SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard Review
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SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard Review

March 26th, 2014 John Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

Today I’ll be looking at the SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard, the first product we’ve seen from the brand SpeedLink. Built with more traditional membrane keys, the Parthica offers a ton of features destined to please gamers. Macro, multimedia and shortcut keys are present. The option to switch between colours, anti ghosting and 6 key rollover and all this for quite an impressive price tag too!

The Parthica is one of many models that SpeedLink have on offer, lets take a closer look…

 

SpeedLink Parthica - box (front)

 

Styled in a common gamer theme of red and black, the front of box shows a large image of the product and its key features.

  • Compatible with, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
  • 3 Colour Lighting Effect
  • Macro Software for up to 5 profiles
  • Anti Ghosting
  • 10 Multimedia keys
  • Rubber Coating
  • Windows Key Enable/Disable
  • Full Size Layout
  • Corded 1.8m cable

SpeedLink Parthica - box (left)SpeedLink Parthica - box (end)SpeedLink Parthica - box (right)

The PARTHICA box edges (black and Red) are brief, with the product name and a mention of the Lighting feature (more details below).

 

SpeedLink Parthica - box (back)

 

On The Reverse we find more detail about the customization that the Parthica has to offer. Specifically configuration software where you can assign commands to keys and toggle Profiles. SpeedLink highlight the key point of the unit as “GOD” Game on Detection, basically meaning Profiles for set games can be configured and will be detected and switched on the fly. The unit is USB 3.0 but will of course function on USB 2.0 just fine.

SpeedLink Parthica - box (open)

Upon opening the box via the easy to remove tab we find the bundled contents first, a Quick Install Guide and Driver CD which contains the software.

 

SpeedLink Parthica - Quick Install Guide SpeedLink Parthica - Driver CD

 

With the first layer of packaging removed we expose the Parthica keyboard which is wrapped in a pull over protective film.

 

SpeedLink Parthica - box (keyboard)

 

The contents of the box are shown above and listed below:

  • SPEEDLINK PARTHICA Core Gaming Keyboard
  • Software CD
  • User Manual

At the time of writing the SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard is retailing for approximately £35 and comes with a 1 year warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of SpeedLink

  • Efficient gaming keyboard for professionals
  • Customisable functions and look
  • Freely configurable key/button functions Features
  • Professional gaming keyboard with LED illumination
  • 93 configurable keys, 15 freely programmable buttons
  • 5 macro buttons plus 10 multimedia buttons and practical on-the-fly macro recording
  • Maximum gaming comfort thanks to extra-high raised keys for precise keystrokes, clearly-labelled WASD and arrow keys, plus an on/off switchable Windows key
  • Anti-ghosting and up to 6-key rollover technology
  • On/off switchable and configurable LED keyboard illumination with 3 breathtaking colours
  • Profile button for toggling between up to 5 config profiles
  • Powerful macro editor integrated in the driver
  • Internal memory (128kb) for importing/exporting profiles
  • Auto-loading game profiles
  • Perfect ergonomics thanks to comfortable wrist rest, rubberised finish and height adjustment
  • USB polling rate configurable up to 1000Hz (ultrapolling)
  • Four selectable response-times down to 2 milliseconds
  • Flexible USB cable with hard-wearing sheath (1.8m)

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard

 

With the Parthica unboxed I found myself drawn to the Macro keys first, offset in Silver there are a total of 5 keys to set and customize as you wish. The overall unit colour is matte black contrasted with glossy black keys and this works well, you’ll find your eyes drawn to keys rather than the frame. The overall design has a very robotic and perhaps futuristic look and feel about it. At the top centre we find a large black section with the model name. At either side of the branding there are cut-outs, these are also located at the far left, right and also down in the lower section. We’ll talk more about these soon…

 

SpeedLink Parthica - Macro keys SpeedLink Parthica - centre

 

Along the left side of this area we have a set of quick access keys for browser, mail, search etc. On the right are the media keys for control of the most common audio and video functions. The F12 key serves a dual purpose, here you can disable the Windows key (a very useful feature), as without it the key can be a huge annoyance to many gamers!

 

SpeedLink Parthica - quick access keys SpeedLink Parthica - media keys

 

Taking a look at the product form a  side view, gives you a sense of how the keys are laid out.

SpeedLink Parthica - side (left) SpeedLink Parthica - side (right)
SpeedLink Parthica - side (front) SpeedLink Parthica - side (back)

 

On the underside grip is handled with two rubber feet, a large sticker in the centre specifies the model name and serial number. The height can adjusted to suit with traditional pop up levers at the back.

 

SpeedLink Parthica - underside SpeedLink Parthica - raised feet

 

The keys most used by gamers are nicely highlighted!

 

SpeedLink Parthica - WASD SpeedLink Parthica - cursor keys

 

Hardware Installation

 

Connectivity of the PARTHICA is handled with a USB 3.0 Connector, which is attached to a 1.8m braided cord.

