When I saw a full sized keyboard that came with Cherry MX switches, and PBT keycaps all for 59.99, I just had to buy it. This is the cheapest keyboard that I can find which includes original Cherry MX switches. The minimalist look coupled with the included keycap options makes this a great choice for someone who just needs to get work done. This is the keyboard you can take to the office without getting strange looks.
Admittedly, I was a bit worried as there are not much reviews on the iKBC CD108.
After doing some research, the iKBC brand seems to be sub of the Vortex brand and is well regarded in the mechanical keyboards subreddit page. Their Poker and Poker II keyboards are flagship models with mostly positive reviews. General comments regard iKBC as having decent build quality and offering solid products.
Build and Quality
The outer case is made of a matte durable plastic. It is slightly rough to the touch which matches the feel of the PBT keycaps. The flip out feet are very sturdy with ample amounts of rubber. The entire keyboard weighs about 3-4 pounds and cannot be moved around much when resting on a table. Overall, it has a solid and durable feel and should last a long time with good care.
The PBT Keycaps are a night and day difference when compared to the regular stock ABS keycaps on my Cooler Master Rapid Fire and my Corsair K90. It has a subtle textured feel that is simply addictive to type on.
The included coloured special keycaps feels a noticeably smoother than the normal ones. Both are of the same thickness, but it suggests that a different plastic was used for the coloured keycaps. Granted they still feel better on the fingers than the stock ABS in my other keyboards. There are some minor imperfections on keycaps as seen below which won’t cause any functional issues.
When the space bar key was removed, some glue can be seen holding the stabilizers in place. Although this seems due to the lower budget, it feels sturdy enough and should not be an issue.
The keyboard is minimalistic in terms of features. Above the number pad there are designated keys for mute, volume down, volume up, and calculator. LED lights indicate num lock, caps lock and scroll lock.
You can also lock the Windows key using the Function Button + Windows Key.
- The price. This is one of the cheapest keyboards on the market with Cherry MX switches.
Also consider that the cost of a third party PBT keycap set is around $30 to $60.
- Solid build quality. You can throw this thing and it would probably be fine.
- Original Cherry MX switches in a variety of choices (Red, Brown, Blue, Black, Clear). These switches are made in Germany by the Cherry company and are guaranteed for more than 50 million keystrokes per switch.
You can learn more about Cherry MX Switches here.
- All keys are PBT keycaps. This makes this a no-brainer deal.
- Includes separate keycaps for modifying the aesthetics of the keyboard.
- Includes a keycap puller.
- The printed lettering are basic, clean and looks professional. Here, it separates itself from other gamer oriented keyboards with the common futuristic fonts.
- Simplicity. The keyboard is as basic as you can get, and this does look really good.
The following are some of the cons of this keyboard. Keep in mind that this is a 59.99 keyboard. As a result, I would say that these cons are negligible.
Cons (but not really)
- The keyboard is not backlit. This may not be a con, and if it is, iKBC has a backlit version of this keyboard for about $10 more. Personally, I think this version is better as it has a more professional look and feel.
- The USB cord is not detachable. This is not a major issue as the cord is long enough for most use cases and is of decent quality.
- There is some glue around the stabilizer switches which seems to be a bit questionable. Rest assured as I have been whacking at this thing for a while now and have not seen any problems. All keys feel solid and not in any way wobbly.
This keyboard is great if you type a lot for work. For the cost of a Corsair keyboard, you can have a clicky Cherry MX Blue version at home, and a more subtle Cherry MX Brown version at the office. It is a solid, no frills mechanical keyboard with the reliability of Cherry switches. With the included keycaps, it looks clean, professional yet stands out from your regular office keyboard.
This keyboard just feels too good to type on. I have retired my Corsair K90 Mechanical Keyboard in preference of the iKBC CD108.