Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 Review

Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 Review: Apple-esque TKL Mechanical Keyboard

You may already be familiar with the Chinese brand Xiaomi due in part to their popular line of affordable smartphones. Believe it or not they’re the 5th largest producer of smartphones in the world, behind juggernauts Samsung and Apple.

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 (aka the Wyatt Meter in China) I’m reviewing today is the first mechanical keyboard to carry the Xiaomi name. It was actually released thanks to Xiaomi’s own crowdfunding platform. Just a quick glimpse at the MK01 is enough to notice the similar design philosophies between Xiaomi and Apple products. The MK01 may be the solution for users wanting a mechanical keyboard with Apple inspired design to match the aesthetics of your new Mac.

Disclosure: My review sample of the Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 was provided by Banggood.com. This is not a sponsored post. I was not given monetary compensation to write this review, though I do participate in affiliate programs which pay percentage based commissions if you follow my affiliate link and make a purchase. The thoughts and opinions expressed about this keyboard are my own.

What’s In The Box?

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 came packaged in a simple white box with only a picture of the keyboard printed on top and some Chinese writing on the sides. The box was sealed in clear plastic for moisture protection.

Box sealed in clear plastic wrap

Opening the box reveals the keyboard nestled inside a form-fitting molded tray with a plastic protective cover over the keycaps (I keep these to use these as dust covers). The tray prevents the keyboard from movement while effectively absorbing blunt trauma and corner impacts. It’s molded from multiple layers of a fiber/paper material. The end result is very rigid and crush resistance.

Box opened to reveal contents and packing material

Unboxing the contents leaves us with only the keyboard itself, a white detachable Micro USB cable and single page of printed instructions in Chinese. No additional accessories or value added extras were included.

Unboxed keyboard, documentation and Micro USB cable

Overall the presentation is minimalistic and the packaging is basic, but it provides ample defense from the hazards of international shipping.

Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 Layout, Features & Aesthetics

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 is a TKL (Tenkeyless) form factor mechanical keyboard in ANSI layout with completely standard key sizes. TKL keyboards have smaller footprints than typical full size keyboards because they don’t include the number pad. This results in a compact size and leaves more free space for mouse movement. Keyboards smaller than full size are generally considered more ergonomic as they allow for a typing position that puts less stress on the wrist and shoulders without forcing your mouse way off to one side.

TKL mechanical keyboard with ANSI layout

The MK01 is compact yet robust. It measures 14 inches (side to side) by 5 1/8th inches (front to back). With the flip-out feet folded in the keyboard has a flat profile that sits about 1.25 inches high from the bottom of the case to the top of the keycaps. When using the flip-out feet in the inclined position it sits roughly 1.75 inches high at its tallest point. On my scale this mechanical keyboard weighs in at 2 pounds 1 ounce.

Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 weighed on scale

When it comes to noteworthy features the list is a bit small. The MK01 is a pretty basic mechanical keyboard. No media keys. No programmability. No RGB, but it does have white backlit keys by way of SMD-LEDs on the PCB. The backlight can be adjusted with 5 levels of brightness or turned off completely using the Fn + Up/Down Arrow keys. The manual is in Chinese, but as far as I can tell there are no patterns or dynamic profiles. I tried many Fn key combos and brightness adjustment was all I could find.

The backlight is more for function than aesthetics. The LEDs have a tinge of yellow and the white hue isn’t overly bright or harsh. Very easy on the eyes in a dark room. The backlit legends light up very consistently. No dim areas on the more spread out legends, such as Ctrl. Every character on the keyboard is evenly lit.

White LED backlit keys with orange for enabled lock keys

The Windows key has a locked mode than can be toggled on or off by pressing Fn + Windows key. The Windows and other lock keys (Caps and Scroll) light up orange when engaged.

Key rollover is one area where the MK01 is lacking. It doesn’t have NKRO. Not even 6-key rollover. That’s right, we’re talking 2-key rollover. This is fine for normal typing, but could prove problematic for gaming under certain circumstances as it limits the number of keys that can be pressed simultaneously.

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 is a wired mechanical keyboard. It includes a white Micro USB cable that’s detachable for easy replacement by the user. The cable isn’t braided, just a standard PVC jacket. It connects at the back of the keyboard on the left side. No cable management or routing options as the case is designed to be completely smooth and flat for aesthetic reasons. The cable measures just over 5 feet in length, which should be long enough for most desk setups.

White Micro USB cable (detachable, non-braided)

The keyboard has 4 feet in total on the bottom of the aluminum case. Two rubber tipped flip-out feet that raise the typing angle and 2 rubber feet in the front. The front feet are about 1 inch long, rectangular in shape (with rounded corners) and thin.

