Redragon K530 Draconic

Here we are with a 60% keyboard. This time, this even smaller K530 model. As for that true-typing experience I was chasing, I’m certainly experiencing more of that. Read on for my thoughts for the K530 Dragonic.

The first 3 days I took this to work, and I had a mixed experience. For purely typing, this is great. The sounds are fantastic, the tactility from the outemu browns feel really good, and doing some n-key rollover tests show this registers all the possible keys I can press (about 40 at a time). The bluetooth feature came in handy for switching between laptop / phone / desktop. I loved the fact that my desk space immediately increased, and it looks very minimal. Professionally minimal as I like to think. For things like web-browsing, replying to emails, and gaming this is truly a great experience. I’ve yet to use the macros, but I’ll soon figure out how they work.

The K530 delivers on a small, effective package that punches above it’s price point. The board feels incredibly stiff, and during disassembly I was happy to find a metal backplate. The USB-C connector works fine, and is now alongside the collection of other USB-C cables on my desk. Removal of keys and switches is straightforward, and the backplate is held in by 7 machine screws. The underside board houses the 3000maH battery with one connector. I love using bluetooth on this keyboard, and simply moving it out of the way when I need more desk space. With the ability to connect 3 different devices with the flip of a switch was certainly the highlight of my day. Punching out paragraphs with the brown switches feels effortless and satisfying. I may have found that true-typing experience!

  • Portable size!
  • Triple Bluetooth connectivity
  • Removeable USB-C
  • Hot-Swappable switches
  • Multiple backlight options
  • Metal backplate

I have to put the disclaimer here that I’m an avid typer, but I still use a full range of Microsoft Office products in my day-to-day. Please keep that in mind while reading this.

The lack of arrow keys along the right-hand side feels weird. I still find myself hitting the bottom right ctrl key when looking for the arrow key. Redragon’s solution is to use the FN+A, FN+S, FN+D, FN+W for those arrows, and it feels alien to my brain. Apparently I’ve been using a 104 keyboard for much too long, since I’ve also grown accustomed to ctrl+shift+arrow to highlight a word. With the K530, I have to use FN+ctrl+shift+arrow, that’s 4 separate keys. This is however the trade-off of a super small 60% keyboard. The entire top row pulls triple duty with the use of not one, but two function keys. Spreadsheets are also frustrating to use; the pgup/pgdn/home/end are all fn+ key, I find myself switching to my regular 104 membrane keyboard for such occasions.

Also using Win+Arrow to snap windows is also a bit of a chore. The combination is :

win + fn + (arrow). The combo cannot be:

fn + win + (arrow).

Even sometimes that combination (in that order) doesn’t work. This could be that the get-focus function on whatever I’m working on is well, focused. But there are times when I feel that these keys have a mind of their own.

The K530 also eschews any multimedia keys. Whereas the K582 and K599 both offered volume control, global media keys for music playback. Again, I’m sure this was done purposely for the small size and to avoid giving quadruple duty to any keys.

Compared to it’s big K582 and K599 brothers, the amount of lighting effects is also much less. There’s no way to change the color of each key unless using the software

In my last review of the K599 60% board, I also mentioned the height of the board being high, the K530 is no different. However, I’m getting used to them, and actually prefer them now.

  • Some adjustments coming from a 104 style keyboard
  • fn + WASD left handed arrow keys
  • fn + key for LOTS of other things, sometimes triple keys

These gripes are however, all based on the last 20 years of using a very particular style of keyboard. If I had started with the 60%, and moved my way up, I’m sure my opinion would be very different. I am VERY keen to practice more on this keyboard, and over time I’m sure I’ll love using this form factor.

I noticed this because I have 2 other Redragon brand keyboards; the font on the keys (legends) are different. See below, the top QWERTY row is from my original K582 Surara, and the bottom row is the K530 series.

My theory is that the K582 and K599 are using a ‘gamer/hacker’ style font, since they’re marketed for the gamer community. Whereas the K530 seems to be marketed for the typist (or just general user who prefers a 60% keyboard). The gamer/hacker font is a boxier style that fills more of the keycap, while the latter font is more of a sans-serif style. The sans-serif style for the K530 is likely smaller to accommodate for the double/triple duty some keys are doing with side legends.

See below, the top 1 thru 0 row has at least 3 different functions to suit the rest of the board.

Escape key = Esc, Bluetooth pairing, tilde ~, and backtic `.

1 key = 1, F1, and macro1

And so forth.

I picked up the K530 as a kijiji sale by itself. I didn’t get a box, just this keyboard and third party USB-C connection. I already had a switch puller, keycap puller and a bunch of spare outemu switches. I would imagine purchasing this new from amazon includes all that, manual and likely some spare switches.

