Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula, a RGB backlit TKL mechanical keyboard that doesn’t suffer from the failings typical of most keyboards tailored to the PC gaming community; e.g., cheap build quality, thin ABS keycaps, hideous aesthetics and over-hyped marketing gimmicks.
This particular Durgod gaming keyboard also has a secret hidden under the hood. Silenced Cherry MX linear switches for much quieter gaming experiences and tolerable noise levels for typing in the workplace. Just how quiet are they? Does a dampened switch hurt the key feel? Let’s find out…
Disclosure: My review sample of the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula was provided by Banggood.com. This is not a sponsored post. I was not given monetary compensation to write this review, though I do participate in affiliate programs which pay percentage based commissions if you follow my affiliate link and make a purchase. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this keyboard review are my own.
What’s In The Box
I received the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula RGB packaged in a pretty standard art box with black/blue color scheme. It has a large picture of the keyboard on top to show off the product inside with various features and specifications listed on the sides and bottom of the box.
Back of the box showing assorted specs and other details (click to enlarge).
The protection inside the box is surprisingly limited. Mainly just cardboard inserts for crush protection. The keyboard was tucked inside a plain plastic sleeve. Somewhat generic packaging overall, but it did manage the trip all the way from China with no damage, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
Unboxing the product reveals the keyboard along with many accessories and a detailed manual in both English and Chinese.
The accessories include: Durgod branded velcro cable tie, wire keycap puller, 2 detachable USB cables (one is Type-C to Type-C), sticker of the Durgod logo and a plastic dust cover. A nice array of extras.
K320 Nebula Layout, Features & Aesthetics
The Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula is a TKL mechanical keyboard in ANSI layout with true RGB backlighting, doubleshot PBT keycaps and genuine Cherry MX switches. The TKL (Tenkeyless) layout allows for a more compact keyboard by not including the number pad. It includes dedicated arrow/nav keys and all of the keys are of a standard size, unlike most 65%-75% keyboards, which must make compromises with key size/positioning to fit dedicated arrow keys in a smaller form factor.
The keyboard’s physical dimensions measure in at 14-inches by 5.2-inches and it falls just shy of 2 pounds, weighing in at 1 pound 15.4 ounces (0.89 kilograms) without the cable attached. The K320 Nebula’s case is designed with a small natural incline, meaning the back of the keyboard is higher than the front. The keys don’t sit completely flat even with the feet retracted into the case. Without the flip-out feet in use it measures about half an inch high at its lowest point (front bezel) and 1.5-inches at the highest.
If you like rubber feet on keyboards you’re in luck. Having a look a the back of the Nebula reveals 5 rubber traction feet and 4 rubber tipped flip-out feet in a 2-stage design. The 5 main rubber feet do an awesome job of holding the keyboard securely in place on a smooth desk surface. They’re very grippy and large, providing enough surface area for traction so the keyboard doesn’t easily slide around when bumped.
The flip-out feet of this keyboard is one of my favorite design features. They provide 2 extra stages of height/angle adjustment. You have the larger, more standard sized feet that raise the back of the keyboard height from 1.5-inches to 2-inches for a more extreme typing angle.
A smaller set of flip-out feet is inset inside the larger ones (hence the 2-stage design). This smaller set of inset flip-out feet only raise the keyboard an additional quarter inch, from 1.5-inches without feet to 1.75 inches with the smaller feet flipped out.
The K320 Nebula already has a slight natural incline, so giving users the choice of a smaller angle adjustment is great. The large feet raised the keyboard too much for my liking, but the smaller feet provide the perfect typing angle according to my own personal preferences. You should be able to find a suitable angle of your own, whether you keep the keyboard flat or make use of the flip-out feet. You have three levels of height adjust: without the feet it sits 1.5-inches high, the small flip-out feet raise it to 1.75-inches and finally the large flip-out feet max the angle at 2-inches high.
Underneath the Durgod keyboard you’ll notice an integrated three-way cable gutter. These are excellent tools for cable management. The channels hold the cable in place without putting stress on the connector and allows the cable to exit the keyboard in three directions (left/right side or the middle) depending on the needs of your setup.
Connectivity is provided by detachable USB Type-C. Type-C is the newest USB standard that has many advantages over the Mini or Micro USB ports found on older mechanical keyboards. USB-C is a more durable connection method that provides higher power delivery, reversible connectors and improved bandwidth capacity over older USB iterations.