Bottom of aluminum case with 4 feet

While sitting flat the rubber tipped portion of the flip-out feet don’t really make solid contact with the desk. As a consequence the keyboard is easy to move around in this orientation. When the flip-out feet are in use the traction is more dependable with much less gliding around on smooth surfaces. Adding a rubber coating to the flat portion of the flip-out feet in the rear would have been helpful for those who prefer typing in the non-inclined profile.

Rubber tipped flip-out feet

Visually this is a stunning mechanical keyboard. The bottom case is a solid piece of aluminum with a satin/sandblasted texture. The flip-out feet conceal 2 small screws that secure the feet to the case, but other than that there’s no visible hardware. It looks and even feels premium. The top case is plastic, but still has a premium look. It’s white with a glossy finish and sits flush with the aluminum case. The corners of the aluminum case and plastic top plate are rounded.

Rounded corners of plastic top plate and aluminum case

Normally I don’t like glossy finishes on any of my computer equipment, especially something meant to be handled as much as a keyboard, but it doesn’t really detract from the look. The glossy surface will collect finger prints and smudges more easily than a matte texture, but it’s not nearly as noticeable on white vs black.

2-tone white/silver color combination

The visual aesthetics of this keyboard were obviously a priority. The Apple inspired 2-tone white/silver color combination, minimalist design and rounded corners come together to produce what is in my opinion a sleek, exquisite TKL mechanical keyboard. They even mounted the PCB and backplate to an internal plastic plate to avoid marring the bottom of the case with exposed hardware.

Switches

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 is only available in one switch type, TTC Red (linear), a MX compatible Chinese clone switch. Cherry MX copycats have gained in popularity over the last couple years. New MX compatible switches keep popping up left and right. Prior to using this keyboard I had no experience with TTC switches and only knew of one other keyboard (ROCCAT Suora) that uses this brand.

TTC Red linear switches with 1 TTC Black for spacebar

Some MX compatible switch brands have successfully separated themselves from Cherry. Gateron, for example, produce switches that are ultra smooth with clear housings and various actuation forces. Outemu clicky switches have a distinct sound that many users prefer over Cherry MX.

Closeup view of TTC linear switchesThese TTC Red switches are basically direct copies of Cherry MX Red. They have identical characteristics. Same actuation force and actuation point. Black housings. Relatively smooth though a little scratchy; especially compared to the Gaterons I was using in the weeks prior for the Anne Pro review. The space bar uses a heavier TTC Black linear switch.

Reading the official specifications from TTC makes me think the tolerances for these switches probably aren’t as tight as Cherry’s. And honestly that’s not a major deal. Being a less expensive, cheaper made version of Cherry MX switches isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, these switches may have a fatal flaw.

Problematic Double Tapping

I encountered one very concerning issue with the MK01. It involves fast double tapping. If you rapidly press the same key in very quick succession the keyboard will frequently only register the first keystroke. Keep in mind this can happen with any switch if you press a key and don’t allow the switch to return back to the reset point. The Filter Keys option in Windows operating systems can also cause this behavior if enabled.

Neither was the case here as I was fully removing my finger from the key in between these fast double taps (it was definitely hitting the reset point) and Filter Keys was disabled during my testing of the MK01. There seems to be additional delay after hitting the reset point before the switch is allowed to register another keystroke. Not sure whether this is a physical problem with the switch or a programming/firmware blunder (more likely). Whatever the cause, it’s a pain to deal with.

I’m not that quick of a typist (only average around 70 WPM), so this didn’t personally cause me problems while typing normally. If your typing speed is very high, say 100+ WPM, I could see it potentially being an issue for words with the same character side-by-side, i.e. “foot” will become “Fot”.

On the other hand, I found it hugely problematic during gaming sessions. The ability to pull off a fast double tap without fail is vital in many games. Over the years I’ve developed fast reactions for double tapping. My muscle memory leads to always tapping as fast as I possibly can. On this keyboard I have to deliberately think and slow myself down for double tapping to work 100% of the time.

It’s still possible to register double taps on this keyboard, but if you have faster than average fingers you’ll find many of your inputs go unregistered. It’s inconsistent as hell. This complication (plus the fact it only has 2-key rollover) will be a deal breaker for those considering the Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 for use as a gaming keyboard. As such, I can’t recommend it for gamers. And to be fair, it isn’t marketed as a gaming keyboard at all.

Keycaps

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 features doubleshot ABS/Polycarbonate keycaps with backlit (translucent) legends in OEM profile. ABS is mainly used for keycaps because it’s an easy to mold material that’s also cheaper than PBT. There are downsides of ABS. White ABS keycaps will yellow with age and their surface quickly becomes glossy (shines) with wear. ABS is also much more susceptible to damage from chemicals and certain types of cleaning products.

Doubleshot ABS keycaps in OEM profile

I personally prefer dye-sublimation, but doubleshot is also a “premium” method of applying legends (characters that identify a key). Doubleshot injection molding is the process of creating a legend directly from the keycap material. With this method the legend becomes part of the keycap itself, not just printed on the surface layer. Doubleshot characters are durable (they can’t wear off like with pad printing) and sit level with the keycap surface, so as to not alter the feel of the key.

