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[Overclock Labs] Fnatic Rush G1 Review

Paradigm84
Posted · Updated · 412 Views · 1 Comment

Pros: Price, robust build quality

Cons: Keycaps, durability of the soft touch coating

[Overclock Labs]

Fnatic Rush G1

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Welcome to my review of the Fnatic Rush G1.

Before I get started, I'm going to point out some things regarding the review in general.

  • This board was provided as a review sample through the Overclock Labs program.
  • I will not be keeping this product for the purpose of remaining as unbiased as possible
  • This review will only be discussing the board itself, not my opinions on the switches the board uses (in this case MX Reds), opinion on switches is subjective, and you'll have to make up your own mind about what switch is the one for you.


Quick navigation:





Introduction

Fnatic are a well known esports company with well-known teams competing in a wide variety of games. Fnatic sum it up well on their website:
Quote:
Fnatic is a leading organisation in eSports, with professional teams in the most popular games such as: League of Legends, Dota 2, Battlefield 4, and more. Our players attend more than 75 international events per year, representing our brand in every corner of the world. Over 2,000,000 followers on social media who follow us for the latest news on our players and live updates from events. Our Youtube channel is a favourite among eSports fans. We provide video interviews, in-game highlights and more to over 100 thousand subscribers.

Around the world Fnatic stands as a heavyweight in the world of eSports. Over the years our players have achieved incredible success and won numerous world championships across multiple games. In both 2006 and 2009 Fnatic were awarded Team of the Year.

Due to being such a prolific name across many different esports, it isn’t surprising that Fnatic are releasing branded gear aimed at both fans of the brand, as well as other people looking for gaming-oriented peripherals.

However, it is often the case that products with well-known names attached to it offer a sub-par experience compared to competing options. Will this be the case with this product? Is the Fnatic name attached the product the main selling point? Or is this a solid product regardless? The aim of this review will be to answer that question.




Unboxing

First we have the retail packaging, nothing too unexpected here. The design of the packaging is the relatively common mix of matte box with glossy images and logos.

Top view:



Bottom view:



The packaging offers what we have come to expect at this point, nice product photos, basic information about the product (including switch type), as well as a bit of marketing to try and sell this to potential customers.

The cardboard is thick enough to protect the board from any minor knocks, as evident from the pictures (thanks, Mr Mail-man).

Now to open up the packaging.



On top we have the usual basic guide on some of the features of the board:



Nice way of presenting the information, definitely a better option than some other guides I’ve seen where it’s just a page or two of text. The paper is also good quality, if anyone cares about that.

Moving on from obsessing about a piece of paper, we have a little bag with two plastic parts in. These are the clips which allow you to attach the included wrist rest to the board.

Next we move on to how the board itself is packaged.

The board itself is held in place very well. On either end we have the good kind of durable packing foam, the kind that will not permanently compress or crack like styrofoam. This is a nice choice, as it holds both the keyboard and the wrist rest far enough from the outside of the box that any kind of usual dents or knocks that the box might experience will not damage the product itself. In addition to this, we have the black cardboard insert to provide further protection.

Overall I’d consider this packaging to be perfectly adequate, I don’t think there’s any risk of the board being damaged if it’s being carried in the box. The only possible improvement I could imagine for the packaging is a single large piece of foam with cut-outs for everything in the box.

For example the packaging seen on the Hyper-X Cloud 2 headset. That addition would take the packaging from a sufficient 8/10 to a perfect 10/10 in my eyes.

To summarise, the contents of the packaging is:
  • Fnatic Rush G2 Keyboard
  • Wrist rest
  • Wrist rest plastic clips
  • ‘Quick guide’ covering basic features of the board


Pretty standard fare. I would have liked to see a keycap puller included.




External Overview

Design


Top side

The Rush G1 is a fairly simple looking board given that it’s predominantly marketed towards gamers.

Many gamer oriented boards can look very over-the-top, with sharp angles and aggressive aesthetics. The Rush G1 isn’t one of those boards.

