Anyone who games knows that a good keyboard and mouse combination is hard to beat. Since FPS games have been in existence, gamers have sworn by the combo to provide the best experience possible. The intuitiveness of mouse movements, combined with the tactile response of a keyboard for issuing commands is unrivalled. Console gamers are now in for a treat, as this fantastic kit is now available for use on their favorite console and will bring the feel and performance of a keyboard and mouse combo to them.
Keyboard and mouse combos are not uncommon when it comes to pc gaming. All manners of half keyboards, 60% keyboards, etc, in any combination paired with a mouse are available. What is far less common is a reliable, affordable, and best of all, well performing adapter to use a keyboard and mouse with a home gaming console. Now entering the arena, the Gaming Essentials Kit (K585rgb-bb 3-in-1) from Redragon. This sleek kit provides the gamer with everything they need to jump into the mix with an arguably better control scheme than what a controller provides.
The Basics - What’s in the box
Included with this kit are essentially two products available separately on Redragons site, paired with the GA200 CONVERTOR (PS4 ADAPTER). The GA200 is unique to this kit, but for those who wish to bring their own keyboard/mouse combo into the fold, they have a Vulcan GA250 adapter available separately.
In the box:
- GA200 Converter RGB
- Redragon K585 One-handed RGB Gaming Keyboard with wrist support
- M721-Pro Mouse RGB
- 12” (305mm) USB-C cable
- 48” (1220mm) Braided USB-C cable
- Two instruction books - Keyboard and the Converter
- Set of four (4) extra “blue” switches
- Key Removal Tools
- Redragon Sticker
Let’s start off by saying you will need some room for this kit. It isn’t huge by any means, and if you are a PC gamer you likely have a desk already. Console gamers, however, may need to get a small table if they don’t have a tabletop setup. The one handed keyboard is not massive by any means, it is almost exactly 1/3 the size of a normal keyboard, just condensed with a few extra buttons. The mouse is a standard size mouse, or what I would consider standard. The converter box (required for consoles) is small and will not be intrusive. Although the components are small, they are strong. Each component feels like a quality item.
The keyboard dimensions are (with wrist support in place) : 11” (280mm) long, 9” (229mm) wide and weighs 1.7lbs (592g).
The keyboard has a few rubber pads on the bottom that grip the table and hold the keyboard firmly in place. With how solid this keyboard feels, the rubber pads are just icing on the cake. It doesn’t move easily once set in place. There are no legs on the keyboard bottom to angle it up but the slope of the keyboard is enough to compensate. As I noted in the dimensions above, there is a magnetic wrist rest that attaches to the main keyboard via two fairly strong neodymium magnets.
Naturally, you will need to make room for the keyboard and the mouse, but also a small spot for the converter to rest if you are using for consoles.
The keys included with this version of the keyboard are “blue” keys. They provide a nice click for feedback, but spring back quickly and reliably. Of course if you are one that prefers other types of switches, they can be swapped. Each of the keys except for the M1-4 and Record keys can be swapped.
The mouse is fairly light, but has a very positive feel when sliding. The use of a mousepad is strongly recommended as I found out. I am used to using laser mice on a bare desktop. So when I used this one on a bare desk, it jumped. A mousepad eliminated that issue. There are eight buttons on the mouse. Left and right as you would expect, middle mouse wheel clicks as well. There are three side buttons, the front is a rapid fire button that 1 click = 3 clicks, the other two are traditional forward and back buttons. Two buttons directly behind the mouse wheel change the DPI of the mouse up and down from 500 to 5000 dpi. The third, and furthest back button changes the lighting mode among 7 presets. Finally, the bottom of the mouse has a button that switches profiles.
There is a free software program available on the site that will allow you to make some changes to the keyboard and mouse. I mentioned the custom settings above for the keyboard, but it is also worth noting that the mouse software allows customization as well. You can set the dpi buttons to go in any increments you like up to 10,000 dpi. Record macros and assign a set off key.You can customize all 8 buttons and set a continuous keystroke function as well. The software for the keyboard and mouse is easy and intuitive. While it might not be as robust as some may wish (i.e., cannot program your own light patterns), it is powerful enough to allow customization to suit your game.
Getting started on the PC is as simple as plugging the mouse and keyboard into individual USB spots on the PC itself. No extra setup is needed outside of ingame. Your keymapping will be handled by the game just as with any keyboard / mouse that you choose to use.
Where the difference in setup lies is in console use. Out of the box, this unit supports the Nintendo Switch™, Sony Playstation™ 3 and 4, and Xbox One™ consoles. The second, white in color instruction book included is for the converter and the default keymappings that correspond to the console you are using. While there is software available that will allow you to customize the keyboard to suit your specific needs on the Redragonzone.com website, I found that default button layouts worked just fine. Keep in mind, the software must be installed on a windows pc (sorry mac) and the settings saved prior to attaching to a console if you choose to modify the default key assignments.
When you begin the process of attaching the hardware to your console, I highly recommend you have the book handy. It details a process that MUST be followed. There is a specific order to how Redragon wants devices connected and it is not amendable. The Switch process is slightly different than the other consoles as well as the process for the PS3.
Xbox One / PS4.
