Alienware Makes a Splash in the Custom Keyboard Scene at CES

Alienware has always been a notable name for PC gamers, even before Dell bought the company to turn it into its high-end gaming brand almost 20 years ago. But in all that time, I don’t think they’ve seriously competed with the likes of Razer or Corsair for the gaming keyboard market. Sure, they make keyboards, but it’s just the stuff you get when you buy an Alienware desktop. The company hopes to change that perception with the Pro Wireless keyboard, a high-end mechanical design that incorporates some of the hottest features of custom designs.

The Pro Wireless uses the popular 75 percent layout and, well, wireless, claiming that it’s “pro-approved and eSports ready.” Visually the keyboard is an immediate departure from other Alienware designs, even recent mechanical ones, with a sleek body that integrates the case and main deck into one sturdy, rounded form beneath the switches. On the top you’ll find the charging port and controls for Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless, with the dongle and power buttons in easy reach. Of course, if you prefer, you can plug it in for charging and a wired connection… not that you’ll need to often. If you forego the RGB light show, you can get just shy of 800 hours of operation out of this thing.

Underneath high-quality PBT shine-through keycaps, you’ll find customized linear switches with POM stems, lubricated from the factory and set to an actuation force of 40 grams. These are pretty darn good in my testing, about as nice as pre-lubed, custom switches get without ranging into the super-premium territory. Of course if you prefer something else, you can swap all of them out, as is currently the rage. Note the lack of dials or screens, as seen on more fancy designs, something I prefer. Customization is handled with Alienware software, which is a bit of a bummer, but hardly surprising.

Other goodies in the Pro Wireless include dual foam in the interior body, a huge silicone strip on the base for extra stability, and a rounded body built with travel in mind. The keyboard will come with a two-year warranty when it launches on January 11 — slightly later for other markets. It’ll cost a hefty $199.99 in USD.

Alienware is also launching a new super-light wireless mouse, helpfully christened the Pro Wireless Mouse. This is a pretty huge upgrade on Alienware’s previous designs, offering a streamlined body in a “shooter” format (two thumb buttons) that can handle up to 4KHz polling in wireless mode or double that with the wire plugged in. The body is under 60 grams, not the lightest on the market, but certainly impressive. Each button uses magnetic force keyplates and optical switches for faster debounce times, a bunch of words that I’m sure are very important to people who care about their K/D ratios.

I’m a fan of the general shape as well as the huge, simple pads on the bottom that make it feel super-stable. Ditto for the integrated bay for the 2.4GHz wireless dongle and the aluminum scroll wheel. All that said, I don’t think I could spend $149.99 on this thing when it launches on January 11.