Mechanical keyboards are flooding the market now that the PC gaming audience has shown it’s willing to spend the money for higher-quality peripherals. This has also created an opportunity for mechanical switch manufacturers beyond the go-to Germany company Cherry. One of those competitors is Kailh, which provided the switches in the new keyboard from Vava and enabled that company to sell a quality device at a low price.

The Vava Chroma Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available now for $80. It features Kailh’s blue switches, which are equivalent to the tactical, noisy feedback of the Cherry MX blues. They are also the switches that served as the basis for the Razer switches in the Blackwidow keyboard in 2014.. But the keyboard is about $20-to-$40 less expensive than many of the devices featuring Cherry switches — even though you’re getting a similar typing experience.

What you’ll like

Tactile switches and sturdy design

I prefer loud, responsive mechanical keyboards, which is why I usually choose the Cherry MX blues when I have the option. With the Vava keyboard and Kailh switches, I’m getting a near identical crackling click and quick actuation.

Typing on the keyboard feels great. The noise of fingers smashing into the keys and the accompanying snap of the spring always makes me feel like I’m getting more work done than I probably am. At the same time, the keys aren’t too loud for gaming. They won’t overwhelm your speaker audio, for example.

Beyond the switches, Vava has also used a nice coating on the key caps that give them a grippy surface. The company also claims this will prevent your hand oils from wearing down the sheen. That’s something that is important for gaming keyboards because it always looks wack when your WASD keys are a different shade of black than the rest of your caps.

Vava also did a fine job with the build quality. The keyboard doesn’t have any rattling parts or an abundance of exposed screws. It feels like one sturdy and coherent piece of technology.

Bright RGB lighting

Vava’s keyboard also comes with LED RGB backlighting. Like Razer, Sound BlasterX, or Logitech gaming peripherals, the Vava keyboard lights up in a million different color combinations. It’s on par with anything else, and it’s bright enough to stand out in a bright room.

What you won’t like

They still aren’t Cherry MX switches

While I like the Kailh switches in general, they are stiffer than the Cherry MX blues. I liked that at first, but it causes a some fatigue or missed actions during long gaming sessions.

I should also mention that one of the reasons to get a mechanical keyboard is that they are durable. They can handle tens of millions of activations. We know that’s true of Cherry after decades of using those switches, but Kailh’s track record is less proven due to having fewer years on the market.

Conclusion

Vava’s mechanical gaming keyboard has great key actuation and excellent build quality. That already makes it worth considering, but then add in the LED RGB lighting at a price that is less than $80, and it is easy to recommend. If you want a clicky, tactile keyboard with RGB lighting, but you don’t want to pay a premium price for a Logitech or Razer brand, this is a sensible alternative.

Vava provided a sample unit of the keyboard for the purposes of this review.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®'s Game Dev program.