Looking for Mech Enthusiasts' Opinions of Kogan Keyboards

I'm looking for people with more experience with high end mechs to give their opinion on Kogan keyboards, specifically on how they achieved that $35 price point and what I would miss out on vs high end mechs. I'm mostly interested in the latest iteration, not the older ones with Cherry switches + detachable cable.

What I already know:

  • Non detachable cable.
  • RGB isn't as customisable as other boards (doesn't really matter as I usually prefer a simple white).
  • Keycaps are ABS, but they've somehow managed to squeeze in doubleshot injection molding.
  • Outemu switches (I've tried 1 board with Outemu switches, I think they're a perfectly reasonable substitute).

What I suspect and need confirmation on:

  • The feet are of poor quality and/or are not rubber tipped (not really an issue since positive angle is unergonomic).
  • Stabilisers are likely to be poorly lubed out of the factory.
  • Likely to be more keycap wobble.
  • Poor aftermarket support if any issues arise within the warranty period.

I've tried asking on /r/MechanicalKeyboards, but there don't seem to be many Australians on there (or at least, Australians willing to dip low enough to buy something like this).

I'm looking for objective advice. Anything I haven't mentioned you feel is worth raising is welcome too. I'm interested in specifics, not a general overview.

Comments

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    I'd be interested in this as well… just looking for something cheap for my young-en who plays fortnite occasionally - i.e. more for "cool factor".

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    I do have one, though I don't have much to compare it to besides work keyboards, I have the mid performance/sounding one (brown I think?) but the clicky sound was a bit too loud for work (outemu one).

    I liked the keyboard, thought it looked nice, quite a few individual light options I could move between, a lot looked super kool.

    I think the price point makes a bit of sense though, mass produced, outemu plastic problem doesn't cost too much. I'll try to have a look tonight if you still don't have an answer on your points above.

  •  

    Not a huge keyboard nerd. However, something I came across when looking at mechanical keyboards is that a lot of the cost is in the switches and circuitry (sounds kinda obvious). Long story short, a $35 keyboard with lower quality switches will get a much shorter life compared to a more expensive keyboard with quality switches. Therefore, if it's for a serious amount of use, go with a more expensive keyboard, if it's a casual keyboard (not critical if it breaks) getting a bit of use now and then, the Kogan option would be fine.

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    The Kogan one feels cheap when you press the keys. It is also got a light sound when you tap instead of a solid sound. Iā€™m comparing the Kogan metal top one vs a Aeorus cherry tournament.

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    If you like simple white for your backlight I have some bad news - it won't do it (if someone knows how to make it go white please let me know). White backlight is my preference too but I had to settle with red.
    The base is a bit thick and takes some getting used to.

  •  

    I type with mech keyboards and have tried the Kogan keyboard. As a disclaimer, for the most part I'm a typist first and a gamer second, so my favourite switch is Cherry MX Blue, followed by Brown, and I'm not really a fan of linear actuation switches (i.e. Red).

    To put everything into perspective, a lot of what we have come to expect from mechanical keyboards (e.g. detachable cable, RGB, good quality feet…etc.) have only really been part of the mainstream conversation for the past few years. When I first started getting into mechanical keyboards over a decade ago, they were much more niche and had none of these creature comforts. The typing experience is the most important thing.

    Personally, I think the Kogan keyboard is a pretty good deal at $35. You can't really compare it to keyboards that are $100+, that wouldn't really be fair. on the other hand, it is far better than any rubber dome keyboard out there.

    • -1 vote

      I'm aware of that. I'm more interested in the specifics, not a general "it's not as good as more expensive mechs, you get what you paid for". There aren't many detailed reviews by experienced mech enthusiasts for Kogan keyboards.

      What differences did you notice vs other boards you've tried? What are the compromises they have had to make to get it down to $35?

      I've already listed some in the OP. Anything not on there you feel is worth mentioning is welcome too.

      •  

        To be honest, a lot of the traditional mech keyboard brands operate in a niche market and charge pretty hefty premiums just for their namebrand. In that sense, it's pretty hard to compare.

        If we ignore all of the "nice to have, but largely irrelevant" features like detachable cables, RGB, injection moulded keycaps…etc., then the biggest difference between the Kogan keyboard and other main-brand mech keyboards is its use of Outemu vs. Cherry switches. I guess it's down to personal preference, but I find Outemu switches perfectly fine. They don't feel quite as good as Cherry switches, but like I said before, they're far, far, far better than any rubber dome switches.

        Hard for me to be more detailed on all of this because I personally think that most of the stuff that mech keyboard enthusiasts care about are quite elitist things that are not really relevant to the average user. I wouldn't get the Kogan keyboard if you're picky. However, if you just want a good typing experience without having to pay through your nose, then it's a good keyboard and I would recommend it.

          • +2 votes

            @Scalebearer:

            What are these "picky" things? I've already said I don't want a general overview. It's impossible for you to know whether it would matter to me or not. You are not me.

            There's nothing inherently wrong or bad about the keyboard. It just doesn't feel as nice as an expensive keyboard and if you carry it in your bag every day, I would think it won't last as long. On a desk, whilst typing, it doesn't feel any different to a decent mech keyboard.

            Like I said, the biggest difference is Outemu switches. If you don't mind them, then you probably won't have any issues with the keyboard.

            Detachable cables and doubleshot injection moulding are not gimmicks.

            They are gimmicks in the sense that they have nothing to do with the most important part of a keyboard's function, which is to type. If you care about these things, then I don't think this cheapo keyboard would be suitable for you.

            Detachable cables allow for easier packing if you use the keyboard at multiple locations (e.g. home and accepting workplace) and make it possible to replace the cable without buying an entirely new board (or equipment to cut into and repair non detachable cables).

            You know it doesn't have a detachable keyboard, so this is a moot point.

            Doubleshot keycaps will never have their legends wear away.

            I change my keycaps every few years anyway. I've personally never had any issues with them wearing out. If anything, I find that they become stained or "smooth" before their legend wears away.

            Backlighting is not a gimmick, although RGB is.

            Again, it's a gimmick with regards to what a keyboard actually is - a device you use to type.

            The entire point of me posting was to get objective advice, not for you to dismiss things as "elitist" without going into details and thinking you can decide what matters to me and what doesn't.

            Why am I wasting my time helping you? Keyboards are personal - as evidenced by the fact that you and I seem to have different views on what makes a good keyboard good. I grew up typing on Model M's, just a good keyboard with a solid feel, good switches and a great typing experience. To me, that's what a good keyboard represents. I don't need quality markers on the keys, or backlighting or detachable cables.

            If you are looking for specifics, then it's hard for me to say anything because a lot of the issues that will crop up with a keyboard will take time to see. I don't know how the Kogan keyboard will hold up after years of heavy typing. I doubt anyone would given how new they are.

            Anyway, I've told you all I can tell you - it's a fine keyboard. The actual typing experience is fine. The build quality is more than adequate for a $35 board. You've listed all of the main things it doesn't have.

            • +1 vote

              @p1 ama: Thanks for your input - even if it hasn't helped the OP šŸ™„, it's really helped me and I wanted to let you know I appreciated it.

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