When I saw the Hexgears Gemini Dusk keyboard at the NorCal Meetup, my first thought was that it looked like a gaming keyboard.
That’s not a backhanded dig; it’s that the mix of styling and features make it look like it was designed to appeal to gamers in the same way designs from “mainstream” mechanical keyboard makers like Razer, Corsair, and others do. (Um, that’s also not a dig.) It’s all black, with lots of RGB goodness, and…I don’t know, it just has that gaming vibe, moreso than its identical but differently colored twin, the Gemini Dawn. And it was striking to see a keyboard like that at a meetup.
The mechanical keyboard market, nichey as it may be, is bifurcated between the gaming enthusiasts who want a high quality device that looks cool and the keyboard enthusiasts who are straight up interested in keyboards. Yes, they want superior quality because a keyboard is not a detail, but they’re also usually sucked into the nerdery of it all. Keyboards gratia keyboardis.
Those two worlds don’t cross streams all that often. People who live in black-themed, RGB-soaked gaming lairs do not understand why anyone could find the IBM Model M attractive, for example. Folks deep “into the hobby” can’t fathom why anyone would type on stock switches. And so on.
But here we have a product that speaks to both customer bases. The aesthetics and features are there for the gamer set. The quality, and hipstery cred of buying from a small company that’s close to the community, is there for the hardcore enthusiasts.
Maybe the Gemini Dusk is a crossover product.
What I find most notable about the Gemini Dusk is how astonishingly similar it looks to the new Razer BlackWidow Lite. I mean, just look at this:
The same rounded edges. The same layout (except for Razer’s non-standard bottom row). The same all-black color. Metal on top.
Those are primarily cosmetic similarities; there are of course important differences. The Gemini Dusk is a solid all-metal machined case, whereas the BW Lite has a metal top and (almost certainly) a plastic bottom. The Gemini Dusk also sports RGB backlighting and PBT keycaps; the BW Lite has white LEDs and ABS caps. Their cables are different, too, with the Gemini Dusk sporting dual USB Type-C and the BW Lite using a microUSB-to-USB connector. Both are removable cables, though. Both keyboards are configurable through software/firmware.
But their respective prices reflect those feature differences: The Gemini Dusk lists for $160, but you can get the BW Lite for a relative song, at $90.
What’s truly odd about the whole thing is that Razer, a gaming company, designed this particular Razer keyboard specifically not for the gaming market. But the Gemini Dusk is like a high-end gaming version of the BW Lite.
It’s the world upside down.
Of course, you can game on anything you can type on, and vice versa, so a debate over whether or not something is a gaming keyboard is no debate at all. It just boils down to people’s preferences and how companies are marketing products. If you’re into the Gemini Dusk (or Gemini Dawn) for any purpose, you can preorder from the Kono Store now.