Serious PC gamers know that the best keyboards you can get for gaming are mechanical ones. Why is that you may ask? The short answer is that these keyboards are more tactile, durable, and faster. Gamers like the feedback they get from them and when split seconds can mean life or death in an online game, nothing beats the speed of a mechanical keyboard. While performance is an important factor, so is the fact that most mechanical keyboards just look plain cool, especially when they have built-in RGB lighting. Whirlwind FX is one of those brands making really nice mechanical keyboards and their ATOM keyboard is one of their most popular options. This is a 60% keyboard for the ultimate in portability and space-saving.
The Whirlwind FX ATOM is pretty much just like its larger brother, the Whirlwind FX Element. The major difference is its size. While the Element made very good use of its space, the ATOM takes that to a whole other level and reduces the overall footprint to just 60%. It does this by completely removing the top function keys and all the extra keys on the right-hand side. Basically, this keyboard only has the actual keys you type with. All the other keys that were removed are now combined with other keys and are accessed via an Fn key combo.
Because of the reduced keys, the base is also significantly shrunken down making the ATOM only as big as it needs to be. The reduced size doesn’t mean it’s lighter though has the keyboard itself still has some really good heft to it. The weight, along with generously sized rubber feet, keeps the ATOM solidly planted during intense gaming sessions.
What’s interesting about the ATOM though is that the area behind the keys is actually white and not black like the rest of the base and the keys. I’m assuming this is done to make the RGB lighting stand out more since it does seem to shine brighter on white than it does on black.
Lastly, the Whirlwind FX ATOM doesn’t have a cable permanently attached to it. Instead, there is a USB-C port on the back that you connect the included fiber-braided USB-C cable to. This is actually a much better design like this because it makes transporting the ATOM much neater and tidier when you can just remove the cable.
Installation of the Whirlwind ATOM is basically just plug-n-play. It’ll work as-is out of the box but you’ll want to download the new SignalRGB software. This software is used to control every aspect of the ATOM keyboard along with any other Whirlwind FX product you might have. Not only that, SignalRGB is one of the only software kits out there that can also control and sync to almost any RGB device you have, regardless of what brand it’s from.
SignalRGB is designed to work on over 200 of the best RGB devices from many of the leading brands, including Razor, Corsair, SteelSeries, Logitech G, EVGA, ASUS, MSI, and many more. That means you’re no longer limited to a certain brand now and can mix and match your favorite devices to fit your needs.
First, let’s start with the keyboard itself. The Whirlwind FX ATOM is a very good feeling keyboard. Like I said above, it has some heft to it so it feels really firm and solid. This version of the ATOM has Red Linear Gateron mechanical key switches which are my switches of choice. You can pick up the clicker Blue or Brown switches, but I just prefer the feeling of the Red ones. You’ll have to decide on your own which you like the most based on how you play. I prefer the smoothness of the Red switches when you press the keys. In case you’re wondering, the keys register about halfway through the press.
Honestly, once you go with a mechanical keyboard, regardless of what color switches you choose, you’ll never go back to using a regular keyboard again. There’s just something about the feel of a mechanical keyboard that is hard to match.
In terms of the lighting, the white background on the keys does make the RGB looks brighter and I do rather like the glow that emits from behind the keys. Because of the smaller size, the glow just seems to emit past the keyboard, which is a really cool effect.
Now let’s talk about the SignalRGB software a bit. You do need to create an account to use it and that’s so it can sync all your devices and options between different computers. There is a section in the software called “My Rig” that will display a list of every single USB device on your system and whether it will be recognized by the software. Obviously, you only use this if you have other RGB devices that you want to sync the lighting with. Otherwise, you won’t really need to use this.
I will say that the new SignalRBG app is much better than the previous driver app, which was very buggy. The only ding I’d have to give to the SignalRBG app and the ATOM, in general, is the lack of macro creation. This software is more for just making the ATOM and its products look cool and react to game events, and that’s pretty much it. It would be really nice if, down the line, you could create custom macros.
The Whirlwind FX ATOM mechanical gaming keyboard stands out for its incredibly diminutive size and customization software. The SignalRBG software is a game-changer due to the fact that it can interact with so many other products and not just those that come from Whirlwind FX. While lacking custom macros, the ATOM is perfect for those who have no need for this option and rather just have a mechanical keyboard that visually reacts to everything on the screen.
Of course, even without the software, the Whirlwind FX ATOM is a solid 60% mechanical keyboard that should appeal to a lot of gamers as well as those who just wants a keyboard that feels great when typing.
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