A solid, budget-friendly gaming keyboard that’s fun to use.
An estimated 87 percent of households worldwide have computers in them and one of the most essential pieces to a computer setup is the keyboard. Keyboards come in all shapes and sizes. Until just 10 or so years ago, I actually never gave much thought to the keyboard I was using. I always just thought I had to settle for the default keyboard that came with the desktop computer. Then, I was introduced to mechanical keyboards. I was instantly transported back to grade school when we had old PCs to practice typing on. They all had mechanical keyboards. Ever since I was reintroduced to mechanical keyboards, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with finding the ideal one for me. Ideal for me means a keyboard that is comfortable to use for long periods of time since I’m a writer; a keyboard that has a great clicky sound, but one that’s not too loud; and, a keyboard that has a great look and feel to it. In the search for this keyboard, I’ve come across the ENHANCE Pathogen 2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard from Accessory Power.
The Pathogen 2 is an evolution of the Pathogen gaming Keyboard. It has an improved polling rate and actuation delays are nearly eliminated. The Pathogen 2 features a response time of 1ms which is much faster than the 30ms response time of traditional mechanical keyboards. This faster response makes it possible for users to adapt to games quicker than ever before. The keyboard has an RGB backlight that has seven different lighting effects and is fully equipped with pro-level features. It also has a built-in wrist rest, which helps to reduce fatigue in your wrists and hands. The keyboard features blue tactile switches – the Xinda Blue Switches. They have no metal contacts and extended durability that last up to 50 million keystrokes. The keyboard is wired and has a 6-foot built-in braided USB cable. The cable is flexible and allows the user to wrap it in multiple directions so that cable management is never an issue. The keyboard’s body is metal which helps with durability as well as reducing sliding.
- Full-height suspended rainbow LED keycap lighting
- 7 LED lighting effects; customizable for Windows users
- Illuminated side panels and doubled shot keycaps
- Solid metal face plate
- Six foot braided USB cable
- Three-way cable management
- Dimensions: 17.52 x 7 x 1.61 inches
- Weight: 1.96 pounds
- 104 keys
- USA (ANSI) Layout
- Switch life: 50,000,000 inputs
- 1ms Polling Rate
- 12 multimedia keys
- WASD/Arrow key swap
- 26KRO (26 key roll over)
The Pathogen 2 keyboard comes in a standard retail box. The front of the box features an image of the keyboard as well as some basic details of the device. The back also has some imagery and additional details. When you open the box, you will find the keyboard wrapped in some protective material. The cable is wrapped up neatly and there are three pamphlets of information included. The user manual is one of those pieces and it’s multilingual. There are some instructions about the functions of the keyboard (beyond the standard use). It’s a very small print though. So, I wish that the user guide was actually a bit larger. To set up the keyboard, you simply plug it into a USB port on your computer (or docking station) and download the drivers (if necessary). My main computer is actually a MacBook Air (M1, 2021), but I connect to my external monitor and keyboard through a Thunderbolt 3 dock. While this keyboard is technically “Windows-only” compatible, it can be used with a macOS computer, but you end up losing a little bit of the functionality. I also use a Gaming laptop that I have really enjoyed using this keyboard with.
Typing on the Pathogen 2 is actually quite satisfying. Before I ever connected it to a computer, I spent some time typing on the keyboard just so I could get a feel for it. I was really impressed with how precise each keypress felt. I didn’t have to use a lot of force to get the keys to register, but because the keys feel so solid, I wasn’t worried that the keys wouldn’t hold up if I did use too much force. Because it’s a full-size keyboard, the keys are spaced out really well and that makes it easier for me to type for longer periods of time. The one part of the keyboard’s design that didn’t help with comfort was the wrist rest. I appreciate that it’s there, but since it’s made out of metal, it’s not great after a long time. I would have liked it if a pad had been included as an option.
The Xinda Blue Switches have a really loud click to them. I work from home now, but if I was still in an office, I’m not sure that I would be comfortable using this gaming keyboard in an office environment. It’s that loud. That said, I feel that the sound is really outstanding. It’s what you hope to hear from a mechanical gaming keyboard. Other types of switches don’t have such a pronounced sound, but Accessory Power didn’t include a key puller or an option for swapping the switches out. So, even though the switches can probably be swapped, there isn’t any indication that is the case.
Look and Feel
One of the things I noticed right away was that the keyboard is very heavy. According to the specs, the keyboard weighs just under 2 pounds. My MacBook Air only weighs 2.8 pounds. Now, since this gaming keyboard isn’t really meant to be portable, the weight is somewhat irrelevant. In fact, it’s a good thing because when I am gaming I noticed it didn’t move around while playing. I really like the general design of the keyboard and the RGB lighting effects. It really looks like a classic gaming keyboard.
The Pathogen 2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a really awesome addition to any computer setup. It’s very reasonably priced at around $50 (at the time of publishing) and it can work for any purpose. Even though the keys are a little too noisy for a busy office setting, they are great for gaming or a work-from-home setting.