Ergonomics, Typing and Performance
Ergonomically, this keyboard is quite comfy. The finish on the palm-rest is pleasant to rest your hands on and doesn’t get slippery when the palms get sweaty. The soft finish on keys means they very nice to rest your fingers on, though the mechanical key switches are so sensitive that even the lightest pressure may result in a key stroke.
You can adjust the keyboard’s angle with both front and rear feet. But actually, even with the front feet up, angle is our one complaint regarding the Omnium’s comfort. The keyboard itself slopes up quite strongly at the rear, giving keys a steep slant.
Having gotten used to the ‘flat’ keyboards of Logitech and Microsoft, this is not easy on the fingers. When you factor in that it’s actually healthier for your hands to have a high front sloping down towards the back, it’s no surprise that after a few hours of intense typing our hands would start to ache slightly.
In every other regard, Gigabyte’s mechanical gaming keyboard is typist’s dream (though it took a wee while to adjust to the US layout on our sample). Not just the comfort of its materials but the superb feedback and audible click provided by its mechanical switches, makes it a pleasure to work on.
Mechanical Cherry MX Red switches are far superior to the membrane solutions found on many cheaper keyboards, and not just because of their greater durability and better-feeling feedback. A custom version of the Cherry MX Black switch, Reds offer lower operating force. In fact, the actuation point for these is 2mm for maximum response to your lightning reflexes.
Ghosting also won’t be an issue on the Osmium. Where some keyboards have six-key anti-ghosting, Gigabyte takes that to a whopping 64 keys on its latest and greatest. In other words, no matter how many keys you press simultaneously, the Osmium will pick it all up.
This is where the Gigabyte Aivia Osmium stumbles just a little, since you currently won’t find it at a reputable retailer for under £100. That doesn’t compare too well to cheaper mechanical gaming keyboards like the £78 Corsair Vengeance K60, while even the (admittedly membrane-based) Logitech G19 with its colour screen and internal processor is under £100 these days.
However, the Osmium offers more features than the K60, like its USB 3.0 throughput, and the K60 ‘only’ offers 20-key anti-ghosting compared to Gigabyte’s 64. We don’t think many would disagree that this Aivia is the better-looking peripheral, too.
Also, its pricing is competitive with the Razer Black Widow mechanical keyboard, which offers a similar feature set but uses arguably inferior Cherry Blue switches and again doesn’t include USB 3.0 – although Razer does give you more profiles and settings.
The £99 Thermaltake is probably more competitive with Cherry Black switches, 46-key anti-ghosting and a removable cable, but we’ll need to check it out to see how it compares.
Gigabyte has done a great job with its Aivia Osmium. It’s built like a brick, offers superb adjustable backlighting, high-quality mechanical key switches, the most impressive anti-ghosting we’ve yet come across on a keyboard, and niceties like USB 3.0 in addition to the usual programmable gaming keys. If your fingers aren’t bothered by its steep slope and you don’t mind the somewhat basic software, this gaming keyboard is worth every penny of its high asking price.