Redragon make some pretty good stuff these days like the popular Perdition mouse, so how about the Redragon Karura K502?
Well, there is a lot to like about the keyboard but sadly there is a lot that could be better.
The price is good, it has some nice features and it is a slick looking piece of hardware but it is somewhat let down by quality issues which a lot of keyboards this price seem to have.
Read on in our Redragon Karura k502 Review where we cover all the pros and cons of this gaming keyboard.
If you have been looking around for gaming hardware and peripherals you have probably come across Redragon at some point.
While they are growing in terms of products and presence in the west they have been around in various forms for quite a while now making peripherals.
Redragonitself was started in 2012 from an existing gaming hardware company Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) which itself was created in 1996.
Based, and working out of China but looking for a foothold in the US Redragon created Challenger USA.
A feature many consumers were impressed with is the design of the keyboard.
As a lot of people point out the design is actually very similar to that of the Razer Deathstalker but with the backlighting feature and a price considerably less.
It is lightweight at 1.3 pounds (0.6kg) which compared to its Deathstalker counterpart (1.95 pounds or 0.9kg) is a reasonable difference.
There is also the MSI DS4100 that looks remarkably similar in a lot of ways, even in branding.
The keyboard of the Karura is made from plastic and does have a cheaper feel to it according to many of its purchasers.
Redragon Karura k502 Tech specs
Connector: Gold-plated USB
Cable: Fiber braided cabling
LED backlit color: Choose between seven colors
Keyboard Size: 17.75 x 8 x .75 inches
Keyboard Weight: 1.3 pounds
Multimedia keys: 19
Keyboard Type: Gaming
• The Redragon Karura k502 gaming keyboard features adjustable LED lights which is a sought-after feature and one that often costs a lot more with other brands or comes at the expense of quality in cheaper, alternative brands.
The backlights are able to be changed between 7 different colors: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Aqua, Purple, Light Grey.
Although each time the keyboard is turned on the color will reset its default red color.
The good news is that you are able to change the coloring directly from the keyboard itself, which is a feature many other more expense keyboards do not have.
Even the pulsing rate of the colors is able to be adjusted, all without having to use any software. It also has 3 levels of brightness as well.
The brightness, breathing mode and also the breathing speed and controlled mostly by holding the function key along with another.
If you are looking for how to change these check the manual for all the info.
• Ghosting is an issue with some gaming keyboards.
With the Karura k502, you get 19 non-conflict or anti-ghosting keys so you are able to make multiple key presses without any worry about key presses not being registered.
This a quite an important feature for those that play somewhat complex games and need to press multiple keys to control characters.
• You are able to control all the functions of your multimedia from the keyboard with the 12 multimedia keys. Along with this, the Karura k502 has adjustable input speeds.
• If you are in need or prefer to use the WASD keys for movement there is a function to very easily switch between the arrow keys and WASD keys. This is very handy and very easy to set up.
By holding the function key and then pressing the up arrow you can switch automatically the up, down, left right keys to the position of the WASD.
To switch back it’s as easy as holding the function key and pressing the W key.
• The Redragon Karura uses chicklet switches.
Now there is usually a personal preference between membrane/chicklet switches along with pros and cons for both.
Generally, the more durable and better quality keyboards will tend to use mechanical switches.
There are pros and cons for both switch types and there is a good break down the page herewhich explains the pros and cons of the different switch types.
The video below will also give you a better idea of the difference in sound between the 2.
• The Redragon Karura K502 runs via USB 2.0. This is pretty standard and even the latest Logitech gaming keyboards use USB 2.0 (as opposed to 3.0)
• This keyboard has a very low key profile, unlike many mechanical keyboards.
• Has a pop-up calculator feature
So what’s the upside with the Redragon Karura K502?
This is one the cheapest gaming keyboards you will find that has a backlight.
This was a factor for a lot of people’s purchase of the keyboard. You are able to change the colors so it’s a great customization feature.
The profile of the keys are low for those people that do not like the tall, mechanical keyboard-type keys.
