AULA F2088 Mechanical Keyboard Review ($40 Gaming Keyboard!?)

Welcome to a review of the AULA F2088 mechanical keyboard. Yes, this is another one of those “affordable mechanical keyboard” alternatives. Priced at only a fraction of the “big boy gaming brands”, this surely has to raise some eyebrows and question marks.

So here is it, a curious code tech ninja finally gave in and got one of these so-called “cheapo mechanical keyboards”. Is the AULA any good, or will it be another “knockoff quality” keyboard that you can ignore? Read on to find out!

 

THE OVERVIEW

Price About USD $40 (As at the time of writing)
Links Official Website: Link
Get from eBay: Click here
Packaging
Brown box… Has all the basics. Chinese-only menu.
Design
Minimal design. Not-so-good ergonomically, needs some getting used to.
Build Quality
Minimal “base plate”, keys are not as tactile.
User Friendliness
Plug-and-play. Zero software support though.
Functionality
Works well enough as a keyboard, extra keys kind of useless without custom configurations.
Value
Cheap, decent quality keyboard.
Overall
Works. But don’t expect this to be on the same level as the mature brands.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Unboxing Build & Design Setup & Performance
Summary Good Enough

 

UNBOXING

I was expecting a brown box, and a brown box is exactly what I got. But it has some extra elements of design at least…

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Yay! It’s the infamous “budget brown cardboard box”. Wasn’t expecting much, so, no disappointment either. At least they had some design work done, and it does not look that bad.

 

WHAT’S INSIDE?

A bare minimum package:

  • The keyboard.
  • Palm rest.
  • Keycap remover tool. Yes, the keys can be removed and customized.
  • Instruction manual, in Chinese.

Nope, not expecting much again. But the manual could at least use an English translation for International orders.

 

 

BUILD & DESIGN

The keyboard… had basic packaging. Let us now go into the details on the keyboard itself.

 

QUICK KEYBOARD WALKTHROUGH

The AULA F2088 is a full-sized 108 keys keyboard. Very minimal design, small profile. The braided USB cable is a nice added touch.

An extra (metal) knob and 3 macro keys on the top-right corner – These are used to control the LED lights on the keyboard, used as a volume knob, and supposedly can be customized.

The palm rest is thankfully not the icky rubbery kind that melts and becomes sticky over time. It’s just plastic. Magnetic and snaps right on.

Nothing to see on the rear. Just 2 legs to prop the keyboard up, which I will prefer not to on this keyboard… More about this in the ergonomics section below.

 

BUILD QUALITY

Not going to lie, the AULA actually looks pretty lit when lit (pun intended). I did not get the “rainbow LED” version for the fear of epilepsy seizures, and I personally don’t like overly colorful unicorn puke.

Anyway, this is the white LED with black switches version. Take note that these are not CherryMX switches, but AULA’s own version of the mechanical switches. Personally, I think they are slightly less tactile, and a bit noisier than the “legit version”.

But given the price, I would say this is mighty decent and better than most “knockoff quality” keyboards. Other than that, the overall build and quality of the keyboard itself is not too bad.

 

 

WEIRD ERGONOMICS

This is the part where I do the evil laugh. On the AULA website, they market this as a “good hand feel mechanical gaming keyboard”… But trust a programmer when he says this does not have a “good hand feel”. Why?

Being a minimal profile keyboard, the keys are very high up. That is 2 fingers to be exact, without the palm rest. Even with the palm rest, it is still 1 finger high. To put it simply, there is a lot of “finger travel” with this weird ergonomic. It is even worse when the keyboard is propped up.

P.S. For comparison, it is less than 1/2 a finger on my old Razer Black Widow. Not saying that this is bad, just weird. At least it is easy to clean with the switches in the open.

 

SETUP & PERFORMANCE

With that, let us now go into the actual setup and usage experience.

 

NO SOFTWARE & DRIVERS.

Plugin the keyboard, and it works out-of-the-box. But for you guys who are thinking of using software to control the LED lights or customize the knob – Be prepared to be disappointed. I tried to download the driver on the official website, and nothing happened… Yep, it did not offer a download. No software, no driver, no customization.

 

GOOD FOR GAMING?

Well… no. Just nope. The weird ergonomics of this keyboard is just a no-go for FPS/action gaming for me. It may get better after getting some “used to”, but I don’t think this keyboard is “professional gaming quality”.

 

 

THE SUMMARY

That’s all for this review, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

TECHNICAL SPECS

The AULA website did not give a lot of technical specs, but here is what we know.

  • Wired USB… Doh.
  • Full 108 keys.
  • LED/volume knob.
  • 3 extra macro keys.
  • Choice of black, blue, brown, red switches.
  • A life span of around 50 million presses.
  • Measures about 435 X 123 X 38 MM without the palm rest.

 

KNOB FUNCTIONALITY

This is a small extra for you guys who are wondering how to work with that knob.

  • Notice there is a light in the center of the knob?
  • When the light is on, it is in “LED mode”.
    • Turn the knob to adjust the brightness of the LED.
    • Press the knob to switch between LED presets.
    • The M1 to M3 buttons for more presets.
  • Press and long hold the knob until the light goes off – It is now in “music mode”.
    • Turn the knob to adjust the volume.
    • Press the knob to mute/unmute.
    • The M1 to M3 buttons are now previous, play/pause, next.
    • Do the same, press and long the knob to switch it back to “LED mode”.
  • At any time, press FN + ESC to reset back to factory default.

 

 

THE GOOD

  • Very affordable.
  • A good alternative for mechanical keyboards.
  • Decently good quality.

 

THE BAD

  • Kind of weird ergonomics. Keys are way too high.
  • No supporting software nor customizations.
  • Keys are not as tactile.

 

LOOKS GOOD, “HAND FEEL” IS NOT AS GOOD.

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this review. The AULA F2088 is definitely not a “knockoff quality” keyboard, and it definitely beats the crappy ones by miles. In fact, I will kind of recommend getting this one if you are on a budget for mechanical keyboards.

Be warned though, the ergonomics is quite weird and it takes time to get used to. But otherwise, there is really not too much to complain about this keyboard, given the price. I hope this has helped you, and if you have anything to share with this review, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and may the cyber force be with you.

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