When we think of Adata, we usually think of flashy RAM modules and nicely designed SSD storage solutions. What we don’t usually think of, is their impressive range of gaming peripherals which spans through keyboards, mice, and audio.
Today we’ll be taking a look at the latter, one of their latest gaming keyboards – the XPG Summoner RGB keyboard to be precise. The new keyboard offers up your choice of three Cherry MX switches, a bunch of RGB presets, a comfortable detachable wrist rest, and a well-positioned volume wheel. Whilst it seems to come equipped with all the necessities a gaming keyboard needs, the Summoner does have its downfalls – like no user software.
In the following article, we’ll be putting the Summoner RGB keyboard through its paces to see how it stacks up in build quality, gaming performance, and overall value for money.
So, with that in mind, let’s dive straight into it!
- Wrist rest – Extremely comfortable wrist rest which is easy to detach
- Aluminum top plate – Sturdy and aesthetically pleasing
- Volume wheel – Easily adjust volume settings on the fly
- RGB – Seven preset RGB modes
- Lacks some premium features
Keyboard Size & Weight
- Weight: 951g
- Size: Full Size
- Length: 449mm/ 17.67 inches
- Width: 135mm/ 5.31 inches (plus 88mm with wrist rest)
- Height: 44mm/ 1.73 inches
- Switches: Cherry MX Blue, Red, Speed
- OS Support: Windows 7,8,10
- Media keys: Volume wheel and mute button
- RGB: Full RGB
- Passthrough: Yes
- Connection: Wired
- Cable length: 1.8m
What’s In The Box
The XPG Summoner RGB keyboard comes in a fairly standard box, displaying the keyboard on the front and some of the main features on the sides and back. Inside the box, the keyboard is wrapped in a thin layer of plastic and wedged in between two fairly robust protective blocks. The wrist rest sits underneath the keyboard alongside the manual and additional keycaps.
Inside we get:
- XPG Summoner RGB Keyboard
- Cushion Wrist Rest
- User Manual
- Additional Keycaps And Keycap Puller
From a design standpoint, this thing looks pretty damn good. I’ve seen a lot of keyboards utilize this style of design over the past couple of years (Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT) and it’s easy to see why. The sand-blasted aluminum top plate is the perfect blueprint for XPG’s keycaps and RGB lighting. It gives the keyboard a premium feel that I definitely prefer over the black plastic found on many other branded keyboards. Speaking of branding, XPG’s is fairly subtle and resides above the arrow keys, presented in a metallic finish that is flashy, yet discreet. The top plate does overlap the physical body of the keyboard, but I wouldn’t mark this as a negative, just noticeable for some perfectionists.
In the top right-hand corner of the keyboard, users will find a volume wheel and mute button – the only dedicated media keys this board has to offer. The volume wheel has a nice, tactile feel that is definitely beneficial for on-the-fly volume adjustments whilst gaming. The mute button, on the other hand, isn’t so pleasing on the senses. It has an empty feel and sound that, if truth be told, do feel extremely basic. Whilst the button works perfectly fine, I predict it could be an area of failure in the near future.
XPG decided to use secondary function media keys for the play/pause, back, and forward controls – found through F10-F12. Whilst this is fine, I would have preferred dedicated media keys instead. Why equip a volume wheel and mute button but leave the rest out? It seems a little confusing. Next to the volume wheel sits three indicator lights for game mode, caps, and num lock.
The wrist rest which comes with this keyboard is one of the standout features, easily attachable via a magnetic strip found inside the rest. It clips onto the bottom of the keyboard very easily and feels moderately secure – yet still better than other similarly priced alternatives. The cushioning used for the wrist rest feels extremely well-made, 0ffering up excellent comfort levels and stability over extended periods of time. The rest does add 88mm onto the width of this keyboard, so just keep that in mind if you are struggling for desk real-estate.
Flipping the keyboard over offers very little in terms of design features. Despite this being the case, it does offer two retractable feet (1 height setting) and a USB passthrough which, to be honest, is more than most other keyboards at this price. The detachable feet don’t offer any stabilizing pads, however, thanks to the 2.1lb weight of this board, it doesn’t slide around a great deal. The USB passthrough works well and is handy for individuals looking to charge mobile devices or use for peripherals.
Overall, I have to say the design of this board is actually very nice. Aesthetically, I think it ticks all the right boxes. The RGB works nicely with the keycaps and the sandblasted aluminum brings a certain level of high-quality to the table. Functionally, it does leave a little to be desired. Having said that, it does have some unique features that most other similarly priced boards don’t have.
Design aside, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the main features this board comes equipped with. At this price range, features could very well be the difference between purchasing and looking at alternatives options. They can increase the useability and functionality of a keyboard, making them extremely important when it comes to a price range as competitive as this.
So, that being said, let’s look at the XPG Summoner’s main features:
Unlike other keyboards that reside in the “under $100” price bracket, the XPG Summoner RGB comes with a choice of three, high-performance Cherry MX switches. Users can choose between Cherry MX Red, Speed, and Blue switches, allowing them the tailor the feel and performance of the keyboard to their exact requirements.
