Review | GALAX XANOVA Pulsar XK400 Mechanical Keyboard

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The Pulsar XK400 is one of the latest XANOVA series keyboards from GALAX. There aren’t many really, with the Magnetar XK700 acting as the flagship model while the XK400 itself is more of a lighter version of the former.

Now while the Pulsar XK400 is no flagship, it is a rather rock solid proposal from GALAX. For an instance, it features Cherry MX switches inside (Blue or Brown) an aluminum plate, individually lit keys and a roller for both the lighting and volume. All under a 3, 500 Peso offering.

Technical Specifications

Keyboard
Size Full size
Layout 107 Key
Design Frameless
Macro Yes
Profile Yes
Software Yes
Interface USB 2.0
Polling Rate 1000Hz
Lighting White
Wrist Rest NA
Pass-through NA
Cable Management NA
Multimedia Keys Yes
Cable Length 1.8 meters
Switch
Type Cherry MX Blue
Actuation 2.0 mm
Travel 4.0 mm
Lifespan 50 million
Dimensions
Length 466 mm
Width 128 mm
Height 45 mm
Weight 938 grams

Packaging and Accessories

GALAX had the XANOVA Pulsar XK400 packed inside the usual mechanical keyboard cardboard box with an internal padding. The product should come with the following items inside:

  • User Manual

Design, Layout and Build Quality

Stealthy yet familiar is what the Pulsar XK400 is all about. It looks really similar to GALAX’s very first mech and yet we cannot really fault them going for such an approachable design. This thing weighs in at 938 grams by the way which is not bad at all.

The rear end follows the styling of the front end which is nice if you’re the kind of guy who loves to appreciate cohesive design choices. There’s also a horizontally mounted riser if you prefer a higher profile.

Frameless is the name of the game here so palm area comfort should be a bit better compared to your traditional mech.

Now connectivity is courtesy of a 1.8 meter long braided USB cable. No pass-through here nor a cable management area at the bottom. Still, the cable appears to be quite thick and easy enough to ply on a flat surface.

Test Setup and Methodology

Testing a keyboard is not that difficult, but it is mostly subjective; similar to testing head gears in a sense. That said, no keyboard is perfect and the verdict usually depends on personal preferences. With that in mind our methodology is overhauled to follow the key pointers that should matter the most. That includes how good the switches are, the quality of keycap and its profile plus the comfort.

Test Setup
Repeat Rate Shortest
Repeat Delay Fastest
Polling Rate 1000Hz, If possible
Software EliteKeyboards Switch Hitter

Physical Layout, Functionality and Ergonomics

Keyboards are generally categorized in 4 standard sizes or layouts: Full Size, TKL, Compact 75% and 60% layouts. These standard layouts had drastic effects on the functionality and ergonomics of the keyboard. Generally, compact layouts allows for better ergonomics; whereas full layouts offers 100% functionality.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (4)

The Pulsar XK400 is a narrow full size mechanical keyboard. It is narrow on the sides and has basically zero bump at the wrist area due to its frameless design.

While the extra keyboard functions are highlighted below, GALAX never bothered adding their legends. Thus, requiring you to always refer to the manual. Luckily, there’s a downloadable software from GALAX that could do these tricks for you.

Listed below are the most common key combinations for the Pulsar XK400:

  • Fn + F1 = Open Calculator
  • Fn + F5 = Show desktop
  • Fn + F6 = Play/Pause
  • Fn + F7 = Previous
  • Fn + F8 = Next
  • Fn + F9 = Game mode
  • Fn + Bulb = Toggle scroll wheel to volume/brightness mode

Keycap Profile, Printing and Material

The keycap profile is often overlooked when it comes to keyboards. It shouldn’t be, considering that the profile usually makes or breaks a portion of keyboard’s ergonomic and feel. The DCS family is the most common one here, with Cherry and OEM profile slotted beneath it. On the other hand, profiles such as the DSA and SA profiles are mostly found on higher end mechanical keyboards.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (5)

