Score:
six/10
?

  • one – Complete Scorching Rubbish
  • two – Sorta Lukewarm Rubbish
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Style and design
  • four – Some Professionals, Lots Of Disadvantages
  • five – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Excellent Enough to Obtain On Sale
  • 7 – Fantastic, But Not Very best-In-Course
  • eight – Superb, with Some Footnotes
  • nine – Shut Up And Take My Revenue
  • 10 – Complete Style Nirvana

Price tag: $49.99

Whirlwind ATOM Keyboard on wooden board
Eric Schoon

While 60% keyboards can be challenging to use for newcomers, they can conserve a good deal of space and are extremely well-known for it. But as far more and much more companies produce compact boards like this, it’s finding tougher to stand out. So, Whirlwind Fx is making an attempt to do so with some nifty RGB characteristics in the ATOM keyboard.

This is What We Like

  • Pre-lubed switches
  • Amazing typing expierence
  • Bright RGB

And What We Don’t

  • Flimsy kick-out feet
  • Low cost plastic entire body
  • Sport-reaction RGB effects aren’t great

RGB is by no indicates a new characteristic to 60% boards head you, but that is not what Whirlwind is concentrating on in this article. As a section of its larger SignalRGB challenge, which is utilized by all Whirlwind’s products, the ATOM’s lighting can do a lot a lot more than glance rather. It can use all types of RGB consequences, respond to whatever’s taking place on your monitor (whether or not you are in a video game or not), and sync its lighting with RGB equipment outdoors of Whirlwind’s ecosystem.

It would seem like the fantastic board if you are a big enthusiast of RGB lighting in typical, and the assure of good quality Gateron switches should really make it great for typing as properly. At $49.99 (at least, on Amazon, Whirlwind’s website sells it for $79.99 but we’ve been certain the Amazon value is permanent) it is competing with other spending budget mechanical keyboards that really don’t give virtually as many capabilities. Or, at minimum which is how it looks at 1st look due to the fact at the time you commence applying the ATOM you realize it offers some terrific things with just as many downsides ready all around the corner.

Typing Knowledge: The Finest Portion

If you are in the sector for a mechanical keyboard, you want some thing that feels good to style on. Fortunately, Whirlwind hit the nail on the head in that regard.

The Abdominal muscles keycaps have a softer truly feel than most, which threw me off at initial but I’d contemplate myself a admirer at this place. I don’t imagine it is automatically “better” than the tougher really feel most keycaps have, but it’s nevertheless a superior substitute. Having said that, the switches a keyboard makes use of have a much even bigger influence than keycaps, and the ATOM can have 3 distinct switches installed—Gateron Red Linear, Blue Clicky, or Brown Tactile.  The device I have been using has the purple switches set up and they experience just how you would assume a regular linear switch to—smooth and generally tranquil. But finally, that’s not what is amazing about the typing working experience, fairly, it’s that this keyboard tends to make no pinging noises.

It’s incredibly widespread on finances, mid-selection, and even some superior-conclude keyboards for bigger keys like the spacebar and Enter important to ping when pushed down. It is troublesome and is averted by lubing these keycaps (or much more accurately, the stabilizers that preserve them in place), a thing a large amount of keyboard brands are reluctant to do—largely for value and excellent management good reasons. But the ATOM’s stabilizers are lubed, which is a rather major advantage when compared to most boards in its price tag vary.

The components as a full is by no implies best on this board, and we’ll communicate about that very soon, but it’s apparent that Whirlwind place a ton its effort into earning this keyboard really feel great to kind on. Which if you require to focus on any a person section of a mechanical keyboard, is absolutely the ideal alternative.

Hardware: A (Largely) Appropriate Trade-off

Whirlwind ATOM keyboard against white background
Eric Schoon

The ATOM’s quite bathroom-typical in the hardware office. It employs a floating important layout (which indicates the body lacks sides and you can see the mechanical switches lifted from the foundation) and is generally manufactured out of matte-black plastic. The only feeling of style the ATOM brings to the table is the white aluminum plate inside the board (it is what retains the switches in location), which does go a extended way towards producing the keyboard glimpse nicer. The keycaps are designed out of Abdominal muscles, use double-shotting for the legends (so they’ll never fade), and are partially translucent so the RGB can shine by way of the textual content.

Now, this is a tiny keyboard—it utilizes the 60% format so it’s missing about 50 percent of the keys a typical keyboard would have, so there are alternative functions preprogrammed into it. You entry these with both “FN” or “ALT”—for example, to use “F5” you would style “FN + 5.” It takes some acquiring utilised to if you have by no means utilised a compact board, but you can adjust pretty quickly. Just be prepared to go through a tiny for a 7 days or so.

A thing that will not go absent even though is your deficiency of choices for programming keys—there are none. You cannot generate macros (although according to Whirlwind that might be coming in 2022), nor can you modify the main or alternative functionality of a crucial. Those people are quite helpful functions when you’re working with so few keys, and to fully omit them is undoubtedly disappointing,

Side-view of Whirlwind ATOM
Eric Schoon

The tone does not improve considerably when it will come to the genuine system of the board either—it’s not very amazing. The outer plastic is nothing special—it’s really light-weight and even some thing as straightforward as the kick-out ft (which are on the bottom of the board and utilized to angle it) are flimsy.

