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My First Mechanical Keyboard - "FIRSTBLOOD ONLY Game"??? AK35I Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

CT854
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So, a bit of background.

 

I've never been one to spend a bunch of money on peripherals. I've agonized over the decision of whether I should drop money on more premium peripherals to replace the aging bottom-shelf generic mouse I have, and the Logitech no-name wireless keyboard I used before that. Every time, I've decided against it, because I can't justify spending $70+ on a mouse, or $100+ on a keyboard. Sure, I've wanted to dabble in mechanical keyboards and I do want to experience the premium feel of a nice, big mouse that perfectly fits my large hands, but I figured that as long as I'm unwilling to pay more than $20 for a peripheral, I can't exactly have my cake and eat it too.

 

Well, turns out that given a Newegg sale and my old Logitech keyboard rapidly giving up the ghost, I could have my cake and eat it too!

 

Disclaimer: I bought this keyboard on Newegg for $19.99. It appears to be out of stock there and the Amazon listing for the (I think?) same model seems to cost significantly more. I'm going to be talking about whether it was worth it at $19.99. Also, I've only had it for 3 weeks. There's still time for this thing to commit harakiri.

 

As I mentioned before, I wanted to dabble in mechanical keyboards. Given how much they usually cost, it isn't something you dabble in so much as you solicit mountains of VC angel investor money to build. However, as my luck would have it, I'd have a chance to feel the clicky glory of blue switches. However, cognizant of the fact that this was a suspiciously cheap keyboard, I was fully prepared for it to be a paperweight piece of crap.

 

But you know what?

 

296111513_1244582579610060_81297906600304085_n.thumb.jpg.d3209091f3d7eafc75f0a5a0bf7113a7.jpg

 

It... works. It's totally fine. It functions as intended and even clicks the way I want it to, putting me on clicky Cloud Nine. And quite frankly? That's all I can ask for at $20 and some change for tax.

 

Now, at a higher price point, there are some things to point out.

 

These are "blue switches". No mention if they are any particular kind of blue switch, but I'm just going to guess that they are proprietary of some sort. I would highly doubt that these are hotswap switches either. As expected, though, you can pop off the keycaps fairly easily, revealing the "blue switch". They pop back on pretty easily too. As I'm a mechanical keyboard noob, I don't know if the switch is keyed in such a way that you would or wouldn't be able to swap out the keycaps for your own custom ones. I frankly have no idea about that, but I just thought I'd bring it up.

 

297127017_782877502738446_5493026565167010945_n.thumb.jpg.f431d16cb029c49adde4bccf6b10ec8b.jpg

 

Finally, the typing experience is... good. It's not amazing, but it's an improvement over an ewaste membrane keyboard for sure. The switches feel cheap, but, again, feel better than a membrane. Something worth pointing out is that this keyboard is both wired and 100%. This was bad and amazing for me, respectively. I vastly prefer wireless keyboards, but I figured I'd take the plunge for a chance to try mechanical. However, this being 100% was amazing for me because of my neurotic obsession with having a numpad at all times.

 

Overall, my final verdict is, it's great at $20, but I probably wouldn't pay more than $30-$35 for this keyboard. It's alright. Functional, a decent first experience at a clicky mechanical keyboard, and, if you find it at the right price, basically comparable to a decent membrane keyboard and definitely worth considering. I'm sure that above $40, you start to run into decent competition for better budget mechanical keyboards that come from more recognizable brands. Then again, most people aren't as cheap as I am, so take that how you will. For NA folks, I think EVGA B-stock has $50 mechanical keyboards on sale during Midweek Madness on Wednesdays (they're originally $145 so extremely not worth it at that price, but probably worth it at the sale price).

It's entirely possible that I misinterpreted/misread your topic and/or question. This happens more often than I care to admit. Apologies in advance.

 

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Membrane keyboards turn out to be a waste of money even if they’re cheap. Mechanical keyboards last so much longer that even though they are massively more expensive over the long term they are actually cheaper.  Because of the number of cheap membrane keyboards you are going to go through.  I plan on getting one as soon as my current keyboard dies.

