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Dell KB216 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Apr 14, 2023 at 11:13 am
Latest change: Test bench update Nov 29, 2023 at 09:32 am
Dell KB216 Picture
5.3
Gaming
6.4
Office
2.6
Mobile/Tablet
6.2
Programming
1.1
Entertainment / HTPC
5.9
Raw Performance

The Dell KB216 is a straightforward wired keyboard with a low-profile design and all-plastic construction. This keyboard is designed with everyday home or office use in mind. It has very quiet rubber dome switches and chiclet-style keycaps similar to many laptops. Apart from several dedicated media keys, this keyboard has no extra features.

Our Verdict

5.3 Gaming

The Dell KB216 delivers poor gaming performance but isn't designed with this use in mind. It has mediocre build quality, and its latency isn't low enough for playing reaction-based or competitive games. Its low-profile design makes it comfortable to use without a wrist rest.

Pros
  • Low-profile design makes it comfortable to use without a wrist rest.
Cons
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Latency is only adequate for casual gaming.
6.4 Office

The Dell KB216 is a good office keyboard. It has good ergonomics as its low-profile design means you don't have to bend your wrists too sharply upwards to reach the keys. The rubber dome switches are very quiet and unlikely to bother anyone around you. That said, the build quality is mediocre, and the overall typing quality is only satisfactory as the switches feel a bit mushy and require moderate force to actuate. The keys also wobble a bit while typing, especially some of the larger keys, including the Spacebar and Shift keys.

Pros
  • Extremely quiet.
  • Low-profile design makes it comfortable to use without a wrist rest.
Cons
  • Mediocre build quality.
2.6 Mobile/Tablet

The Dell KB216 is a wired-only keyboard that isn't suitable for use with mobile devices or tablets.

6.2 Programming

The Dell KB216 is a middling keyboard for programming. It has mediocre build quality, no backlighting, and you can't program macros to any of the keys. The typing quality is only satisfactory as the keys wobble a bit, and the switches have a mushy-feeling quality. That said, the switches are also extremely quiet, and while it doesn't have an included wrist rest, Its low-profile design makes it comfortable to use without one.

Pros
  • Low-profile design makes it comfortable to use without a wrist rest.
Cons
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • No backlighting.
  • No macro programming.
1.1 Entertainment / HTPC

The Dell KB216 is terrible for an entertainment or home theater setup. It's a wired-only keyboard, so you must sit close to your computer. It's also a full-size model, which means it's relatively large and unwieldy to use while seated. It has several dedicated volume keys but lacks a trackpad, control knob, or other dedicated media controls. Lastly, this keyboard lacks backlighting, making it hard to see key legends in a darkened room.

Pros
  • Dedicated volume buttons.
Cons
  • Mediocre build quality.
  • Wired only.
  • No trackpad, control knob, or other dedicated media keys.
  • No backlighting.
5.9 Raw Performance

The Dell KB216 provides sub-par raw performance. While it has adequate single-key latency, it has inadequate multi-key latency and a very low effective update rate. While still a good option for everyday tasks and productivity, this keyboard isn't well-suited for playing games where input timing is important.