It’s not the worst hardware you can locate on a 60% board, and for the price tag it is all right, but you can definitely inform this is wherever corners have been slice. And if that was required to make this keyboard truly feel as excellent to style on as it does then I think it’s satisfactory, but I just cannot help sense that the fancy RGB results also lower into this here. Which, if I’m ideal, is a whole lot more disappointing presented the outcomes.

The RGB: A Disappointing Main Marketing Place

The RGB lights on the ATOM are of high quality I’d say they’re probably much better than most keyboards at the cost level.

Where by I have problems are the several results and RGB functions Whirlwind advertises alongside this board. Whirlwind generates a piece of software identified as SignalRGB, which permits you to sync the ATOM with other RGB products and solutions from other makes. Corsair, Phillips Hue, Logitech, and quite a few additional are on board here—if it’s a important brand name with its have RGB ecosystem you can most likely link it with SignalRGB. It’s a valuable instrument, but when it comes to modifying the RGB on your ATOM, challenges commence to crop up.

Whirlwind Forex

Upon opening SignalRGB, you are going to see two key selections for lights: game integrations and results. The latter is stuff you’d expect—rainbow designs, reliable colors, and audio reaction lighting—but the previous is far additional attention-grabbing. By detecting what is taking place on-monitor in around 80 game titles SignalRGB can high-quality-tune your RGB to respond to the motion. The outcomes vary wildly, but the one regular factor is that it’s not extremely very good.

I examined this with a number of online games like Hades, Minecraft: Java Edition, and Drop Fellas, and even though the function will work as intended I’m not really impressed by it. Reacting to what is happening on-display screen is quite literal here—in SignalRGB you can even see the software package mirror your display and use that to figure out the lighting’s color in serious-time. But this outcomes in a quite muddy glimpse most of the time, and some outlier cases that flawlessly exhibit the boundaries of this technique.

For example, when tests it in Minecraft I was in a jungle, so you’d expect that the keyboard would typically keep many shades of inexperienced. This is what transpired apart from for four keys on the bottom proper, which ended up often pure white. That is because the avatar I utilised in the game (whose hand seems on the bottom-right on the screen) has pure white hands, forever ruining any perception of ambiance this feature could give.

There are some unique outcomes crafted-in (like having hurt will make your keyboard flash pink), but for most of my time, it just will make your keyboard appear hideous. There are techniques to wonderful-tune it to make points search slightly greater, but what is the issue of this feature if you have to manually regulate things for just about every new activity you play—the whole stage is that it is mechanically reacting to the online games.

Whirlwind Forex

I will say that I feel this function in all probability operates and seems to be substantially superior when you have a whole lot of units hooked up with SignalRGB. I do not feel that excuses the poor general performance head you, it should really nonetheless look superior when entirely applying a keyboard as well. Primarily since individuals are the primary bodily merchandise sold by Whirlwind, but it is worth noting nonetheless.

This will become even much more disappointing as soon as you see your decisions for customizing the RGB are quite confined. You can only opt for from the sport integrations and effects by now loaded in SignalRGB—either designed by Whirlwind or other customers. There are no choices to generate your possess lighting results until if you are willing to code them by yourself, and you cannot mix various outcomes as lots of other keyboards present possibly. The variety of outcomes is not lousy, but for a keyboard that locations this kind of an emphasis on its RGB lighting, I continue to obtain this pretty disappointing.

Whirlwind Forex

By the way, these consequences I have described are not free—SignalRGB Pro prices $2.99 a 12 months to be precise, and is what unlocks the skill to sync the ATOM’s lights with products from other brands. Certainly, which is not a great deal, but obtaining such a big feature of the keyboard be locked driving a paywall is always likely to really feel form of scummy to me.

Summary: Concentrating on the Shiny Spots

When assessing a mechanical keyboard, the typing experience is the most important factor to me, and in that regard, the ATOM passes with as very good of a mark as it can. It feels good to kind on, and I wish the relaxation of the board did a little bit of a better work conference that same degree of top quality.

This keyboard only prices $50, so there are some tricky boundaries Whirlwind is dealing with below, but the more affordable, unremarkable components of this keyboard is not performing it any favors. Merge that with my troubles with the RGB effects, one particular of the keyboard’s key selling points, and I was disappointed by the ATOM total.

Nonetheless, I even now feel the keyboard’s positives do outweigh the undesirable, if only a little bit. It’s compact, modern, and feels good to use in spite of every little thing else about the components suggesting it wouldn’t be. For $49.99 the typing expertise available by the ATOM is truly worth the value of admission, it’s just every thing else which is additional questionable.

If you’re searching for a 60% board and really do not treatment a great deal about the details outside of a great typing experience, then the ATOM is a fantastic order. Just be knowledgeable that if you pay out more for other 60% keyboards like the Anne Pro 2 (which is wi-fi) or the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 (which has a metal circumstance) you can sidestep practically all of the ATOM’s troubles relating to hardware and program. That’s to be envisioned for a better cost, but if all those points are what you want that’s what you will need to pay back.

Ranking: 6/10

Price tag: $49.99

Here’s What We Like

  • Pre-lubed switches
  • Superb typing expierence
  • Shiny RGB

And What We Don’t

  • Flimsy kick-out ft
  • Low-priced plastic human body
  • Video game-reaction RGB consequences usually are not very good