Keycap printing method is also an important aspect we should look into. Pad printing is the most common one here, while dye sublimation and double shot injection being the more premium ones due to their printing quality and durability.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (1)

Keycap materials are important too in selecting a mechanical keyboard; though it is common to see keyboards shipped with either ABS and PVC keycaps. These materials do however shine faster than other materials and quality is generally not the best. PBT doesn’t shine as fast compared to these keycaps and are highly regarded for their quality and distinct texture. POM on the other hand is also a durable material but they are rarely found as aftermarket options.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (3)

XANOVA Pulsar XK400’s keycap profile resembles that of the DCS family from the top to the bottom row.

Keycap material used for the Pulsar XK400 is ABS plastic. A common thermoplastic used on keyboard keycaps. Prints are double shot sans-serifs which is something GALAX should’ve included on the feature set of the keyboard.

Thickness is decent with good stem support. Quality of the injection is not the best though together with some of the key’s font choices especially the legends.

Mechanical Switches and Stabilizers

The mechanical switches makes up the reason why mechanical keyboards are called “mechanical keyboards” in the first place. There are tons of switches out there but Cherry MX switches are the most popular of them all; setting a standard for the rest. They have clicky, linear and bumpy switches; all with their own mixture of actuation forces and actuation points.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (2)

Cherry MX switches are not popular without reason so GALAX made sure to equip the XK400 with the Blue variants. These are clicky switches with standard total travel of 4 mm. It also takes 2 mm to actuate.

Key stabilizers are also included next to the switch housings that requires them.

Key Rollover, Chatter and Ghosting

EliteKeyboard’s Switch Hitter is an excellent freeware to test key rollover, chatter and ghosting. Key rollover is basically the number of keys the keyboard could register, while chatter is multiple registered inputs with a single press of a key. Ghosting on the other hand is the unwanted input registration when several keys are pressed together.

TT Premium X1 RGB Review (1)

The GALAX XANOVA Pulsar XK400 passed with flying colors on our rollover, chatter and ghosting tests like most of the keyboards tested.

Software, Lighting and Special Features

The XANOVA control panel returns with the XK400. This is a unifying software built to support the latest GALAX gaming gears.

The XK400 supports profiles and macros as well as everything that you could customize with the keyboard alone. This is a must – especially if you have other XANOVA products to pair it with. You may even set an alternate function for the keys as well.

Backlighting is full of lighting effects with even a directional option for most. Speed is also adjustable.

Since the XK400 only comes with bluish white LEDs, effects felt rather restricted. If youw ant RGB, then refer to the flagship Magnetar XK700 model.

Final Thoughts

GALAX played it kinda safe with the Pulsar XK400. It has the legendary Cherry MX switches inside, comes with a frameless aluminum body and has a price point of just under 3, 500 Pesos.

Other niceties includes double-shot ABS keycaps enhancing the diffused glow of the bluish white LEDs while also providing a scratch and dirt proof printing. Sadly, some fonts could be better and legends could be added to aid the function modifiers.

The GALAX XANOVA Pulsar XK400 is a rock solid Cherry MX based mechanical keyboard. A good choice if you don’t want to risk your budget on non-cherry equivalents.TechPorn Awards 2018 (1)

GALAX XANOVA Pulsar XK400 Review

  • PERFORMANCE - 8/10

    8/10

  • BUILD QUALITY - 8/10

    8/10

  • FEATURES - 8/10

    8/10

  • AESTHETICS - 8/10

    8/10

  • VALUE - 8/10

    8/10

8/10

Summary

The GALAX XANOVA Pulsar XK400 is a rock solid Cherry MX based mechanical keyboard. A good choice if you don’t want to risk your budget on non-cherry equivalents.

Pros

  • Comfortable design
  • Framless design
  • Build quality
  • Double-shot keycaps
  • Cherry MX inside

Cons

  • Font choice
  • Missing legends

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Leo Bien Durana is the Owner and Chief Editor of TechPorn. A competitive PC gamer with a robust technical background. He usually breaks a lot of stuff though.
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