The last couple of years has seen the emergence of low profile keyboards. Despite having them on the scene for some time, their combination of flat-looking laptop design with mechanical switches remains highly attractive and appealing to many looking for a clean, minimal setup. There’s one problem though. Many of them on offer today come with a steep price that often doesn’t reflect their value in terms of functionality. This is exactly the area that Genesis is looking to fill with its Thor 420 RGB low profile keyboard.
We, of course, take it for a spin to find out how well it performs, how it stacks against the numerous competition, and if its worthy of the name.
You can check out the Genesis Thor 420 RGB keyboard on the Genesis website.
As with many, if not all low-profile keyboards, the first thing that catches your eye with Thor 420 is the striking design. Over the years, we’ve become so used to looking at the high-profile, thick mechanical keyboards, that low-profile ones seem strangely appealing. From the casing to the keycaps themselves, everything is made to be slim, flat, and highly aesthetically appealing.
Like many competitors, Thor 420 has its casing built with a combination of plastic on the back panel and a brushed aluminum top plate for a durable and solid build. Besides that, the aluminum highly contributes to the keyboard looking more premium which is further helped by the mirror-like accent across its outer edges. Besides that, the top plate is very minimalistic and clean with only distinguishable features being the Genesis logo situated above the arrow keys and the small LED’s for the num, caps, scroll, and windows key toggles in the upper right corner.
On top of that, you have Genesis tactile blue switches which are essentially almost the same as Kalih low-profile or old-school Cherry ML switches. What this means is that they have an ultra-low actuation point at 1.2 mm and require 45 grams of pressure to activate which makes them on par with some of the fastest full-sized mechanical switches on the market.
On top of the switches, you have the slim, flat keycaps which are bunched tightly together, making the entire keyboard appear very compact. The twin insertion stem on the keycaps has an added benefit of making them very stable and jitter-free which in turn provides a good typing experience with less chance of missed key presses.
Usually, the combination of blue switches and full-sized keycaps makes for a very loud and clicky keyboard but what’s present on Thor 420 is a bit different. Despite looking akin to laptop keys, the sound is still distinctly mechanical but a bit quieter than full-sized blues. It will definitely appeal more to the gaming demographic but it surely won’t stick out like a sore thumb should you decide to take it with you into the office for some productive work.
As mentioned, the Thor 420 is insanely compact. It weighs only 573 grams and its full height comes in at 24 mm, which is more than half of some full-sized mechanical keyboards. Even with its 104 keys, it somehow manages to appear to take less space on my desk than my daily Drevo Blademaster PRO – and that’s a TKL keyboard.
The slim profile doesn’t just make it look more compact but it also makes using it a much more comfortable experience. There’ll be no need for any type of wrist rest as your wrists will be completely flat which will save them from any strain during prolonged usage. If, however, you find it a bit too flat for some reason, the keyboard does have extendable feet which increase the height in the back by some 5 mm for a slightly more angled position.
When it comes to the RGB lighting, the low profile design of the Thor 420 makes it look very striking and beautiful. This is due to how close the keycaps are to the aluminum top plate as well as how tightly they are packed next to each other. The shine reflecting off the plate is further enhanced by the thick font that allows for the lights to shine brightly through to really make all the numerous presets a real joy to look at.
You can cycle between them directly on the keyboard using the function and insert keys. You can also change the color, the speed of the animation, and the brightness for each one. There are even a couple of presets that will illuminate only the buttons used for gaming such as the WASD and the adjacent keys. Of course, if you appreciate the minimal, non-gamer look, you can always completely turn them off.
What’s missing are the dedicated media keys but instead, you have the F1 through F12 serving as the main controlling buttons to be used in combination with the function key. Another thing worthy of mention is the fact that the USB cable is hard-wired into the keyboard which somewhat feels like a missed opportunity as many competitors moved to a detachable type C connection. While it’s a small thing, it’s one that would have made the Thor 420 even more compact and convenient in terms of portability.
When it comes to the performance of the Thor 420, the fact that it’s equipped with tactile blue switches and has a 1000 Hz pooling rate essentially means you have the best of both worlds in terms of gaming and typing. You have both the actuation point that’s on par with something like the Cherry Silver, but then you also have the benefit of that tactile little bump that will prevent accidental typos that you’d get with linear switches.
The typing experience on this keyboard is absolutely great and what’s better is that it doesn’t require any adjustment period. Gaming, on the other hand, is a bit different and will take some time to get used to, especially if you are switching from a high-profile, regular mechanical keyboard. This is due to the fact that the keys are bunched together even closer than what you’d find on a laptop and it can sometimes be hard to differentiate them.
On a regular keyboard, you’d have no problem lifting your hand and putting it back down to immediately find your way to the WASD buttons. Here, the lack of spacing between the keycaps means that it’s much easier to position your hand incorrectly or even hit a different button in the heat of battle. This is a problem many low-profile keyboards share and one that’s difficult to explain without you experiencing it first hand. All in all, we’d definitely recommend using it casually first in order to adjust to this issue before jumping into anything competitive.
Once you do get used to it, however, you’ll find that the keyboard is definitely an excellent performer whether you play a fast-paced shooter or go for a more relaxed experience. I took it for a spin in Doom Eternal which is arguably one of the fastest shooters on the market and found that it was a perfect keyboard for the job.
The speed that the highest difficulty in Doom requires was right up this keyboard’s alley and it’s super fast switches really made a difference in how long I was able to stay alive when overwhelmed with enemies on all sides. Even when you take it for a spin in games that require a bit more accuracy, you can be sure it will perform true to its specs and give you a great experience.
The last thing to talk about is the accompanying software which is the weakest part of the package. It’s very simple to use but that’s because it offers very little that you can’t do without it. You can save different profiles, do the basic key reassignment and macro recording, change between around 20 RGB presets, and that’s about it. You don’t have the option to customize the RGB of each key or create more intricate animations and the software interface, as opposed to the keyboard itself, looks bland and visually unappealing. It’s definitely an area where Genesis can improve, and hopefully, in the future, they offer one, more robust software that supports all of their peripherals.
In conclusion, whether you’ll like this keyboard depends on your usage, personal preference, and your experience with different types of keyboards. If you are making a switch from a high profile mechanical keyboard to Thor 420, its low profile might take some time to get used to. Once you do, however, it just might make you fall in love with it as well as low profile keyboards in general. Sure, it’s not jam-packed with features and there’s no empty gimmick here that would make its price go way beyond reason. Instead, you get a no-nonsense, great performance in a slim, attractive body at a price point of around 60 euros which ultimately makes it a great buy.