If you haven’t heard of Riotoro-brand keyboards, don’t worry – the Ghostwriter is their very first foray into the wide world of gaming keyboards after a few years of designing cases and power supplies.
Despite being the new kid in town, Riotoro has stepped up to the plate, and they’re swinging for the fences. On paper, the Ghostwriter ($119.99 on Newegg) has everything gamers and keyboard enthusiasts crave, with customizable RGB lighting, dedicated media keys, and high-end Cherry MX Brown switches.
Is the Riotoro Ghostwriter a home run?
Design and Comfort
Like a lot of gaming keyboards, the Ghostwriter has a sleek, stealth bomber aesthetic going for it. It’s all black, all business, and it looks pretty good. I wish the lettering on the keycaps was more pronounced, though, as it can be a bit tricky to make out the keys when you have the RGB lighting turned off.
In terms of construction, the keyboard itself is a full size, 104-key keyboard, made of an aluminum top plate and a plastic frame. It’s pretty solid and sturdy, and didn’t flex much when I tried to bend it. I’d feel comfortable throwing the Ghostwriter in a bag to take to a tournament. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic, which for some can feel flimsy, but I personally don’t mind. Still, some might balk at paying this much for a keyboard and not having thick, durable PBT keycaps.
The Ghostwriter also comes with a magnetic wrist guard. According to the manual, it should simply “snap” on to the keyboard – however, in practice, I found it to constantly came undone while I was using it. It also just wasn’t very comfortable, as it forced me to rest my hands at an awkward angle. It’s also gigantic, and took up a ton of unneeded real estate on my desk. Overall, I was much happier using the keyboard without the wrist guard, but it’s there in case you happen to find it useful.
Performance and features
The Ghostwriter has a vast array of lighting options. You can customize not only the lighting effects, but the speed and direction of the lighting. The brightness and color can be altered as well. Five different custom maps can be saved directly onto the keyboard’s memory, and can be switched between with a key combination. All of the lighting customization is done entirely on the keyboard, with no additional software required. While the icons on the keyboards aren’t the most intuitive, a quick read through of the manual will get you up to speed.
I loved how the lights looked on the Ghostwriter. The lighting is bright and vibrant, and there are tons of color combinations and effects to customize. There’s no doubt in my mind one could spend hours obsessively tweaking to their heart’s content, and that’s always a good thing.
Switch it up
Gamers and keyboard enthusiasts have learned to look for Cherry MX switches in their keyboards, and for good reason. Cherry makes arguably the best switches on the planet, and practically every high end keyboard uses Cherry switches.
Riotoro went with these premium switches in the Ghostwriter. Which “color” Cherry switch you prefer really comes down to personal taste – however, the general consensus is that Blues are better for typing, and Reds or Blacks are better for gaming. This Ghostwriter review model came with Browns, a sort of “middle ground” switch that is good for both typing and gaming, due to its tactile feedback and medium actuation force. Gaming on the Ghostwriter felt great – key presses were responsive and easy to press, and I never felt like the board was getting in my way. Typing and office work was also a joy, as Browns have that same tactile feedback I love on keyboards with Blue switches. If you’re not a fan of Browns, Riotoro also makes the Ghostwriter with Black switches if you’d prefer.
The Ghostwriter has a couple of interesting features you often don’t see on a gaming keyboard – dedicated media keys and two USB 2.0 passthrough ports. The media keys are your basic play, stop, mute, forward, rewind, and volume roller, but these are often the first thing that get cut when gaming keyboard companies are looking to keep costs down.
Two USB ports really surprised me. Usually gaming keyboards have just one port, if any, so I tip my cap to Riotoro for going above and beyond. The ports are powered with a second USB cord, so no additional power supply is required.
Riotoro may not have a ton of experience designing keyboards, but you’d never guess that looking at the Ghostwriter. If this is their first effort, I can’t wait to see what they put out a few years down the road.