Two cables are included with the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula. One is a standard USB Type-C to USB Type-A which computers and legacy devices without newer USB Type-C plugs will require. The second cable has Type-C connectors on both ends. The USB-C to Type-A cable is about 6-feet long. That’s a good length for desktop use, but you may want a shorter cable for use with mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices. For this reason the second USB-C cable is about half the length, measuring a little over 3-feet (40-inches to be exact) long.
What’s neat about the USB-C connection of the K320 Nebula is the retention method Durgod has implemented. The Type-C connector that plugs into the keyboard has protruding ridges on each side that slide into grooves molded into the keyboard’s case. This method holds the cable very securely without putting additional pressure on the USB-C port, which is a common failure point of mechanical keyboards. You won’t have any worries in regards to the USB failing due to stress on the port. It’s just one of Durgod’s many simple yet smart design features.
The cables aren’t braided. Just a standard soft plastic/rubber coating. I prefer braided cables because they provide extra protection from tears and fraying. They also look nice and feel more premium. You can obviously use your own custom USB-C cable, but then you’ll lose the retention feature. One of my few complaints.
A bank of four LED indicator lights is installed on the right side of the keyboard. The first three lights show the on/off toggle for Caps lock, Scroll lock and Windows key lock. The last light is used to indicate when the customized programmable layer is selected (Fn + F12). The illumination on these lights is subdued, so they aren’t blinding when used in a dark room. They’re illuminated just enough to be clearly visible in a brightly lit room.
The Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula is marketed as a “gaming” keyboard, so of course it comes fitted with a plethora of gaming relevant features and specs. It has full N-key Rollover, macro recording, full programmability, true per-key RGB backlighting with surface mount LEDs (that’s important for gaming, right?), linear switch options, ability to disable the Windows key, a 32-bit ARM processor and 1000Hz polling rate for lower latency communication over USB (1ms scan rate).
Aesthetics are subjective, but I find the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula to be a very fetching mechanical keyboard. The design is more minimalist compared to the average gaming product. The keyboard has an attractive color scheme with black keycaps and the case is painted in what I would describe as a dark metallic bronze color. It’s a good looking combo.
The corners of the case are rounded off nicely and the bezels are small. Branding is also sparse with only a small text logo in white visible on the front right of the case. Though I would have preferred Durgod to use their symbol logo instead of the text branding. In my opinion that would look nicer and be even more unobtrusive.
The keyboard has a top plastic shell piece installed over the backplate and attached to the bottom case. This means it doesn’t have a floating-key design. However, the sides of the shell do not rise high enough to completely cover the switches.
Even with the keycaps installed about a 2mm portion of the switches can still be seen from the sides. It gives the Durgod a similar look to keyboards that use a floating-key design. Due to this small gap between the plastic shell and keycaps the transparent RGB Cherry switches allow more of the RGB backlighting to be exposed on each side of the keyboard.
Backlighting Modes, Software & Customization
The K320 Nebula is fully programmable via the Durgod Zeus Engine software. The software is required for initial setup/customization, but the custom profile can then be saved into memory of the keyboard for use without requiring the software. The Durgod Zeus Engine can also be used to setup macros and adjust the custom per-key RGB backlighting profile.
By default the keyboard has 10 preset lighting modes plus a custom mode which can be modified using software. The brightness, animation speed, color and direction of the default presets can be adjusted directly from the keyboard. Any further customization beyond the default patterns requires you to install the Durgod software package. The following lighting modes are detailed in the manual:
- Radar Mode
- Wave Mode
- Nebula Spectrum Mode
- Breath Mode
- Twinkle Mode
- Reactive Mode
- Laser Mode
- Ripple Mode
- Snake Mode
- Typing Speed Respond Mode
- Custom Mode (modified by using Durgod’s software)
You can cycle through the various backlight modes by pressing Fn + PrtSc. Fn + Del turns off the backlight and Fn + Ins turns it on. Fn + Up Arrow Key increases brightness levels and Fn + Down Arrow Key decreases brightness. Fn + Left Arrow Key increases the animation speed and Fn + Right Arrow Keys decreases speed. The direction of the Radar, Wave, Ripple and Laser Modes can be altered using Fn + PgUp or PgDn.