I like that this board, much like the K599 doesn’t have a top ‘snap-on’ vanity cover. Disassembly was taking off the keycaps, taking the individual switches off, and 7 machine screws to remove. The entire top, metal (!) pops off, and you can access the battery and ports along the left-hand side in case you need to clean or do some maintenance.

Redragon K599 Deimos

I’ve never tried a 75% keyboard before. And my original thoughts were that I wanted a True-typing experience. I certainly got that, and little more. Read on for my thoughts on the Redragon K599 Deimos mechanical keyboard.

70 keys, n-rollover (Basically means you can mash your palm into the keys and it detects each press individually), all sorts of brightness settings, and a cut-down version of the home/insert/pgup/pgdn/home/end keys.

So what’s all this mean?

As a typing tool, this thing is awesome. It’s small enough not to clutter the desktop, has a satisfying click (Outemu Reds), and has a great backlight with all sorts of color options.

As mentioned, when used strictly as a typing tool this is fantastic. The form factor and layout doesn’t differ much from a standard 104 keyboard. Compared to the Surara K582 (a full sized 104 keyboard), I didn’t have to readjust anything. My fingers found home row about 80% of the time. There’s also the wireless 2.4Ghz dongle option which, I have only used sparingly just to ensure it works since I brought it home. And I like the USB-C connector cable. My desktop is apparently collecting all the USB-C devices for my phone, tablet, and rechargeable mouse, so having another is welcome. The connector is also removeable, which makes the entire package entirely portable with little fuss. This also weights a hefty amount, which makes it feel like a very premium keyboard for the price. Also, when doing tear down (to swap out the switches, and my own curiosity) it was very simple to disassemble.

  • Great size!
  • Wireless 2.4Ghz with dongle
  • Removeable USB-C
  • Good weight for price
  • Arrow keys placement
  • Easy disassembly
  • Hot-swappable switches
  • Multiple backlight options
  • Multimedia key controls via FN+ press

There’s some adjustment to this new device. Namely, my brain has been hardwired to reach for the INS/DEL/Home/End/pgup/pgdn keys in their 104-layout. I still have to physically look for those keys when typing (usually looking for the end or beginning of a line, or editing a document). I’m also very used to hitting the F-keys out of habit to do things like F2-Rename, Alt-F4 close, or F8-execute code (in Visual Studio). I find my fingers sometimes reach for that non-existent row, whereas now I need to use FN-# key assignment. There have also been a few times I miss the backspace or enter key, this is usually because my fingers  are searching for the gap between the enter keys to the arrow keys. I personally wish this device came with a bluetooth option, or the ability to pair to another 2.4Ghz adapter. For anyone new using a mechanical keyboard, it’s worth noting the height difference; the K599 is about 3CM from the base to the top of the key, while many membrane keyboards are 2CM or lower. I suggest an wrist rest for extended sessions.

  • Coming from standard 104-keyboard, there’s some adjustment: ins/del/home/end keys
  • Adjustment for the F-row
  • Adjustment for the Enter/Backspace keys
  • Using the FN-key for LOTS of things
  • Probably need a wrist rest

First, remove all the keycaps with the included ‘red key puller’ included with the package. Interestingly enough, this did not come with any additional switches or a switch puller. If you’re looking to mod, you may want to invest in a separate one. In my case, I had a spare one from my K582 set. After that, remove all the switches gently with the switch remover, I suggest clamping from top-bottom (rather than left right). Once that’s done you should have something similar to this:

There’s about 7 or 8 machine screws with philips heads. These are all the same length, so they can reinstalled in any order. Once all switches are removed you should have just the metal backplate:

After the phlilips head machine screws are removed, pinch the plastic ‘grabbers’ together and lift the metal plate out.

Above is the system PCB board in all it’s glory. Taking it step further, gently lift from the bottom (not the top) and you can see the bottom board and rechargeable battery.

Be careful of the USB-C along the left hand side, since it’s soldered onto the board, just make sure it aligns up properly before screwing down the metal backplate.

The included outemu red switches, I also swapped out with AKKO Jelly CS Whites. These I like mainly because of the soft press, and these are slightly less noisy than the red’s. Just be careful when you’re putting the switches in, push them directly from the top, not off-set or anything, otherwise you might bend a pin.

For the money, this is a compact, beautiful looking keyboard with tons of functionality and usability. I personally find this board to the most comfortable of the bunch, at just the right size. I find this the most comfortable board for gaming or speed typing on

Redragon K582 Surara

The OG keyboard in the house. The first mechanical I purchased, and by far the most utilized tool in my arsenal. This is the board that got me into the wide world of mechanical switches, and has reliably served me since the Covid lockdown. The Surara was originally my budget purchase, but it’s now a staple and fixture in my home as the one that started it all.