I like the font they have chosen for the legends. It’s relatively normal and visually amiable. The gaps in the closed characters (a common trait in cheap doubleshot keycaps) is also smaller than most. Definitely could be better, but nowhere near as unappealing as the average “gaming” typography. Homing bumps are located on the F and J keys so touch typists can easily identify the home row.

The surface is lightly textured with a matte finish that still feels on the smooth side. They’re also relatively thin keycaps, though the larger keys that require stabilization (Shift, Backspace, spacebar etc.) are of a medium thickness. The photo below shows a comparison between this keyboard’s thin 1u keys and a thicker stabilized key. First time I’ve seen such a difference in thickness from keycaps on the same keyboard.

Photo showing keycap thickness

Aside from being doubleshot, these are fairly low-budget keycaps. Not low-quality per se, but made to be affordable. Nothing special. About what you would expect from stock keycaps on a $70 mechanical keyboard.

Stabilizers

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 is yet another mechanical keyboard that makes use of Cherry style stabilizers (white) to prevent binding and wobble on the larger sized keys. The last couple mechanical keyboards I reviewed had surprisingly crisp Cherry style stabs. They can often feel mushy, which I’m disappointed to report is the case with the MK01. This spongy sensation usually requires clipping of the stabilizers to see improvement.

White Cherry Style stabilizers

At least they sound great. There’s virtually zero rattle on the stabilized keys (the spacebar has a tiny bit that’s barely noticeable). Probably one of the biggest reasons typing on this keyboard sounds so pleasing, along with the multi-layered construction that reduces audible hollowness.

Case, Build Quality & Internals

The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 may have been designed with a form over function mindset, but build materials definitely weren’t sacrificed. The main portion of the case is aluminum. It’s the reverse of many so called “aluminum” mechanical keyboards that simply integrate the metal switch backplate as the top plate of a mostly plastic case.

The switches are mounted to a steel backplate. As you would expect, combining an aluminum case with steel backplate produces a rigid, unyielding structure. It has absolutely no flex when applying pressure to the sides or center of the keyboard.

The PCB, backplate and switches don’t mount directly to the aluminum. Instead, they are sandwiched between 2 plastic layers held together with small torx screws. One layer being the visible top plate and the other a piece of plastic with cut outs for the switches. This multi-layer construction has the added effect of sound dampening that minimizes the hollow/echo sound while typing.

The flip-out feet are my only area of concern for build quality. One of the feet on my review sample arrived with a small crack in the plastic. It still functions perfectly and holds the keyboard steady. Really only a cosmetic defect for now, but the long-term durability is in question.

Flip-out foot with small crack

The packaging was strong and protective, so I don’t believe this damage is shipping related. If not a shipping mishap this may point to some quality control issues or just a bit of bad luck. Since the crack is small I should be able to fix it adequately with a drop of super glue.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

I really like the look, feel and typing sound of the Xiaomi Yuemi MK01. The aluminum case is beautiful and the build quality is generally excellent. It’s a pleasure to type on and anyone who owns a Mac will appreciate the aesthetics.

Unfortunately the performance, especially for gaming, is not up to par because of the double tap issue. Not to mention being limited to 2-key rollover is rather antiquated for a modern keyboard. If you’re a hardcore gamer or extremely fast typist this probably isn’t the mech for you. Those niggles aside, everyone else should find the Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 to be a solid TKL with above average build quality, good ergonomics and attractive design.

Buy the Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 TKL Mechanical Keyboard

+ Pros

  • Feels comfortable to type on and sounds even better.
  • Looks fantastic with 2-tone silver/white color scheme.
  • TKL form factor is compact and more ergonomic than full size keyboards.
  • Detachable Micro USB cable.
  • All standard key sizes for easier keycap replacement.
  • Doubleshot keycaps.
  • Adequate, non-gaming focused legend typeface.
  • Backlighting is more functional than flashy.
  • Rigid, heavy and well built structure.
  • Aluminum case looks and feels high quality.
  • Sits flat for a low profile or feet can be raised for typing at the perfect incline.

– Cons

  • Inability to consistently register quickly input double taps hinder gaming performance, potentially bad for fast typing speeds.
  • Only has 2-key rollover.
  • No English documentation. Included instructions are in Chinese only.
  • Somewhat thin ABS keycaps that will yellow and shine with age.
  • TTC Chinese clone switches are relatively unknown and unproven, have questionable long-term reliability and lower tolerances.
  • Feet provide less traction when sitting flat without making use of the rubber tipped flip-out feet.

This concludes my review of the Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 TKL Mechanical Keyboard. For those interested it can be purchased from Banggood.com (use coupon code ca08d7 for 20% off, expires September 17th). If you own the MK01 and would like to share your own opinions about it please leave a message in the comments section below.

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