When I reviewed the Alienware AW720M Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Mouse at the start of the year, I came away intrigued as to how other products in the Alienware catalogue would stack up against their competitors. Alongside the mouse, I spent a decent amount of time with the Alienware AW510K Low-Profile RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, a serviceable wired keyboard that despite doing a lot right, still has one glaring issue.
Available in Dark Side of the Moon (Black) and Lunar Light (White), the Alienware AW510K Low-Profile RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a full-sized gaming keyboard featuring Cherry MX red switches and slim, low-profile keys. The body of the board itself is entirely plastic, and features a volume wheel in addition to its vast array of keys, allowing for quick and easy audio adjustment.
As a lover of media controls on keyboards, I’m happy to see the volume roller, as well as dedicated media controls on the function keys at the top of the board. The decently sized braided cable contains 2 USBs, one to power the device, and the other for USB passthrough, which allows for the connection of USB devices through the USB port on top of the keyboard, such as wireless mouse or headset dongles, or perhaps a USB storage device. While features like passthrough aren’t essential, they are definitely appreciated. Unfortunately, there are no dedicated macro keys present on the AW510K, which seems like a missed opportunity.
While the plastic shell doesn’t exude “premium energy” (which it arguably should, given the inflated price tag hovering either side of the $250 mark), I found the keyboard to still look rather nice, largely due to the vast quantity of RGB lighting, which can be customised per key in the optional Alienware Command Center software. That said, however, for the price of admission, it would’ve been nice to have seen a more premium aluminium body.
When it comes to typing, the experience is a good one, however your enjoyment is largely going to hinge on whether you’re a fan of the smoother, softer touch you get with the low-profile linear switches.
As someone who is still very much in the clicky camp of mechanical keyboards, I did find that typing on the Alienware AW510K lacked that level of satisfying feedback that comes from the click of a blue or even brown switch keyboard. This is by no means a deal-breaker, as the board still performed admirably at whatever game I threw its way, once I became accustomed to the feel and positioning of the low-profile keys, which can be easy to misclick initially.
If you’re on the lookout for a mechanical gaming keyboard that provides less audible and physical feedback than keyboards of the tactile and clicky switch variety, then the Alienware AW510K might be worth looking into.
As I stated in my review of the Alienware AW720M Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Mouse, the Alienware Command Center isn’t my favourite PC gaming peripheral software, but it does offer a great way to customise your Alienware products.
Available only on PC, the Alienware Command Center provides some solid lighting- and macro-customisation options for those keen to add a personal touch to the board. As mentioned earlier, the lighting for each key can be set to any of the 16.8 million colours on the RGB colour spectrum. Crazily enough, each key can also be assigned a variety of visual effects, ranging from a breathing colour animation to a simple, static colour. Assigning colours and effects to keys is an absolute breeze, and adjusting preferences for particular areas of the keyboard – such as its Function, NumPad, or WASD keys – makes customisation nice and easy.
Keys can also be told to light up in a particular fashion when pressed, and the Alienware Command Center also allows you to also dim or turn off the lighting completely.
While I personally tend to just rely on a standard rainbow assortment of RGB colours, the sheer variety afforded by millions of colour combinations and various effects on the keyboard is pretty comprehensive, and can produce some truly unhinged looks if you want to try some on for size.
The Macro section of the Alienware Command Center allows for the creation, management and allocation of custom keyboard commands to any key on the board (excluding the Fn key). Macros can be a singular keystroke, a sequence of inputs, a shortcut to a file or program, or simply just a custom block of text. While a welcome feature, the lack of dedicated customisable macro keys does hinder its impact and viability somewhat, since you will need to sacrifice a main keyboard key in order to make use of these macros.
Adjustments to the lighting and keyboard macro options can also be saved to onboard storage. That means your customisation settings will follow you across machines, so you don’t have to compromise on how your keyboard looks and plays when shuffling between a gaming PC and Laptop, for example. With four customisable theme slots free to use on the board, the Alienware AW510K offers plenty of freedom.
Better yet, you can use the software to assign dynamic themes to individual games, so launching a game will automatically initiate its own lighting and macro settings.
Alienware Command Center provides the Alienware AW510K with plenty of welcome features, and is a fantastic companion application that I’ve grown increasingly fond of during my time with the keyboard.
While its linear switches aren’t my personal favourite (given my preference for clicky and tactile switches), the Alienware AW510K Gaming Keyboard is still a good-quality and reliable wired gaming keyboard. It is, however, insanely overpriced, with a price tag that makes recommending the product much harder than it should be.
The unfortunate reality for the Alienware AW510K is that it’s simply far too expensive for what it is; furthermore, there are a multitude of keyboards that do the same and/or better across the major PC peripheral manufacturers for far less money, with more features and greater build quality to boot.
If you happen to find the keyboard heavily discounted from its roughly AUD $250 price tag to around $150, it could perhaps be considered a viable pickup, especially if you are partial to the linear low-profile key switches. The Alienware AW510K does do plenty of things right, but I find myself hard-pressed to recommend purchasing one at its asking price.
Written by: @GrumpyGoron