AFFORDABLE MECHANICAL GAMING KEYBOARDS?! - Inland's Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Lineup 2020 — Micro Center

AFFORDABLE MECHANICAL GAMING KEYBOARDS?! - Inland's Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Lineup 2020

AlexSAlexS admin
edited September 3 in Reviews & Buying Guides


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.




Inland MK-S 

TKL (Tenkeyless)

Lower profile

KT Red Switches

Aluminum Cover

Braided USB Cable


Inland MK-F 

Full Size Keyboard

KT Red Switches

Aluminum Cover

Braided USB Cable

Removable Wrist Rest


Inland OMK-X 

Full Size Keyboard

KT Optical Blue Switches

ABS Chassis

Dedicated Macro Keys

Volume Bar

Removable Magnetic Wrist Rest


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Comments

  • AlexSAlexS admin

    Inland MK-F & MK-S Mechanical Gaming Keyboards


    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.


    Design

    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.


    Keyswitches


    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.


    Functionality


    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.


  • AlexSAlexS admin

    Inland OMK-X Optical Gaming Mechanical Keyboard


    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.


    Design

     

    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.  


    Keyswitches


    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.  


    Functionality


    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.


  • AlexSAlexS admin

    Inland Keyboard Software

    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.


  • AlexSAlexS admin
    edited June 22

    Final Thoughts

    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?


  • IanIan admin
    The Corsair K70 Vengeance has treated me well for many years, if something were to happen I think I'd try one of these for the price.  :)
  • I have been working with my logitech keyboard for a while and have learned that I really appreciate the ability to have a customization option of keycaps with the mx switches. So being able to have an inland keyboard I can take my setup to the next level with color coordination and creativeness. My eye is set on the omk-x
  • The one that called my attention the most would be the Inland OMK-X. I absolutely love the palm-rest design and the macro keys. I can already see my self making so much use of those in daily use (gaming and work). I'll have to get my hands on one when I get a chance.
  • At the moment I game/work on my Anne Pro2. It’s not bad, it took a while with the software to get it configured with Bluetooth but overall not bad. Switches feel great. It is a little too small compact because I have bigger hands than average. I rather have a bigger keyboards like this one or Logitech/Corsair ones. 
  • I quite like the OMK-X. Mainly for the wrist rest and volume rocker that most keyboards don’t offer. The design is aesthetically appealing. Also I’m not a huge fan of low profile keys so this one wins in my book! It looks pretty awesome as well!
  • I like the classic design and functionality of the omk-x. Not thing beats classic design, the others look good but will get outdated quick, similar to headset designs in 2015 vs now. The simple clean look will always be my favorite, screams professional with a gaming side.

    OMK-X 

  • I like the Inland OMK-X it is nice to use and design is quite brilliant.
  • I like the design of the Inland’s OMK-X. It's resembles the Corsair k70 slightly with some great looking rgb and extra keys. My first mechanical keyboard was the Corsair k70 rapidfire, and recently I moved to the glorious gaming gmmk tenkeyless and I absolutely love that keyboard. However they are both a bit more expensive then $100. It's be great to be able to try out the OMK-X!!
  • Don't really dig the Gamer-y Look of the F or the S, but props for going for Box switches. Definitely preferring the OMK-X.
  • For most of the people a $35 mechanical keyboard is more than enough. I'm using a VictSing 96 keys with doble O-rings. 
    It's nice to see more affordable options!

  • I like the MK-F but brown switches would be rad
  • Glad to hear they are rocking red switches. Not sure about the 'cut corners' look on the S and F but I do miss arrow keys on my keyboard. I like the TKL but would it be weird to have a wrist rest on that one?
  • I have been using a Ducky keyboard with Cherry MX red switches since I did my first build 8 years ago. It hasn't let me down yet and I love it for gaming! I have a HyperX Alloy at work with brown switches that is great for typing and is much more affordable than the Ducky keyboards that are out today. Tested out some of the Inland boards and was satisfied with the feel of the keys during my brief time typing with it.
  • That OMK-X really interests me. It has optical switches, multimedia and macro keys, and so many more features. As a YouTube product reviewer myself I'd love to get my hands on this and post a video review of it. If it had more switch options and had a tkl version it'd be even better!
  • The MK-S looks interesting since I've been looking to get a TKL keyboard. 
  • The Inland OMK-X RGB is the most appealing to me. I like all the functions for it and its features. 
  • The Inland OMK-X is very interesting in its design and functionality. 
  • Inland OMK-X is the one for me ..the media controls are extremely useful for my stream and just handy overall
  • The MK-S looks like a good option for my son who has been hinting at a mechanical keyboard for a bit.
  • I can't recall when I first heard of Mechanical keyboards, but it certainly seems like quite a while ago. Of the ones here I find the MK-F the most appealing. I prefer full-sized keyboards and the review indicates that its red style keys would be less noisy than the OMK-X, which I think is a sharp looking keyboard, but the review indicates that its blue switches are noisier than I would want my daily driver keyboard to be.
  • I think I'd prefer the Inland OMK-X - full sized with blue switches! Never can go wrong with clickyness 
  • I first heard of "mechanical keyboard" from a friend, though I've used them before in the old days and just never knew that they were. While the switches last mostly forever, the laser sensors on some models will definitely not.  :s

    But the Inland MK-F looks like it's the overall value/design winner. $5 mechanical numpad can't be passed up over its TKL version. 
  • I like the MK-F the most.  I do enough of numeric data entry and find a number pad indispensable.  My second favorite is the MK-S which would be great for a gaming only setup.  I'd love to see if the wrist pads are at the proper height for my hands.
  • I've recently completed my first PC build and have a keyboard that I got from a friend as a placeholder until I get a better one. We were actually looking at building our own together but these look dope as hell! Big fan of the Inland MK-S' build and functionality. 
  • Adrian_K said:
    I think I'd prefer the Inland OMK-X - full sized with blue switches! Never can go wrong with clickyness 
    I have the MK-F here at work and the OMK-X at home. The 'clickyness' on the OMK-X is absolutely worth paying a little extra. 
  • So, anyone have any idea where to get the omk-x drivers and software??? i don't own a regular optical drive, only an external slot drive i keep in a drawer - can't insert the mini-disc - can't find any links on micro-center or inland's sites for downloading them either - general google / duckduckgo searches haven't found much other than a reddit on it that's 5mo old and this thread... 

    btw - do you ever get used to the noise?!?!?! ugghhh - wish they were quieter - but overall, while being very different, the keys are pretty darn responsive...

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