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PLU ML-87 (Cherry Black) review. (Bunch of pictures included)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi guys

I have been wanting to get a mechanical keyboard for quite some time, the Corsair K70 being a dreamy piece of kit is however an absurd amount of money.

Browsing these very forums This Thread in particular piqued my interest in obtaining Cherry Switched keyboards at a cheaper price.

I did look at some name brands, but thought I would take a punt on one of the budget Chinese brands.

I ordered the PLU ML-87 a TKL Cherry Black keyboard, with transparent keycaps, from www.banggood.com
PLU Do sponsor some gaming teams in china from what I could make out on their website key.plu.cn

Due to a Typhoon, initial shipment of the keyboard was delayed for approximately 1 week, however I was kept informed throughout and my keyboard arrived 7 days after despatch, and I did choose the free shipping option.

Here are the packaging pictures so you can get an idea of how they are shipped.









First Impressions

Well, this thing is heavier than I thought it would be, and feels very solid, much higher build quality than I expected.
The to raise the back of the keyboard on the underside look a little flimsy, and have a distinct creak to them when deploying/closing.

Running my fingers over the keys, they are typically textured plastic, with those cheaper transfers for the lettering, the transparent keys may not be to everybody's taste, but are interchangeable with available keycaps sets, which can be bought separately.



removing one of the keycaps (which was very easily done with a pair of spudgers either side of a key) reveals a Cherry branded black switch.



The appearance of the transparent keys, is a little strange, and maybe the keyboard would benefit from some backlighting, the inside base of the keyboard is red, so this does show through.



PLU do include a manual, however none of it is in English, so I am unable determine any marketing specs.

Keyboard in Action

Well the keyboard plugged in and began to function immediately, I had to adjust my system for a US key layout, no option of UK keys were available with this keyboard, but I do believe it is targeted solely at the Chinese gaming market.

There was an issue, which I will have to score against which is down to QC at the factory, the Scroll Lock LED does not work on the keyboard I received, and while I generally do not use scroll lock, it is still a failure, Scroll Lock itself functions just fine.

Having read about how heavy Cherry Black switches are supposed to be, I was very surprised at easy this keyboard was to type on, but it must be noted that I was taught to type on old mechanical and early electric typewriters which did demand hammer fingers.

The keys themselves only have to be depressed half way for them to actuate, which once you start to get used to it, quietens and speeds up typing.

During gaming the keyboard is amazing, the accuracy and timing blows my existing Microsoft Sidewinder X4 out of the water, multiple key combinations are handled all over the keyboard without any stoppages or bleeps, it seems it has anti ghosting covering the vast majority of keys.

There is a disable windows key on the bottom row, you will notice it in the above pictures as the incredibly bright blue illuminated key, a little too bright in fact.

I am having a fantastic time with this keyboard, and would recommend a Tenkeyless (or 87 key) keyboard, for the benefits of more desk space and having the mouse closer, which is better for the neck and shoulders.

Closest local competition in a similar price range would be the Coolermster CM Storm Quickfire and the Corsair K65, both of which are TKL but approximately £15-£25 more expensive.


The Good

A very sturdily built, Cherry keyboard.
Precise and perfect for multiple types of gaming.
Very cheap entry into the Mechanical Keyboard market.

The Bad

Faulty Scroll Lock LED


Notes to think about

Only US key layout available
Packaging was ok, but if it had been knocked fairly hard, could have been damaged.
RMA to China would be worrying, however I am assured by banggood that they take RMA very seriously, I just did not think the LED warranted a return.
The Keycaps may not be to everybody's taste, however the keyboards are available with black keycaps.
That Windows Key Off LED is very bright.


Finally, would I recommend this?
In a word YES, it saves some money, and a US layout is fine for gaming, and we have to remember that a lot of our keyboard products are manufactured in the same factories in China.
I did have some reservations about RMA, but have not tested how effective it is, and I would like to see keyboards on the site with UK and other nations' key layouts.

I hope you all like my review, and if you have any questions, feel free to bug me smile.gif
    
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post #2 of 6
Nice review, did you have to pay VAT or Import tax.?
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi bigb1ue

No taxes were applied, I have only once been charged VAT on a product from overseas, years ago Kai's Power Goo I bought from the States because it was so much cheaper saving about £30, the vat back then came to less than £10.

Some of my friends are interested in ordering various things from there, so I will update if anyone has different experiences.
    
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post #4 of 6
Thanks Bakerman, Am waiting for the KEYCOOL 108 II.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Nice one, do a review when you get it, where did you source it from and is it uk layout?


***Update***
Lent the PLU to a friend who wants to do reviews, I think he is going to make me do a video review too, lots of arm twisting there I reckon.

Anyway watch out for his writeup somewhere on here soon, and I want my keyboard back already.
Edited by BakerMan1971 - 9/2/13 at 2:01am
    
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys
Ok some time has passed, and I have been enjoying my PLU however I miss backlighting
then I saw this.... (MechClub Link)

and seeing as the disable windows key on this keyboard has an LED, and all the cherry switches have a space to put in 3mm LED lamps,
I set about with a spudger and a screwdriver to see if I could do a mod and solder some lights at least under WASD.



But alas, it was not to be, no tracks or solder points for LED's frown.gif



But don't despair, I am thinking that some manufacturers (probably Keycool) use a standard PCB for their keyboards, with or without illumination, so modding a non-illuminated board should be possible, just like Jokrik could do with his keypad smile.gif
    
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CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Custome water loop, EK Supremecy MX CPU Block,... Windows 10 Pro 64Bit Benq XL2430T Keycool 87 II 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Seasonic Snow Silent 750 Platinum Cooltek W2 upgraded to tempered glass window pa... Func MS-2 MSI Thunderstorm Aluminium Mousepad 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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16GB Avexir Raiden Rog Certified 2600 DDR4 Samsung 840 EVO 750 Seagate 1TB Seagate 1TB 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Custome water loop, EK Supremecy MX CPU Block,... Windows 10 Pro 64Bit Benq XL2430T Keycool 87 II 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Seasonic Snow Silent 750 Platinum Cooltek W2 upgraded to tempered glass window pa... Func MS-2 MSI Thunderstorm Aluminium Mousepad 
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