One odd quirk is that as far as I can tell you must enter the Nebula Spectrum mode and press Fn + Pause to have access to a static mode (single color, no animation/ripple effects with all keys lit). After pressing Fn + Pause in Nebula Spectrum Mode the keys light up in a palette of colors from which you can choose for a single color, static backlit mode. Or you could simply install the Durgod Zeus Engine software for full customization options.
My K320 Nebula review sample came with Cherry MX Silent Red RGB switches. This is an internally dampened linear switch with clear housing for better backlight distribution. Durgod mechanical keyboards are usually available in a variety of Cherry MX switch types. Whether you want clicky, tactile or linear switches you should have plenty of options depending on what your preferred retailer has in stock.
Looking at the specs sheet reveals very similar traits to the standard Cherry MX Red linear switch, with just a slight reduction in total key travel (3.7mm down from 4mm) and distance to actuation point (1.9mm vs 2mm). Actuation force is the same at a light 45cN. Linear switches are smooth and feedback free. They have no tactility (tactile bump) or audible click upon key registration. Linear switches are a popular choice for gaming. However, users looking for a pure typing experience only might be better of with heavier weighted switch that provides some sort of feedback to reduce the chance of typos.
The only physical difference between the regular and Silent switch is the addition of a rubber insert that dampens noise from plastic on plastic contact when a key is pressed. It’s designed to dampen on both the down and upstroke. See photo below for a closeup of the switches with rubber dampening insert clearly visible through the transparent switch housing.
The result is a much quieter typing experience with only a slight hit to key feel compared to non-dampened MX switches. I found the small drop in key travel wasn’t all that perceptible unless you have the two side by side, but bottoming out does result in the keys feeling lightly cushioned. It’s not a huge difference compared to Cherry’s regular MX linear switches, but you do lose just a little crispness.
The small loss in key feel is a more than fair trade-off for those who want the mechanical experience, but can’t tolerate the typical noise levels produced from mechanical keyboards. Ideal for office environments, online gaming that requires voice chat or bedroom use (that sounds kinky…).
Durgod could have chosen to go cheap and saved a few bucks with laser ablated ABS keycaps, but that wouldn’t have set them apart from all the other blah RGB gaming keyboards on the market. Instead we are graced with some pretty nice sculpted PBT keycaps with doubleshot (double injection molding process) legends in standard height OEM profile.
The keycaps aren’t thick, but they’re not nearly as thin as many stock keysets which can be under 1mm. They just barely make the qualification for what I deem medium thickness with the keycap walls measuring between 1.2-1.3mm depending on which area is measured. I’ll just say the keycaps have an average thickness of 1.25mm (see photo below displaying thinnest measurement).
The surface texture is on the smoother side (especially for PBT), though not smooth to the point of being slick fingerprint magnets that become a hindrance while typing. Oddly enough, the sides of the keycaps have a medium rough texture that’s pretty standard for PBT. The tops look to have been smoothed out purposefully as a design choice. I would have liked that same rougher texture left on the keycap tops as well, but this is highly dependent on personal preference.
I feel like I’m being redundant when talking about the differences between PBT and ABS in practically every keyboard review, but here’s a quick summary for those not in the know.
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a plastic material that will yellow with UV exposure (Ever seen old SNES consoles?) and shine from wear. Old keyboards with ABS keycaps often look greasy. Well that’s not grease (though depending on the user it might be), it’s actually the ABS being worn down to a very smooth finish.
In contrast, PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) is a tougher material that retains its texture much longer, doesn’t shine when worn and won’t yellow at all. ABS has merits of its own. It’s cheaper, easier to mold and has more color options making it a popular material for aftermarket keysets. However, PBT is generally viewed as a superior keycap material for longevity.
As for the doubleshot legends, they’re molded from a secondary translucent material. This allows the RGB backlighting to shine through the keycap, producing illuminated characters. The typeface is pleasant too. Nice and clean, not one of those hideous (just my opinion) Sci-Fi looking fonts that some manufacturers (points finger at Corsair) of gaming products seem addicted to.
Even better still the legends don’t have that stenciled appearance with gaps in some characters, which is unfortunately common on cheaper doubleshot keysets. Some of the keycaps have side-printed legends that notate the corresponding Fn layer (media keys, brightness adjustment, etc.). Standard size homing bumps are located on the F and J keys for easy hand placement on home row.
Are these the best PBT keycaps to come with a prebuilt mechanical keyboard? Nope. Are they better than almost every keyset found on “gaming” marketed mechanical keyboards. Yes, 100%.