Not a pro, not even very good.  I’m just old and have time currently.  Assuming I know a lot about computers can be a mistake.

 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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13 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

Membrane keyboards turn out to be a waste of money even if they’re cheap. Mechanical keyboards last so much longer that even though they are massively more expensive over the long term they are actually cheaper.  Because of the number of cheap membrane keyboards you are going to go through.  I plan on getting one as soon as my current keyboard dies.

Funnily enough, this hasn't been my experience. I remember getting that keyboard my first year of college. I just finished my third year of grad school, so it lasted me a good 7 years.

It's entirely possible that I misinterpreted/misread your topic and/or question. This happens more often than I care to admit. Apologies in advance.

 

珠江 (Pearl River): CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X; Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (WIFI); RAM: G.Skill TridentZ RGB 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 @3200MHz CL16; Cooling Solution: NZXT Kraken Z53 240mm AIO, w/ 2x Lian Li ST120 RGB Fans; GPU: EVGA Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 10GB FTW3 Ultra; StorageSamsung 970 EVO, 1TB; PSU: Corsair RM850x; Case: Lian Li Lancool II Mesh RGB, Black; Display(s): Primary: ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM (1440p 27" 240 Hz); Secondary: Acer Predator XB1 XB241H bmipr (1080p 24" 144 Hz, 165 Hz OC); Case Fans: 1x Lian Li ST120 RGB Fan, 3x stock RGB fans; Capture Card: Elgato HD60 Pro

 

翻生 (Resurrection): CPU: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2620 v2; Motherboard: ASUS Z9PR-D12 (C602 chipset) SSI-EEB; RAM: Crucial 28GB (7x4GB) DDR3 ECC RAM; Cooling Solution: 2x Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO; GPU: 1x Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE, 1x EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 FE; StorageCrucial MX500, 500GB; PSU: Super Flower Leadex III 750W; Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro; Expansion Card: TP-Link Archer T4E AC1200 PCIe Wi-Fi Adapter Display(s): Dell P2214HB (1080p 22" 60 Hz)

 

壯麗 (Glorious): Mainboard: Framework Mainboard w/ Intel Core i5-1135G7; RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 SODIMM @3200MHz CL22; eGPU: Razer Core X eGPU Enclosure w/ (between GPUs at the moment); Storage: Samsung 970 EVO Plus, 1TB; Display(s): Internal Display: Framework Display; External Display: Acer (unknown model) (1080p, 21" 75 Hz)

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6 hours ago, CT854 said:

Funnily enough, this hasn't been my experience. I remember getting that keyboard my first year of college. I just finished my third year of grad school, so it lasted me a good 7 years.

For me they last 2.  Becomes a question of how many you go through I guess.  Or how long a period you want to use.  There are buckling spring mechanical keyboards from the 1980s that are still good.

Edited by Bombastinator

Not a pro, not even very good.  I’m just old and have time currently.  Assuming I know a lot about computers can be a mistake.

 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/11/2022 at 8:41 AM, CT854 said:

, I don't know if the switch is keyed in such a way that you would or wouldn't be able to swap out the key caps for your own custom ones. I frankly have no idea about that, but I just thought I'd bring it up.

They look like they support all cherry cross style key caps(the bulk of the ones on the market) and have standard key cap sizes (although I'm just eyeballing it). The one thing to be aware of is to not use cherry profile key caps as because of the switches being flipped to let the lit shine through better, cherry profile key caps may have interference 

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On 8/11/2022 at 2:41 PM, CT854 said:

So, a bit of background.

 

I've never been one to spend a bunch of money on peripherals. I've agonized over the decision of whether I should drop money on more premium peripherals to replace the aging bottom-shelf generic mouse I have, and the Logitech no-name wireless keyboard I used before that. Every time, I've decided against it, because I can't justify spending $70+ on a mouse, or $100+ on a keyboard. Sure, I've wanted to dabble in mechanical keyboards and I do want to experience the premium feel of a nice, big mouse that perfectly fits my large hands, but I figured that as long as I'm unwilling to pay more than $20 for a peripheral, I can't exactly have my cake and eat it too.

