Pros: Heavy & sturdy. Simple & elegant. Durable keycaps. LED in every key. Adjustable LED brightness. Extra keyscaps included.
Cons: Price is high. Different font.
For this review, I purchased myself the Deck Legend Frost (white) only available in tactile from Performance-PCs. I wanted a back-lit keyboard without the fancy macro keys or multimedia control. It was actually pretty hard to find a year ago. Today, we have a variety of mechanical keyboards with back-lit keys.
The box it came in isn't as glamorous as other keyboard boxes. It is a plain brown box with the Deck company name emblazoned on top. The keyboard was in a plastic bag inside the box and included, from what I remember, were the warranty information, keyboard information, and extra keycaps.
Inside is where the magic is at. This is the current picture as of November 10, 2011. As you can see, I have already installed the extra keycap included with the box. I did not take any pictures of it the day I got it but I can assure you it looks just as good as the day I first received it.
Here is a closer look at the extra cap included. I used it to replace the escape key but it can be used in any of the regular keys. It was more than a year ago when I replaced it. I forget how I removed it, but I feel like a tool was included. I also saw a keycap with the mudflap bikini girl on it somewhere online, in case you were interested in that.
The one I purchased was the USB version. Upon further investigation, the manufacturer website also has a PS2 version. Sometimes I feel like I should have gotten the PS2 version in case a PC I am troubleshooting will not use a USB keyboard. This may be something worth thinking about if you were deciding on making a purchase.
The cable shown above is of decent length and girth. It is actually thicker than some of my other USB cables, so I'm confident in it's everyday ability to withstand damage. It is the regular rubber casing found on every cable nowadays, and has slight memory to it. Not a lot, but enough for me to tuck it away under my monitor stand.
Here it is in all it's glory. The keyboard is now hooked up to a computer, but the lights in the room drown it out. Let's turn off the lights ...
This is the keyboard at the highest brightness. I did take pictures of it at it's lowest brightness, but my camera kept adjusting to the lower brightness and made it a terrible comparison.
It has now been a year and 8 months and all the LEDs are still going strong. They have been on the highest brightness, day and night, and my computer is generally on all day, everyday. Give or take a couple weeks of downtime to upgrade and overclock, and we have at least a year of 24/7 illumination from these bad boys.
Now let us compare the Deck Legend with the Logitech G110.
Here are the two next to each other. We have the Logitech G110 below and the Deck Legend on top. The G110 is slightly longer to make room for the macro keys but what it has in length, the Deck Legend has in weight. The G110 is a lot lighter than the Legend and feels like cheap plastic. I am not saying it is a terrible keyboard, it is just that the Legend feels more sturdy. It still feels like plastic, but just thicker plastic. Funny though, the G110 is acting up and intermittently shuts off but I haven't had time to RMA it.
Time for some crazy keyboard action. Now, we have the G110 on top and the Legend on the bottom. Even with the rear legs to raise the G110, it didn't have as much elevation as the Legend. The Legend can actually be elevated more. The legs on the Legend are not pulled out for this picture.
Here is the Deck Legend to the left and the G110 to the right. The G110 has it's legs propped. The Legend does not. Now let us compare some pressure shall we?
I am no expert on mechanical keyboards. Cherry black, cherry brown, cherry blossom? (These are cherry clear) So none of those mean anything to me. As much as I would love to try them all out and assess which I would prefer, I am not financially capable of doing so. However, there was a thread here on OCN about the amount of pressure needed to depress a key. So I will now be comparing the Deck Legend with a Logitech G110.
Just like from the thread, I used nickels to compare the amount of pressure needed to press down a key. I tested the ESC key and the space bar on both keyboards.
The first picture is the Legend with 14 nickels needed to press down the ESC key. Below it is the G110 with 17 nickels needed to press down the ESC key. I do not know whether the lower amount of pressure is due to the mechanical nature or the fact that I use it on a regular basis, but that's the comparison.
Now we head over to the space bar. First we have the Legend with 12 nickels needed to press down the space bar. The G110 is below with 14 nickels needed to press down the space bar.
In all honesty, I do not know how legit this comparison is. However, I guess it is nice for another statistic to be on the internet. Also maybe in case you wanted to try it yourself and have some kind of vague comparison.
Conclusion: The Deck Legend mechanical keyboard is the best keyboard I have used. To name a few, I have used the Logitech G15, Logitech G110, Saitek Eclipse 1, and a variety of Compaq and HP keyboards. None of them had the durability as the Legend. All of them had paint rubbing off after a couple months and I was unlucky enough to get a G110 that intermittently shuts off. I would like to commend the original cream PS2 Compaq keyboard though. I use that thing to troubleshoot everything. My only gripe with the keyboard is the font they used for the keys. It reminds me so much of the overused Papyrus font. I would have preferred a more refined font.
However, the mechanical keyboard isn't for everyone. I have a friend who picked up a mechanical keyboard from Newegg sale and despises it. He is constantly complaining about how loud it is. He went back to his Logitech Illuminated Keyboard.
If you are looking for a simple keyboard, with no macro keys, that will last, and is back-lit, I highly recommend the Deck Legend. With 4 different color styles, some being mechanical and some not, I'm sure there will be one that suits your needs. But with a retail price of nearly $180, you may be a little hesitant to pick one up. I feel like it was well worth it, and if I were to go back in time with the knowledge of all the current keyboards, I would still pick up a Deck Legend.
It was pointed out that 5 flames is over doing it, given the lack of features at that price point. Even though it personally has 5 flames in my heart, I should not rate it without looking at the big picture. At a lower price it may receive a 5, but at the price I paid for it, it should be a 4 or 3.5. But then again, I did not purchase it with the thought of receiving extra features. I merely chose it because it fit my criteria and it had what I was looking for (the bare minimum in keyboards without the razzle dazzle). So with that, even though 5 flames may be over doing it compared to others in the market, I will keep it at that just because it was perfect for me.