The most noticeable thing about the Thunder K7 is its styling; it’s an entirely black board with harsh edges and rather bold styling. More precisely, there are no gentle curves on this keyboard, as it’s very angular along all edges and surfaces. It’s a bit of an aggressive design by AORUS compared to a few other mechanical keyboards we’ve seen. It’s not a sleek minimalist board, so it may appeal more to the “gamer crowd”, though some may call it a bit chunky by comparison. No real complaints here, we think it looks just fine.
It’s definitely solid and heavy though, coming in around 1.5 kg (3 lbs) or so, not too dissimilar from most mechanical keyboards. The finish is a bit “plasticky”, rather than a smooth touch surface like we’ve seen on a couple other boards, but the non-slip Teflon coating does a nice feel nonetheless.
Unfortunately there aren’t any cable routing grooves underneath, something we’d figure should be standard on any gamer keyboard since keeping those mouse or headset cables out of the way is usually pretty important. We’re not sure why routing grooves are non-existent on nearly all premium mechanical keyboards, but manufacturers really need to do something about this.
Two large fold-out feet on the bottom of the board allow it to be inclined for a more comfortable angle if you prefer. They’re both rubberized along the bottom, some nice detail design there.
The profile of the K7 is not the most slimline we’ve seen, but neither is it too chunky. Too bad it’s not slimmer at the wrist area because it would make the board very comfortable without the need for the huge, hard plastic wrist rest.
A very large removable wrist rest is included, though it’s unfortunately hard plastic and not the most comfortable compared to a “memory foam” design, for example.
The K7 is designed with cylindrical key caps, and these seem far more comfortable than the flat variety. The font choice is clear and stylish, unlike the “fatty” one on a Deck board, futuristic on a Cooler Master, or the tiny font on a Das keyboard.
There are no dedicated multimedia keys, as they share the same physical assignments as the F1 through F12 keys, accessible with the Fn key.
There’s a bit of an obscure but important design detail to note here, and it’s a very smart one. As you can see in the image below, the secondary symbols (used with Shift), such as $, %, etc, are positioned beside the numbers, not above or below. The significance of this is that almost every other keyboard we’ve seen so far has them positioned below and the backlighting does not adequately illuminate both rows of numbers/symbols. However, the K7, with them positioned beside rather than stacked, completely illuminates all the symbols. So no worries here about partially lit key symbols. It’s a small but critical design detail thankfully not missed here.
To the immediate left of the Function keys are two rolling knobs, one for the backlighting LED brightness and one for volume, both of which are extremely useful and easily accessible.
The keypad is detachable and movable, which can be used on the right side in a traditional setup, on the left side for a “Gaming Mode” setup, completely removed to use the keyboard alone, or even in a numpad-only configuration. The numpad is “attached” by pins which are then held in place by magnets along each side. The numpad clicks into place very easily.
There are twenty macro keys on the numpad for programmable custom sequences. Although the K7 has plug-and-play capability, we do recommend installing and using the AORUS software, as you’ll get more customization options for the macro keys. The positioning of these macro keys, however, does mean you need to actually use the numpad in order to access the macros, but presumably that’s not a problem for someone who is looking for such features.
Below are two of the alignments available for the numpad: on the left and on the right. Of course, you can also use it as a standalone.
Next, we need to discuss mechanical switches for a bit, as this is essential to the design and construction of a mechanical keyboard, and is one of the main reasons for buying one.