Mechanical keyboards are expensive, especially when compared to typical membrane based keyboards. A high quality mech with solid build quality, durable PBT keycaps and switches from a well known brand (Cherry, Matias, Topre, etc.) will generally set you back in the neighborhood of $150. Over the past couple years a barrage of low-budget mechanical keyboards have hit the market. These boards are very economical, but they typically cut a few corners with build quality. They usually make use of MX style clone switches, not genuine Cherry switches. You’re also not paying a premium for the name brand.
This type of product has made mechanical keyboards a more viable option for the budget conscious crowd. The Drevo Gramr 75% mechanical keyboard I’m reviewing today is one of those economical options. Let’s test this cheap mechanical keyboard and see if it’s possible to provide good build quality, attractive design, reliability, and performance for under $50. Continue reading
An interesting development has occurred today as Cherry, who are well known for their popular line of MX mechanical keyboard switches, now has new ownership. Cherry was previously a subsidiary under the control of technology group ZF Friedrichshafen AG. They have been acquired by GENUI. GENUI is a private investment firm who specifically targets medium-sized businesses in German-speaking countries. Continue reading
Here I am again, reviewing another TKL (TenKeyLess) mechanical keyboard. A few weeks back I reviewed the Redragon K553-RGB USAS, a low-budget TKL mechanical keyboard with RGB backlighting. It was a decent mech, but I did encounter complications with it. There was also some obvious corner cutting in build materials and design to reach such a low price point.
The same can’t be said for the next TKL mech I’ll be discussing below, the Max Keyboard Blackbird with blue ambient side lighting and Cherry MX Red linear switches. Continue reading to learn more about this high-quality TKL and determine whether the premium price is justified. Continue reading
If you haven’t noticed by now, the two most popular trends in mechanical keyboards among gamers and enthusiasts are compactness and RGB backlighting. A compact keyboard has one huge advantage over full size boards. Ergonomics. Fans of small form factor mechanical keyboards appreciate how much space they free up the for their mouse, allowing for greater range in mouse positioning and less hand movement to input data.
RGB backlighting, on the other hand, is less practical and mostly in demand for aesthetic purposes. The goal being to appear as flashy as possible so they might draw attention from potential buyers. Today I am reviewing the Redragon K553-RGB USAS, a TKL (TenKeyLess) mechanical keyboard that follows both these trends with omission of the numpad and addition of per-key RGB LED backlighting. Continue reading
There are certain words, phrases and acronyms used by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts that will leave the average person who’s unfamiliar with the subject scratching their head. As with most hobbies, the terminology can be confusing and it continues to evolve as the hobby grows. The purpose of this glossary is to provide a quick, easy way to find definitions for the terms you don’t know and expand your mechanical keyboard vocabulary. Continue reading
I recently bought the new RGB version of the popular Redragon USAS K553 mechanical keyboard for testing and review purposes (look for that in a couple weeks). I connected it to my Windows 10 machine and watched as the LED lights went through a “boot up” pattern. I opened up Firefox and tried typing a URL. Nothing happened. I pressed down the Windows key. Nothing. Uh-oh. Not a single key on the keyboard would input a character once pressed. Was my shiny new mech dead on arrival? Read on to find out. Continue reading
Break out your soldering iron, the MiniVan kit is back on Massdrop. The MiniVan is a 40% fully programmable (all keys) mechanical keyboard with staggered keys. The full kit includes a CNC milled aluminum case and mount plate, PCB, Cherry stabs, cone shaped feet, 46 switches in your brand of choice (Cherry MX, Gateron, Zealios or Matias), MX compatible PBT keycaps (laser etched legends or blank) and a detachable Mini USB cable. Continue reading
There are two primary types of keycap puller tools used in the removal and replacement of keycaps from a mechanical keyboard. The wire type, which is constructed from two thin metal wires attached to some sort of handle. The other is known as a plastic ring; a simple design with a ring shape and two prongs molded into a single plastic piece. Plastic ring pullers are commonly bundled with mechanical keyboards. Which of these keycap removal tools is better at its job? That’s what we’re discussing today. Continue reading
Mechanical or rubber dome? They’re actually a little of both. Topre produces a electrostatic capacitive switch (key actuation is signaled electrically) that many users consider a hybrid between rubber dome and mechanical switches. Others simply aren’t willing to label them as mechanical because they make use of a rubber dome. Let’s discuss a few key facts about Topre switches and you can form your own opinion. Continue reading
Up for review today is one of the best budget mechanical keyboards money can buy. Starting at $40, the Qisan Magicforce 68 is a compact 65% keyboard comparable to boards costing two or three times its asking price. However, the model being examined now is the slightly more premium version, which adds a white backlight and genuine Cherry MX (Brown in this example) switches. The cheaper model uses MX clones.
The premium version, while not quite as budget friendly as the $40 basic model, is still a good value at the current price range of $60-$70; especially if you value real Cherry MX switches over the various clones. Is it worth the extra $30 over the non-backlit version with “inferior” switches? Read on to see the results. Continue reading