SpeedLink Parthica Core£40
- Configurable keys
- Lighting customisation
- Macro short cut keys
- Compact but full-featured
- Great price point
- Software only on CD when reviewed
- Logo has more colour options than keys
- Lighting could be brighter
Computer keyboards, especially gaming keyboards, are an odd thing. Most will see them as purely utilitarian. That same majority would baulk at spending a decent amount on one. SpeedLink hear this and have introduced their Parthica Core gaming keyboard.
You probably interact with keyboards more than any other aspect of your computer and yet so many people will opt for the cheapest. I too have had huge budget constraints but when I built my PC I wanted a good quality gaming board and mouse to partner it. I get that money is tight and this will mean most mechanical keyboards might be out of reach for some. The thing is, I have been using the SpeedLink Parthica Core Gaming Keyboard and, whilst not mechanical, it might just do the job.
This bank account-friendly offering from SpeedLink seems to tick all the right boxes: Macro, multimedia and shortcut keys are all present and correct. You even get control over the lighting profile colours. Gamers will also be tempted by its anti ghosting and 6 key rollover. But does the price indicate its quality?
Parthica Core keyboard design
The keyboard certainly looks to be aimed at gamers. It has that angular profile that many makers go for.
The body of the board is matte black with the keys a glossier finish. The WASD keys feature the commonly used gamer direction arrows. All the keys are backlit.
The Macro keys down the right-hand side certainly draw the eyes being silver against the sea of black. These five keys can be set and customised how ever you see fit.
Top and centre is a large black section with the model name, which is also backlit. At either side of the branding there are cut-outs, these are also located at the far left, right and also down in the lower section.
Also along the top, the left side is home to five quick access keys for browser, mail, search and browser bookmarks. On the right are media keys that control the most common audio and video functions.
The F12 key serves a dual purpose, here you can disable the Windows key. This is a very useful feature. Before moving over to a gamer board hitting that key can have disastrous effects mid-game.
There are a grippy rubber pads undernearth the Parthica which stops it from sliding around. A pair feet can be flipped out to had height and rake to the keyboard although, oddly, there’s no grips on these.
Connectivity of the Parthica is handled with a USB 3.0 Connector, which is attached to a 1.8m black and red braided cord.
Bundled in the box with the keyboard is a software installation CD and a user manual.
Parthica Core performance
I’ve used the Parthica Core as my board for the past few days. Using it to write pieces for GadgetyNews, gaming, social stuff. Everything.
As my daily driver is a Corsair K60 there was a period of transition. Wrong keys were hit, wrist angles changed. The usual. Most occasions would see me hitting one of the Macro keys instead of Esc or Shift. Also, the Parhtica’s spacebar is shorter too. In fact, all the keys are smaller than those on the K60. This is good for those short of desk space as I have seen some monster-sized keyboards out there. It really didn’t take me long to get acquainted with the Parthica and I have long fingers and fairly big hands.
The matte black areas have a soft rubber-feeling coating which I like.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the the build quality of this keyboard. Especially as it currently sits well under the £40 mark.
The additional features such as lighting and customisation was all quite intuitive too.
To change the lighting’s brightness, hold down the Fn key and the 8 on the number pad to increase or 2 to decrease the lighting level.
Again, holding down the Fn key, use the F keys on the top row to change the colour schemes.
- F1 Red
- F2 Blue
- F3 Purple
Whilst all of this is neat and all, why can’t the keys have the same colour options as the logo? #JustSayin
Installing the software via the disc opens up more options. I did check the SpeedLink website so I could just download the s/ware but, at this time, no can do. There is a tab there, but it doesn’t work.
Through the bundled software you can set the lighting effect to:
Self-explanatory of course, the breathing effect is a fade to black and back to colour which I didn’t have on for long as it bugged the hell out of me. Perhaps if you could set it to do that when it has been idle for a while, kinda like your screensaver, I might be tempted.
Using ‘Key Commands’ you can tweak any key and change it to another – you could, for example, relocate the ‘Shift’ action to the ‘5’ key.
Looking deeper here we also have the ability to set basic commands from the predefined list. This is a large list of common functions like Explorer, mouse, browser, multimedia or Office functions.
The final option is to configure keys which will load your chosen application or game.
Macros can only be attributed to the Macro M1 – M5 keys. But that’s to be expected. That’s why they’re called Macro keys, right?
These are saved to the keyboard’s 128K internal memory. This means they’ll be saved if you take your board to your mate’s place to use.
I missed the noise of my mechanical keyboard (my other half didn’t) but I found the Parthica plenty responsive enough to be competitive in first person shooters such as Battlefield, Call of Duty and CS:GO. The addition of the on-the-fly Macro recording and shortcut keys certainly come in to their own, especially if you’re an MMO fan.
Parthica Core conclusion
If I was to be extremely petty I’d say that the lighting didn’t go bright enough and that the light profiles for the keys and logo should match. I like being able to select red for the logo and blue for the rest of the board but what if I want everything yellow?
I am taking it that SpeedLink will get the software on their site to download so I’ll skip the rant about not everyone having optical drives in their computers any more.
Yes, it is a membrane keyboard but the keystrokes are definite and the keys themselves are nicely cupped.
I have to keep reminding myself that this gaming board has on-board memory, programmable keys and Macros and colour customisation at a price that’s going to be really hard to beat.
The design is pure gamer and, yet, the Parthica has a relatively tiny footprint.
I would definitely recommend anyone looking to get in to gaming or those upgrading from a standard board to a more game-centric one to check out the SpeedLink Parthica Core gaming keyboard. Especially for the price.
Price and availability
The SpeedLink Parthica Core gaming keyboard is available from Very right now for just under £40.