Five Mechanical-Switch Keyboards: Only The Best For Your Hands

Ione X-Armor U9BL: Test

Detailed test results

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Ione X-Armor U9BL

Single Key:

Cherry MX Blue

- Cylindrical key design- Good traction against slippage- Coated, laser-cut- Blue illumination

Distance to actuation point:- 2 mm from starting position- 4 mm HubOperating force:- 50 g to overcome spring resistance- Approximately 60 g top value to exceed to the actuation pointCharacteristics:- Tactile switches- Click triggersOverview of test results

Assessment:This keyboard is as good as it is loud. If you only play first-person shooter games, keyboards with MX Brown switches tend to narrowly win out, but they can also score points when it comes to word processing and arcade racing games. The illuminated X-Armour is also easy on the eyes, and just as practical as it is attractive. Like the Razor unit that shows up later in this story, it's good for use in the dark. Because the keys are illuminated, you get high contrast and crisp lettering without the annoying halo effect of light emanating from the spaces between the keys, which you get from cheap backlit keyboards.Comparison:AdvantagesDisadvantages- Good for office use- Good for gaming- Very precise, clicky, tactile keys- Solid appearance, no slippage- No extra drivers needed- Connectable via PS/2 and USB - Built-in USB Hub x2 - Headphones/microphone connectable- Relatively loud (function of the design)- Deep, hard-to-clean inter-key spaces- No additional function or macro keys- PS/2 mode a problem with some keyboards- Very thick and stiff connecting cableOverall rating:Excellent174 of 200 PointsWe withheld our Approved Badge for two reasons:1. Problems with the PS/2 Mode with some keyboards2. Lack of wide availability in Germany (this isn't as big of a problem in the U.S., where we see it available online)

(Diagram Source: Cherry)

  • "You will find keyboards even pricier than these, but that's a consequence of built-in special functions and gimmicks, not better quality or suitability."

    That's a bit ignorant, since you didn't test them. Try a Topre Realforce and tell me it's a gimmick.
  • skaz
    Great write up! I have a tenkeyless Leopold cherry brown and love it.
  • leather_daddy
    Where is the Filco Majestouch in the product list?
  • steve11
    Poorly done overview. A lot of keyboard missing in action.
  • stiehl
    Hmm looking at those keyboard's layouts make me wince. I don't think I could stand a huge enter key, a nonexistent "\", Y and Z being switched, and a funky shift key. I'm happy with my blank das keyboard, thank you very much.
  • michaelahess
    I actually went away from mechanical keyboards about 7 years ago. I really prefer a solid rubber dome keyboard. I currently use a Logitech MX5500 for gaming and a Logitech Wave for typing. Never had any issues with either for their purposes. I do miss the tactile feel, but honestly the 5500 is a MUCH better gaming board, plus the noise doesn't drive me crazy.

    For all of you with exotic keyboards, you must be extra special picky ;) I type 110 wpm without error and have no trouble with the wave or 5500.
  • Stardude82
    My Model M is too cool for this review.
  • fakie
    wheres the das keyboard model s ultimate?
  • mortsmi7
    I kind of wished they had compared them to some mainstream keyboards like the cheapy walmart logitech, dell keyboard, or ibm. Sure they work great, but compared to what. I'm not a fan of loud and clicky ibm, but thats as far as my interest in key-presses goes.

    I bought my G110 for the extra macro keys that I never use. In fact I use the onboard volume control more often.

  • Where is the Model M? Is it too cool for this review?
    And it's "buckling spring", not "bent spring"