If you've ever searched Amazon for gaming keyboards, you've likely come across the brand Aukey. The company makes everything from power banks and chargers to dashcams, but its $40 mechanical KM-G6 keyboard has been on our best cheap gaming keyboard list for awhile. Late last year it introduced a new model, the G12, that improves on the design and features of the G6 while keeping the price low; it regularly sells for between $40 and $55 depending on available discounts at the time.
The G12 uses Aukey/Outemu blue clicky switches, that I like for both typing and gaming. It's a switch that you can feel and hear, though, so if you need or want quiet, you'll probably want to pass on this. Also, the combination of the click and the somewhat hollow body (it's metal on top and plastic on the bottom) results in an echoey spring sound when you're pounding on the keys. Other than the sound of the switches, though, there's a lot to like here for the money.
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Out of the box, the RGB keyboard has several preprogrammed light arrangements for both fun and gaming that are stored on the keyboard, so you don't need software. There's also a band of lights wrapping the base of the keyboard that adds an extra splash of light while you're gaming. All the lights can be shut off with a single button press, too. Also, Aukey used a cleaner-looking font than the G6, making them easier to read overall, and the double-shot keycaps mean the markings won't wear off.
For full control over the keyboard's lights and key mapping, you can use Aukey's G-Aim app. The software is fairly basic compared to apps from Razer and Logitech, and it occasionally froze up, but it gets the job done and it's relatively easy to learn.
If you need more than a new keyboard, the company has some budget-friendly gaming mice as well. I tested both the GM-F2 and Scarab GM-F3. The two are priced at $20 and $18, respectively, and they both offer more than their prices suggest. The F2 is just a solid basic gaming mouse with six programmable buttons and a scroll wheel wrapped in knobby rubber with stops you can feel.
At 75 grams (2.7 ounces), the F3 is ultralight, but also looks and feels flimsy compared to something like the Glorious Model O, which is actually a bit lighter than the F3. The scroll wheel in particular looks like it might not hold up over time. Still, at $18, it's a good starting place if you want to see if a lighter mouse makes a difference for your gaming. Both mice have braided cables, which is a nice touch on such inexpensive mice.
To make this bargain-priced PC gaming setup complete, Aukey makes the KM-P6 large RGB mousepad. The pad is large enough for both the keyboard and mouse and then some. Powered by a braided micro-USB cable that plugs into a box at the top left corner, there's a button on back for cycling through colors as well as turning it off.
The pad also works with the G-Aim app so you can control its colors there, too. Plus, if you pair it with the F2 mouse and G12 keyboard, you can sync the color patterns between the three devices.
Although the KM-P6 is currently unavailable due to manufacturing and shipping delays, the $20 RGB mousepad should be back in stock on Amazon sometime in July.