I tend to like most of my peripherals—as I would, since I paid good money for them—but of all the gear plugged into my PC, I think I have the softest spot for my keyboard. It's a Corsair K60, and it looks like it could kill a man just for looking at it funny.

I'd convinced myself it was the best damn keyboard on the planet, at least for my toxic mixture of gaming and typing. So it's tough to have to confront the fact that I just spent the weekend with Gigabyte's Aivia Osmium, a mechanical gaming keyboard that's in some ways just as good, and in some even better.

THE SPECS

- Cherry RED keys. 2mm activation point, 4mm to bottom.
- 4x interchangeable keys, 1x key pliers
- 5x macro keys
- 2x USB ports (1 of them USD 3.0)

WHAT I LIKED

Rough and Tough - The Osmium is all-plastic, but it's tough plastic, the whole keyboard feeling large, solid, durable and expensive. There's not a part of the thing that feels cheap or under-done.

Typing - I've long found heavy-duty typing to be a mixed bag on various mechanical keyboards, but the Osmium's lower profile and softer keys—along with a gentle curve in the middle of the keyboard—resulted in far fewer typos than my K60.

Switching - I like the way the Osmium's macro and profile system is set up. It's easy to get them programmed on the software, and you can't miss the buttons needed to switch between them in the heat of battle.

Keys - What I like most, though, are the keys themselves. They're nice and close so you don't get lost in the gaps between, and even the slightest press gives you a clear "hit". After spending hours on everything from shooters to sports games, I never had a single issue with missed keys or ghosting.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE

Customs - Lots of mechanical keyboards these days come with custom keys, which can be a great way to tailor them for your particular style or genre of gaming. The Osmium's suck. There are only four of them, and instead of being something practical, like a grippy surface or useful icon like crosshairs or direction arrows, they're some abstract icons for actions that for many games won't even your most common tools.

Media - The Osmium doesn't have dedicated media control buttons; instead, they share a space with the F1-F4 keys. Meaning you need to hold down a function key then press them. If there's a dedicated volume rocker, some proper playback controls would have been nice too.

MY FINAL WORD

The Osmium is a durable, responsive and slick gaming keyboard. At $100, it might be a bit out of your price range, but if you want a professional keyboard with stylish, if unexciting looks, you could do a lot worse than this one.