Rosewill RK-9100 Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
Rosewill's first mechanical keyboard, the RK-9000, was meant to be a simple, utilitarian mechanical keyboard, offering great value for money. We initially thought that the RK-9100 would be just an updated version using switches with integrated LEDs, yet Rosewill managed to positively surprise us by adding more than just lighting, even though the price of the RK-9100 is a mere 20 USD higher than that of the plain version. This means that, if a simple and utilitarian design matches your style, you can buy a mechanical keyboard which also sports illuminated keys, multimedia functions, a gaming mode (disabling the Windows/Application keys is an especially big plus for gamers) and a USB hub for just 20 bucks more.
You should not let the simple appearance of the RK-9100 fool you; despite the subtle, classic design, the RK-9100 is a very well-made and durable product, the quality of which will please even the most demanding of users. Rosewill offers the RK-9100 into two versions, one with Cherry MX Blue switches, which usually suit seasoned typists and professionals, and another with Cherry MX Brown switches, which are versatile and commonly preferred by users seeking all-around performance. Unfortunately there are no versions with Cherry MX Red and or Black switches, which are commonly the preference of hardcore gamers, yet we think that the vast majority would be content with the tactile Cherry MX Brown switch. We did find the choice of Cherry MX Blue switches strange, considering that Rosewill clearly markets this as a gaming keyboard and these switches are usually preferred by typists, not gamers; however, that does not mean that a typist will not love writing/blogging with a RK-9100. Then again, most would rightfully argue that the RK-9100 also lacks other features which are sought after by hardcore gamers, such as programmable macro keys, which would lead those users seeking a more feature-packed (and significantly more expensive) product.
Despite its excellent quality, classic appearance and great value, the RK-9100 is not without flaws. Aside from the minor design flaws, such as the reversed volume buttons (why on earth would the F6 key increase the volume and F7 key decrease it?) and the lack of programmable Macro keys, the only significant flaw about the RK-9100 is linked to its most important feature; the lighting. Unfortunately, the lighting of the RK-9100 is very (as in VERY) strong, even if turned all the way down to the minimal brightness setting, which can be rather uncomfortable in very dark rooms. The green LED buttons make that problem that much more severe, as they are extremely bright and their brightness is not even linked to that of the other keys, meaning that they are always stuck at maximum brightness, no matter what the brightness/lighting mode is set.
To conclude, the Rosewill RK-9100 illuminated mechanical gaming keyboard is an excellent choice for gamers (and typists) who value a classic appearance and high quality but want to combine these with key illumination and a reasonable price tag. It is an excellent product for users who want a reliable mechanical keyboard but do not need too many bells and whistles.