XCELLON KU-MB100B Wired Backlit Keyboard Review @ ModSynergy.com
When I was younger, I was more of a gamer than I am now. I still game, but not nearly as frequently as in the past. When one becomes older, life happens, and that's when things can get too busy that there's very little time left to enjoy video games.
Within the last 15-years I've observed the gaming accessories market explode to a huge and relevant money maker. This has been reinforced by the huge eSports movement which is far reaching and continuing to grow at an enormous pace, to the point of filling out arenas. One such accessory that didn't exist back then, but has for the past couple of years had a huge growth and impact on the market has been the PC gaming keyboard. There are multitudes of gaming keyboards on the market varying in styles, sizes, colors, and pricing.
Today's review will be of interest to those who are casual gamers and those on a strict budget wanting dip their feet into experiencing a backlit keyboard. It comes from XCELLON, whom we've already had a positive experience with their AC and USB port Power Bank a few months back.
Today I'll be reviewing the XCELLON KU-MB100B wired backlit keyboard to see if it's worth the $29.95 USD MSRP price tag.
About XCELLON (http://www.xcellongear.com)
Treat your computer right with some outstanding peripherals. Xcellon specializes in creating a wide variety of wired and wireless solutions that enhance your laptop or desktop, keep you connected, stay cool and back up your precious data.
We believe that design and functionality should have equal share, so you can depend on our products to not only look good, but also do their job very well. Connect with Xcellon.
XCELLON KU-MB100B Product Overview & Features
Type in the dark with Xcellon's KU-MB100B Wired Backlit Keyboard. This keyboard features backlighting under the keys, illuminating them with a blue glow that's ideal for dark and dim environments. A toggle key lets you turn the backlight on or off with a push of a button.
XCELLON KU-MB100B Product Specifications
Considering the low price of $29.95 USD, I was surprised that the XCELLON KU-MB100B came in a color printed corrugated box. I was expecting a plain brown box since the price is this inexpensive. The front of the box showcases an image of the backlit keyboard and points out that the keyboard is ideal for low-light environments and being of the plug-and-play variety. The KU-MB100B contains a blue backlight that can be enabled or disabled with a push of a dedicated button on the keyboard. It should be noted that the KU-MB100B is a 104-key chiclet style keyboard where the keys are completely flat. Another example of a chiclet style keyboard are those found on Macbooks.
The rear of the box contains a full layout image of the keyboard, some features, and specifications of the keyboard. The XCELLON KU-MB100B plugs into an available 5V USB port on the computer and draws only a small 100mA draw from the USB port. Cable length of the keyboard is 4.9 feet or 1.5 meters. Weight wise the KU-MB100B tips the scale at only 1.35 lbs or 612 grams.
Visual Overview & Overall Thoughts Under Operation
The XCELLON KU-MB100B wired backlit keyboard is a 104-key design measuring 17.5" x 6.25" x 0.7" (44.5 x 16.0 x 1.7 cm) and comes in a black exterior body. There's nothing too fancy or extreme about the design of the KU-MB100B, it's just a simple rectangle with a tad bit of style in the depressed ridge that spans across half of the keyboard. Construction is purely hard plastic in this case.
The face of the keys on the keyboard are painted black which surrounds the letters which sit unpainted. The depth around the keys are left translucent for the backlight to shine through and around. If I were to nitpick, some of the keys have paint ever so slightly trailing off the edges where they haven't been perfectly done, most likely from a template guide used in the process and once removed it caused some paint to trail off. You have to look very closely to notice. Some of the keys do not exhibit this symptom.
Since the actual letters are not painted, and left for the backlight to illuminate through, this makes the keys without any use of the backlight a little hard to see depending on how available lighting hits the keyboard as the keys itself are translucent. Remember the actual keys are originally a translucent piece of plastic and the letters are shaped around the black layer of paint on the keys.
Each key on the KU-MB100B sticks out about 0.4cm/4mm from the body, so travel distance when pushing down they keys is very quick, something that is appreciated when you start using the keyboard. You also don't need much pressure to push down and execute the command. The larger buttons such as they enter key, backspace, and shift key can be a little stiffer to push down depending on where you push...pushing down on the edges of those larger buttons takes a little more pressure than if you were to push in the center, and for example, pushing down on the enter key is a little stiffer than pushing down on the backspace key. For the most part though, the majority of buttons require the same force of pressure.
The QWERTY keys measure 0.59 inches x 0.59 inches.
I like the short spacing between the keys, which is about 0.3 cm apart from each other, and makes for a quick and easy experience when typing so your fingers do not have to travel as much.
I really wish this keyboard had at least a few multimedia keys. I would have loved a volume up and down key and a mute key at the very least, it would have made for a more useful experience.
The backside of the keyboard can be tilted just a few degrees. The rubber feet back here are excellent and prevent slippage.