Covid-19 hit the entire world in 2020. I, a cloud analyst figured since I was working at home for the next few months wanted a comfortable, fun and enjoyable typing experience. I looked at some youtube clips, made some notes and hopped on Amazon. Some refer to it as ‘Red-Dragon’, where as some of the UK actually say ‘Re-Dragon’, because they say things properly over there. I picked up this keyboard based on price, backlight options, hot-swappable, and that sound.

This is the workhorse of the bunch of keyboards I own. Since I swapped out the Red switches for Akko tactile CS jelly purples, it’s awesome for every day use. For some reason I don’t feel this is my most comfortable board, that goes to the Redragon K599. I however prefer the full 104 key layout for the number pad, full F-key row, and the overall esthetic. Many times I just feel comfortable using this keyboard for daily tasks or gaming.

For a ‘budget’ mechanical keyboard, there’s a surprising amount of heft, and this provides a premium quality. The metal backplate gives weight on the bottom, since this is a wired board, there’s no sound deadening, nor any insulation on the inside. The keys, and switches are hot swappable, and if you really want, you can actually remove the outside outer plastic cover that covers the bottom and top. The multimedia controls are easily accessible via the Fn+ F keys along the top – volume control, media play-back to name a few. Plus, there’s 18 different lighting modes for the backlight – who really needs a desk lamp these days?

  • Standard 104 size
  • Multi-media shortcuts
  • Backlit, many different lighting modes
  • Easy disassembly
  • Hot-swappable keys + switches
  • Included extra switches + key puller + switch puller

As a budget board, the number of connectivity options is limited: USB-A, and that’s it. Compared to some of the newer boards I picked up, some have 3x bluetooth, detachable USB-C, or 2.4GHz wireless dongle. This isn’t a deal breaker, but if you’re sparse on desktop space you may regret not having the option of a detachable USB-C to connect your other keyboards. There’s also times I wished there were a physical knob at the top of the board; but these are just my thoughts. For the price, and the options provided it’s still pretty good.

Removal of the plastic housing requires only a bit of finesse. A plastic pry tool does the job quite nicely. After that, removal of keycaps, and switches is straight forward. I highly suggest when pulling keycaps to make absolutely sure the metal tool pinches COMPLETELY from top to bottom – I’ve cracked a few by not paying attention.

Once the switches are removed, there’s 8 machine screws holding the K582 together.

The PCB board is very simple, with just the USB-connector attached at bottom. As you can see below, there’s nothing else in the bottom housing; no molding, no tape, no sound deadening, no battery, just a big plastic, empty shell.

While I can’t say for certain the experience with ALL keyboards, it take a few months of my wrists adjusting to the height of this keyboard (which, is pretty much standard for all mechanical boards). At it’s highest (the F-row) it’s about 4cm high. I would suggest anyone new to mechanical keyboards look at a wrist rest since this seems to alleviate the problem almost immediately.

The K582 is a solid choice for the price. As my daily driver from the past 4 years I still think this board is by far one of the most reliable, if not the most utilized keyboard in my inventory. While other keyboards are slowly making their way onto my desk, the K582 will always be the original.

The search for the perfect keyboard

This title might sound a little misleading. Actually, it’s not. It’s exactly like it sounds. I’ve been on the prowl for a good keyboard that sates a few of my minutia. I’m not a writer or coder. I do enjoy writing and I code when I have to for work. I script, so more of the brackets, semi-colons, curly-braces, special characters and so forth do make their way in. Mind you, when coding it’s more ‘cut/copy/paste’ once I have the main idea, then it’s logic that takes over. I’m not some wonder-kid who scripts like a mad man or anything.  But, when I type something for my own enjoyment, I like a certain feeling when my fingers press keys. And that was why I was in search of a keyboard that just feels right to me.

This is not meant to be a prescriptive article, these are my findings based on what I feel to be sort of the generic brands out there, and what I’ve found works for me over the years. Keep in mind, this is the technology that happens underneath the keys, a typical user likely won’t care – but since this is a geek/tech blog, I care.

Types of keyboards:



Membrane keyboards are easy to clean, just pop off all the keys, vacuum all the crud, and give the base, and keys a wipe. That ‘island’ style keyboard however cannot be cleaned without some serious effort.

How They Work

Basically a plastic membrane of the same layout of the location of keys is laid over a circuit board. Each ‘key’ has a slight rise, and in an ‘open’ position, pressing down ‘closes’ the position, sending that down/closed motion as a key stroke.

