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Alps Switch Clones Populate Wacky i-Rocks Mechanical Keyboard

I-Rocks is something of a quirky company, as evidenced by peripherals like its Golem M20E gaming mouse (which seems to have taken design cues from lightning bugs), and its latest strange concoction is a LEGO-inspired mechanical keyboard with, of all things, Alps switch clones.

I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. And I can’t believe the i-Rocks K76m Fun Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard is a real thing that you can buy:

Here is a brief slideshow of adorable madness:

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Alps Switch Clones?

Yes, Alps switch clones. It’s not surprising that a peripherals company would make Alps switch clones--Matias, for example, has built a business on them--but what’s odd is that i-Rocks would debut them in such a weird product.

In any case, i-Rocks said that it’s created four versions of this switch: Red, Brown, and Blue, with the respective linear, tactile, and clicky characteristics, and a white “Geek” switch that it said has “very light resistance and no click or tactile bump for quick responses at minimal effort.” It requires a relatively minuscule 28g of force to operate.

It claimed that it built the switches from the original Alps design but used “Taiwan's best machining techniques to bring a classic back to life.

The company said that the switches offer o-rings for sound dampening--its “patented O-Ring System” (ORS). These are LED-equipped switches that come in single-color and RGB versions. The switches have gold-plated contacts, the key caps are doubleshot. The switches actually have Cherry MX-compatible stems, so you can swap in aftermarket caps if you so desire.

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i-Rocks Mechanical SwitchesRedBrownBlue“Geek” (White)
TypeLinearTactileClickyLinear
Travel4mm (+/- 0.4mm)
Actuation Point2.0mm (+/- 0.4mm)1.9mm (+/- 0.4mm)2.0mm (+/- 0.4mm)
Tactile ForceN/A50g (+/- 10g)60g (+/- 12g)N/A
Operating Force40g (+/- 9g)33g (+/- 8g)35g (+/- 8g)28g (+/- 6g)
Lifetime (Clicks)50m30m
StemCherry-compatible

LEGO Compatibility?

Yes, LEGO compatibility. The top panel of the K76m is removable, and you can employ a black or white LEGO-compatible top--meaning you can further customize it with actual LEGO bricks. That is downright bizarre, but you can also employ different non-LEGO tops. These include some that look like wood grain or metal, some with patterns, and so on. The bottom portion of the chassis is clear, because sure, why not.

The K76m is a 104-key device with NKRO, and some of the keys serve double duty as media controls. The device will be available this month with a $139 MSRP. You can preorder one now on the Indiegogo page.

i-Rocks K76m Fun Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard
Model TypeFull size, 104-key
Switch Typei-Rocks Mechanical switch (Alps clones): Red, Brown, Blue, and White (“Geek”)
ConstructionPlastic with removable top panel
LightingRGB or single color
Additional PortsNo
Cable TypeUSB, 200cm
Key CapsDoubleshot
Key RolloverNKRO
SoftwareNo
Weight1.45 Kg
Dimensions459 x 158.5 x 39.5mm (LxWxH)
System RequirementsWindows XP/Vista/7/8/10
AccessoriesAdditional tops sold separately, apparently
Price$139
  • zahoome
    What do you have against Lego? And why is a Lego compatible keyboard so bizarre? People need keyboards. Lego is awesome and fun. And when you're waiting for something to load or process or something, there's Lego... RIGHT ON YOUR KEYBOARD! What could be better than that?
    Reply
  • anonymousdude
    Let's be honest here. Lego is awesome and it's something that a lot of people never grow out of. Also it's a new switch from a lesser known company, so what better way to get publicity then make a product that's is actually interesting.
    Reply
  • lorfa
    28 grams?? Insane.
    Reply
  • DookieDraws
    Only $139? Wow! I bet it will be hard keeping those in stock!

    Actual animated gif of the keyboard designer just moments before coming up with the design idea for these keyboards. True story! :lol:



    Reply
  • hoofhearted
    THe MineCraft crowd should love this.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    18815581 said:
    What do you have against Lego? And why is a Lego compatible keyboard so bizarre? People need keyboards. Lego is awesome and fun. And when you're waiting for something to load or process or something, there's Lego... RIGHT ON YOUR KEYBOARD! What could be better than that?

