Here’s an interesting one for me… a keyboard… that isn’t mechanical! Taiwanese computer peripherals brand i-rocks got in contact with me last week, so today I’m taking a look at the Rock Series K10 Keyboard.
The keyboard has rubber domes, yes, but it has a cool gamer look, feels solid on my desk and is ready to be typed upon – so let’s do it!
- Durable PBT reinforced keycaps that can last millions of strokes
- Anti-ghosting enabled (30 key rollover)
- Windows key disabler to prevent accidental keystrokes
- POM key switches for ‘tactile touch’
- Interface: Full Speed USB
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
- Key number: 104 keys (by language)
- Key stroke: 3.8±0.5mm
- Key force: 55±15g
- Switch life: about 20 million life cycles
- Cable length: 180cm
- Dimensions: 448 (L) x 148 (W) x 34(H) mm
- Product weight: about 1.2kg
- N-key Rollover with 30 keys trigger capability
- Membrane key-switches with plunged key structure
The K10 has a standard 104-key design, with an almost standard key layout. The enter key is larger and a completely different shape to other keyboards; it’s essentially a US long-style Enter joined with the top part of a UK-style Enter. This necessitates a 1x size backspace key, with the pipe / forward slash key to its left.
Laser printed legends are provided, in a US layout (e.g. Shift + 2 is marked ‘@’, rather than the double quotes you’d expect in the UK.) The legends are rendered in a rather unappealing fantasy-style font, which gives the keyboard a unique look. The i-rocks logo on the spacebar is backlit, but no other keys are. Four indicator LEDs lie in the upper right corner. The Windows key lock is engaged by pressing both Windows keys for a few seconds.
The keycaps are reinforced with PBT, and are of a similar size and height to standard mechanical keyboards from Filco, Cherry, etc. Indeed, if you take off a keycap you’ll note a Cherry MX compatible cross-shaped stem. This means that keycaps from this keyboard can be used on Cherry MX keyboards (and vice versa), although the different-sized enter key means a full conversion isn’t possible. Interestingly, the keycaps have a similar heart-shape to Lenovo’s recent Thinkpads.
Beneath the keycap is something fairly unusual – a POM bracket sitting atop a rubber dome. This provides a smoother feel than the standard rubber dome, but still requires more force and has a worse key feel than a Cherry MX switch.
The PCB below the domes determines the ability of the keyboard to handle multiple keypresses simultaneously. The box claims “N Key Rollover”, which should mean all keys can be pressed simultaneously, but later also claims “30 keys trigger capacity”, which means that 30 keys can be pressed simultaneously. Regardless, for practical purposes the keyboard shouldn’t let you down here.
On the bottom of the keyboard, we have a choice of three channels for the USB cable to be flowed into. The cable itself is fairly standard in terms of size and durability, but the end is helpfully reinforced.
That brings us to the end of our tour, so let’s move onto testing.
In order to test the keyboard’s viability, I tested it for a week, using it as my go-to keyboard for writing and gaming.
The K10 seems to occupy a strange middle-ground between a mechanical keyboard and a rubber dome. The POM housing seems to provide a better feel than most rubber domes, but still feels mushy and requires a fair amount of force to actuate. Regardless, the typing feel is better than I expected, and the chatter of the keys while typing at a good rate is pleasant enough.
There are three common feature requests from gamers when it comes to keyboards: backlighting, windows key locking and N Key Rollover. The K10 provides two of three, with backlighting being saved for a more expensive model. I had no issues with key rollover during frantic play of Titfanfall, StarCraft II or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the Windows Key locking worked as advertised. Overall though, the key feel and comfort of these rubber domes – high end though they are – still pales in comparison to any mechanical keyboard.
I want to like the i-Rocks Rock Series K10 Gaming Keyboard… it comes close to being a really nice upper tier rubber dome, something that is noticeably different from the £3 office keyboard you’ve been using but not as expensive as a mechanical. Ultimately though, there are too many oddities to give this one my full recommendation – the weird single backlit key, the giant enter key, the terrible key font. For now, my vote is to save up for a cheap CM Storm mechanical.
- Good key feel for a rubber dome
- N-Key Rollover works as advertised
- Feels durable, is well planted on the desk
- Low price
- Good rubber domes still aren’t as good as mechanicals
- Terrible key legends, slightly weird layout