The £14 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with LED Backlighting
Today we are here to have a look at a mechanical keyboard that we bought off eBay for the princely sum of just £14. So what we thought we would do is just to review this keyboard and see if it is any good for that £14 price tag (which included shipping as well). Unfortunately, as we don’t have any other mechanical keyboards to test this against, hint to Corsair or Razor we would love a Corsair Game Keyboard or Razor Game Keyboard review unit to try out in comparison. Therefore we are going in a bit blind and only featuring our experience of using it and showing just some of the features of the keyboard.
So what we have here is the i-500 mechanical “gaming” keyboard from EasternTimes which is also LED-backlit.
So does this cheap mechanical gaming keyboard feel cheap?
On general inspection when getting the keyboard out of the box it has a very nice quality, weighty feel to it. The plastic base has little give and feels robust in its construction, which for a keyboard of this price is very good. On the back part of the plastic, you have two rubberised feet near the front and two extendible legs at the rear that can help raise the keyboard’s angle of elevation. It also features 3 lozenge-shaped holes that are designed to allow liquid the flow through just in case you spill your drink on the keyboard. As much as we would love to try it out it is a nice feature to know it’s there.
Are the keys on this PC gaming keyboard any good?
As this keyboard is the shorter 87 key variant this doesn’t possess a numeric keypad that you would normally find on larger keyboards, which can be an advantage if you are limited on desk space and wasn’t an issue for us as the keyboard would be mainly used for some light gaming and of course typing.
Each key can be easily pulled off and placed back on again and underneath each key, you will find MX Blue type switches, which I will be honest doesn’t really mean much to me as my main keyboard of choice is an Apple keyboard, which has absolutely no mechanical nature to it at all. Saying that though the key travel is nice and the crispy noise and clicky nature of this keyboard is a reassuringly pleasurable experience and completely different to my usual Apple keyboard.
Typing wise we found it very easy to live with and quite comfortable to use. The only thing we would mention here is the lack of a wrist rest may be an issue for some people viewing this review so it may be worth either obtaining a wrist rest separately from this keyboard or maybe looking at something a bit higher up the price bracket.
While referring to typing we have used this keyboard for this review on a PC that is located within a living area of our home and the one thing I would mention with a keyboard of this nature is the sound it generates. If you are not say typing or playing a game and just sitting near it watching the TV whilst someone else is using the PC then the sound generated from the keyboard may grind a little and distract you from watching or listening to the TV but that is only the one gripe we found when using this keyboard and if used in another room or an office environment then this may not be a problem, but it’s worth mentioning.
The keyboard, unfortunately, doesn’t have any USB pass-through which is a shame as it would have been a great plus for this item but you do have to bear in mind that we are using a keyboard purchased for only £14 with LED backlighting so there are definitely some sacrifices worth living with at this price point.
What’s the backlit LED lighting like on this cheap mechanical gaming keyboard?
The version of i-500 mechanical keyboard that we have here also has the added feature of backlit LED keys. On connecting the keyboard to your computer or when you boot up your computer with this device connected you will witness a really nice little LED boot-up sequence. Now, this was a first for us as we didn’t realise that keyboards also have to boot up but it came as a nice surprise. Additional to the bootup sequence this keyboard also has differing LED backlighting modes each with its own LED animation effect which included pulsing, rippling and a kind of intense lightening effect. All of which were easily enabled.
As well as the LED-backlit lighting modes you can also change the brightness of the backlighting and you can also get it to illuminate pre-programmed key combinations to help with games and apps, the combination of keys of which are listed in the easy to digest instruction document. These are all accessed by pressing the FN key and the different additional keys to activate that mode or key combination. Though what we will add is that when powering down the keyboard it goes back to stock lighting, which may be an issue for some people.
The FN key can also help with shortcuts to media keys affecting volume and playback of music etc. So even though it only has 87 keys there is a lot you can do.
The various indicators of Caps Lock and Scroll Lock are indicated on the top right of the keyboard which does seem a little obscured at times but that is our only other minor gripe.
So, is cheap mechanical gaming keyboard any good?
Overall do we think that this keyboard is any good for the £14 price point we paid. We would have to say a resounding YES. With the RGB LED lighting (which is great for a little low light gaming plus typing), the solid construction and its comfortable ease of use we would have no hesitation in suggesting it with the only caveat of mentioning that we really haven’t tried any other mechanical gaming keyboards to compare it against (Corsair or Razor we hope you are reading this) so please bear that in mind but with our experience of using it we have had no problems at all and as it has been used every day for the past four weeks prior to this review then we can heartily say that it has been a quality keyboard to use.