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Vitalius

My review of the Monoprice Blue Switch Mechanical Keyboard.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Introduction:
Hi guys,

I had my first impressions and then a disassembly of the keyboard, so now I figured it was time to review it in depth. However, understand that "in depth", for a keyboard, can only go so far. It is a keyboard. It types. "How well it does it" and "How much I enjoy it" is the in depth part. :P

Now, the first thing I should note is that it's price is low, for a Mechanical Keyboard at least. At $57, without taxes or shipping, that is a steal. However, in my use of it, I have come to understand exactly how and why it is that cheap. Let me preface explaining that, by simply saying that it is a good keyboard and I have enjoyed using it for the time I have had it (6 months so far). 

Covering the Costs of a Low Price
I like to get the negatives out of the way first, as I prefer to end a review with positives rather than negatives. 

Firstly, the keys sound different. I am not talking about overall "all the keys on this keyboard sound different from other keyboard's keys", but many of the keys on this keyboard have a different sound to them than other keys on this exact same keyboard. In other words, some have a light click. Others have a strong click. Some barely have clicks at all. It is strange when you do notice it. 

Most (I am guesstimating about 85%+) have average clicks. It is the extremes I speak of in this.

In my disassembly of the keyboard, and removal of one of the switches (do not remove the switches, it will break them unless you want to resolder them again later), I found the metal clamp-type thing that allows the switch to make the click sound and have a tactile bump. In this particular switch, it was in place and strong. The click sound was an average between strong and light. I considered this to be a normal click for a Blue based on the click I heard from the Blue switch I obtained from www.wasdkeys.com's sample pack of switches. 

9498782166_b0c6a8fcdc_b.jpg

If you look at that picture above, in the black box in the upper left of the picture, that metal piece is what I speak of when I say "clamp". Not sure what else to call it.

My guess is that this clamp is slightly different in all the other switches and this decides the click noises' strength as well as feeling when typing. I get this guess from the fact that I disassembled another switch after the above one. I did not take pictures of it, however. 

In this other switch, the click noise was basically non-existent. It was a Blue without the click. Basically a brown, as a less resistant clamp means less actuation force needed. The metal clamp in this one was feeble. It was bent back permanently (it did not move back into place after pressing the key, basically) and so was never in contact with the switch. In my attempt to fix it by bending it back into place, it broke off.

These type of low quality clamps allowing the keyboard to be cheaper, imo. 

761b0078_vbattach197802.gifbrown-5227436.gif

You can see how having that metal clamp broken removes the click noise (since the white part is not held back to build up momentum to make the audible 'click').

Secondly, the keyboard advertises N-key rollover. However, in my uses of it, I have found to not be the case. It's $130, feature filled, Red Switch, Backlit, older brother has this feature, and according to the reviews, it works as it uses a PS/2 connector. 

This keyboard, sadly, uses USB, and from my nephew and I playing games at the same time (multiple monitors, games with "run in background" features) on this keyboard together, we have found that, at most, we can press 6 keys at once. Any more and it stops responding altogether. 

From taking it apart, it looks like, if the PS/2 connector has the same PCB plugins as this keyboard, you could just replace the USB connector with a PS/2 one and have N-key Rollover. How much one would cost, I have no idea. I also do not know how the software side of Keyboards work, and so I do not know if the keyboard has to have a different PCB setup for N-key rollover to actually be used.

9495999363_b6504b9065_b.jpg9498792002_61bb512dcf_b.jpg

It appears to be as simple as unplugging the USB connector cable and plugging in the PS/2 one in it's place. Appearances can be deceiving so take this information as you will. 

Later, I will be buying the Red Switch, feature filled, version of this keyboard. [Addendum: I bought the CM Quickfire TK for my Red Switch keyboard] I will likely be doing the same things to it (except, smarter, so that I do not break the switches like I did with this one). I will come back and compare them and see if this is possible then.

Lastly, the case is just the more expensive Red Switch version's without the features. Essentially re-used and I would guess these are the defective models that are still passable as lower tier cases. Regardless, having USB/Headset punch outs on the front of your Keyboard is just bothersome, at least for me. Aesthetically, because it implies that it is cheap (while the rest of the case, aside from the gloss, looks great to me). 

What does a Low Cost still give you?

A Blue Switch Mechanical Keyboard. 
 
For beginners or people who just want the feel of a Mechanical Keyboard without the large price, I still would recommend this for them. Yes, it does not have N-key rollover, but few applications require it (I had to be playing video games with another person on it to notice it, for example). Yes, it is glossy. And yes, a few keys can be defunct, but even then, I would say my money was well spent. 
 
