Pros: Solid Construction, Standard Layout, Modular Cable, Cherry MX Red Switches
Cons: Pricey, Uses Legs for Angle, Slides Around On Desk, No Wristrest
General Specifications for Keyboard:
-Manufactured by Rosewill (Newegg's house brand)
-Cherry MX Red Switches (Fully Mechanical)
-Linear switch; no tactile feedback
-No click-noise feedback
-Standard 104-key layout
-No macro keys
-No media keys
-USB or PS/2 cable (modular)
-NKRO over PS/2, 6KRO over USB
General Specifications for Cherry MX Red Switch:
-Total Travel: 4.0-0.4 mm
-Key Stroke: 4.0±0.5 mm
-Key pitch: 19.05mm
-Operating Force: 2.0±0.5 oz
-Life Cycle: 50 x 10^6 Times
-17.32" (Width) x 5.43" (Depth) x 1.52" (Height)
-39.6 oz (2.48 pounds)
Ok, now that we got all of the fun stuff out of the way, it's time to move on to the even more fun stuff, which is actually reviewing the keyboard. Let me start off by saying that for the past month I have been typing on a steelseries 7G keyboard with Cherry MX Black switches, so naturally, I will be comparing this keyboard to the 7G more than anything else. The first thing that anyone notices is the packaging in which their new toy arrives in, so I will start off with that:
As some of you may know by now, Rosewill is Newegg.com's house brand, which means they take a board manufactured by someone else, slap their name on it (Rosewill), and sell it to the general public. From what I have heard, this specific board was manufactured by Costar, which also makes the keyboards for Filco, but that is besides the point here. What I am trying to get at, is since Rosewill is not a major, national/internation brand, the packaging is rather dull. I really don't mind though, because I have never really cared too much about the box my products come in. What we are provided with is a box just barely big enough to house the keyboard and the two cables that come with it. Simple graphics tell you what lay inside, and if you look around the box you will see some highlights about the keyboard, and that is all. When you open the box you see the keyboard in a thin white padding and a small leaflet containing some information about the Cherry MX Red Switches. Flip open the cardboard in the rear to reveal the two cables that ship with the keyboard, and that is it.
On the flip side, as a comparison, the steelseries 7G came in a box with graphics galour, a window to see your newly acquired possession, and it sturdy enough to double as a coffee table if need be. The Rosewill's box was a far cry from this.
But now on to the things that really matter: how does the keyboard work? When I first took the keyboard out of the box, I did notice that it had a good amount of weight to it. In fact, it was only a mere 0.5 oz lighter than my steelseries, which I have always thought of as a heavy keyboard. Immediately you will notice that there are no cables attached to the keyboard, and the reason for this is you get to choose how you would like to connect the keyboard, PS/2 or USB. I have mine attached by PS/2, and honestly I don't see why anyone wouldn't have theirs connected like this either, unless you are constantly plugging/unplugging your keyboard into you computer while it is on and you don't want to constantly be restarted (but then again, who does that?). The keyboard is very well built, and it shows. Peeking through the cracks of the keys you see the red backplate which houses all of the switches to the PCB. Overall, you can tell that a lot of care went into making this keyboard.
Moving on to the cables, there is a lot left to be desired. Yes, they are gold-plated and braided, but I simply do not like them. The cables on my steelseries were braided with a soft, flexible fabric that felt extremely soft to the touch. It would bend easily, and looked and felt great. The cables that shipped with the Rosewill, on the other hand, are hard, stiff, and not fun to deal with. I appreciate the fact that they shipped it with a braided cable, but to be honest, I would MUCH rather just have a rubber cable that would actually be flexible than this one.
Actually using the keyboard:
Well, this is what truly matters when talking about a keyboard. The whole purpose of buying it was not to gawk anything it may have, but to use it, and enjoy using it. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this keyboard has some good, and some bad. First, I would like to mention a few bad things: I really dislike the fact that the cord for the keyboard is on the far right side of the keyboard. Most keyboards have it coming out of the center, which is normal and expected. However, being a right-handed person, my mouse is on the right side of my keyboard. Because of this, I now have my keyboard wire and my mouse wire neck-and-neck. This truly does not affect anything in reality, but it does create more of a clutter on the desk and is displeasing to look at. Second, I immediately noticed that when I use the pegs to prop up my keyboard, the left side of the keyboard slides around VERY easily. The slightest nudge will physically move the left side of the keyboard. The right side, however, stays put like a rock. I found this a bit interesting, so I flipped the pegs (which are very sturdy, by the way) back into the keyboard so it was laying flat on my desk. After I did that, the left side no longer glided along like it was on roller skates, it simply stayed put. But then again, no my keyboard was no longer at an angle and it was a little more uncomfortable to type. I have closely inspected the bottom on my keyboard, but honestly I cannot figure out why the left side of the keyboard moves so easily with the pegs up. My steelseries does not suffer from this issue because it does not even have pegs; the keyboard is naturally tilted up, which is a feature that I REALLY like about it.
But now onto some good things about the board: Typing on this is an absolute dream. The Cherry MX Red switches are very comfortable to work with. Coming from MX Blacks, I was familiar with the linear keypress, and I loved it so much, that is why I chose Reds over Browns for my next keyboard. It is very easy to bottom-out on this keyboard, but honestly, I love the feeling, so it does not affect me in any negative way, it is most certainly a positive note for me. Another lovely feature of this keyboard is the lack of features! It is a simple, 104-key keyboard and nothing more. No FN key, no media buttons, no extra macros to get in the way, and no flashy logo (Ahem, Razer, I am talking to you). The Rosewill branding is printed on the upper-right of the keyboard, and while a bit too big for my taste, it is not distracting. It would probably be really easy just to scrape it off if you wanted to as well. The lock LED's on the upper right are blue, which is a generally safe color. They are not too dull and not too bright (as long as you are not looking at them from directly above).
Another point worth mentioning that could be considered a con is the lack of a wristrest. This does not bother me in any way, and I have not really used one my entire life. My steelseries 7G came with a really big one that wrapped around the entire keyboard, and while this is comfortable, I rarely ever use it only because I do not feel the need to have one taking up space on my desk. However, I am listing this as a con because of the extreme popularity for wristrests.
The keycaps on this keyboard are ABS, but that is all I have ever known, so I have no issues with them whatsoever. The printing method, which on this keyboard is laser etching, is something to be desired for me. My steelseries 7G has the same type on its keycaps, and I noticed that the letters can get dirty very quickly, so I'm sure it is only a matter of time before the caps on my Rosewill start to accumulate a little bit of dirt as well. While typing at a fast speed, the keyboard with click and twang quite a lot, resulting in a surprising amount of noise. I am certain that getting some o-rings and installing them on the keycaps would dramatically reduce the noise factor, but just beware that out-of-the-box, this is quite a noisy keyboard, especially because the red switches require such little force to actuate and bottom-out.
Well, I have said pretty much everything I could think of about this keyboard. It is absolutely wonderful to type on, and because of the high build quality, I am sure that it will last me many years to come. Would I buy this keyboard again? Yes, I believe that if I were looking to purchase another keyboard, that the Rosewill brand would definitely come to mind. It is simple and to the point. It gets the job done on a budget and is not overly flashy or annoying in any way. It does have a few flaws, but they are easily overlooked. For the price I paid ($80), I definitely think that I made the right choice and could not be happier !