For me personally, I chose the gaming Red switches as they gave me quicker actuation and are much less audible. A great feature that is sure to open this keyboard up to a much wider buyer demographic.
Next up, we have the RGB lighting. Despite the majority of keyboards marketed with ‘RGB’ in their names being fairly uninspiring, I actually had high hopes for this particular board. However, those hopes were soon washed away thanks to a number of different factors.
Firstly, let’s discuss the RGB options this board provides. It has a number of different presets available which range from breathing to ‘explosion’ and all the usual suspects in between. Whilst these are pretty cool, customization is extremely limited for the most part.
Unlike other RGB branded keyboards (Razer being a prime example), the XPG Summoner doesn’t come with any form of user software. Without user software, fine-tuning RGB lighting to your specific needs isn’t really possible. You basically choose between the preset and be happy with what it offers.
Ultimately, for a keyboard that has RGB in its name, I thought the XPG Summoner was lacking in this department. Whilst the RGB is fine, it certainly leaves a lot to be desired – especially when comparing to others in this price range.
Anti-Ghosting & Key Rollover
Anti-ghosting and key rollover are technologies that ensure every keypress is registered and sent to the computer. For example, a user can press nine keys all the at the same time and every keypress will be sent to their PC – a feature designed for gamers who play titles that require complex commands using several keys.
Having said that, key rollover comes in a number of different variants which differ by the number of keys that can be pressed at any one time. At the lower end of the key rollover spectrum, boards can offer as few as five key rollover (five simultaneous key presses) – adequate for many gaming scenarios. If we look at the higher end, users will be treated to NKRO – otherwise known as full key rollover (all keys).
The XPG Summoner RGB keyboard offers the latter, providing certain game genres with the ‘button-bashing’ requirements they so need.
Ergonomic Wrist Rest
Lastly, we have the cushioned wrist rest. The easy-to-attach wrist rest provides excellent levels of comfort, without taking too much space on your desk (compared to others). It attaches to your board via a magnetic strip at the rear of the rest and sits in place firmly. The cushion padding feels extremely soft and provides excellent comfort for extended gaming periods. Once finished, simply pull the rest away and store it as needed. A great feature that not many other boards of this price range can boast.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the design and some of the main features that this keyboard comes equipped with, it’s now time to take a closer look at how it performs. We’re going to be putting it through a series of games to see how it stacks up from a gaming standpoint. After all, this is a gaming keyboard. Keep in mind, these findings are based on the cherry MX Red switches this board comes equipped with, other iterations may offer a different performance output.
I kickstarted things like I always do, loading up my favorite game – CS:GO. The first thing I noticed about the Summoner was just how responsive the switches were. Obviously we’ve used plenty of keyboards in the past that utilize Cherry MX Red switches, but it always feels nice going back to them after a while. Movements felt sharp and the low actuation of the Cherry MX Reds meant I could react with lightning speed – exactly what you need when playing a fast-paced title like CS:GO. Compared to the budget keyboard I recently used – Redragon K552 Kumara – the XPG was much nicer on all fronts. It was much more tactile and didn’t cause half as much noise – two factors I care about greatly.
Despite NKRO technology being a little overkill for almost every game, I did manage to test it out in a couple of unique titles that required it. It seemed to work as expected, allowing me to press any number of keys at the same time, with all being registered by the game.
From a typing point of view, I thought the XPG Summoner RGB was pretty good actually. Whilst it wasn’t the most accurate I’ve ever used, it certainly offered up good speed when it was required. The only factor that felt a little weird was the spring’s push-back force when lifting off from a keypress. It wasn’t offputting, just very obvious during use.
Overall, I actually really enjoyed using this keyboard for gaming purposes. The macros were easy to program, the RGB worked as it should (albeit limited), and the overall feel of the Summoner was of high-quality. So, for performance, I’d have to give it a thumbs up.
So, there you have it guys, our comprehensive breakdown of the XPG Summoner RGB keyboard by ADATA. Despite the minor flaws that come with this keyboard, I’d have to say I was pretty impressed with it overall. The construction was extremely good (especially for this price point – currently under $100) and the gaming performance left little to be desired.
On the downside, the RGB was extremely limited and the board comes with no user software which, to be honest, is a little strange in this day and age. Having said that, the RGB presets were adequate and programming macros was fairly straight forward. Further positives could also be found in the wrist rest, bringing heightened levels of comfort to your gaming experience.
Overall, for under $100, I’d have to say the Summoner is not a bad keyboard at all. At this price range, this keyboard has quite a lot going for it; a choice of mechanical switches, aluminum top plate, USB passthrough, and a few other features to round things off.
I suppose it all comes down to what you prioritize. If you want good gaming performance with solid build quality, this keyboard is going to serve you quite well. However, if you’re more interested in customization, flashy RGB, and media keys, then you can definitely find better value elsewhere in the market.