Firstly you must connect the converter box to the console via the short usb-c cable. When plugging it in, make sure you plug the cable into the slot marked x1/p4/ns/p3 on the converter. You will see the lights on the converter turn white in color. Next, plug in the mouse or keyboard but not both. Once the light turns red, you can plug in the other device. The light should turn green. Finally, you must attach a controller that is turned off with a charge/sync cable. It MUST be a charge/sync cable NOT just a charge cable. If you have done this all correctly, you will be rewarded with a gold color light and you are set.
Note: no controller is needed for the switch, but you must plug the converter into the switch BASE, not the handheld part. For the PS3, no controller is needed but after the converter and the keyboard and mouse are attached, you press CTRL and 1 together to enter “PS3 mode.”
This process is a tad arduous and what makes it slightly annoying is that it must be repeated each and every time you wish to use the keyboard and mouse if you have powered down the console. After a few times, hooking it up became second nature to me, and it doesn’t take long to perform, but it would be nice if the converter didn’t drop communication with the console. Oddly enough, there was ONE time on the XBox One that I didn’t have to perform the setup process again, but couldn’t replicate it. Also to note, when hooking up a controller, you cannot use an XBOX Elite 1 or 2 controller. It has to be an original Xbox controller. I couldn’t get an aftermarket or 3rd party controller to work either. Same with PS3/4, it must be an original controller.
For this review, I hooked up the converter to all three of the game systems listed. Performance was similar on each, so I will omit specifying the console (switch, xbox, etc…) and just give an impression on performance.
So How Does it Do?
I am an avid gamer. At 46 years old, I have played nearly everything the industry has thrown at me. I cut my teeth on the Sears PONG console in 1976, Atari 2600 soon after, and the rest is history. There hasn’t been much I haven’t played. I felt the need to give that short bio to quantify the next statement.
Having this controller combination on my Xbox and other consoles completely changed the dynamic and ability to play some titles immensely.
For the purposes of the review, I played nearly every game I own, then I threw the unit at my kids and told them to put it through the ringer. Believe me, if there is a fault in the system, they will find it. What we all found was that this unit performs admirably. Some titles though show some lag between the mouse movement and the screen movement. I played Hunter: Call of the Wild on the XBox One. An amazing title, nice even pace, first person hunting game. I found with a controller I was often jerking my thumb to the side on the movement stick when taking a shot at a prize elk and missing because of it. I was extremely excited to throw this combo at this title. What I found was that the screen stutters slightly when mouse movement is quick.
If I move it slowly and deliberately there was almost no jumping or jitters. It made this title amazing to play, but it made me concerned for so-called “twitch” shooters like Call of Duty or Fortnite. Luckily that issue doesn’t show up those titles. Fortnite was smooth as silk with whatever resolution I had the mouse set to. No jumping, jitters, lag. Same with Halo Guardians, Halo Master Chief Collection and PUBG. I was on a roll, four games no lag. Then I played an indie title called Subnautica and there it was again, just the slightest screen jitter when mouse movement was fast and sweeping. It is refreshing and exciting to be able to play these console titles like I was on a PC. FPS games have always been a passion of mine, and they never felt quite right on controllers. Thanks to this product from Redragon, I can play several of my console shooters like they are meant to be played.
Since this is a small keyboard, obviously not all commands for all games are going to be there. In particular, War Thunder, a game that has air, sea and land vehicles has an immense number of controls that you can use. In truth, it would benefit greatly from having a full keyboard. My son plays it on the PC and said that he would have needed to modify the default keymaps for this to bring some commands over, but that even then there would be some missing just due to the small number of keys. That game is an outlier, not the norm. The same issue may come into play when MS Flight Sim hits next month, but that is not what I find this product market to be aimed at. I guess what I am trying to say is, this is not intended to be a direct replacement for all keyboard capable games on console, but rather a nice control scheme to enhance some games. It will be up to you, the user, to decide what works for you. MACRO keys are available to record to, and the process is pretty simple. If you are using the software, you can actually use the FULL keyboard via a virtual keyboard to record macros that will work.
It’s So Pretty!
This is an RGB lit kit after all. The keyboard is detailed in a matte black finish with brightly lit RGB keys. Out of the box, there are five backlight effects that you can cycle through by pressing Fn+SPace. Conversely, you can press M1-M4 at the top of the keyboard to cycle through FOUR of them. With the available software, you can modify some of the colors and appearance on the keyboard and mouse.
The mouse has lighting modes as well, seven to be exact. Six of them are colorful, the seventh is “OFF” for those of you who hate being happy. Really, the lighting on these are so well done, surely there is a pattern that suits you. My favorite to run with was REACTIVE, which causes the mouse to light with random colors as I move. When the mouse is still, there is no light.
I am in love with this product if I am being honest. The performance for this affordable unit is on par with products well out of this price range. It is solid. It is reliable. And best of all, it has only a few small hiccups that for most will not be a deal breaker. Redragon continues to impress by getting quality, strong, professional gaming hardware into the hands of people who just don’t want to pay for the high end items. For what you get at Redragon for the price is nothing short of astounding. You will find new life in older games, you will see an immediate benefit in your current games from the enhanced control afforded by the combo. In short, you will be hard pressed to find a better combination to get a keyboard and mouse to play console games. This will be money well spent.
Written By Rob Manning