For a start, the Rush G1, considering that it’s a full size board, has a relatively small footprint on the desk. The casing of the board doesn’t extend too far past the keys. Having the board take up a relatively small amount of desk space is a major plus from my perspective. Some gamer-oriented boards can be unnecessarily large, which can make them look bulky and excessive. The Rush G1 seems to be only as large as it needs to be.

The top surface of the keyboard is covered in a very smooth soft-touch coating, which definitely adds to the premium feel of the board. The downside of these types of coatings is that any oil-based material getting on the board can make the coating look shiny, so make sure to keep your Cheetos away from the keyboard.

In my experience, this kind of coating can also be susceptible to scratches and other visual wear, so as good as this board looks now, I’d be interested to see how it looked in a year.

The edges of the top of the keyboard are bevelled. This is a good choice, especially for the bottom edge of the keyboard as it makes the keyboard more comfortable to use without the wrist rest. It also makes me feel like more work has been put into the board than if they had just gone for a fairly simple boxy top case.





Underside

On the underside of the board, we have a more detailed design, with lots of grooves and panels cut in.

I don’t think it serves any purpose for the outside of the board, but I imagine it aids with how the PCB and plate are mounted inside the casing. It looks fine, the plastic doesn’t feel cheap or look poorly formed, and it doesn’t flex inwards, probably due to how the insides are mounted, which we’ll see later.

The Rush G1 also includes the standard fare of foldable feet. They have one position, and while they don’t feel necessarily flimsy, are not the most rugged I’ve seen (see KUL ES 87).

The feet raise the keyboard up enough to make a difference, but not so much that you’re going to get broken wrists trying to use it.

The Rush G1 also only has two very thin rubber pads on the bottom to prevent the keyboard sliding around your desk. These pads don’t feel very grippy, and the rubber doesn’t feel particularly tough. Couple these points with the fact the feet are very thin, I question how long these feet will last before wearing down or even detaching from the bottom of the board.





Branding

Thankfully, the branding on the Rush G1 is very minimal, the only branding on the top side of the keyboard is the Fnatic Gear logo. The branding, whilst relatively large, is coloured grey, so it doesn’t stand out massively against the black top casing.



Keycap Layout

The layout of the Rush G1 is similar to many gamer-oriented keyboards, with the Ctrl and Alt keys made larger, whilst making the Windows and Function keys smaller. This is usually done to minimise accidental keypresses of the Windows key.

I’m not personally a fan of this type of layout. While it can possibly reduce accidental presses of the Windows key, I don’t believe that this minor upside is worth it at the cost of reduced compatibility with aftermarket sets of keycaps.

For those interested, the preferred keycap sizes on the bottom row for myself (and many others) are the sizes (from left to right):

1.25x, 1.25x, 1.25x, 6.25x, 1.25x, 1.25x, 1.25x, 1.25x

Whereas the Rush G1 uses the layout with sizes:

1.5x, 1x, 1.5x, 6x, 1.5x, 1x, 1x, 1.5x.

Which makes it harder to find aftermarket keycap sets, mostly due to the smaller spacebar size.



Keycap Quality

As is the case with a lot of backlit keyboards, this keyboard comes with coated backlight-compatible ABS keycaps. These keycaps are relatively thin, and I don’t feel they are going to fare well with a lot of use. You can also slightly feel the characters on the keycaps, which isn’t something I like to see on more expensive keyboards. I don’t think they’re likely to break, but I imagine the black coating on the keycap will wear down with extended use.



Stabilizers

The Rush G1 has opted for Costar style stabilizers. I think this is a nice addition, Cherry-style stabilizers can often feel mushy (depending on the keyboard). The stabilized keys feel just as responsive as the others, and there isn’t too much of the trademark Costar ‘rattle’ to the stabilized keys. However this keyboard only has a few weeks of use, you might experience more pronounced rattle a few months down the line.



Quality

The build quality of the Rush G1 is good, surprisingly good in fact. With a lot of the more gamer-oriented keyboards, quality can often be sacrificed for aesthetics. This is not the case with the Rush G1.

