Today I’m taking a look at a keyboard that’s a little different from the normal gaming fare. It’s not mechanical, it doesn’t have any crazy RGB lighting, and there are no special macro keys. It does have one unique ability though: it’s waterproof. And that means if you spill your Mountain Dew on it (or less nerdy foodstuffs), then you can simply wash it under the tap, dry it off and and be back to fragging in just a few minutes. Manfacturers Xenta have sent us one to try, so let’s see how it performs.
Features & Specifications
- Fully waterproof (submersible up to 6 inches)
- Full-size layout with media keys
- No software required (plug ‘n play)
- Clean white-on-black colour scheme, with blue base
- Durable rubber domes (rated for 1.5M presses)
- Keyboard (wrapped in cover)
- Instruction manual
- Cleaning brush
The Xenta is reasonably attractive for a washable keyboard, particularly one at this price point. The admittedly plasticky black body holds a full layout of white keys, which are rubbery to the touch and sit a few millimetres above the surface.
After a long time using small gaming keyboards, it’s kind of nice to see a numberpad once again. There are even the customary LEDs on the top-right corner.
There are media keys in the upper left of the keyboard, giving you quick access to volume adjustment, track skipping and the all-powerful play/pause button.
The font used throughout is clear and legible, with well-proportioned and well-positioned letters. This is an easy thing to get wrong, so it’s good to see proper attention has been paid to it.
The bottom of the keyboard is a medical-grade blue, with a pair of flimsy flip-out feet to give your keyboard a bit of tilt.
One part of the waterproofing is the USB cable, which comes with a removable cap around the contacts. This is attached by a particularly thin cable, which snapped when I struggled to remove the tightly-fit cap. Oh well.
So overall, a reasonably well-assembled keyboard for the price. There’s a bit of flex evident in the board, but given its construction this seems not unexpected.
Now for the fun part. We obviously wanted to test how well the waterproofing worked, so we decided to pour a fresh cup of coffee onto the keyboard and see how well it stood up. I don’t normally get to do this (even with really rubbish keyboards) as I hate to see needless waste, but this time it’s definitely allowed. Right on – let’s pour.
It was surprisingly gratifying to pour a hot cup of coffee on the keyboard, and watch it coat the keys and then flow out of the bottom of the keyboard. Thanks to my lovely assistant Stella for catching all the coffee before it dripped on my PC. After cleaning up the liquid that had flowed out onto the desk, it was time to wash off the keyboard. This was done simply by placing the board in the sink, and running the tap for a while.
After the keyboard was nicely soaked and free of coffee, it was placed in the draining rack to dry out. It was left here overnight, although I’m sure a few minutes (or maybe hours) would have sufficed.
Afterwards, we plugged the keyboard back into the PC… and it worked! So despite the injection of coffee and downpour of water, it resisted the elements and lived up to its promise. Awesome!
Of course, you won’t just be pouring coffee on this keyboard (unless you’re a very sick individual). You’ll also be using for writing and gaming, so we did just that. The results were reasonable, with the flat white keys proving adequate for writing (this very article) and playing a relatively sedate session of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Performance in a frenetic Counter-Strike: Global Offensive deathmatch were a little worse, due to the non-mechanical switches and the rubbery texture of the keys. Still, it was playable enough.
The Xenta Washable Keyboard lives up to its name, surviving at a couple of deliberate baths without going to pieces. While the rubber dome keys won’t be winning any awards for tactility, they are at least usable for both writing and gaming. If you frequently get your keyboard dirty, spill your drinks or just want to use a keyboard for extended periods in very dirty places (kitchens, hospitals, garages), then the Xenta Washable Keyboard makes a lot of sense.
- Survives coffee and water with ease
- Relatively low cost for a washable keyboard
- Good for dirty / unhygienic places
- Key feel is quite mediocre
- Takes longer to clean than a glass-topped keyboard