The Experience

These are perfect office keyboards. They’re quiet, unobtrusive, give no real personality since you can’t really customize them. Great for the dull, drab, gray office setting. Everyone that owns a computer has likely felt the ‘mushy’ feeling of the keys; unlike mechanical keyboards, there’s no feedback or click pressing down.

-Common -Cheap
-Fairly durable
-No customization
-‘mushy’ feeling

Scissor Switch

Scissor Switch

Common in laptops due to their very slim profile. You can find these in certain bluetooth accessory keyboards, or ultra-slim keyboards. You only need a small amount of force to actuate, and super quiet. Again, ideal for office settings. From past experience, any broken key or busted scissor component can be replaced; although it requires research into the brand, type, year, even size of key. Cleaning is a pain – since each individual key has it’s own scissor switch, it’s incredibly easy to break multiple scissor components. Just best to leave it alone, or hold upside down, and shake out all the loose crud.

How They Work

The underlying  technology is basically the same as a membrane keyboard, however there’s a two-piece ‘scissor’ mechanism that pushes the keys upwards to their neutral position. Pressing down still contacts the membrane, and registers as a keystroke.

The Experience

If you’ve done work on any laptop for extended periods of time, you’ll find it’s quite comfortable. Since you don’t need to press very hard, and it’s nearly silent it’s an office-style keyboard, and low-profile saves space.

-Low profile -Quiet -Common-Difficult to clean
-Easy to break / difficult to repair


Roll-up keyboard

Made of flexible plastic / silicone and can be rolled up. I’ve only used one in the past, and while it was handy to roll up the keyboard, the novelty wore off very quickly. The water-proofness meant cleaning was a breeze, however most silicone keyboards have a textured grip, meaning constant cleaning, and the type of material just attracted dust and other debris.

How They Work

Same as a membrane keyboard, only instead of rigid plastic keys pressing down, it’s another membrane on top of the circuit membrane.

The Experience

Not every keystroke registers. This is by far the most annoying part. For a keyboard, that is supposed to register each key pressed, it was easily a 50/50 chance. For any touch-typist, you are now limited to half your typing speed. There’s no actuation, no rigidity, without the feedback of pressing down, it takes some adjustment. The reasons for a roll-up, waterproof, and dust attracting keyboard is simply novelty, and little else. Someone posted that roll-up keyboards are ‘rugged’, however part of that rugged terminology means the keyboard performs all the same functions without issue – since it’s a 50% chance it registers the keystroke, this is not rugged, it’s unreliable. I do not recommend these.

-Cheap  -Attracts dust / debris
-50% chance keystrokes register
-Zero tactility



Unlike membrane keyboards, each individual key has it’s own ‘switch’ that contacts directly with the PCB (printed circuit board). The switches are typically made of a housing, a spring, a slider, and sometimes additional parts. The switch connects to the PCB via direct, metal contact (sometimes gold). Wikipedia calls these ‘metal contact’, however the most common term is simply ‘mechanical’. The major producer of mechanical switches is the Cherry corporation since they patented the technology in the early 1980’s. Cherry was the exclusive manufacturer of the technology, effectively their own monopoly in the mechanical keyboard market until around 2014 when the patent expired, and multiple switch manufacturers appeared in the market around that time. Since then, mechanical keyboards have become more affordable, easy to maintain, and come with a multitude of options, connectivity and additional features. Manufacturers have also taken a queue from the hobbyist community and offer a very large range of different springs, switch materials that provide different tactility and pressure sensitivities. The combinations are nearly endless, and the mechanical keyboard community flourishes with tips, tricks, and deep research articles. Cleaning a mechanical keyboard while easy, is time consuming: removal of keycaps, removal of keyboard housing, removal of switches, and so on. While time consuming, some articles point to the ‘zen-like’ feeling of understanding the function of each individual component.

How They Work

As mentioned, each key has it’s own individual switch that connects directly with the PCB. The PCB is typically rigid, and more premium mechanical keyboards are weighted to provide a luxury feeling.

The Experience

There’s nothing quite like a mechanical keyboard. Each keystroke is crisp, and depending on the tactility or linear type of switch, the feedback is different, and altogether enjoyable. I must emphasize the sound. Hobbyists and enthusiasts alike know the unique clickety-clack tones only the mechanical keyboard is able to produce. Typing on this keyboard is an event that has to be experienced. However, the sound also means this is not an office-style keyboard, much to the annoyance of some coworkers, it can be distracting to others. Since 2014, the market has been flooded with a plethora of different options and prices, all geared to the consumer’s interests. Mechanical keyboards are offered with different styles, configurations, materials, connectivity, weight, languages; just about anything you can imagine is available. Huge online communities post their research about building, tinkering their own boards with interesting results.

-Highly customizable -Large hobbyist community
-Loud (depending on configuration)