Mechanical Keyboard Review: Eagletec KG-010N (and KG-011N)

Posted: August 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

Here, we have another keyboard featuring the Outemu blue switches. This time, the maker is Eagletec. I believe that the same keyboard may also be available from a brand called Mechanical Eagle, though I could be wrong.

This is a non-backlit 104 key ‘board, with a low profile aluminum top. This is not quite as “compact” on the desktop as some of the other options, but is is not a gigantic ‘board, either. I would say that it is about normal in that regard.

The Eagletec keyboards in this model can also be had with fixed rainbow LEDs, blue LEDs, and RGB LEDs. Because I had several keyboards already that featured a backlight, I decided to safe a few dollars and go with the non-lit version this time around. The spread is less than $20 between the least and most expensive.

I actually purchased two of these ‘boards. One in black and one in silver. They are otherwise identical. My plan was this: I would install a set of “typewriter” key caps on one of them, then use some of the existing, alternate color keys to fill in the other. That’s what I’ve done, with the silver one enjoying the variety of some of the black keys I pulled. The black ‘board has received the typewriter-style, round keys in white and chrome. I’ll cover my impression of the typewriter keys in another review. Suffice it to say that they work and are not as difficult to adapt to as you might imagine.

Unboxing:

These keyboards are altogether standard in their packaging. Nothing comes with the ‘boards, and no extra money has been spent to make the box “glitzy”. They don’t even open in the standard, clam’s shell fashion, but simply ask you to pull the ‘board out the side.

Nothing good or bad so far.

The black ‘board is finished without flaw, though the logo plate caem askew on the silver one. I attempted to peel the logo plaque off, but it proved to be impossibe, without damaging it. Hmm. Oh, well. I’ve been quite lucky with these cheap keyboard thus far. Something has to give, and I imagine that quality assurance has to be one of them.

The Eagletec is a reasonably sturdy board in terms of structural rigidity. It’s light, but the curves in the aluminum top plate allow a fairly thin material to act stiffer than it otherwise would. When looking at the underside, the cost-cutting measures do show out. Primarily, this is in the elevator feet at the back. These are the most vestigial sort of feet. They don’t provide much lift, and they are the type you often find on the lowest common denominator keyboards. That said, they’re probably sufficient to the purpose. Just keep in mind that they are not nearly as robust as on some other designs.

The USB cable is not detactchable, though I believe that this isn’t much of a concern in a full sized keyboard. The cord is also not braided. It does feature a hook and latch tab to allow you to manage extra cable length, if needed.

I find that the overall design is good looking. The floating key design makes no bones about what it is. Especially with the tall typewriter keys on, this is a very “guts on the outside” keyboard.

Everything worked just fine, and other than the misaligned logo, everything looked as it should have. This is the sub $40 range of keyboards, so that meets, if not exceeds, expectations.

In Use:

With the Outemu blue switch, this keyboard is a typing tool. A loud machine that has somewhat above average key resistance, good tactility, and plenty of the crunchy goodness most people are after when they get a mechanical. Bad for noise-averse work spots, good for maximum feedback when you’re clacking along.

Key caps are reasonably sturdy ABS with business-like logos on them (for the non-backlit version). I believe that the backlit versions come with double-shot key caps, but these are not thusly manufactured. i believe that they are pad printed, but it is possible that they are laser-ablated. My bet would be on pad printing. The key feel is just fine out of the box. About what you would expect from ABS keys. The key shape is what I’d call the average conical, square shape you’ll find on most mechanicals. it’s a good, easy-to-use shape, and should not provide any mechanical impediments to typing. Legibility is a little better than the average see-through doubleshot, and there is not “gamer style” applied to this keyboard.

Typing experience is what you’d expect. That is, quick and responsive to touch, plenty of feel. Like all the other Outemu blue keyboards I’ve tried. It should be said that it’s more and more common to find the 87 key layout at these low prices. Not so much with the full size ‘boards. Thus, if you’ve got to have that number pad, this is going to be a nice option for you.

Usage Case:

If you just need a full size, no frills typing keyboard, this might be one of the best deals out there. Getting into that for less than $40 is pretty awesome. The clean looks of the ‘board make it a good candidate for hot rodding, as well. Any kind of technicolor rainbow would look fine on either the silver or the black. My slight issue with the silver version does give me some pause, as do the cheesy elevator feet.

Overall, I think that this keyboard can give you anything a more expensive ‘board, like the Azio, can give, in terms of the pure typing experience and visual interest.

Final Thoughts:

For someone just breaking into mechanicals, or who just doesn’t have a lot of cash to throw at the problem, this is a pretty sweet deal. How likely are you to get a lemon? I don’t know. I also don’t know if the durability of these inexpensive keyboards is going to be as high as something two or three times the price. If it’s not? Shrug. Get another one or upgrade when the time comes.

For the seasoned mechanical keyboardist, this might be great fun as a tinkering platform, or as a loaner you can hand a friend who is interested in checking a mechanical out.

All in all, most of these inexpensive keyboards have more similarities than differences. Your best choice simply depends upon what form factor works for you, and what your visual aesthetics demand. Thus far, I’ve never had one fail to work, and all of them have provided me with a quality typing experience. If the quality and price of mechanicals have ever allowed a broad cross-section of the populace to try them out, it’s today. Good times.

Cheers, and happy typing.

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