Not too long ago I brought you guys a review on the Genius GX Mordax Gaming Headset. Well after that, I talked to them about working together again, since the Mordax headset was an enjoyable piece of tech. The response was that I’ve already reviewed a mouse, and a headset, so why not finish off the set with a keyboard? Brilliant, I say!
On that note, today I’ve got the Genius GX Imperator Pro Gaming Keyboard for all of you. Let’s get to it.
Flames and steel, that’s the motto of Genius when it comes to their box-art! We’ve got a shot of the keyboard, along with a handful of the main features in the bottom right corner.
- Design 16M RGB
- 18 Programmable Macro Keys
- Two USB Ports
- 6 Media Keys
- Palm Rest (Big Selling Point..)
Along the top is a few specifications for the Imperator Pro
- 1,000 Hz Report Rate
- 3.8 mm Key Travel Length
- 10,000,000 Key switch life
- 1.8m Cable Length
Turning to the back of the box, Genius reveals the rest of the features and specifications for the Imperator Pro.
Not much in the way of Goodies for the Imperator Pro, with there only being a user manual and driver CD. (Note: The drivers on the CD are up to date at the time of this review)
There it is, the Genius GX Imperator Pro. Right off the bat you can tell the inspiration this keyboard drew from brands like Razer and Logitech, which are definitely great companies to base your products off of. The keyboard has a matte black finish, with the palm rest being coated everywhere but in the middle, where it’s glossy black.
On the far left side we have six G-Keys, which are fully-programmable, as well as being a bit more low-profile than the rest of the keyboard. At the top is our media control keys. There’s Play/Pause, Back, Forward, Volume Down, Volume Up, and Volume Mute.
Right in the middle we have three M-Keys. These are utilized to switch between the three profiles, giving you on-the-fly ability to switch between macro setups. And in the very corner of the picture is the brightness key. Pretty self-explanatory — press it and it will transition between Low, Middle, High, Pause break, Off lighting options.
Swinging around to the back of the keyboard reveals two USB 2.0 ports nestled away on the back right side of the keyboard. Those USB ports are powered thanks to the additional USB connector included on the cable. If there is one thing that Genius didn’t skimp on, it’s definitely the cable. It’s braided and coarse, with both connectors being gold-plated.
First Impressions / Testing
First impressions of the keyboard were mixed, thanks in part to the first keyboard I received being faulty. Luckily, Genius was very helpful and got a replacement keyboard to me within the week.
The second keyboard I received was fully-functional, meaning that the other one was indeed faulty. For those curious, the Shift and CTRL keys did not work on the first keyboard.
While waiting for the arrival of the replacement, I took some time to study the interesting choice made by Genius when it comes to the font used on the Imperator Pro. I came to the conclusion that, while it looks cool, it actually is a negatively effects the experience when actually using the keyboard.
I also took this time to fully test out the USB 2.0 Hub on the back. What I found out is that it’s one of the better USB hubs I’ve used on a keyboard. The ports are snug and easy to locate without looking at the back of the keyboard, and the connectivity was extremely solid, with there being no interference or disconnection issues.
Anyways, once plugged in and working, I got to work with the different tests and features I like to try out on each keyboard.
Gaming Performance – 7.5/10
From a gaming perspective, you could do a lot worse than the Imperator Pro. The keys are all quite tight on the keyboard, though not to the extent of being like the Apex [RAW]. With Genius really sitting right in the middle for keyboard design. The keys aren’t large and spaced out like many keyboard built for typing, but also aren’t super low-profile with a compact design.
Since we fell right in the middle, the gaming performance was decent, albeit not spectacular in any way. The keys feel like plastic when using them for gaming, but have a nice response on them when gaming. Having the design be a bit more compact than usual lead to easy usage of any key on the keyboard during a gaming session, while the G-Keys sit a bit far away for my taste when trying to utilize them in a gaming session.
Typing Performance – 6.5/10
I wasn’t a huge fan of typing on the Genius GX Imperator Pro. Like I said before, the keys feel like plastic when you type on them, leading to an uncomfortable experience for a marathon type-session. (like typing a review.)
Overall the experience wasn’t bad or great with the Imperator Pro. It almost felt like they needed a higher-end key switch underneath to alleviate the feeling of plastic on plastic when typing.
Assign Buttons – For assign buttons, we can click on the pull-down menu for each G-Key, and then assign a function ranging from Windows function to using a macro that you made.
Manage Macro – Is where you record your macros for the G-Keys. The process is simple, with you clicking record and then using your preferred key sequence. I was glad to see they included a record delay time feature, which is often overlooked, and can make all the difference in the world when setting up a macro for an MMORPG.
Advanced Setting – Gives you access to the three profiles built into the Imperator Pro. You can alter each profile a bit, with options such as locking the Windows Key.
Light Options – The front of the box is a bit misleading. If you look at that first image and think, ‘wow, this keyboard supports different lighting across the entire keyboard!’ You’ll be severely disappointed. The colors available is very thorough, but the option to actually have that rainbow-effect is not possible with the Imperator Pro. I had no trouble setting up a color of choice, although the lighting on the keyboard is pretty poor, with the keys not being very well-lit.
The Genius GX Imperator Pro is an interesting product. On one hand you have a solid keyboard that is decent for both gaming and typing, but on the other it just doesn’t feel that great to use, and that’s the biggest factor when it comes to choosing a keyboard.
Other features for the keyboard, like the media keys, G-Keys, and M-Keys are all well-implemented, and work really well. So does the GUI, which is clean and easy to navigate.
I guess when it comes down to it, the question is, ‘is the Imperator Pro worth your $54.99′. And that’s a question you will have to answer yourself. Personally I feel there are better options out there in this price-range, like the Logitech G105, and lower-end Razer keyboard.
The specifications and features of the Imperator Pro would easily contend with any keyboard in this price-range. The issue solely lies in the quality of the key switches and key caps, which just don’t feel up to par with the rest of the keyboard.
If I was Genius, I would do a redesign on the Imperator Pro and go with either some Mechanical or Membrane/rubber dome key switches this time around. With the features and specs already there, and the inclusion of higher-quality key switches, you could market this keyboard as the ideal starting point for mechanical gaming.
A quick explanation of the award system. We have the main award category with three awards; Bronze (Good Overall Product), Silver (Great Overall Product), and Gold (Excellent/Near Perfect Overall Product) as the highest. Then we have two different Sub-Categories, Internal Hardware Awards for performance; Yellow (Low-End Performer), Orange (Mid-Range Performer), and Red (High-End Performer) as the highest. The third and final Sub-Category is for both Internal Hardware and External Peripherals; Black (Enthusiast/Gamer Qualities), Blue (Exceptional Build and Design), Green (Terrific Dollar To Performance Ratio), White (Innovative But Flawed)
- Decent For Both Gaming And Typing
- GUI Is Clean And Quite Powerful
- Plenty of Lighting Options
- Very Responsive For Gaming
- USB 2.0 Hub Is A Nice Extra Feature
- Backlighting Is Not Bright At All
- Font Chosen For Keys Is Hard To Look At
- Key Switches Feel Like Plastic, Ruining The Typing Experience
You can try out the Genius GX Imperator Pro for yourself here.