In terms of using the backlight, it is automatically enabled when you plug the USB cable into an available USB port on your computer. The keyboard has a dedicated on and off backlight button that sits between the Alt and Menu key on the right side of the keyboard should you wish to disable it.
Unfortunately as you'll soon realize after using the keyboard, there is no brightness level capability. There is only one brightness, which isn't bright to begin with. The XCELLON KU-MB100B uses a dark blue color backlight. In real life the brightness of the backlight is not as you would see from the image on the packaging. The blue LED is a darker shade and seems to have a hint of purple hue to it, and under operation, I would have much preferred a brighter and lighter shade of blue. As it stands, the darker shade of blue that has a hint of purple in it, is perceived to the human eye as dark and dim. As already stated, the box image is showing a backlight that is brighter than it actually is, and while taking photos of the keyboard, my camera was making the backlight brighter than it actually is, until I really dialed back the exposure.
I suppose I would consider the brightness of the LED backlight to be sufficient, but I was expecting brighter. It's already sometimes a little hard to make out the letters without the backlight on and depending on how the available lighting hits the translucent lettering, a brighter LED would have made this a non issue. The illumination of the backlight through the translucent casing of the keys is not perfectly spaced and evenly diffused. I think you can tell, just by looking at the photos in the gallery that some keys are visibly dimmer than others. For example, the space bar is clearly missing much of any illumination, and keys such as the letters and numbers of 'y', '4', 'caps lock', 'tab', 'home', and 'ESC' are somewhat dimmer than the other keys at different spots of the keyboard. Yes I know this is an inexpensive $29.95 USD keyboard, but I thought the implementation could at least be a little better. I suppose I could curb my expectations on such a price point.
Interestingly enough, I'm surprised that the XCELLON company logo is not illuminated. This is a puzzling omission as I thought you'd want to at least illuminate your own company logo.
It is what it is, but I would have liked to see different LED backlight colors offered on the XCELLON KU-MB100B wired backlit keyboard. I think this would have given it a better edge and offering different backlight colors could have solved the minor issue of not being able to make out the lettering on the keys very well in certain conditions if there were different and lighter shades of backlight offered. I think the reason why the lettering can be perceived as hard to make out is because the key casing is translucent but the majority of the reason is the dark shade of color being used which the eye perceives as coming off as dim. At the very least, XCELLON should have used a lighter shade of blue which would have come off as brighter and thus easier to see overall. Yes what it has now is sufficient, but could have been made much better. It is still a fair backlit keyboard experience for $29.95 USD.
Now the best attributes of this keyboard comes when you actually start using it. I've been typing this review with the XCELLON KU-MB100B wired backlit keyboard and I have to say I really like the performance on how the keyboard types. I came from a much larger Logitech Wave Pro keyboard, and I have to say this XCELLON KU-MB100B outperforms the Logitech in almost every way in regards to the way it types. The XCELLON KU-MB100B is magnitudes quieter than the Logitech Wave keyboard I was previously using, probably because the key travel is kept to a minimum as opposed to how far the keys on the Logitech travels and thus creates more noise when clanking down against the plastic body. I guess it depends on your typing style, I like to button mash a little so my typing can be a little more noisy than one who can use a certain amount of pressure.
I'm not saying the XCELLON KU-MB100B is the most quiet keyboard I've ever used, but it's definitely quieter than the Logitech. Some larger keys on the XCELLON (shift key, space bar, enter, backspace) are a little more noisy than the rest of the QWERTY keys, but other than that is has been a fairly quiet experience.
I find the XCELLON KU-MB100B very comfortable to use, the chiclet keys are perfectly sized for my own fingers and there's less distance between the keys so I can type a bit quicker when this keyboard. Again for $29.95 USD I am very pleasantly happy with the quietness given off by the Xcellon. I can't believe how well it feels under operation and how quiet it is for the price. For about 12-13 days I've been typing on this keyboard, I've had no issues to report of and no stuck keys to report of.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
The XCELLON KU-MB100B wired backlit keyboard can be purchased through B&H Photo for $29.95 USD.
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The XCELLON KU-MB100B wired backlight keyboard is a very pleasant surprise. I know there are some things to nitpick about this keyboard, but in the grand scheme of things, there's not much to dislike, especially for under $30 USD.
Sure the backlight is on the dimmer side than I would have liked, there's no brightness level adjustment, the shade of the blue backlight is a little too dark for my taste, the diffusion and illumination of keys could be better, its missing a few extra buttons for multimedia controls I would have loved to have, but other than those things, there's nothing else I can say is negative about this keyboard. The best attributes of this keyboard comes down to the way it types and performs. It is surprisingly quiet and very comfortable to type on as the spacing between keys is short and the button travel is short. Considering why one purchases a keyboard is for typing purposes, this is excitingly good while outperforming the more expensive Logitech keyboard I was using previously.
Well done XCELLON with your KU-MB100B wired backlit keyboard. I can't envision seeing how there's a better keyboard you can purchase for under $30.