 

Well, turns out that given a Newegg sale and my old Logitech keyboard rapidly giving up the ghost, I could have my cake and eat it too!

 

Disclaimer: I bought this keyboard on Newegg for $19.99. It appears to be out of stock there and the Amazon listing for the (I think?) same model seems to cost significantly more. I'm going to be talking about whether it was worth it at $19.99. Also, I've only had it for 3 weeks. There's still time for this thing to commit harakiri.

 

As I mentioned before, I wanted to dabble in mechanical keyboards. Given how much they usually cost, it isn't something you dabble in so much as you solicit mountains of VC angel investor money to build. However, as my luck would have it, I'd have a chance to feel the clicky glory of blue switches. However, cognizant of the fact that this was a suspiciously cheap keyboard, I was fully prepared for it to be a paperweight piece of crap.

 

But you know what?

 

 

 

It... works. It's totally fine. It functions as intended and even clicks the way I want it to, putting me on clicky Cloud Nine. And quite frankly? That's all I can ask for at $20 and some change for tax.

 

Now, at a higher price point, there are some things to point out.

 

These are "blue switches". No mention if they are any particular kind of blue switch, but I'm just going to guess that they are proprietary of some sort. I would highly doubt that these are hotswap switches either. As expected, though, you can pop off the keycaps fairly easily, revealing the "blue switch". They pop back on pretty easily too. As I'm a mechanical keyboard noob, I don't know if the switch is keyed in such a way that you would or wouldn't be able to swap out the keycaps for your own custom ones. I frankly have no idea about that, but I just thought I'd bring it up.

 

 

 

Finally, the typing experience is... good. It's not amazing, but it's an improvement over an ewaste membrane keyboard for sure. The switches feel cheap, but, again, feel better than a membrane. Something worth pointing out is that this keyboard is both wired and 100%. This was bad and amazing for me, respectively. I vastly prefer wireless keyboards, but I figured I'd take the plunge for a chance to try mechanical. However, this being 100% was amazing for me because of my neurotic obsession with having a numpad at all times.

 

Overall, my final verdict is, it's great at $20, but I probably wouldn't pay more than $30-$35 for this keyboard. It's alright. Functional, a decent first experience at a clicky mechanical keyboard, and, if you find it at the right price, basically comparable to a decent membrane keyboard and definitely worth considering. I'm sure that above $40, you start to run into decent competition for better budget mechanical keyboards that come from more recognizable brands. Then again, most people aren't as cheap as I am, so take that how you will. For NA folks, I think EVGA B-stock has $50 mechanical keyboards on sale during Midweek Madness on Wednesdays (they're originally $145 so extremely not worth it at that price, but probably worth it at the sale price).

There should be an indentation/bevel of the brand name on the top clear enclosure.

At that price though, most likely it's Outemu

 

I've been in your shoes. Just changed to a linear mechanical around almost a year ago.

Felt lucky I bought a hotswap one. Dropped a book to the keyboard awhile ago, some keys sometimes register twice after that. Changed the switch to a new one, and it's working normal again.

Mine is pretty much Outemu, it's a proprietary ultra low profile from Redragon, but pretty sure it's made by Outemu.

 

I'd buy a better brand, but I am too used to old cheap logitech membrane profile (low), and this Redragon almost the same profile as my old membrane.

There's corsair low profile, but they aren't hotswap.

 

But hey, I'm glad you liked it. Don't start lubing it (although there isn't much to lube with clicky switch).
I started lubing some keys awhile ago, and ended up spending hours to lube all the keys after.

Although, my keyboard now is near silent @_@ (At the price of several days of back pain from lubing 108 keys)

 

My suggestion is to keep the lighting brightness as low as you can bear it.

Cheap LEDs break/burn fast. And replacing SMD LED is annoying as f. Although with full size switch like yours there's a chance they use a non SMD led.