Not only that, unlike even more expensive keyboards, you are able to change the lighting style of the keyboard on the actual keyboard itself.
Most consumers agreed that the design of the keyboard is nice and looks very sleek.
It is light and slim and also has a nice wrist support which for the most part people were happy with.
Along with a nice design, the Redragon Karura K502 comes with a Windows lock key.
Ideal for avoiding the windows pop up by accident during your gaming.
This was a feature many liked on the keyboard. Add to that the K502 comes with a nifty little calculator pop up key which a number of people found quite handy.
What’s not to like?
The problem with cheap products is that there is usually a reduction in quality.
With this keyboard, it seems to be very hit and miss.
If you end up with a fully and correctly functioning keyboard then you will likely have got a fantastic deal.
Unfortunately, the ratio of good and bad is not as high as perhaps it should be.
The most glaring problem with this keyboard for a number of people was the quality of the keys.
Quite often users had problems with keys getting stuck, double-clicking or just not working.
The most common being the space bar which is quite an important button.
There were common complaints were that the space bar did not work, got stuck or would only work if you pressed it in the middle.
Not ideal and unfortunately not uncommon.
Credit to Redragon as they did go back and try and address the issue with a redesign and a later model.
Though it seemed to have fewer complaints after the redesign it seemed not to have completely resolved the issue.
Even as I wrote this there were a couple of times the space bar didn’t quite register.
The keys do feel a bit on the cheap side. I hate to compare it to my work Apple computer but the buttons are certainly a lot stiffer.
Again with the cheaper products, it’s the little things that can hurt somethings image.
As a lot of other purchasers have noted the lighting on the keys can be a bit inconsistent, most notable on the space bar.
As you can see in the image to the left the lighting does not show up evenly across the space bar.
It also happens on a couple of other keys as well.
If you are a creature of habit you may also want to take note of the keyboard layout.
The Redragon Karura does not have the same layout as a normal keyboard with a couple of what some consider, fairly important changes.
The enter key is cut a lot shorter than usual in order to fit with the design.
Along with that, the windows key is not on the left side, but the right side of the keyboard which makes way for the function key used to control a lot of the keyboards customizations.
A number of other general construction quality criticisms kept reoccurring, unfortunately.
Little things such as some key lights not working, poor finish, dim lighting and mushy keys were things that consumers mentioned on numerous occasions which means that it may more likely be a design flaw rather than one-off defects.
The Redragon Karura is compatible with the following OS: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows Vista and Windows XP.
There are always a lot of queries as to whether this keyboard is compatible with Mac.
The keyboard is plug and play and does not have any external software.
It should work fine on a Mac.
Be aware though that for some people the ctrl key acts as a shift key and the shift key doesn’t seem to do anything, does not act as a control key in response.
Warranty & Price
In case you have any issues always keep and register your warranty.
The Karura comes with an 18-month warranty.
There are a lot of gaming keyboards around this price and you are likely to find that most have some form of quality issues.
This is certainly on the cheap end of gaming keyboards with some reaching over $150 for the high-end brands. An 18-month warranty is a very good deal for something of this price.
So what’s the Redragon Karura k502 Review Verdict? Should I buy it?
Are you a bit of a risk taker? It almost seems like that’s what this is when purchasing the k502.
When nearly 1 of 3 reviews reports issues with similar problems then you have to wonder about the construction and even some of the favorable reviews mention the space key and sticky key issue (to a lesser extreme).
The point being though there are other keyboards with more favorable ratings.
There is still a favorable chance of getting a good keyboard with good features at a good price.
The keyboard does have good features and let’s be honest, at the price range you cannot expect a world beater in terms of quality. It would certainly be a good idea to keep your warranty and receipt.
If you are willing to pay a bit more for reliabilities sake you could look at the Aukey Mechanical Keyboardwhich currently has phenomenal ratings.
There are a lot of other good options in the Aukeys price range too.
In our opinion, unless there is something extremely unique you like about this keyboard, why take the risk. For $10-15 more you can get some solid quality keyboards, even the Redragon upgrade the Kumara is only a few dollars more