Well, you probably know where this is going.
Of the four models we sampled, the RK-9000BR with brown Cherry MX switches is our favorite. None of the switch types are perfect, but the browns do the best job of balancing accuracy and ease of repetition, which makes them great for gaming. Also, the fact that the browns feature a tactile bump without an overly shrill click makes them, in our opinion, superior to the blues for typing. The blues are just unpleasantly loud, and the gritty feel of their tactile bump—plus the dead zone between the actuation and release points—can make them uncomfortable.
As for the keyboard design, which is shared with the other three models, we're rather impressed with it. The frame feels sturdy, and the action of the keys is solid. There's none of that musical ringing we noticed with other mechanical units like the Das Keyboard—just nice, solid click-clacking. The Rosewill enclosure has no glossy finish to collect fingerprints, either. Some folks might have preferred to see a palm rest and some media keys included, but we appreciate the elegance of a plain, no-frills design.
For $109.99, the RK-9000BR is a rather solid deal. Other models may be $10 cheaper, but the more comfortable brown switches easily justify a small premium. Besides, Newegg offers free shipping on the RK-9000BR right now, while a couple of the cheaper variants each cost $7.87 to ship.
The only downside is the Mini USB port. Rosewill may have cut corners there, which is a shame given that mechanical keyboards are prized in large part of their durability. There's no sense in having switches rated for 50 million operations if bumping the Mini USB jack too hard can make your keyboard inoperable. That said, as long as you're aware of the issue and keep the jack out of harm's way, there's probably little reason to worry. As Just Brew It! demonstrated in the forums, a little soldering can resolve the problem if the connector does become unseated.
Before we sign off, we should note that Newegg also sells an "ivory white" variant of this design, the RK-9000I. From what we can tell, it has Cherry MX blue switches and is functionally identical to the others. The only difference is a white paint job on the outer frame.
142 comments — Last by thedood at 3:49 PM on 10/16/12
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