The Draconic is a respectable first effort from Redragon
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We’re looking at the K530 Draconic today, Redragon’s first 60% offering. It’s good to see some of the more mainstream brands releasing smaller form factor boards, with Razer also releasing the Huntsman Mini recently. The Draconic comes in at $65, which is a bit higher than I expected, but still a competitive price.
So the Draconic can run in wired mode with a detachable USB-C cable or wirelessly with Bluetooth 5.0. You can pair up to three devices simultaneously, and there is a switch on the side of the case to change between profiles. Here you can also toggle wireless mode on or off. There are two LED indicators – one for Bluetooth and one for battery life. I had no problems pairing the keyboard with my PC and mobile phone, and didn’t experience any connectivity issues. The Draconic has a 3000mAh battery, and I was able to use this keyboard for over three days with the backlighting on. So the battery life is very impressive. After 4 minutes of inactivity, the backlighting will automatically switch off as part of power save mode.
So the Draconic features rebranded Outemu browns, which I think is a safe choice as most people like browns. These switches give a nice tactile bump with an actuation force of 55g. So you only get the tactile bump and not the click sound of a blue switch. The stabilisers are factory lubed and the rattle isn’t too bad. I did however detect some rattle on the right area of the space bar and on right Shift. You will also get some metal pinging, but I was mostly unaware of this. Overall a very decent typing experience, and I was really hitting some good speeds with this board. I matched my personal record of 140 on the Aesop typing test, and was easily averaging over 95 on Typeracer.
I think I may have to reconsider my favourite switch, as these browns felt really good. The tactile bump works great as confirmation that a key was pressed; with linear switches I sometimes wonder if I actually pressed the key. As far as ergonomics go, the keyboard has a slightly flatter feel than my Ducky Mecha Mini, which is more tilted. I had no issues with this though and it felt very comfortable. The gaming experience was also very good. Again, I really enjoyed the feeling of these Outemu browns. I didn’t feel any slower when playing CSGO. As far as using the keyboard wirelessly for gaming, I didn’t really notice any input lag and it felt the same as wired mode.
The construction of the keyboard is very good. It has an ABS casing and a metal top plate. The frame feels strong and there is very little bend. The board is also fairly light, so it’s great for travelling. The frame comes up a little past the top plate, which is reminiscent of the K552. The bottom features rubber tipped fold outs and the keyboard won’t slide around. Overall a very good build quality and the board has a premium feel.
So a nice feature is that the Draconic is hot swappable, but the downside is that these sockets only support Outemu switches. So you’re pretty much limited to the rebranded Redragon switches or actual Outemus. If you’re looking to use a switch like Cherry MX or Kailh, you’d need to sand the legs first. I’d recommend something like the SnowFox or Glorious GMMK if you’re looking for a more versatile hot swap board. I like the fact that Redragon included four different switches in the packaging, so you can experiment before deciding on a new switch.
The RGB looks really stunning on this board. There are a total of 13 RGB presets, and you can switch between these with Fn2 + 9 or with the software. I like the subtle branding on the front right of the case. The keycaps are ABS, and Redragon went for the glossy side finish. What I was the most happy about was Redragon’s choice of font. Instead of the stylised gamery font, they opted for an elegant medium font that doesn’t look too gimmicky or obnoxious. I really hope Redragon sticks with this font because it looks so much better.
I’m sure you’re wondering by now what’s wrong with my Caps Lock key. Well, it isn’t actually broken, but for some reason it isn’t part of the lighting array. This has to be one of the most peculiar design choices I’ve ever seen. Caps Lock will only light up red when it is on, otherwise nothing. It really sticks out like a sore thumb, and mars what is otherwise a very attractive keyboard. I have no idea why Redragon chose to do it this way.
The layout is pretty much identical to the Anne Pro 2. There are two Fn layers. F1-12 and keys like Ins, Del and Prt Sc can be accessed with Fn1. With Fn2 you can control the RGB and use the macro buttons. It’s a little bit confusing as some of the Fn2 functions are printed on top of the keycaps, while others are printed on the sides next to the Fn1 functions. I wish they added some multimedia controls on one of the Fn layers. I really missed having volume control like I have on my Ducky keyboard. With the keyboard you have fairly limited RGB control. The RGB controls can be accesed by using Fn2 with the 9, 0, dash and equals keys. Fn2 + 0 feels kind of redundant, as you can easily turn off the RGB by lowering the brightness. This button could’ve been used to set single colours instead.
Caps Lock can be used as a Magic Fn, which means you can either use it as Fn1 or Fn2. After choosing which Fn you want in the software, you hold Caps Lock for two seconds, which will then give you access to the chosen Fn layer. Using Caps Lock as Fn1 will allow you to use arrow keys with one hand, as you can then use Caps Lock with WASD. The only problem is you have to hold Caps Lock for two seconds before being able to access the WASD arrows, so it’s not really going to help speed up your workflow. The fact that you have to long press Caps Lock kind of defeats the purpose. On top of that, after using Caps Lock for an arrow key, it will be turned on. So you’d have to turn it off again before continuing your work. It’s still faster and easier just using the normal Fn1 with WASD.
Macros can be recorded with the keyboard or software. The G1-G6 macros supposedly sit on the Fn2 layer, but when recording macros with the keyboard I overwrote the numeric keys on the standard layer. So trying to hit a number was now giving me the macro, and using Fn2 to access the G key did nothing. The macro keys are also supposed to turn green after being assigned, but they remained the same. This pretty much means that the G1-G6 keys were of no use, just a decoration on the keys. I would’ve loved to use these for multimedia control. I then tried macro recording with the software, but it only allows you to remap keys on the standard layer. I’m hoping Redragon will release some kind of firmware update to fix this.
Just note that the software can only be used in wired mode. It’s pretty basic, with a maximum of three profiles. As mentioned it is only possible to assign macros on the standard layer. You can remap any of the keys except Fn1 and Fn2 to a single key, macro or multimedia function. You can also choose which Fn to use for Caps Lock. The RGB controls are fairly comprehensive: you can switch between the 13 presets, and control the brightness, speed and direction. If you choose the Coastal RGB preset, there are a few gaming profiles to choose from, or you can record your own colours. This is then assigned to Fn2 + Backspace.
So the Draconic is a respectable first effort from Redragon. The keyboard feels great to type on and looks absolutely stunning. On top of that, it is wireless and has a very impressive battery life. I appreciate the fact that it’s hot swappable, but your options are limited and there are more versatile hot swap boards out there. Also, the lack of backlighting on Caps Lock is very odd and really detracts from the overall look. Redragon will need to iron out the glitches, such as the non-functional macro keys and custom lighting not saving. If you don’t mind the shortcomings of the Draconic, it’s not a bad buy at $65, but I think Redragon should use this as a springboard to make a more polished version.