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iBuyPower MEK Mechanical Keyboard Review

The iBuyPower MEK is actually a rebranded Gamdias Hermes Lite. It comes with TTC Red switches, and the price is right, but this keyboard has some issues.

Our Verdict

The iBuyPower MEK/Gamdias Hermes Lite has a low price tag, thanks in part to its (probably) inexpensive, but nicely-performing TTC Red switches. Unfortunately, the overall build quality is poor, so much so that some features such as key rollover are broken.

For

  • Price
  • Full-featured software
  • High-quality stabilizers

Against

  • Poor build quality that breaks features
  • Limited and somewhat odd lighting options

Introduction And Specifications

A trend among many companies these days is to extend their branding and overall reach by adding nicely-appointed peripherals to their other offerings. Custom system builder iBuyPower has followed suit by "making" a keyboard, although it's not really making anything; it's rebranding and selling the Gamidas Hermes Lite.

I wrote earlier about Gamdias' decision to roll with TTC switches and iBuyPower's in-house QA testing. In sum, the cost of TTC switches appears to be significantly lower than Cherry, and there were no issues with TTC filling orders as fast as the OEM needed. iBuyPower's staff of former pro and competitive gamers were apparently sufficiently satisfied with the quality and performance of the TTC Reds. And so it's come to pass.

The result is a keyboard that portends to offer the benefits of mechanical switches at a comparatively low price. Inevitably, there will be some high-end features missing from a budget keyboard like this one, but those bells and whistles might just be noise, anyway.

When we first wrote about the MEK, we noted that its $54 price tag severely undercut the Hermes Lite's $79.99. iBuyPower was effectively selling it at a loss (or perhaps at cost), recouping the value by pushing it along with one of its custom systems. Temporarily, things flipped--you could buy the Hermes Lite for just $59.99, whereas iBuyPower listed the MEK for $79. Now, iBuyPower flipped it again and is selling the keyboard for $59.

The Hermes Lite is also $59.99 on Amazon, and $79.99 on Newegg, whereas the MEK is $69.99 on Amazon and absent on Newegg.

Specifications

MORE: How We Test Mechanical Keyboards
MORE: Keyboard Reviews
MORE: All Peripherals Content
MORE: Peripherals in the Forums

  • Nintendork
    Dunno but it sounds noisier than pretty much all of the othes mechanical reds reviewed on this site or in youtube.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    Mechanical keyboards are just like any other product - you get what you pay for. A $60 mechanical keyboard would be a step up from a $20 membrane keyboard, but there's also the quality factor. I paid $60 for a Cooler Master Storm a few years back and it feels like a $60 keyboard. Whereas I paid $130 for a Corsair K70 and it feels like a $130 keyboard should.
    Reply
  • toddybody
    Mechanical keyboards are just like any other product - you get what you pay for. A $60 mechanical keyboard would be a step up from a $20 membrane keyboard, but there's also the quality factor. I paid $60 for a Cooler Master Storm a few years back and it feels like a $60 keyboard. Whereas I paid $130 for a Corsair K70 and it feels like a $130 keyboard should.

    While I agree with "you get what you pay for" in general, there are some exceptions. The CM Storm Quickfire I bought (~70) is higher quality than the Logitech and Razer Mechs I've demo'd. I think price/quality balance is the most important..some people think 150.00 on a Ducky KB is worth it...others disagree.
    Reply
  • DotNetMaster777
    Mechanical Keyboard good to try it !
    Reply
  • c_rex
    Outstanding review. While it was clear that this was not a favorite keyboard, you gave the plusses and minuses that a keyboard shopper would look for. Your opinion was not thinly veiled (which I appreciate). I have one of these keyboards on my desk as I recently purchased a gaming pc from iBuyPower (which rocks) and this keyboard came with it, `but I haven't used it. I have a higher end keyboard with which I am absolutely thrilled and will never likely use the Mek. I wondered how it performed. I will say that having used way too many other keyboards, based on your review I would use the Mek over any membrane keyboard including the Razer Deathstalker Ultimate (which I have). So anyone looking for a budget mechanical should consider the upside on this keyboard as affordable. You might find one on a local ad site or fleabay for less than retail. Anyhow, thanks for this review. It is nice to see reviews for the much less than top of the line gear for budding hardware fanatics to understand all ends of the available spectrum.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    Mechanical keyboards are just like any other product - you get what you pay for. A $60 mechanical keyboard would be a step up from a $20 membrane keyboard, but there's also the quality factor. I paid $60 for a Cooler Master Storm a few years back and it feels like a $60 keyboard. Whereas I paid $130 for a Corsair K70 and it feels like a $130 keyboard should.

    While I agree with "you get what you pay for" in general, there are some exceptions. The CM Storm Quickfire I bought (~70) is higher quality than the Logitech and Razer Mechs I've demo'd. I think price/quality balance is the most important..some people think 150.00 on a Ducky KB is worth it...others disagree.

    This is (in part) exactly why we're reviewing keyboards. To me, keyboard pricing in the industry is all over the map. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to it, and therefore I believe that there are probably bargains to be found. And so we rip these suckers apart to see what's under the hood. :)
    Reply