Optical gaming keyboards are the next generation of optimized peripherals that help gamers be as precise as possible. While more and more manufacturers are now offering optical switches on their high-end gaming keyboards, Bloody Gaming has been doing so for several years. We had the opportunity to test out the B930-TKL gaming keyboard featuring Bloody’s Light Strike technology. The TKL stands for Ten Keyless, which refers to the keyboard’s form factor. The number pad is notably missing in TKL keyboards and results in a more compact device that is ideal for gamers on the go or those with limited desk spaces. Ten Keyless designs also provide more space for a mousing surface, something that is extremely important to effective control in many games.
Light Strike Technology
Bloody Gaming’s Light Strike Libra Optical Switch technology is their attempt at improving upon the well-established, yet arguably outdated, technology of mechanical switches that require physical contact to complete a circuit and allow signals to pass to the computer. In simple terms, gamers want their keystrokes to be recognized in the game they’re playing as immediately as possible. Any delay, or input lag, between the gamer’s action and the game executing said action is problematic, especially in competitive situations.
Mechanical keyboards have long replaced membrane keyboards for serious gamers, and optical solutions are on the rise. Instead of waiting for a mechanical connection to be made, optical switches can relay commands with near-zero delay. Bloody claims a 25% faster key response and 1:1 response times for high-frequency displays. While we didn’t run any technical comparisons, I can say with certainty that the Light Strike keys in the B930 are fast, really fast. As you type or hit keys, you will hear the familiar clicking sound at the actual point of actuation. Traditional mechanical keyboards can sometimes be a tiny bit off, something you won’t realize until you’ve tried optical switches. This is because the clicky sound of traditional keys comes from the actual physical contact, while Bloody creates the sound using LK Sound Creator Technology. In theory, this should last longer than a mechanical connection which could wear out over time. A lot of that will depend on how abusive you are with your keyboard. I’m reasonably gentle, unless I’m playing Destiny 2, so I’m not too worried about losing any clickiness regardless of the technology behind it.
The Proof is in the Keys
The B930-TKL comes in your choice of orange and brown switches. The orange switches are more clicky and tactile, while the brown switches are linear and smooth. Your choice will depend on your personal preference. I prefer quieter switches like the brown ones that will keep my typing sounds out of various Discord voice channels. Even the brown switches on the B930 feel very precise, however.
The keys are covered in a nano-coating designed to not only keep them from losing their shine and luster over millions of keystrokes, but they also help repel water or other spills. Bloody claims to have used this keyboard while submerged in water without problems. I didn’t verify this claim, but the nano-coating does give the keys a lovely feel that prevents accidental slippage.
Bloody includes a set of replaceable ABS gaming keycaps for the typically important Q-R and A-F keys. Not only are they visually different, but they also provide a slight difference in feel, something to keep your fingers in place during particularly hectic moments. I would highly suggest using them.
Like any modern gaming keyboard, the B930 features full RGB backlighting support and lets you customize your lighting preferences via the provided software. While the quality of the individual keys is top notch, I did notice a fair amount of inconsistent coverage when it concerns the lighting of the keys. Some keys are brightly lit while others, especially wider or multi-function keys, will have noticeable dark spots. While that has no impact on functionality, it falls short when compared to other backlit gaming keyboards at similar price points.
Ten Keyless Design
I’ve undergone a strange personal transformation in recent years in regards to my preference of gaming keyboards. I used to never touch a keyboard without a decent wrist rest and a multitude of macro keys. Now I’m much more in favor of clean lines and a minimalist design. The Ten Keyless nature of the B930 takes this a step further. While I’m not sure if I would want to give up a number pad on a permanent basis, the smaller form factor of the B930 provides some benefits.
At any given time I have multiple keyboards and mice on my desk, so real estate is at a premium. The B930 does away with the number pad and as such offers a perfect solution for those tight on space or just looking to reserve more room for their mouse. The metallic aluminum alloy body of the B930 ensures that the keyboard felt solid and built to last. Its simple, sleek lines offer a pleasing visual appearance, though I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the corner designs. The pronounced corners and faux-screws feel more distracting than anything else. The keys themselves are arranged at an ergonomically friendly angle, and I never experienced any wrist fatigue.
Overall, the B930’s Ten Keyless design is perfect for anyone with limited space or the gamer on the go. The braided cable keeps things tidy, and while there are no additional ports of any kind present on the keyboard itself, the B930 never looked out of place on my busy desk. Additionally, the B930 offers one of the sturdiest space bars I’ve come across and has six lighting presents saved into the device without requiring any software to be used.
That Software Though
Speaking of software, I often feel that the software used to power today’s modern gaming peripherals is their Achilles heel. While things have generally improved in recent years, Bloody’s Key Dominator 2 software takes me back to the days of cumbersome and ineffective software. On the surface, the Key Dominator 2 software looks great. It offers the ability to assign macros to any key on the keyboard, thus negating the need for additional macro buttons. Different RGB lighting effects can also be customized and saved to the B930.
The problem is that the software is so unintuitive to use that you must have some advanced degree to figure it out. I was able to make basic adjustments to the lighting pattern and test out a few macro functions, but my process devolved to trial and error. The software is a definite let-down as a companion to an excellent hardware side of the B930. I also got stuck in an annoying cycle where the software would occasionally stop running for some unknown reason, resulting in a keyboard where none of the keys were backlit anymore. I’m not beyond accepting some blame for that part, though I’m not sure what I did to cause that. In summary, though, the software needs serious work and is far behind that of Bloody Gaming’s competitors.
The B930 Fits the Bill – For Some
If you’re in the market for a Ten Keyless gaming keyboard with excellent optical switches designed by a company with more experience in the technology than anyone else, then the B930-TKL is for you. Hopefully, you’re not too picky about how to customize the keyboard. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a bit of hurt. The B930-TKL is a great looking, very functional option for gamers looking to be on the bleeding edge of technology. If Bloody can bring its software up to par, then their line of Light Strike keyboards will be right at the top of our list of recommended gaming peripherals.