  • 5.3 Gaming
  • 6.4 Office
  • 2.6 Mobile/Tablet
  • 6.2 Programming
  • 1.1 Entertainment / HTPC
  • 5.9 Raw Performance
  1. Updated Nov 29, 2023: We've concerted this review to Test Bench 1.3.1, which adds a new estimated PCB latency test to the Single-Key Latency section and a new Analog test to the Switches section of this review. You can see the full changelog here.
  2. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've added text to this review for the new tests added in TBU 1.3.
  3. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.3, which overhauls how key input is evaluated. We've added new tests for Single Key Latency, Multi Key Latency, Data Transmission, and Chord Split. We've also introduced a new Raw Performance usage and adjusted how the Gaming and Office usage scores are calculated. You can see the full changelog here.
  4. Updated Jun 12, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.2. This update introduces new Backlight Features and Backlight Clarity test boxes. We've also added a new Switches test box, added additional test comparisons to our Hardware Customizability test box that we introduced with our last Test Bench. For an in-depth look at our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  5. Updated Apr 14, 2023: Review published.
  6. Updated Apr 11, 2023: Early access published.
  7. Updated Apr 06, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  8. Updated Mar 29, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  9. Updated Mar 17, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Dell KB216 is available in black, white, and gray colorways. There are no other variants of this keyboard available.
We bought and tested the black color version, and you can see the label for our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Dell KB216 is a straightforward wired keyboard for everyday home or office use. What it lacks in extra features, it makes up for in simplicity. It has an all-plastic construction, but it's normal given its entry-level price point. It has rubber dome switches which may feel a bit mushy to some, but they're very quiet, so it's a great choice if you're concerned about typing noise bothering those around you. While it's becoming very common for basic office keyboards to be wireless, this keyboard is a wired-only model. As a result, you don't have to worry about batteries or recharging, and it's often a bit less expensive than other popular models with similar build quality and functionality, like the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard or the Logitech Signature K650. However, it lacks the freedom of movement a wireless keyboard offers, and you can't pair it with multiple devices simultaneously.

For more recommendations, see our picks for the best keyboards, the best office keyboards, and the best quiet keyboards.

Logitech K380

The Logitech K380 and the Dell KB216 are low-profile keyboards. The Logitech is a wireless model designed for mobile devices and tablets. It has a more compact size, but it lacks a Numpad and navigation cluster. The Logitech keyboard also has companion software for customization. On the other hand, the Dell is a wired-only model designed for home and office use. It's a full-size model that includes a Numpad and navigational cluster. Both keyboards have good ergonomics, but the Dell has an additional incline setting.

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard

The Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard and the Dell KB216 are full-size office keyboards with low-profile designs and very quiet rubber dome switches. The Microsoft is a wireless model that connects via Bluetooth and feels somewhat better built overall. On the other hand, the Dell is a wired-only model. It also has better ergonomics since it includes pair of feet on the underside that you can fold out to provide an additional incline setting.

Logitech K585

The Logitech K585 and the Dell KB216 are low-profile keyboards. The Logitech is a wireless model designed for mobile devices and tablets. It also has customization software, a feature the Dell keyboard lacks. On the other hand, the Dell is a wired-only model designed for everyday home and office use. Its ergonomics are a bit better, as it has a pair of collapsable feet that provide an additional incline setting.

Logitech Signature K650

The Logitech Signature K650 and the Dell KB216 are basic office keyboards with low-profile designs and quiet rubber dome switches. The Logitech is a wireless model with a complete set of dedicated media keys. It also has an integrated wrist rest with a soft-touch texture, a feature the Dell lacks. On the other hand, the Dell is a wired-only model with a set of dedicated volume keys but no play/pause or skip forward/back keys.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Full-size (100%)
Height
1.0" (2.5 cm)
Width 17.4" (44.1 cm)
Depth
5.0" (12.7 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
0.94 lbs (0.425 kg)

It's a full-size keyboard, so it takes up a fair amount of space on your desk compared to more compact options. That said, it has a low-profile design, so it's fairly thin, and it doesn't have an integrated wrist rest like many similar entry-level office keyboards.

6.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

This keyboard has mediocre build quality overall. It has an all-plastic construction that feels somewhat flimsy and flexible. There's a bit of wobble on the keys while typing, especially on some of the larger keys. It has flat, chiclet-style keycaps made with ABS plastic with a pleasant, slightly textured finish. The feet on the bottom of the keyboard do a great job of keeping the board in place, and the two incline feet open horizontally, making it unlikely that you'll accidentally collapse them if you nudge or reposition your keyboard.

