I’m pretty sure whenever the term “Gaming Keyboard” pops up, the first image that’d pop in your head would be of a keyboard screaming “Gamer aesthetic” at your face with RGB lights and fancy lighting patterns.
Zowie attempts to subtly break free from that trend with Celeritas II.
The word “Celeritas” literally translates to “Swiftness” or “Speed” which bears true for BenQ Zowie Celeritas II.
How so? Allow me to explain.
Donning a black & red colourway, Zowie Celeritas II is a full sized keyboard with a plastic build. Don’t get me wrong, that plastic is pretty rigid with zero flex. It comes at a cost though, since it weighs ~2kg, don’t expect to carry it around too often.
One look at the keyboard layout and you see how it lacks dedicated media control buttons. Is it a major downer? Not in my opinion. You can easily use those via the function keys.
One specific oddity which stuck out to me like a sore thumb was the placement of “back slash” key. These days, the enter key is split on the horizontal axis which then makes space for the aforementioned key on top. But here, it’s placed adjacent to the right shift key which was pretty annoying while typing.
Although it follows a black & red color scheme, certain buttons have bluish-white backlit colour when enabled (eg: Caps Lock, Num lock, etc). Talking about the keyboard being backlit, you get multiple levels of light intensity so that you can tune it to your liking. You can bling it all the way or literally switch it off and make it look like a normal black keyboard with white keys. Pretty stealthy, IMO.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t come with adjustable feet. Hence, rendering you unable to lift the keyboard and tilt it to your preference. Also, it lacks the support for adding a wrist rest (or including one in the box for that matter), so you’ll be stuck using your own or making use of the desk on which you’ll be using the keyboard.
You might be wondering, “Shimon, what’s an optical switch?”
Unlike mechanical switches where moving parts with physical contact is involved, optical switches (literally) use light to trigger input commands.
An IR emitter is used where it is constantly emitting signals. It is only when you press the button, when the light gets refracted by the prism into the photo sensor which accepts it as an input.
How is this better than mechanical switches? Well, there are two major takeaways:
- Since there are less moving parts and physical contact, the longevity of the switches are prolonged. Meaning, your keyboard will last longer.
- Light is fast. Really fast. 300,000,000 meters per second, to be precise. This equates to less input latency.
- Interface: USB + PS/2
- Key Switch: Flaretech Optical (linear)
- Key Travel: 1.9mm
- Actuation Force: 33g initial, 55g +/- peak
- Polling Rate: 1000Hz
- N-Key Rollover: Yes
- Real-Time Response: 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x over PS/2
- Backlit Illumination: Red LED
- Size: 44.2 x 17 x 3.8 cm
- Weight: 1.89 kg
Typing on Celeritas II took some time to getting used to. I’ve always been accustomed to typing on a tactile keyboard and shifting to a linear one was quite polarizing.
You don’t get to feel the classic CLICK-CLACKS of regular mechanical keyboards. The only “feedback” you get is when the key hits the baseplate.
Gaming, on the other hand, was a joy! I played a multitude of games on it ranging from Apex Legends, Rocket League to even Mortal Kombat XL. These fast paced games require precise input commands and Celeritas II was a worthy companion. Every keystroke was registered correctly with no mishaps.
Now, the question remains…
Should you buy it?
Priced at Rs. 10,900, BenQ Zowie Celeritas II gives you a rollercoaster ride.
On one hand, it does away from RGB zone/per key lighting but then provides optical switches in the sea of mechanical gaming keyboards.
All things considered, it’s a well rounded keyboard albeit a bit pricey when compared to other mechanical gaming keyboards.
It’s subjective and comes down to your personal preference. Mind you, it’s geared at eSports.
Maybe you like the muted black & red look; Maybe you prefer the flashy RGB look.
Maybe you like the multi function keys; Maybe you prefer dedicated media controls.
Maybe you like the quieter optical switches; Maybe you prefer the click-clacks of mechanical switches.
I’ve shared my experience, now it’s time for you to decide if it fits your bill.
- It’s currently on sale at Amazon with 22% discount, bringing the price down to Rs. 10,900.