 

Is this yours ?
https://ajazzstore.com/products/ajazz-ak35i-hot-swap?variant=40371647381557

 

Quote

However, this being 100% was amazing for me because of my neurotic obsession with having a numpad at all times.

I know the pain.

If I ever change keyboard, probably gonna take a TKL one, then use an additional standard numpad.

Unless I'm drunk enough to buy an ASUS with their detachable numpad. But eh.... unlikely, since it's a standard profile.

There is approximately 99% chance I edited my post

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The people who spend $70 on mice perplex me a bit.  I can see an esports athlete doing it, or even more, but beyond a high poll rate mouse that fits your hand well and has what buttons you want where you want them it doesn’t make sense to me.  One can generally do that for $40. Keyboards make more sense since the cheapo $10-$15 keyboards add up kinda fast when they wear out.  If you think of a $100 keyboards as being 7-10 cheapo keyboards they actually cost less in the long run.  If I keep a $100 keyboard for five years I’m money ahead. The $300 ones I still don’t get.  I don’t have to though.  They make sense if you use them all day.

Edited by Bombastinator

Not a pro, not even very good.  I’m just old and have time currently.  Assuming I know a lot about computers can be a mistake.

 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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39 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

The people who spend $70 on mice perplex me a bit.  I can see an esports athlete doing it, or even more, but beyond a high poll rate mouse that fits your hand well and has what buttons you want where you want them it doesn’t make sense to me.  One can generally do that for $40. Keyboards make more sense since the cheapo $10-$15 keyboards add up kinda fast when they wear out.  If you think of a $100 keyboards as being 7-10 cheapo keyboards they actually cost less in the long run.  If I keep a $100 keyboard for five years I’m money ahead. The $300 ones I still don’t get.  I don’t have to though.  They make sense if you use them all day.

I see where you coming from.

Wanted a mouse with more than 2 side buttons for macro and stuffs, but small enough because I claw & finger grip all the time. Rival 500 fitted the requirement, but the price was bleh. So I let go of the thought.

 

I just found then bought two Rival 500 second hand for like $20 each recently (now a discontinued product), Opened, cleaned everything, replaced some switches.

With new parts and all, each mouse costs me like $25-30 total.

 

But yeah, even after using it and liking it, I don't think I'd spend the money for it's MSRP.

 

Even for keyboard I took the cheap way out by going Redragon (albeit there's also profile matter). But yep, the choice was Corsair Low Profile, Keychron or Redragon K618.

$65 for the K618, much lower than Corsair than Keychron, but sometimes I still feel I'm crazy enough to pay that much for keyboard.

And now that I am liking the flexibility of a hotswap, I don't think I can go non hotswap in the future.....

 

I'm actually amazed your membrane lasted only 2 years, my last membrane before this mechanical lasted like 4 atleast.

Totally abused it too, dirty as f (was smoking back then).

There is approximately 99% chance I edited my post

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know why some people here are even talking about keyboard life will it be membrane or mechanical. Never in my life I saw a died keyboard and I'm talking mostly on membrane keyboards. Sure, mouses break often, but keyboards? We have some very cheap $5 membrane keyboards and it's been years and none of them died. I even have a friend who has some cheap membrane keyboard for almost 10 years and that keyboard is still working, so I really don't understand why some people talk about keyboard lives...

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I’ve killed stacks of them.  It’s a lot like power tools.  If you use a drill once a year for 5 minutes a cheapo thing is going to be great.  If you’re an electrician or something though and you use it all day every day you buy the strongest best one you can get and you STILL go through them.  Boots are a lot like this too.  I have no need for $400 boots. I know people that do though.  And it’s actually the cheapest thing for them.  You gove an electrician that cheapo thing it may not make it through the week, and the electrician will be complaining about its shitty ergonomics and performance the whole time.

Edited by Bombastinator

Not a pro, not even very good.  I’m just old and have time currently.  Assuming I know a lot about computers can be a mistake.

 

Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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