IOGEAR is back with some more new gaming hardware; this time the IOGEAR Kaliber Gaming HVER RGB Aluminum Gaming Keyboard. I tend not to pad these types of reviews with bulleted lists of features and specs, so if you want to see those simply go to the IOGEAR product page. Instead, I’ll stick to my hands-on experience with the keyboard and my thoughts and conclusions after over a weeks’ worth of constant usage in both gaming and word processing, including the typing of this very review.
As you may have guessed from the $50 MSRP, the HVER RGB is a mid-range gaming keyboard. It is neither wireless nor mechanical and there are no dedicated media buttons; although function keys can be used to control media playback and volume. The membrane tech for the keys provides solid, reliable, and surprisingly silent operation, especially when transitioning from a mechanical keyboard. The 67” cable is plenty long for most desktop configurations, but in my larger studio environment I did have to use a USB extension. I most appreciated the aluminum design which keeps this keyboard at 2.6lbs; perfect for extended lap usage and extremely stable on a desktop.
IOGEAR gets big style points for the overall look and design of this new keyboard, which features a gorgeous black brushed aluminum chassis with high-rise keys that perch atop translucent RGB-lit plungers. Snap-lock, flip-down feet and sticky rubber pads keep the keyboard in place and at the desired angle, even during the most intense gaming situations. My only minor quibble with the design of this keyboard was the font they chose for the lettering. It’s this odd stencil style where any number or letter with a closed loop has a break in the font. It’s not a huge deal for me as I’ve been a touch typist for 30+ years and rarely look down at the keys. Even though several of the keys appear to have parts of the letter/number scratched or worn off, rest assured the double injected keycap lettering will likely outlive you.
Despite my issue with the chosen font there is no denying the brilliant colors and backlighting effects this keyboard is able to produce with 13 lighting patterns that can be customized and assigned to three specific profiles. And it’s just not colors; you can also create your own set of custom macros and make those profile-specific, so in the case of playing DOOM, you can create a profile to custom assign your weapons to certain keys and make the keyboard glow in a sinister orange.
While the HVER RGB is perfectly usable right out of the box, you will most certainly want to download the Kaliber Gaming software from IOGEAR to take advantage of all the programmable macros and advanced lighting functionality this keyboard has to offer including the ability to match your lighting with other IOGEAR and take advantage of those custom user profiles.
Installation is a snap; just plug into a standard USB port and you’re ready to go, although advanced users will want to take a moment to visit IOGEAR’s site to download the aforementioned software. I loved the way this keyboard felt. The plunger design for the keys made using this keyboard just as reliable as any mechanical keyboard I’ve used prior, and it was virtually silent while using. The anti-ghosting tech makes sure that the 26 most popular 3-key combinations are 100% reliable.
To be honest, 99% of all my PC gaming is typically done with an Xbox controller, mostly because games are designed for controllers these days. I really had to go out of my way to find some games that were either keyboard and mouse only or made sense to try with a keyboard. Battlezone: Combat Commander is a unique FPS-RTS hybrid that responded nicely to the HVER RGB, and Battlestar Galactica Deadlock actually proved more enjoyable using a keyboard than struggling with partial controller support. Elite Dangerous was also another great keyboard game; at least when not playing in VR. Moving away from space strategy games I gave DOOM and Far Cry 5 a shot.
While the HVER RGB offers reliable and precision input for movement and inventory management it became increasingly clear that game design has adopted controller support as the new standard, even for the PC, for all but the most input-heavy genres such as RTS and simulations. For FPS purists looking for ultra-precision gameplay, much of that relies on your mouse, but the HVER RGB will team up nicely with any precision game mouse.
The HVER RGB is definitely targeting the gaming crowd. While it works just fine for non-gaming such as typing this review, in my office environment I enjoy a bit more functionality like media operation and volume control for listing to music and podcasts while I work. As a gaming device, the IOGEAR Kaliber Gaming HVER RGB Aluminum Gaming Keyboard is a surprisingly responsive, durable, and attractive keyboard. I dare say it rivals mechanical keyboards at twice the price, and the RGB backlighting is guaranteed to brighten up your room and your gaming experience.