The Fnatic Rush G1 Mechanical Keyboard Reviewby E. Fylladitakis on December 2, 2016 11:00 AM EST
Fnatic Gear Rush Software
While the Rush G1 is a fully programmable keyboard, Fnatic supplies a very simple and limiting software package for it. The entirety of the software is a single page that displays the layout of the keyboard. Up to ten keys can be reprogrammed in each profile, which ten keys will be reassigned to perform one of the functions assigned to the M1-M10 table.
When clicking to program one of the M1-M10 table functions, a long menu comes up. A closer look however reveals that most of the actions are simple keystroke shortcuts, such as copy and paste. The key can also be disabled, launch an external application or run a macro.
If the option to run a macro has been selected, the macro recorder screen comes up, forcing the user to record the macro right there and then. The recorder can only record keyboard key presses and releases, with no control over the delays and no way to insert mouse movements and clicks.
Per-Key Quality Testing
In order to test the quality and consistency of a keyboard, we are using a texture analyser that is programmed to measure and display the actuation force of the standard keyboard keys. By measuring the actuation force of every key, the quality and consistency of the keyboard can be quantified. It can also reveal design issues, such as the larger keys being far softer to press than the main keys of the keyboard. The actuation force is measured in Centinewton (cN). Some companies use another figure, gram-force (gf). The conversion formula is 1 cN = 1.02 gf (i.e. they are about the same). A high quality keyboard should be as consistent as possible, with an average actuation force as near to the manufacturer's specs as possible and a disparity of less than ±10%. Greater differences are likely to be perceptible by users. It is worth noting that there is typically variance among keyboards, although most keyboard companies will try and maintain consistency - as with other reviews, we're testing our sample only.
The machine we use for our testing is accurate enough to provide readings with a resolution of 0.1 cN. For wider keys (e.g. Enter, Space Bar, etc.), the measurement is taking place at the center of the key, right above the switch. Note that large keys generally have a lower actuation force even if the actuation point is at the dead center of the key. This is natural, as the size and weight of the keycap reduces the required actuation force. For this reason, we do display the force required to actuate every key but we only use the results of the typical sized keys for our consistency calculations. Still, very low figures on medium sized keys, such as the Shift and Enter keys reveal design issues and can easily be perceptible by the user.
We are testing the Fnatic Rush G1 mechanical keyboard with the Cherry MX Brown switches in this review. Cherry's switches are usually very consistent and we are getting excellent lab results with them. The disparity across the main keys of the Rush G1 is ± 4.01%, which is a little higher than our usual readings, but it still is imperceptible by touch. The average actuation force is 45.9 cN, just a little higher than the rated 45 cN. We are usually getting this small difference with tactile switches. By design, most tactile switches have a significantly stiffer pressure point.
I always try to use every keyboard that we review as my personal keyboard for at least a week. My typical weekly usage includes a lot of typing (about 100-150 pages), a few hours of gaming and some casual usage, such as internet browsing and messaging. I personally prefer Cherry MX Brown or similar (tactile) switches for such tasks, making the Fnatic Rush G1 a perfect match for my preferences. Cherry's MX Brown switches are the least fatiguing for long typing sessions and similar professional usage, providing subtle tactile feedback without stressing the tendons. They are also relatively quiet, making them a little more comfortable for the user and a lot less aggravating for everyone else in the vicinity.
I found the Fnatic Rush G1 to be very comfortable for long typing sessions and professional use. The keyboard is relatively silent, as silent as mechanical keyboards go at least, and the large palm rest helps tremendously after a couple of hours. The palm rest is particularly comfortable, with it treated surface providing a soft, tender feeling.
For gaming, the performance of the Rush G1 depends on the type of the game. It is very precise and responsive, as well as comfortable for long term gaming sessions. The design is ideal for FPS/TPS and action games, where precision and speed are vital traits. When it comes to more complex games and MMO's, the Rush G1 is being let down by its underdeveloped software. It cannot execute complex macros or commands. The software at least allows for the launch of external applications, leaving room for the use of an advanced third-party macro software that can compile the programmed commands into executable files.