The Durgod’s larger keys and spacebar use plate-mounted Cherry stabilizers. Cherry stabs really need to be properly lubed (and possibly clipped) before they can provide the best key feel that isn’t mushy with rattle. Also keep in mind plate-mount stabilizers will require you to desolder the key switch should you need to remove the stabs for clipping or adding lubrication.
The K320 Nebula’s stabs came pre-lubed as shown in the above photo (click to enlarge); they’re basically good to go out of the box. The Cherry stabs feel decently crisp to type on with little to no rattle. Along with dampened switches these excellently installed stabilizers help immensely with the overall quietness factor of the keyboard. Durgod has done a very good job in this regard.
Case and Overall Build Quality
Despite having a plastic case the build quality in general is phenomenal. The case has a 2 piece design with a bottom enclosure and top shell cover piece. The plastic has a premium look and feel. It also has a substantial steel backplate (painted white) which the switches are mounted to that in combination with the sturdy plastic case provides excellent structural rigidity. No bending or noticeable flex even when applying moderate force.
Considering this is a gaming keyboard it needs to be capable of withstanding some pretty heavy abuse on a daily basis. Durgod has produced a really strong product that should be up to the task. Normally at this point I would disassemble the keyboard to examine the internal parts and build quality. Unfortunately I was unable to find a way to remove the top plastic shell from the bottom case without breaking it, and I wasn’t willing to do that.
Conclusion On The Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula
No lie, I sort of fell in love while testing the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula. Yes, it’s loaded with all the typical “gaming” features, such as true RGB backlighting, macros, full programmability, Windows key lock, NKRO, Cherry MX linear switches and a compact TKL layout. All that stuff is great, but I mostly love it for the excellent build quality, dampened switches, doubleshot PBT keycaps, functional design, clean aesthetics and especially those useful 2-stage flip-out feet for optimal angle adjustment.
The Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula RGB may be heavily marketed toward the gaming sector, but don’t let that scare you away by thinking it follows form over function. This keyboard is well built, quiet and designed for functionality with a style that should appeal to gamers without feeling too out of place in a business environment. The Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula RGB is a product of many talents; whether you want a quality mechanical gaming keyboard with NKRO and RGB everywhere or a quiet, programmable and highly adjustable keyboard for the office.
You really can’t go wrong here. A very long list of Pros below. What few Cons I could think of are really small nitpicks that don’t distract from the final product. The Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula is everything a mid-priced prefab mech should be. One of the best keyboards I’ve tested and reviewed to date. It gets my highest recommendation.
- Cherry MX Silent Red RGB switches are extremely quiet with decent key feel.
- 2-stage flip-out feet (rubber tipped) that provide more control over typing angle and high traction on a flat surface.
- True per-key RGB backlighting provided by SMD LEDs.
- Lots of accessories, including: 2 USB cables, branded cable tie, dust cover and a wire keycap puller.
- The manual’s English translated section is easy to read and understand.
- Detachable Type-C USB cable with retention feature that reduces strain on the connector.
- Robust steel backplate provides heft and structural integrity.
- Cable gutter to help with cable management.
- Excellent overall build quality.
- Stabilized keys are responsive and relatively quiet.
- Multimedia keys under a Fn layer.
- Full programmability, macros and backlight customization using Durgod’s software.
- Competitive pricing; good value for the money compared to similar gaming keyboards.
- Backplate is painted white for improved appearance of RGB lighting.
- Quality PBT keycaps with doubleshot (translucent) legends.
- Nice looking font used for key legends, not gamer oriented.
- Very polished design with good attention to details.
- Attractive aesthetic design with small bezels and minimal branding.
- Detachable cables aren’t braided, just standard PVC jackets.
- Keycap tops have a slightly smoother texture than I would prefer.
- Disassembly likely not possible without breaking the case.
- Default backlight profiles built into the keyboard have limited customization options without the optional software installed.
My Rating of the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula
- Design Features
- Build Quality
- Value for Money
TKL mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB backlighting, programmability, high quality PBT keycaps, doubleshot legends, 2-stage height adjustment feet and dampened Cherry switches. One of the best and quietest mechanical gaming keyboards on the market.
This concludes my review of the Durgod Taurus K320 Nebula mechanical gaming keyboard with full RBG backlighting and Cherry MX Red Silent switches. Please leave a comment below if you own this keyboard and have opinions or additional information you would like to share.