The Aorus K9 Optical is a sweet keyboard with some unique features, namely the Flaretech Optical switches along with waterproof capability. I am happy to report that the waterproof capabilities touted by Aorus aren’t just marketing fluff, the Aorus K9 Optical can drink water like a fish and keep on swimming. Aorus did a great job of making the K9 Optical a quality mechanical keyboard that gamers can take to LAN parties without the worry of suffering a night-ending Mt. Dew bath. The Flaretech Optical Blue switches were nice to type on, with a very distinct click that could be heard from across the hallway, though hearing the click before actuation threw me off a bit. The Flaretech Optical Red is a very smooth linear switch and would be my personal preference out of the two switches for gaming, as the linear action along with very quick bounce time allowed for very quick, smooth actuation during fast paced games. I’ve never been a fan of Cherry MX Blue switches, so while I can recognize the Flaretech Blue as a good switch for those who like a tactile bump with an audible click, I think the Reds are the way to go if you want the superior Flaretech switch for gaming.
The build quality and overall features of the Aorus K9 Optical are respectable, but the software is where the keyboard suffers a bit. The Aorus Graphics Engine was slow to change settings and often unstable, crashing on me a couple of times. While setting macros worked, I felt as if Aorus could come up with a dedicated solution for keyboard software, as their Graphics Engine is a multi-purpose software that is missing refinement for specific products. I can appreciate unified software, but right now Graphics Engine and RGB Fusion can both control my motherboard and keyboard lighting, but each software is missing settings for specific components. If I want extensive motherboard lighting control, I have to use RGB Fusion. If I want more than two keyboard lighting modes, I have to use Aorus Graphics Engine. The whole Aorus software situation is a mess and it would be nice to see them step their game up in this regard. Besides the software, the only issue I have with the Aorus K9 Optical is that the braided cable isn’t terribly flexible, making it prone to kinks and it isn’t removable, meaning if it gets broken your keyboard will be out of commission; Even a waterproof keyboard can’t be saved from the broken cable demons.
If you find yourself wanting a waterproof keyboard that has style and build quality, the Aorus K9 Optical with Flaretech Optical switches is a solid pick up. The fact that this keyboard is well-built, has solid RGB lighting capabilities and is able to survive a drench will be enough to interest many gamers. I really liked the Flaretech Optical switches and their simple implementation that allows them to be easily swapped. Should Flaretech come out with new switch types in the future, perhaps a Brown type, this keyboard will be ready to accept them. The Aorus K9 Optical is a sweet keyboard, but it isn’t cheap, coming in at $140 at Amazon. Recently, Corsair came out with a water-resistant RGB keyboard, the K68 RGB, which is available for around $120-150. The Corsair unit features traditional Cherry MX switches and isn’t as waterproof as the Aorus K9, as the housing is still subject to water entry. The Corsair unit also doesn’t allow for switches to be swapped, which is a great feature to have when you think about the potential it offers. Still, $140 is a lot to ask for an RGB keyboard that doesn’t have features like independent macro buttons, independent media controls, USB pass thru or other features seen at this price point. Even considering the price point, if you want a stylish, well-built waterproof keyboard with RGB lighting and like the prospect of being able to tell people that your keyboard uses ‘freakin’ lasers’, the Aorus K9 Optical is an excellent choice.
Legit Bottom Line: The Aorus K9 Optical is a well-built, stylish mechanical RGB keyboard that is waterproof, making it truly ideal for LAN parties and workstations where food and drink are permitted.