I woke up this morning and I was pleasantly surprised. While browsing /r/MechanicalKeyboards/ subreddit, I found out Ducky will be producing PBT Dye-Sub keycaps. Why is this good news? Many US based keyboard retailers stock Ducky products. This makes it easy to source as most full sets (tenkeyless and 104 sets) come from China and must be imported. I’m excited to see where this ends up!
I wanted to do a real quick review of the Corsair K90 MMO mechanial Keyboard. I picked this up from Amazon a few weeks ago and I had a chance to sit down with it for some time and form an opinion. Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who hasn’t been very serious about computer gaming in a few years. It’s just something i do to pass the time.
Where to begin? This particular unit is marketed to the MMO crowd. Corsair has split up their 2 mechanical units into 2 categories. FPS and MMO. As someone who’s played both quite a bit, I see this a pretty smart move. FPS keyboards focus around WASD for movement and the player uses the mouse for aiming. Most of the keyboard is largely ignored. MMO’s on the other hand, have hot keys spread out along the number line, function keys and for some (including me) had just about every letter mapped to at least something. Back lighting is important for users who aren’t great at touch typing so they can quickly snag the key need when raiding or PVP.
Let me clear a few things up. This board isn’t 100% mechanical like its similarly marketed rival the Razer Black Widow. The numberline, QWERTY keys, arrow keys and num pad are equipped with Cherry MX Red keys for gaming. The function keys, home block and macro keys are all rubber dome. What make this keyboard a disapointment is that the rubber domes are very low quailty. They are squishy, give almost 0 feedback and when you are typing on a cherry red and then hop over to use the delete key, you get a very bad taste in your mouth. Any Cherry switch is a joy to type on compared to RDs. So when you’re constantly making the transition between mech switches and RD it’s not a very enjoyable experience.
It may just be a personal preference but it’s not something i would accept from a $125 keyboard.
Cherry reds are a linear, low actuation force switch that is beloved my many and hated by some. I for one dislike cherry mx reds due to the simple fact that i haven’t played any PC game seriously in many years. I find myself typing much much more than gaming these days. That being said, reds may be a great switch for some, but not for others. It’s all personal preference.
Cherry Mx Red Switches – even though i personally don’t like them, it is a pro that it’s mechanical.
- Solid chassis construction – aluminum and plastic
- Nice media keys with a fantastic volume “barrel” that rolls up and down.
- Macro keys
- Very nice palm rest
- Uneven backlighting – this is caused by the mix of rubber dome and mechanical switches. You can see a distinct difference between the two types.
- Rubber domes on the home block, function keys and macros
- Cherry stabilizers under the large keys – personal preference
- A bit juvenile looking – a bit too “gamer” for me
I can’t say i would recommend this board. With rumors of the K95 and its full mechanical Cherry mx Red switches floating around, I would have to say pass!
Some stock photos of the K90. I didn’t get a chance to really take photos as I returned it.
A brief background into my keyboard history —
I was exposed to the world of computers at a young age. My mother worked a family owned heating and cooling manufacture for some time. She slaved away, day in and day out, entering data to spreadsheets down in the basement of the large brick building. I spent my summer vacations at a desk in the corner with my markers, drawing pictures to hang on the wall, as she clacked away at the old IBM model Ms that were littered about the place. Occasionally, one or two the IT guys would come down and grab a tower out of the back room and start tearing it down. For some reason, I was really intrigued by this. I always would get scolded for taking my toys apart or trying to modify them in some way. I finally got the courage up to ask one of them what they were doing. The rest was history. Over the next few years, I spent my time in the basement of that brick building, changing spindle IDE drives, CD roms, memory for the fun of it.
My first keyboard I used in my home was a NEC M 698790. I was in first grade when my parents decided it was time to get a “personal computer” for the house. I remember it being a lovely keyboard, similar to the ones that my mother had at her desk. I looked into getting more information on this and found this from Ripster.
“”The blue NEC switches activate at what feels like less than 2mm, then the click comes at like 4. Its quite a confusing switch. I find them quite lovely, but its not easy to get used to them.”
That keyboard sat on the family desk for many years. It was a joy to type on and much better than the OEM rubber dome keyboards that where coming with the Dells and HPs of the time.
From 1999-2005, i used various OEM rubber dome keyboards. IBM, Dell, HP – basically whatever I could easily get at the time. Like most people, I never realized that there was a difference between rubber dome switches and mechanical. I was joyfully ignorant…
In 2005, I picked up my first $100+ keyboard. It was a blue backlit Logitech G15. This was around the time i started gettng into computer games. I would spend a disgusting amount of time in front of the this board. 18+ hour World of Warcraft sessions caused this keyboard to eventually fail but at the time, loved every minute of it. It had a very nice tactile feel for a RD and had 18 macro keys which I used very extensively for WoW. I wore off most of the ABS backlit keys. I eventually broke off 2 of the feet and palm rest during a move. I was in the market for a new board.
Enter Logitech G15 2nd gen. This board had a red back light and it was quite possibly, one of the worst boards I have ever used. The membrane was squishy, keys would actuate crooked and get stuck. They reduced the number of macro keys to 6 (unknown why? this was the main selling feature of the OG G15) and changed the backlight to a sickly orange color. This board made me hate sitting at my computer and was very rarely used.
After hearing some buzz about the mechanical keyboard revival a few years ago, I started looking into them. The first name that popped up was DAS. I saw the price tag and even though I spent close to the same amount for both of my G15’s I cringed. $125 dollars for a keyboard without a backlight and blank keys? I thought they were crazy for asking that much so I put the idea out my head and continued to suffer though using my mushy 2nd gen G15. In late 2012, I decided to go back to school and due to my schedule, I had to do it online. There was no way i was going to sit at my desk for that long using a keyboard I hated so I started to look into mechanical’s again.
I ended up getting a Corsair K90 with cherry mx reds. I’m not going to get into a full review of it right now because i think i want to make another post about it but let me just say it didn’t last very long with me. It looked too juvinile and i wasn’t really playing games anymore (well a little Diablo 3 but not enough to warrent keeping the board for its macro keys). It got returned to Amazon and I got my next peice.
Razer Black Widow – I know what you’re thinking…why would you return the K90 because it was gaming keyboard to pick up another gaming keyboard? I know… I’m not the smartest guy in the world but it was the only board Microcenter had in stock that had Cherry MX blues. This wasnt a bad board. It typed nicely, and the blues are a dream come true. I hated the ugly uppercase, lowercase fonts that littered the board. It looked like a font that some douche with tribal tattoos would get on his arm for his kid’s name. It went back after a few days…
After researching geekhack for some time, I decided on a Filco Majestouch II with cherry mx blues. I found the 2011 limited edition metallic blue on Amazon for $160. I got it overnight-ed using prime and now i’m all setup. This board is everything people say it is. It’s classy and simple. No function keys getting in the way, no gaudy type faces. No backlight but for someone who has honed his touch typing skills over the years, I rarely look at keyboard anyway. After searching for a long time, i have finally found something that can replace my beloved G15 OG. I’m a pretty happy guy.