Speedlink impressed us with their mechanical Ultor keyboard, so how does their Ludicium budget rubber dome fare in comparison? This keyboard has a full-size layout, ten extra media and shortcut keys and an interesting red-accented colour scheme. We’ll put it to the test in our full review.

 

Features & Design

  • Full-size keyboard including arrow keys and number pad
  • Ten additional hotkeys for direct access to multimedia functions
  • Height adjustable for maximum ergonomic comfort
  • Ready to use straight out of the box thanks to driverless installation
  • Reliable technology

I feel Speedlink were really drudging the bottom of the barrel when it came to this feature list. The truth is that this is a budget keyboard, functionally much the same as your £3 office keyboard, dressed up in a “gamer” black-and-red colour scheme with some extra buttons attached on both ends.

The Ludicium is a wide but short keyboard, with none of the weight or build quality of a mechanical keyboard. That extra width makes it difficult to position on small desks, and forces your mouse far off to the side. The additional buttons are relatively easy to reach thanks to this side placement, despite their small size, but require quite a lot of force to actuate. The number pad, caps lock and scroll lock lights are in the upper right, although the yellow LED used is so dim as to be difficult to see without looking closely.

The bottom of the keyboard is relatively sparse, with a small name card on the right side and flip-out legs on each top corner. The legs are plastic, without any kind of rubbery material to keep them stationary, so the keyboard tends to move around the desk while you’re typing at speed — pretty annoying.

 

Testing

Typing on the Ludicium is something of a chore. The rubber dome construction means that you have to press down all the way to get the keys to register, and you must put in much more force than on a typical mechanical keyboard. The amount of force required will increase over time as the rubber hardens, compounding the problem.

In addition, the top row of keys is shorter than standard, making it harder to hit the Escape, F1 – F12 and Print Screen keys accurately.

The legends on the keys are relatively readable in good light, but the keyboard lacks backlighting so low-light use is problematic. However, the WASD and arrow keys have been highlighted with red keycaps, making finding your way to the gaming ‘home row’ a little easier.

In games, the keyboard’s low rollover count of 2 makes things difficult. For example, you cannot press Q, A and S at once.

 

Wrapping Up

With the price drops in mechanical keyboards over the past two years, it is getting increasingly difficult to justify a “gaming” keyboard over a cheap mechanical one.

The Ludicium is £17 on Amazon at the moment, but there are plenty of good mechanical keyboards are available for between £20 and £40. Given the incredible difference in performance, feeling, longevity and features between mechanical and rubber domes, it’s well worth spending the extra few pounds to go mechanical.

For that reason, I can’t recommend the Ludicium. Its layout is interesting and the colour scheme isn’t awful, but the typing experience just mediocre in every sense, and it will only get worse over time. Save yourself the bother, and go mechanical instead.

 

Links

Specific alternatives

Here are some low-cost mechanical keyboards we’ve reviewed recently.

General alternatives

Otherwise, have a look on Amazon to see examples in your area. Beware “mechanical feel” keyboards, and find ones with Cherry MX style switches, commonly listed as Red, Blue, Black or Brown. You can find out more about these different switches here.

About The Author
William Judd

Editor-in-Chief for XSReviews. Find me @wsjudd or on G+.