SpeedLink Parthica - USB connection

 

Hardware Performance

 

Keyboard

 

11 days have passed now since the Parthica arrived and it’s had a heavy testing period. I’ve used the product daily for an extensive amount of time, from day to day tasks to Gaming.  There’s always a transition period when moving from one product to another. Even if they’re similar it’s normal to mistype and hit the wrong keys. The one I had some difficulty adjusting to the most the “ESC” key, my current keyboard is a generic mechanical keyboard. Layout is basic and it has no additional keys like the Parthica does. I’d be trying to hit Esc and instead I’d press the “P” Profile key and switch between colour profiles!

Similar with the shift key I would hit the Marco keys instead (ED: Yes, I had a similar issue with the Razer BlackWidow). As I’ve said it’s to be expected, a few days into the review and I’d become comfortable with the product. The thing I’ve become fond of most is the wrist rest. The angle is just right, extremely comfortable for long Gaming sessions.  The coating is a soft rubber texture which I’m a fan of for sure, it’s a nice middle ground between a solid wrist guard and a soft gel add-on.

I have to be honest, like many, when you notice a low price tag on any product you can’t help but assume there will be flaws, issues and concerns with build quality. Carrying a price of just £36 the Parthica is one of few that are way better than you’d expect. The Keyboard has a very premium feel overall. The build quality is spot on, there are no draw backs or cut corners to shave off production costs, which is very surprising. I can’t emphasize enough just how well the product is presented and well it works.

 

Software

 

Being comfortable with the product I set about testing the additional features such as lighting and customization. I was keen to see what lighting options the Parthica has. With the software downloaded and installed I search for an option, oddly I couldn’t find anything… however control of the lighting effect can be set too;

  • Off
  • 50%
  • 100%
  • Breathing

Self-explanatory of course, the breathing effect is a fade to black and back to colour but it didn’t quite feel right for me, it fades to black (no light) for about 2 seconds and slowly pulses back to full light mode, which lasts for about 7 seconds, the rhythm is just not right to be honest! Upon checking the documentation, switching between the pre-defined colours is handled directly on the keyboard. With the “FN” key pressed 3 colours can be selected via…

  • F1 Red
  • F2 Blue
  • F3 Purple (everyone’s favourite!?) ;)

Additionally the brightness can be set with “FN” and numpad 2 “Decrease” or numpad 8 “Increase” I’m disappointed not see a favourite of gamers and that is of course Green!

Adding to my disappointment, is the top centre branding area of the Parthica, which also illuminates. When switching between profiles with the “P” Profile key, oddly the logo will change from Blue, Red, Purple, Green and Yellow. Shame that keyboard can display more colours in such a small area but not the ones that matter most, the keys…It doesn’t make sense really and SpeedLink have really lost marks here…

 

Niggles aside moving back to the software everything else is impressive. When first launched [Image 1]  the Core software will display current Firmware and software versions, It also incorporates a clickable link direct to speedlink

There are some additional settings which can be unlocked, with the “Key Commands” [Image 2] you can tweak any key and change it to another, you could for example relocate “Shift” to a key of your choice.

Looking deeper here we also have the ability to set basic commands [Image 3] from the predefined list. This is a large list of common functions like Explorer, mouse, browser, multimedia or office functions. The final option [Image 4]is to configure keys which will  load your chosen  application or game.

The exception is Macros, these can only be set for the M1 – M5 keys, you can take it further and configure the keys to do what ever you want…

Parthica Core Software - Key Set Macros

 

Final Thoughts

 

So what do I think of the SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard? Apart from the odd lighting situation, I applaud the option to control the lighting brightness, it’s a must to suit a larger audience. Colour range is quite limited though, Red and Blue are logical, Purple on the other hand is somewhat of a niche addition!  Aside from that it’s all positive for the Parthica, and we must revisit the pricing once again, there is no denying this is a lot of product for the money and carry’s many features for such a small price tag.  In the £30 – £40 region there are lots of products from other brands but I feel SpeedLink have priced the product just right. It’s the little additions like on-board memory that make it stand out. You can set the keyboard up and use it on the move, without the need to reconfigure.

The overall shape and design means it a little larger than I anticipated but certainly not too heavy to use on the move, LAN events and such. The unique shape isn’t just for show either, it’s no gimmick, the shaped edges work well and it feels very comfortable, even after very long periods of usage.

Touching back where we started, the packaging. Again for the price tag we don’t see any corners cut, the unit was well packed and the information provided more than adequate. Usage and performance I can’t find faults.  Being a daily user of a mechanical keyboard for years now, it did take a little time to adjust. I’ve used the Parthica for day to day tasks and more importantly my gaming sessions. In games like League of Legends those macro keys where a huge bonus, in faster paced games like TitanFall again no problems with fast paced gameplay.  SpeedLink perhaps aren’t the most prominent choice when selecting a new keyboard. But the Parthica is proof they should be…

 

Verdict

Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…

 

Design/Quality pcGameware awards the SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard a Silver
Performance
Value
Overall

 

Many thanks to SpeedLink for providing this sample for review

 

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