Montech is a relative newcomer to PC gaming gear. Established in 2016, the Taiwanese firm has been centered on making parts, working totally on PC instances and cooling gear. Now, Montech is making forays into PC peripherals, together with the Montech MKey ($99), a mechanical gaming keyboard that provides hot-swappable key switches and a customizable rotary management knob. It is a looker, too. All of that’s spectacular sufficient, and while you issue within the MKey’s eminently affordable price, it simply clinches an Editors’ Alternative award as an enthusiast-level gaming keyboard at a near-budget value.
No MKey Enterprise Right here
The Montech MKey is available in two kind components, the full-size structure examined right here, and a tenkeyless (TKL) model, which is $89. The corporate provides two completely different shade schemes for each layouts: Freedom and Darkness. We examined the Darkness shade scheme, which, as you’ll be able to see within the images all through the overview, is not as darkish as its title suggests. Whereas we aren’t too eager on the naming conference, we discovered the a number of colours to be a refreshing change from the monotone nature of most different high-end gaming keyboards we’ve seen through the years.
The aesthetics are matched by the included keycaps. Whereas a typical set of keycaps is included and pre-installed, you get an additional set of keycaps within the field with designs on them to interchange the Escape, Enter, spacebar, and Operate keys. The elective keycaps add an additional layer of creative design that’s a lot appreciated and normally reserved for higher-end keyboards.
Together with the alternate keycaps, the MKey comes with an included keycap/swap puller. You may additionally discover within the field a braided USB Kind-C cable for connecting the board to your pc. Whereas the MKey lacks wi-fi connectivity, its USB wiring is thoughtfully designed. One finish of the cable has nubs that slip into grooves across the MKey’s port, including a layer of safety in opposition to disconnects and port breakage. Additionally, channels within the chassis’ underside assist with cable routing.
Our check keyboard is outfitted with Gateron Brown mechanical switches. Gateron switches are pre-lubricated on the manufacturing facility, and are smooth-press in motion, with reasonable clickiness and pleasing suggestions. A Monkeytype check confirmed correct registration of key presses in hot-and-heavy typing periods. If the texture of Gateron switches is not your cup of tea, you’ll be able to substitute some or all of them from the hot-swappable PCB. Whereas the MKey is not as open to customization as a really elite fanatic keyboard just like the System76 Launch Heavy, which is 3 times as costly, it’s good to see hot-swapping changing into extra widespread in cheaper price ranges.
Measuring 1.6 by 17.4 by 5.4 inches (HWD), the board stands simply barely smaller than the Razer BlackWidow V4 Professional, our earlier best choice for premium gaming keyboards. Angled ft on the highest corners of the keyboard provide three completely different typing angles to alleviate wrist pressure. The keys themselves are fabricated from PBT plastic and painted over, so there’s no shine of the RGB lighting by way of the keycaps’ tops. As a substitute, the RGB LEDs are south-facing and are tied to every key individually.
Holding down the Operate key and hitting the C key will cycle amongst RGB results, however a extra satisfying means of doing it’s with the rotary knob. Urgent the knob till it glows (it has its personal RGB lighting) will let you cycle by way of RGB results. Urgent the knob once more yields extra features: It might management audio quantity when it glows blue, and it could actually zoom out and in inside packages when it glows pink.
Whereas biking the RGB results is enjoyable, you in all probability received’t be doing it a lot when you land in your most popular impact. We might’ve appreciated the power to reprogram the rotary knob utilizing a software program utility, however that doesn’t appear to be a characteristic at current.
Skip the Software program
Montech has a software program utility for different customizations, although it is oddly named (“Mcore105”) and laborious to seek out. We did not see a point out of the utility on the included quick-tips card. or on the field. In truth, we discovered it solely by looking for it on Montech’s web site.
Clicking on the software program button despatched us to a obtain web page on the cloud storage website Mega (sure, that one), which raised our paranoia ranges a tad. This sense persevered when Home windows Defender flagged this system as probably harmful, however we threw warning to the wind and had been greeted with a typical, if a tad naked, software program utility.
Ultimately, you don’t achieve a lot by downloading Mcore105. As beforehand talked about, you’ll be able to cycle RGB results on the keyboard itself, and hardware-record macros on the keyboard itself by way of plenty of button presses. When you’re the form of one that fusses with keyboard settings, chances are you’ll admire the power to see your macros on the display screen to assist arrange them. Even should you’re not, it is nonetheless disappointing to see such a half-baked software program utility servicing such a pleasant keyboard.
Verdict: A Mild within the Darkness
A handful of big-name keyboard producers make completely serviceable keyboards round $100, however no maker has emerged from obscurity swinging as laborious on the budget-mechanical keyboard market as Montech has. The MKey’s stellar construct high quality, gorgeous design, and ease of use greater than make up for its lackluster software program. Up to now, Montech has solely the MKey (in these TKL and full-size variations) obtainable within the US. But when it is something to go by, watch this firm. We’re eager to see (and kind on!) Montech’s subsequent providing.