Between the quiet keys and modest decoration, it's hard to tell the Rush G1 Silent is the product of one the world's biggest esports organisations. Perhaps we can fix that.
Rather than licence the brand name to a third party, Fnatic created Fnatic Gear back in 2015 in order to make its own gaming hardware. Since then they have done a couple of mice, a lovely headset, mousepads and even an entire gaming PC.
One of the more popular Fnatic Gear offerings is this Rush pro gaming keyboard, a 104-key mechanical typing interface that hits all the basic notes and offers a couple of cool additional features aimed at the gaming crowd. With a relatively basic layout and red backlit keys, it doesn't scream "Fnatic." It politely mentions it via the logo in the top right and another on the F12 key.
Up until now the, Rush buyers have had three different Cherry MX keyboard switches to choose from: clicky blue, tactile brown or linear red. The Rush Silent adds a fourth option in the Cherry MX red silent switches, also known as Cherry MX pink. These switches add small rubber bumpers to the MX red mechanism, muting typing sounds without sacrificing key travel distance. In layman's terms, they're pretty quiet.
- Dimensions: 5.83 x 17.64 x 1.3 in
- Weight: 1kg
- Cable Length: 1.8m - 2.0m
- Switch Type: Cherry MX Red Silent
- Anti-ghost: Full N-key roll over
- Backlit: Individual LED's on each key
- Memory: Onboard 128 KB
- USB Ports: 2
- Price: $US89.99 ($120)
What's So Great About It
The Sound, Or Lack Thereof: If you like the idea of a mechanical gaming keyboard but don't like the noise, the Rush Silent has the typing experience for you. After spending weeks typing on some of the noisiest switches imaginable, the Rush Silent is like tapping against a soft, soundless void. While I still prefer the noise, the people around me were very happy to get a break.
One thing to note in the video above, aside from the fact that it spoils the customisation section, is that longer keys that require stabilizers (space bar, enter, shift) make a different noise than the smaller keys. This is because longer keys require a combination of keyboard switch and basic plastic stem.
Not Obnoxious (Yet): The age of the outrageous retail mechanical keyboard is over. Today's discerning keyboard fan would rather reserve the right to make their board look ridiculous of their own accord. The Rush Silent is very unassuming out of the box, a black rectangle with single-colour red backlighting with five different brightness levels.
This is the sort of keyboard that wouldn't look out of place on a computer desk at an insurance office. I like it.
Regular Gaming Programming: It wouldn't be a gaming keyboard without the ability to macro the living hell out of everything. Via the Fnatic Gear software, users can define macros and customise keys across five different profiles, saving them on the keyboard's onboard memory.
With a press of the function key and F12, users can turn on Fnatic mode, which enables key macros and disables the stupid Windows button to ensure you don't end up streaming your start menu.
Two USB Ports: I mean come on, USB ports rock. Plug in your mouse, maybe a USB gaming headset, and it's a party.
What's Not So Great
That Soft Rubber Coating Is Just Asking For It: We really need to stop coating plastic things we're going to put our hands all over with soft rubber coating. Sure, it looks great at first and feels wonderful, but I've been using this keyboard carefully for a week and it's already got scuffs.
And While We're At It, That Wrist Rest: I didn't use the wrist rest included with the Rush Silent for a week. I used it for two days, and it already looks pretty bad.
Hollow plastic coated with rubber is still hollow plastic. Toss out this wrist rest and get yourself something pretty in marble or wood.
Customisation: More of a caveat than a negative here. If you plan on purchasing a keycap set for your Rush, pay special attention to the spacebar layout. Rather than the more common 6.25 space, which means the space bar is the same length as 6.25 standard keys, the Rush Silent features a smaller size 6 surrounded by non-standard function keys. You'll want a set that comes with extra parts — most 104 key sets are geared towards the 6.25.
Image via Max Keyboard
I purchased a Tai-Hao orange and black set from MechanicalKeyboards.com in order to make this Fnatic board a little more Fnatical, but I decided to go with only the orange keys after realising the size discrepancy.
Also note that the stabilizer pegs are glued into the longer keys, so popping them off requires some care and force.
Of all the keyboards that have passed through my office in the past few weeks, the Fnatic Gear Rush Silent is the one that annoyed my wife the least. She cannot stand a noisy keyboard, and when she placed her fingers on the keys of the Rush Silent, she breathed a sigh of relief.
Between the relatively low price of entry and the soft-yet-responsive keys, this is a great board for someone taking their first tentative steps into world of mechanical keyboards, as long as they don't mind the odd bit of scuff and shine.