    Heh, to be clear, I love LEGO. My childhood was LEGO, G.I. Joe, Transformers, playing in the woods, riding bikes, repeat. (Oh, and Micro Machines. Anyone else remember those? I digress.) But I do think it's weird to put LEGO on a keyboard. It seems to me like two good things that are awkwardly crammed together, like orange juice and chocolate.

    Especially considering the switches! That's a major selling point, and they even have their own special 28g switch. But all that's hidden behind the LEGO stuff. Odd. Not bad necessarily, just odd. :)

    (Wish I still had those Micro Machines somewhere...what did I ever do with those...?)
    Reply
  • scolaner
    18816334 said:
    28 grams?? Insane.

    Yes. I can't imagine what they must feel like. It's interesting too, that some of the other "speed" switches out there have shorter travel, whereas this one is the full 4mm.
    Reply
  • zahoome
    18819253 said:
    Heh, to be clear, I love LEGO. My childhood was LEGO, G.I. Joe, Transformers, playing in the woods, riding bikes, repeat. (Oh, and Micro Machines. Anyone else remember those? I digress.) But I do think it's weird to put LEGO on a keyboard. It seems to me like two good things that are awkwardly crammed together, like orange juice and chocolate.
    Good, I'd have to question your sanity if you didn't like LEGO... or Transformers. :) Unfortunately, I never got to have Micro Machines, but I did get to play the Micro Machines NES game since my cousins had it. So much fun!

    I guess I don't consider LEGO on a keyboard that odd. It gives you a level of customization you don't get with any other keyboard. It's something unique. And it's something easy to play with when idle. Let's face it, unless you have a killer system, you're going to be waiting on loading screens at least once in a while.

    Ok, orange *juice* and chocolate would be odd. Orange and chocolate, however, is really really good.

    18819253 said:
    Especially considering the switches! That's a major selling point, and they even have their own special 28g switch. But all that's hidden behind the LEGO stuff. Odd. Not bad necessarily, just odd. :)
    I imagine there are people who will see the LEGO and buy the keyboard because of that, regardless of the switch. Some of these people probably don't know or care that keyboards have different switches.

    28g. With a force that low, you might not even know/notice you're pressing the key, so 4mm vs 2mm might not matter all that much.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    18819608 said:
    18819253 said:
    Heh, to be clear, I love LEGO. My childhood was LEGO, G.I. Joe, Transformers, playing in the woods, riding bikes, repeat. (Oh, and Micro Machines. Anyone else remember those? I digress.) But I do think it's weird to put LEGO on a keyboard. It seems to me like two good things that are awkwardly crammed together, like orange juice and chocolate.
    Good, I'd have to question your sanity if you didn't like LEGO... or Transformers. :) Unfortunately, I never got to have Micro Machines, but I did get to play the Micro Machines NES game since my cousins had it. So much fun!

    I guess I don't consider LEGO on a keyboard that odd. It gives you a level of customization you don't get with any other keyboard. It's something unique. And it's something easy to play with when idle. Let's face it, unless you have a killer system, you're going to be waiting on loading screens at least once in a while.

    Ok, orange *juice* and chocolate would be odd. Orange and chocolate, however, is really really good.

    18819253 said:
    Especially considering the switches! That's a major selling point, and they even have their own special 28g switch. But all that's hidden behind the LEGO stuff. Odd. Not bad necessarily, just odd. :)
    I imagine there are people who will see the LEGO and buy the keyboard because of that, regardless of the switch. Some of these people probably don't know or care that keyboards have different switches.

    28g. With a force that low, you might not even know/notice you're pressing the key, so 4mm vs 2mm might not matter all that much.

    Heh...

    I just think it would have made more sense for them to do a LEGO keyboard with Kailh switches or something, and ALSO launched a more "serious" keyboard with the fancy switches.
    Reply