Review Price free/subscription
Enermax Aurora Premium
One of TrustedReview's continuing quests is to convince the computer buying public that buying fancy peripherals is not just the domain of gamers but is something everyone should consider. The reason for this is quite simple, good peripherals make using a PC infinitely more enjoyable, no matter how fast or slow that PC may be.
This is why, if anyone had ever asked me, I would've leapt at the chance to recommend everyone go out and buy the original Enermax Aurora keyboard. Its combination of a superb key action, along with its low-profile design makes it a joy to use, even for extended periods of time. Moreover, the added extras like audio pass-through, for plugging your microphone and headphones into, and USB hub, make it very versatile. The only things it lacks are any of the dedicated 'gaming' features like macro keys and extra key markings that many gamer oriented keyboards demand, which in my opinion is no bad thing.
As Spode pointed out when he reviewed it a couple of years ago, the original Aurora does suffer one obvious physical problem, namely the cables used for the audio pass-through are very thin and prone to breaking. Also, extended use has revealed another problem - the paint on the plastic keys has begun to wear off on the most used keys (not the numbers, mind, but rather the colouring round them). Even considering the keyboard in question has been used constantly for two years, this is slightly disappointing when you consider the hefty £60 price these keyboards originally demanded. However, none of these things would put me off buying one simply because I love typing on them and I find the audio pass-through and USB port replication indispensible.
So, when news of a new, apparently improved, version of the Aurora floated to my ears I jumped at the chance to take a look. Called the Premium it's essentially just a slightly tweaked version of the old Aurora, with minor additions like the new Windows Vista logo now being used on the Windows key, a slightly rougher texture used on the keys, and a move to USB 2.0, for faster data transfer, for the replicated USB ports. Its fanciest new trick, though, is the audio pass-through now uses the keyboard's USB connection, rather than separate stereo jack cables as seen on the original. This brings with it two advantages. First and foremost, it means you have fewer cables to manage and secondly, the single thick USB cable is far less prone to breaking than the microscopically thin separate audio cables used on the original.
So the Enermax Aurora Premium is more of an evolution than a revolution but then improving on an already impressive product is always going to be a challenge. The key question is whether the little nips and tucks the Premium has received have transformed the Aurora from a plain Jane to a prom queen or if it has turned it into some sort of plastic surgery-gone-wrong-esque monster.