The only thing that detracts from me enjoying the use of this keyboard is that two of the keys now no longer work. That is entirely my fault as I am the one who caused it. They worked (technically speaking) perfectly fine before I removed them from the Keyboard (thus my warning earlier about not doing it), and so the blame for that is not on Monoprice. Your keyboard, if you bought one, would work. Some keys might sound weird, but they would work.
 
As one reviewer stated, "It's a $15 keyboard with mechanical switches." which is, in just about every way, right.
 
The only thing I would say he is missing is the metal plate. It is very thick. It gives the keyboard a ton of durability and weight. This is definitely not a keyboard you want to carry around in your backpack (It is huge to me.) or anything similar. 
 

9495996795_0bc8b62b44_b.jpg

I tweeted @LinusTech and asked him to review this keyboard and his response was thus:

9504567184_bdc7fafc39_o.png

And in every sense of the phrase, he was right. 

Conclusion

Buy this keyboard if you just want a mechanical keyboard. Save up for a better one if you want more than that (such as a high quality mechanical keyboard with more features, i.e. N-key rollover, USB/Headset pass through, etc). 

I like to keep conclusions short. So there you go.

I gave it an 8 out of 10 on their website in the reviews section. I take price into consideration, and for the price, it is an 8 to me.

Thank you for reading. 

 


† Christian Member †

For my pertinent links to guides, reviews, and anything similar, go here, and look under the spoiler labeled such. A brief history of Unix and it's relation to OS X by Builder.

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Great review, but shouldn't this be moved to Member Reviews? I'll still save up for a more fleshed-out mech keyboard myself.

You are right. I would think it should. Glenwing liked it though and did not say/do anything. I guess this is just as appropriate as Member Reviews is. 

Good idea. I will be doing this with the Red Switch version, so look forward to that. Except I will not be breaking the switches this time. I realized after I took the switches out that I did not have to do that. I just had to take off their tops.


† Christian Member †

For my pertinent links to guides, reviews, and anything similar, go here, and look under the spoiler labeled such. A brief history of Unix and it's relation to OS X by Builder.

 

 

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This is a great review. I came across this and was considering, but I think I would rather spend a few bucks more for a more upscale product. My problem is that so many mechanical keyboards do not work in my system (Ducky, Corsair k60, Cooler Master, ...). I know someone on the forum who said he had the same problem and the new $180 Corsair keyboards worked for him in the "no software" mode. I wonder if I can get one to work if it has dedicated software (the keyboards plug in but my computer never knows what driver to use). I currently use a Steel Series Z-board, but I really want a mechanical keyboard. I have used them at work for ages.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is a great review. I came across this and was considering, but I think I would rather spend a few bucks more for a more upscale product. My problem is that so many mechanical keyboards do not work in my system (Ducky, Corsair k60, Cooler Master, ...). I know someone on the forum who said he had the same problem and the new $180 Corsair keyboards worked for him in the "no software" mode. I wonder if I can get one to work if it has dedicated software (the keyboards plug in but my computer never knows what driver to use). I currently use a Steel Series Z-board, but I really want a mechanical keyboard. I have used them at work for ages.

 

This keyboard uses basically the same casing as the Monoprice version, but costs $8 more at $65: http://www.mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=22

I have it in front of me and, so far, it's switches are better than the Monoprice keyboard's switches. They feel more uniform and sturdy I guess. 

You might try that one. The lights on the keyboard are a dim green and nothing like the ones on the Monoprice keyboard. Plus, it's slightly more compact than the Monoprice keyboard too.

Woah nice review dude:D

Thanks. :D


† Christian Member †

For my pertinent links to guides, reviews, and anything similar, go here, and look under the spoiler labeled such. A brief history of Unix and it's relation to OS X by Builder.

 

 

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This keyboard uses basically the same casing as the Monoprice version, but costs $8 more at $65: http://www.mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=22

I have it in front of me and, so far, it's switches are better than the Monoprice keyboard's switches. They feel more uniform and sturdy I guess.

You might try that one. The lights on the keyboard are a dim green and nothing like the ones on the Monoprice keyboard. Plus, it's slightly more compact than the Monoprice keyboard too.

Thanks. :D

damn I want that keyboard purely because of the enter key lol
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Posted · Original PosterOP

well when you break that one don't mess up the enter side of the board for me... lol

I promise nothing, but to try.


† Christian Member †

For my pertinent links to guides, reviews, and anything similar, go here, and look under the spoiler labeled such. A brief history of Unix and it's relation to OS X by Builder.

 

 

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@Vitalius keyboard doesn't feel bad and if it wasn't for the broken up arrow I probably would leave it like it is lol

only problem is it is so big(I have been using my small keyboard for like 2 years) and clicky but I do like the blues other then that so maybe I would like a keyboard with mx clears lol

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I made the mistake of buying this with NKRO being advertised...you can't even hold the DFJK keys at the same time. They claim that's a defect and have an RMA slip for me but I have my hopes a little low..

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