Every mechanical keyboard on the market has a few different ideas, but they’re all united by one common theme: A good one ain’t cheap. Quality costs money, and when you’re looking for an input device that can withstand millions of jackhammer thrusts from your fingers then you’re going to have to fork out some cash for a decent slab of the alphabet manifested into the physical world.
Does the Redragon Ratri mechanical keyboard offer plenty of bang for buck? Surprisingly, yes! But at the same time, it’s more of a stepping stone towards more finely-tuned products.
On the surface, you’re getting a 104-key keyboard, each key being individually lit, raised, and capped off by a loop of RGB lighting around the entire device. Redragon has opted for a silent keystroke approach, and the closest equivalent I’ve deduced from this setup is that the keys are pretty much modeled to be cherry MX red keys.
That means minimal resistance and faster keystrokes, more suited for playing games than hammering out an essay. Cherry MX keys are also far more quiet than their compatriot tactile blue keys such as on Logitech’s new Pro keyboard offering, but in the case of the Ratri that low level of audible input isn’t really there.
Some cacophony will still be generated during a busy match, but otherwise the other red characteristics are still in place: Smooth, fast, and durable. The RGB that encircles the entire keyboard may just be some of the most ostentatiously distracting use of lighting effects I’ve ever encountered. In its default state its an eternal loop of eye-piercingly bright rainbow colours, but it fortunately can be cycled, dimmed, and toned down through the use of built-in commands.
One aspect of the design that Redragon does have going for it with the Ratri is that it’s a wonderfully compact and elegant;y-sized keyboard. It doesn’t pack enough heft to stop a bullet like Logitech’s latest offering does, and the USB cable is well-positioned for when you need to plug it in. It could do with more angles for positioning itself though, as you’ll only be able to lay it flat or at a single raised point without any extra custom accessories.
That all adds up to a solid keyboard, but one that doesn’t quite feel up to the same standard as the competition in this field. To reach a more affordable price, the Ratri’s keys have a certain feeling to them that definitely isn’t as cheap as a bargain-bin offering from some random company that just set up shop a few weeks ago with a 3D printer, but can’t compare to the premium finish of more established brands.
That’s also the entire point though, as at R1299 RRP the Ratri offers a lot of mechanical keyboard perks at an entry-level price-point. If you’ve always been curious but you’re not ready to drop over R3000 on a top of the line mechanical keyboard, the Ratri is a solid alternative. Even at that price though, there’s some stiff competition to be had from non-mechanical keyboards in the form of Razer and Corsair’s various offerings.
Redragon nails two out of three essential features with its budget Ratri mechanical keyboard: It looks great and it has a brilliantly attractive form factor, but it’s not yet at a level where it can give premium peripheral manufacturers sleepless nights. A competent device for its price-range, the Ratri is maybe best considered for those people who don’t want to make too heavy a financial investment on a new keyboard just yet.
Last Updated: April 15, 2021