The first thing I noticed upon taking the board out of the packaging is that this keyboard is pretty heavy, heavier than I expected it to be, even for a full-size keyboard. This is likely due to a metal mounting plate inside the board, which will be seen later on in the review.

The board does have a little flex to it however, both when twisting the corners, and in the middle of the board. However, you’d have to be pressing fairly hard below the spacebar to cause noticeable flex, and I wouldn’t imagine you would notice the flex in the slightest during use. This could have been fixed relatively easily however, just by adding another rubber foot by the spacebar.

Despite the flex, the board doesn’t use creaky plastic (looking at you, Filco Majestouch-2), so even if the board flexes slightly, you don’t hear it.

Moving on from build quality, the Fnatic have opted to include a hardwired USB cable on this board.

Although many people will consider this a downside to the board, I don’t think it necessarily is. Hardwired cables are only bad when implemented poorly, in my opinion. A thick, non-flexible hardwired cable can be pretty annoying as it functional adds another inch or two of depth to the top of the board.

The cable on the Rush G1 is relatively thin for a hardwired cable, and even straight out of the box, was easy to flex and move around. Hardwired cable still have the disadvantage of not being movable though, you can’t use any channels in the underside of the board to make the cable come out of the side of the board if you have a shallow desk for example. You’re stuck with the cable in a fixed position, which some people may not like.

Another upside of a hardwired cable though, is that you don’t have to worry about breaking the port from repeated plugging and unplugging, something which is a concern for me, especially when the boards opt for micro USB connectors.

The cable is also braided, which is a nice (albeit fairly common) addition, the braiding feels decent quality, so I’d hope to not see any major fraying issues.

Now we move on to the wrist-rest. Detachable wrist rests are almost universally bad, usually just a cheap piece of plastic attached to the board by flimsy clips. With the Rush G1, Fnatic have made an effort to make the wrist-rest feel like something other than a cheap plastic addition.

The wrist rest has a smooth rubberised coating, like the top casing of the keyboard itself, and feels comfortable to use. However, apply Cheeto covered hands to the wrist rest for a few months, and I’m not sure the wrist-rest is something I’d want to look at, let alone use.

From a practical standpoint, the wrist-rest doesn’t feel wobbly, but does flex in the middle. I can’t imagine this flex would affect its use though. It also sits at a good height, making it comfortable to use (from the perspective of someone who doesn't always use a wrist rest, so your mileage may vary).

That being said, the wrist rest is attached by clips which come separately to the keyboard and wrist rest (see below). Not sure why they did this. Maybe they did this as replacing clips is easier than replacing an entire wrist rest? Or maybe the wrist rest was produced separately to the clips. Either way, they seem to hold the wrist rest relatively firmly or do the job as well as I can expect from flimsy pieces of plastic.





Summary

Overall I think the build quality of the Rush G1 is good, the board has a good weight to it and the flex, whilst present, isn’t something that would likely affect the use of the board. The main downside of the keyboard as a whole is the wrist-rest, but plastic wrist-rests like these are usually bad anyway.




Internal Overview

Disassembly of the Rush G1 is surprisingly easy, in fact it's the easiest keyboard to disassemble that I've tried so far.

The steps (although kind of obvious) are:
  1. Undo the 7 screws on the back of the keyboard, located around the outer part of the casing.
  2. Carefully pry the back casing of the keyboard off, separating the hardwired cable from the casing.
  3. Remove the plate, PCB and cable from the front casing.

Here you can see the bright red PCB and backplate.



Both the PCB and backplater are thickare pretty thick, explaining the weight of the keyboard.



The soldering quality is good, very uniform with no excess solder or visible poor connections.



In summary, nothing negative to point out about the internals, no silly connector placement or strange choices of construction. I can't see any issues cropping up.




