- Typing Test
- Packaging, Unboxing, and Contents
- External Build
- Internal Build
- Layout and Function Keys
- Summary & Conclusion
- Full Gallery
- Where to Buy
I get approached quite often about reviewing new products on the market, and a lot of the time I’m honestly not terribly excited about a many of the keyboards. A lot of budget keyboards really skimp in important areas, be it the switches, the case, the features, etc. and just don’t really add up to a product worth buying. Spending 20-30 hours reviewing a bad keyboard is no fun. I assumed that the Havit Magic Eagle HV-KB366L would be much of the same, but instead I got a product that was quite surprising in more than a few ways. Were these good surprises? Read on to find out.
(See Layout and Function section for video of lighting FX)
Packaging, Unboxing, and Contents
The keyboard arrived a rather plain looking box, and pretty on par with what I expected. As far as import keyboards go though, it was above average in terms of appearance. There were no outrageous claims or many “lost in translation” segments, and overall it wasn’t too cluttered and gave the product inside a nice first impression. The back of the box included a few key points and instructions (which would come in handy later..) including:
10-level adjustable LED Light breathing rate
104 anti-ghosting key
Suspended-style key design
All-key chromatic customizable Backlit
Able to adjust the brightness and Backlit style as you need
Windows lock key: FN+WIN to lock the win key, avoiding quitting thegame by mistake
Metal Upper cover design
All of the text was copied directly on the box, so you can see there are a few little spelling issues, but it is completely understandable.
Inside the box
The keyboard was packaged rather safely inside box. It was held in place by two sturdy foam supports on either side and wrapped in the standard foam wrapping that most keyboards come in. Outside of the keyboard there was simply a card that gave some social media links, and a link for support if you were unhappy with the product. The glaring issue here is the fact that there was no manual at all that came with the keyboard. This isn’t the end of the world, but without a manual the customer never really knows if they are getting the most out of their product, and are always left to wonder “what else can this do?”
The case is one of the huge surprises about this keyboard, and in my opinion one of the top reasons to buy it. I had seen pictures of the keyboard before it arrived, and could tell that it appeared to have a metal top case. Upon inspection I realized the entire case was metal, top, bottom, and sides, making this a much sturdier keyboard than I was expecting. Now, instead of milling the case which would be extremely expensive, there are 4 plastic corners on the keyboard that connect the sides. My only grip at all about the case design is that the plastic used is blue instead of black, something that is slightly distracting and makes the keyboard look a little cheap.
Reverse side (rubber pads, feet, etc.)
The back of the keyboard is nice and plain, with a simple sticker in the middle of the case. There are two rather large rubber feet on the front of the keyboard and the back flip up feet feature rubber on the ends of the feet as well as the housing, to keep the keyboard from sliding around with or without the feet flipped out. I should also mention that the plastic housing holding up the feet are removable as well from inside the case, so if anyone wants to modify the case with new feet that would be a very easy task to pull off.
The keycaps are thin laser etched ABS. They remind me a lot of the stock V60 keys, which I wasn’t terribly fond of. The OEM profile feels nice enough to type on, but the keys do feel rather cheap. The font isn’t amazing, but I’ve seen a lot worse as well, so if you do end up sticking with the stock caps they aren’t nearly as distracting as some keyboards I’ve tested. The keycaps do a good job of letting the backlighting shine though, which is another selling point of this keyboard. After a week of use there was a little bit of shine on the caps, but nothing terrible.
When I took off some of the larger keys to confirm the use of Costar stabilizers (as I could see the bars under the keys) I was surprised with what appeared to be a proprietary system. The stabilizer bars didn’t have hooks at the top to allow for the use of Costar inserts, instead the keys had special sliders built into them. This is a huge issue, honestly. Proprietary keys and stabilizers means that you will not be able to swap out keycaps with aftermarket keycap sets, and should a key break from heavy use/cleaning/etc you are completely out of luck. This detail was by far the most disappointing aspect of the keyboard for me.
The internal build quality was good enough not to warrant any concerns about the longevity based on build quality. The only slight issue I had was that the cable was not attached by a clip, but soldered directly onto the PBC. This is a small detail that won’t really affect many people at all, though it is nice to be able to unclip the cable for easy replacement and to make working on the keyboard PCB easier as well. The attached cable is nicely braided and secured in the case though, so under no normal circumstances should the cable break.
The Magic Eagle uses Outemu Blue switches, a Cherry MX Blue clone. These were honestly another high point of the keyboard for me. The switches were noticeably more tactile than Cherry MX Blues, and slightly louder as well (though that could be due to the metal case). The switches weren’t rough or scratchy and were actually surprisingly crisp. The actuation force was right around 50g, making them just slightly heavier than MX Blues as well.
Layout and Function Keys
The Magic Eagle has a traditional ANSI layout, but as mentioned earlier the odd stabilizers mean that you still won’t be swapping out the keycaps for a custom set anytime soon. Due to the lack of any real instruction I had to try my best to figure out the figure that out for myself. I found that FN+Menu (or rather, the button to the right of FN where Menu normally sits) changes the lighting mode, while the lighting button alone changes colors/options within any particular mode if there are settings that can be changed. I made a video to demonstrate the lighting modes and how they can be accessed:
While the lighting effects are nice, I feel they underused the RGB potential the board has. Unfortunately there isn’t a mode that allows per-key color programing, nor do the existing modes really get the full potential out of the RGB lighting.
Summary & Conclusion
Overall the Havit Magic Eagle is a decent keyboard. The build quality is above average for the price range, and the lighting effects make the keyboard a bargain, but features like the proprietary stabilizers really keep it from being a great keyboard. So my opinion on this keyboard is very split. In one way, this is one of the best budget keyboards I’ve used in a long time. The case is exceptional, the switches are crisp and feel good, and the lighting – while nothing crazy – is above average for the budget bracket the Magic Eagle is in. The downside is that those damn stabilizers will prevent you from ever really swapping out the keycaps with a new set, which can be a big issue for people looking to customize their board, and I would have to tell them to avoid this keyboard. I will be talking to the manufacturer about the stabs and will provide updates if anything changes!
- Great case quality
- Outemu Blues aren’t genuine Cherry MX, but they do feel nice
- Braided cable
- Very affordable at $89
- Clean lines, overall nice looking keyboard
- Proprietary stabilizers will prevent key swapping
- Non-removable cable
- RGB lighting under-utilized
- Keycaps are very thin
Where to Buy
Disclaimer: The same keyboard was provided courtesy of Havit, and is in no way a paid review/advertisement.