Mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches typically sell for around $80 and up. They're a bit of a luxury, but TR regular just brew it! spotted a more affordable model selling for only $58. This isn't some limited-time offer, either. $58 appears to be the everyday asking price, and volume discounts can knock the per-unit sticker down to only $50.
Admittedly, the Monoprice-branded keyboard is a pretty barebones affair. It lacks extras like media keys, programmable macros, backlighting, and an integrated USB hub. There's no way to disable the Windows key, either. But the keyboard offers a standard, full-sized layout and Cherry MX blue switches. That's all some folks need, especially from a budget-minded model.
For the uninitiated, Cherry MX blue switches combine tactile feedback with an audible click. (Details on the main MX switch types are available in our Rosewill RK-9000 roundup.) The blue switches are a little loud, but their tactile feedback is excellent for typing. Unfortunately, Monoprice doesn't have equivalent variants with different MX switch flavors. The vendor does, however, offer a few pricier models with additional features and different MX switches. This one looks a little like Corsair's Vengeance designs, complete with a lowered deck and volume wheel:
Unlike this feature-laden model, which seems to be a recent release, Monoprice's value-oriented offering has been around for about a year. There are loads of positive customer reviews; many of them laud the keyboard's solid construction and key feel in particular. A lot of the customer reviews also complain about blinding LEDs behind the lock keys, though, and there isn't much love for the body's glossy finish.
I used a similarly shiny Das keyboard for a couple of years, and I can attest to how quickly fingerprints and smudges accumulate on a device that one's oily fingertips touch constantly. Still, the Monoprice model is half the price of the Das and less expensive than any MX-based keyboard we've seen. It may be worth a closer look.
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