Features

Backlighting

The Rush G1 comes with red backlighting, accentuated by a red blackplate. Not my first choice of colour personally, but it does the job.
The backlight options are relatively simple for this board, but more than sufficient in my eyes. We have:

  • Backlight off, for when you’re sick of red light.
  • Low backlight, for late night when the room lights are off and you’re using the light from the monitors to work on your Counter-Strike tan.
  • Medium backlight, for when it’s getting dark and maximum backlight is causing irreparable damage to your retinas.
  • Maximum backlight, for when you’re 87 years old and have trouble finding where the keys are without the light of a thousand supernovas guiding your fingers to the correct keys.
  • Pulse mode, for when you’re at a LAN, and you say “hey guys, look at this”, and then they see the backlight pulsing and are like “hey, that’s pretty good”.

These brightness settings are controlled through Fn + Numpad 2 and Fn + Numpad 8.
Some other keyboards like offerings from Ducky or Corsair may offer extra options, but it really just depends how much you care about having your keyboard look like a rainbow put through a blender.



Media Keys

The Rush G1 offers no dedicated media keys, but has media key functionality on some of the F keys:
  • Fn + F1 = Mute
  • Fn + F2 = Volume down
  • Fn + F3 = Volume Up
  • Fn + F4 = Play/ Pause
  • Fn + F5 = Previous
  • Fn + F6 = Next

Some people prefer this option for media keys as it doesn’t add any extra physical size for the keyboard, however a layer of media keys obviously isn’t as easy to use as dedicated keys.



USB Passthrough

At the top side of the board, there are two USB 2.0 ports, which can be used for USB sticks, a nice little extra inclusion for those who are always moving files around. Since the two USB ports on the board use the same USB connection as the keyboard itself, the options for plugging in other things will likely be limited.



Fnatic Gear Mode

This mode is included for use in games, it disables the Windows key and allows the macros to be used. A pretty standard edition for gaming-oriented keyboards.



Fnatic Rush Settings

Up to 10 macros can be assigned to keys on this board, and set up using the Fnatic Rush Settings software (currently v1.5) currently available on their website.
The software is fairly minimal, the way you can set up a macro is to:
  • Press one of the macro buttons on the left-hand side
  • Press the key you want the macro assigned to.
  • Use the drop-down menu on the left-hand side to choose the functionality

We have a few basic options that we can choose for each macro key, as seen below.




If you want to assign a string of keypresses to the key, up to 56 actions are available, where each action is either a press or release of a key. So if you’re a toxic CS:GO player looking to spam a wall of dank text memes in chat, multiple presses of the macros might be needed.

Unfortunately you can’t edit existing macros, slightly annoying if you want to make a small change to an existing complex macro.

You can also export and import macros, however it seems to store them as a hexadecimal string, so editing an existing macro outside of the software may be possible in theory, but too annoying to try in practice.

You can also import and export configs, which would be an entire set of profiles with macros. Useful if you made your macros, then switched over to a different version of the keyboard.

The software as a whole really feels kind of basic if I’m honest, even though I wouldn’t expect the level of options that you’d see on the software for more expensive boards, it doesn’t feel particularly polished.



Summary

We have a pretty standard set of features on this board, nothing revolutionary or unexpected, but enough basic gaming features to add to your experience using the board both in and out of games.




Cost and Coverage

Cost: ~ $100 (around 90GBP in Europe).

Coverage: 2 year warranty from date of purchase.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this is a decent mid-range option for anyone looking at getting a gaming-oriented keyboard that doesn’t necessarily have the budget to spend $200 on a crazy flagship keyboard.
The board offers all of the basic features you’d expect from a gaming keyboard, without any of the flagship type features you’d expect from category-leading gaming keyboards.

Pros:
  • Feels durable and premium out of the box.
  • Well-designed case with rounded corners, making it comfortable to use even without wrist-rest.
  • Relatively competitive pricing
  • Inclusion of all of the expected gaming features (macros, adjustable backlighting, ‘game mode’.


Cons:
  • Not sure of the longevity of the soft-touch coating
  • Cheap ABS keycaps
  • Software feels rudimentary.

If you feel there's anything I've missed out or if there's anything else you'd like to know about the keyboard, let me know!

1 Comment:

•Pulse mode, for when you’re at a LAN, and you say “hey guys, look at this”, and then they see the backlight pulsing and are like “hey, that’s pretty good”.

You are the man ;D

Nice Review btw!
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