PC Gaming has been on the rise the last few years and for the veteran gaming enthusiasts, I have a question for you. Do you recall the very first time you heard the phrase “mechanical keyboard”?
I sure do! When I built my very first computer in 2015, my coworker at Panera Bread asked if I was gonna get a mechanical keyboard. Now I have been PC gaming since I was a wee lad, but I was completely oblivious to the term mechanical keyboard. I’ve only used keyboards with membrane switches at this point.
So, I ended up doing my research and figured out quickly that this was the next purchase on my list for my gaming setup. I went straight to the top of popular mechanical keyboards at the time which was Razer’s Blackwidow Chroma. I was ecstatic about this keyboard. Absolutely loved it.
But in the last 5 years of buying different brands of keyboards and styles, I’ve noticed that you don’t have to purchase the most popular or expensive keyboard. I’ve had Corsair, Logitech, and HyperX keyboards and the one thing I noticed about all of them, is that they are all pretty dang expensive. So what about the affordable gaming keyboards?
Is there a more affordable option to where one can attain a more affordable, quality mechanical keyboard? The answer is… yes. Absolutely. We’re going to go over Inland’s Mechanical Gaming Keyboard lineup for 2020. The three Inland models in this review will be the MK-S, MK-F, and OMK-X. Please use the links below to jump ahead.
KT Red Switches
Braided USB Cable
Full Size Keyboard
Removable Wrist Rest
KT Optical Blue Switches
Dedicated Macro Keys
Removable Magnetic Wrist Rest
I’m going to review these two keyboards simultaneously. The reason being is that the only real differences between the MK-F and MK-S keyboards is that the MK-F has a numpad and wrist rest and the MK-S does not. The keyboards come with a keycap removal tool, software disc, and manual.
Inland opted to go with a brushed aluminum cover for these keyboards with the remainder of the chassis being hard plastic. It’s sturdy, looks super clean, and can compliment any sort of computer station, even one in an office environment. The key switches and caps sit atop the chassis like you would see on more recent keyboard designs, which makes it easier to clean.
The key layouts are fairly standard and do not include any dedicated macro or multimedia keys. The caps are all clearly labeled and also have any shortcuts etched into them. They also provide very ample lighting with the RGB effects.
Inland also decided to go with a braided cable with gold plated USB connector. This is always a nice touch when looking for a new keyboard. It's very durable and much more flexible than a plastic cable. Both the MK-F and MK-S also come with rubber legs if you wish to elevate the keyboard.
As of now, the only mechanical key switches available for the MK-S and MK-F series boards are the Kailh/Kaihua KT Reds. They are linear SMT switches (Surface Mount Technology) and offer an operating life of 50,000,000 cycles. They’re essentially what many would call a “Cherry MX clone” and they can definitely hold up during heavy gaming sessions.
I would like to say that the break in period for the MK-F was about a week to get these switches feeling consistent, but I experienced zero issues out of the box with any mishaps or accidental keypunches during this easy Jett Ace in Valorant on Split.
The LEDs on the switches themselves are nice and bright and can be adjusted with the function (FN) key shortcuts.
While I’ve come quite accustomed with having dedicated macro keys/multimedia keys on some of the more expensive keyboards, Inland has done a pretty darn good job with trying to keep it all in one.
Combining a multitude of keys with multiple functions, profiles, or multimedia use allows the MK-F and MK-S keyboards to maintain a much lower profile than bulkier mechanical keyboards. You get 12 Feature Keys, 14 LED modes, keyboard LED brightness control and even a Game mode to lock your Windows Button. These keyboards function admirably.
Inland’s OMK-X is one of the most affordable full size opto-mechanical gaming keyboards on the market. There is a miniscule amount of full size opto-mechanical keyboards that are under the $100 price mark and the OMK-X is in that category. This keyboard comes with a keycap removal tool, software disc, and manual.
Inland’s opto-mechanical offering is a little bulkier and weighs in at around 3 lbs. The keyboard’s chassis is primarily made of hard plastic, and has a steel top cover instead of the aluminum cover. You also get a magnetic wrist rest that connects to the bottom of the keyboard.
There are multiple programmable macro keys towards the upper left hand side of the keyboard, with LED mode keys for gaming on the upper right hand side of the keyboard. Inland was generous enough to also include a volume bar which is a nice touch. Both sides of the keyboard have some nifty RGB LED lightning as well.
The keyboard uses a plastic cable versus the more common braided style USB cable. Since the model has USB passthrough, you’ll have two gold-plated USB-A connectors at the end of the cable which are clearly marked in case you do not wish to use the pass through.
The key cap design has that gamer-like font with etched symbols for function shortcuts and allows RGB lightning to shine through very clearly.
The OMK-X uses Kailh/Kaihua KT Blue Optical Mechanical Switches and they feel amazing. Personally, I’ve never been a blue switch kind of guy but I might be now. Sure they’re a little on the louder side but the tactile feedback feels great and I was zooming against the opposition on typeracer.com (115+ WPM average though, no big deal).
The optical switches offer a 0.2ms response time which is insanely fast and offer 100% anti-ghosting. For those who don’t know what anti-ghosting is, it’s technology that allows your keyboard to send simultaneous signals from multiple keypresses without any signals being lost.
The RGB lighting in the switches are comparable to KT Reds so it’s very clean and bright. As of now, for the opto-mechanical OMX-K, the KT Blues are the only switch variant available at this time.
The OMK-X has plenty of function, macro, and media control keys. You have 5 Macro Keys, 4 LED Game Mode keys, 12 Feature Keys, dedicated media keys, LED Mode and Control keys, a volume bar and even a USB pass through. That’s a lot right?
The Macro and LED Game Mode buttons are pretty solid. I didn’t expect them to stand as tall as they do but they seem quite sturdy. The media function keys have a nice click and sit closer to the surface of the chassis. The volume bar also has nice feedback to it when adjusting the volume.
The OMK-X offers 22 LED modes total with 3 different modes for each of the 6 LED themes plus the 4 LED Game Mode keys. I’d say this keyboard offers plenty of RGB options for the budget mechanical keyboard shopper.
Oh and just for your information, each of these keyboards come with their own separate software on a mini disc. This does help with setting up Macros or profiles. You can also select your keyboard lighting effects instead of going through the function key combinations.
While there are plenty of expensive and higher quality choices for a mechanical gaming keyboard, Inland puts their foot down with the MK-S, MK-F, and OMK-X keyboards for the budget gamer. These keyboards are well made, function great, and look very clean. I’d recommend getting an Inland Gaming Keyboard whether you’re on budget or not!
I thank you for taking the time to read my review of these great mechanical keyboards and ask that you answer the question I asked at the very beginning of the review.
Do you recall the very first time you heard the phrase “mechanical keyboard”? And what is your favorite mechanical keyboard?
I think I'd prefer the Inland OMK-X - full sized with blue switches! Never can go wrong with clickyness
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