7.0
Design
Ergonomics
Curved/Angled
No
Split Keyboard
No
Key Alignment
Staggered
Minimum Incline
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
Home Row Height
21.6 mm (0.9")

While there isn't an included wrist rest, the low-profile design makes it comfortable to type on, as you don't need to bend your wrists steeply upwards to reach the keys. There's also a pair of folding feet on the back of the keyboard that provides an additional incline option.

0
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
No
Stabilizer Fixation
Non-Customizable Design
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
Non-Customizable Design
Size Of Right Mod Keys
Non-Standard
Hot-Swappable Switches
No
Switch Stem Shape
Non-Customizable Design
Switch PCB Socket
Non-Customizable Design
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
Non-Customizable Design

This keyboard isn't designed to be customized.

0
Design
Backlight Features
Backlighting No
RGB
No
Per-Key Backlighting
No
Effects
No
Software Controllable
No

This keyboard doesn't have any backlighting.

0
Design
Backlight Clarity
Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wired
Detachable
No
Length 6.0 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Not Detachable

This keyboard has a thin and fairly generic cable. The cable uses a computer-side USB-A connector.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

This is a wired-only keyboard.

0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
No
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Non-Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
No
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

The keyboard has minimal extra features. While it has dedicated mute and volume keys, other media controls require hotkey combinations. There are also three LED lights to indicate when the Caps lock, Scroll lock, and Num lock functions are activated.

Design
In The Box

  • Dell KB216
  • User documentation

Typing Experience
7.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality
Key Spacing
19.0 mm (0.748")

This keyboard provides satisfactory typing quality. Most of the keys are relatively stable and don't wobble too noticeably while typing, although some of the larger keys wobble more, including the Spacebar, Enter, and Shift keys. There's average spacing between the keys, and the chicklet-style keycaps are square and flat, similar to many laptop keyboards. The keycaps also have a slightly textured surface and are pleasant to type on. While this keyboard doesn't include a wrist rest, it has a low-profile design, so you don't have to bend your wrists upwards very steeply to comfortably reach the keys.

9.3
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
42.3 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

This keyboard is very quiet and unlikely to bother anyone around you while you type.

Typing Experience
Switches
Switch Name
No Marketed Name
Switch Type
Rubber Dome
Feel
Tactile
Analog
No
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Operating Force
60 gf
Actuation Force
35 gf
Pre-Travel
1.9 mm
Total Travel
2.8 mm

This keyboard uses rubber dome switches. They have a tactile bump that requires moderate typing force to overcome before actuating a key, which is typical of this style of basic office keyboard.

Performance
6.9
Performance
Single-Key Latency
Best Connection
22.8 ms
Best Connection Std Dev ±2.5 ms
Wired
22.8 ms
Receiver
N/A
Bluetooth
N/A
PCB (Estimated)
21.2 ms

The single key latency of this keyboard is perfectly adequate for everyday browsing, work, and casual gaming. However, it isn't specifically for gaming, and we recommend a keyboard with lower latency for playing fast-paced or competitive games.

5.3
Performance
Multi-Key Latency
Connection Evaluated Wired
Key Press
33.5 ms
Key Release
33.9 ms

This keyboard has inadequate multi-key performance with high key press and key release latency when multiple keys are held.

5.6
Performance
Data Transmission
Connection Evaluated Wired
USB Polling Rate
125 Hz
Effective Update Rate
125 Hz
N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
No
Multiple Keys Per USB Report
Yes

This wired keyboard has a very low effective update rate of 125Hz and lacks N-Key Rollover.

5.1
Performance
Chord Split
4 Chord Split Delay
15.4 ms
8 Chord Split Delay
N/A

This keyboard has poor chord split performance. It produces a very high 4-chord split delay, and since it lacks N-Key Rollover, it can't register eight simultaneous keys.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No
Onboard Memory
No
Profiles
No Profile

There isn't any customization software for this keyboard.

10
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Fully Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Windows, MacOS & Linux

All default functions, including media keys, work as expected on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

0
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Not Compatible
iOS
Not Compatible
iPadOS
Not Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Not Compatible

This is a wired-only keyboard that isn't compatible with mobile devices.