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Nowak

DSI 90-key keyboard: *the* cheapest Cherry MX keyboard, but is it any good?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

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Hello, friends. Today, I'm going to bring you a review of a rather, interesting keyboard, the DSI 90-key USB Multimedia keyboard with Cherry MX Reds. What makes this interesting, you may ask?

I paid only $20 for this, new.

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For reference, to get 90 Cherry MX Reds, you'd have to pay about $31. This keyboard cost me less than the switches. But that's not all, the unusual qualities of this board don't end there. This keyboard has a 3 port USB 2.0 hub built into it, but it's not powered by just the USB port. The keyboard comes with a hecking power plug.

 

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The "wall wart"-style plug connects to the keyboard via a round pin near the USB port.

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This is, according to the Newegg listing, to provide additional power to the USB hub. Thumbs up for that, I guess? This keyboard also features dedicated volume keys, a play/pause key that I can't seem to get working and the Fn key, along the left side of the board.

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"But wait", you ask, "what goes where the Fn key usually goes?" Well the answer to that would be a 1u Windows key for, some inexplicable reason. The bezel around the board is rather large, and with those media keys taking up a row of the keyboard then everything's kinda, shifted over to the right; it was wicked awkward getting used to this layout. I repeatedly hit the Mute key on accident during my testing period.

 

The caps appear to be pad printed ABS, but the ink used for the lettering is rather cheap. The N key in particular shows a lot of wear after less than a week. Since the keyboard uses a completely non-standard layout - seriously, not even my Kira is this non-standard - I don't believe that finding better quality caps will be easy. They are not very thick and will produce a bit of sound as the user types. As far as the typing experience goes, let me say right off the bat that I do not like linear switches. I prefer the feedback that tactile switches provide as I type, and since Cherry MX Reds are so light it's insanely easy to accidentally actuate keys you don't want to type. Cherry MX Reds themselves are particularly scratchy; it feels like I'm typing on sandpaper. They are not very smooth at all, although this can probably be rectified by lubing the switches. As far as I can tell these are genuine Cherry MX Reds, but based on this first impression of a Cherry switch in a while I think I'm better off with "cheap Chinese clones" like Kailh. Actually, the moment I post this I'm going back to my Box Royals because they provide a much more satisfying typing experience, in my opinion. Ugh.

 

I have heard that linear switches are supposed to be "better" for gaming compared to tactile switches, because of their more instant response, but I noticed no difference in my performance when playing games on my PC compared to my usual tactiles.

 

Now, the positive side of things is, because this keyboard is so cheap (as of right now you can buy it for $22 on Newegg) there isn't much risk involved with modding, compared to a more expensive keyboard. I'm not sure when I'll try my hand at it but I'm pretty sure I'll be desoldering the board and replacing the switches with better ones down the road. Although, as I have previously stated, I do not like linear switches, so I will likely replace them with tactile switches. Maybe then I can also find a better-quality keycap set.

 

Oh, and for those of you wondering, the USB cable is non-detachable, and there are no flip-up feet on the bottom of the board.

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The angle, which is rather flat, is the only one you get. Better get used to it, especially if you want this to be your main board.

 

The build quality is surprisingly good for a keyboard that costs this much. The case is plastic, and there's not a lot of heft to it, but there's almost no flex at all. I'd assume that a rather thick, strong mounting plate is being used to give the board its rigidity. I'd have to check to make sure of this but damn is this thing strong!

 

I bought this board for laughs because of its absurdly cheap price, but instead I'm walking away from it impressed because of how good it is in spite of its price. If you really want a cheap Cherry MX Red keyboard then this is the one to get, because there's really nothing that you can lose considering it costs so little. In fact, I'd say that because it costs so little, there's almost no risk if you decide to replace the switches with better ones. Just be aware that doing so will void your warranty, but... are you really going to cry if you break a $20 product? You've got nothing to lose with this one.

 

Nowie out.


Mechanical keyboard aficionado, professional Vulpix

Mechanical Keyboard Club | Don't buy "gaming" keyboards, yo

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$22! That almost seems like they're selling it at cost lol.

Too bad Cherry Reds make me physically ill.

Nice write up!


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, Den-Fi said:

$22! That almost seems like they're selling it at cost lol.

Too bad Cherry Reds make me physically ill.

Nice write up!

Yeah, they've gotta be selling it at a loss. But hey, it's so cheap you could probably easily replace the switches with actually good ones at no risk whatsoever.


Mechanical keyboard aficionado, professional Vulpix

Mechanical Keyboard Club | Don't buy "gaming" keyboards, yo

Please quote me so I can see that you replied.

 

Be proud of who you are.

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