to be barely noticeable, the simple typeface on fonts (although shortening the Enter to Ent seems like a weird decision) and overall just how simple it is.
    If I were to give any feedback to Havit it would be to cut the gaming gimmick from it and position it as what it really is, a great multi-purpose mechanical keyboard that excels at typing. I'd remove the blinking lights features and the logo from it and just leave it a a simple somber mechanical keyboard.
  • chaos_gerbil - Friday, March 2, 2018 - link

    I bought this keyboard over a month ago, and it immediately impressed me. I have been more than pleased with it. Because of back issues, I tend to lean back in a european- style (StressLess) recliner, and balance the keyboard on my lap with an old Logitech trackball on the armrest.

    My main requirement was weight. I assume I have the same model as the one reviews, mine is a Havit HV-KB395L. It weighs a little over one pound, less than 500g I believe, about half the weight of almost any other mechanical keyboard I could find.

    The "blue"-style keys are excellent. The feedback is better than I hoped for, the click is noticeable but I have a private area for my PC, and my wife's off-the-shelf non-mechanical keyboard is much louder.

    What I love about the RGB is that I can see the keys in poor lighting. I downloaded the driver software, chose a uniform medium green color, dimmed the brightness considerably, and again, I couldn't be happier.

    The one issue with balancing the keyboard on my lap, is some difficulty not accidentally depressing some keys around the edge, such as the bottom-left CTRL key

    As for styling, I'm a touch typist. I almost never actually LOOK at the keyboard. Except for that awkward row of '-', '=', and the Back key. Some days, my fingers just don't remember how to use those; being able to look down and clearly see them under any lighting conditions is so frustration-reducing.

    For $80.00, I couldn't have gotten a better keyboard. I honestly don't think I could have gotten a better keyboard for my use case for three times that.
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, March 3, 2018 - link

    Wait, that software looks familiar... and that space bar. Come to think of it, the keycap layout and font and iconography on the lighting controls looks familiar too.

    *squints at his Viper 760*
    I think we found Patriot's OEM!
  • Anonymous Blowhard - Monday, March 5, 2018 - link

    China, eh? Does the inline keylogger add much latency? ;)

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