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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.

Teardown

Nine total screws hold the iBuyPower MEK together. There are eight on the underside of the keyboard, with one hiding under one of the rubber-tipped flip-out feet. With those screws out, it still took a good bit of firm but gentle prying to wiggle the top panel off. With the top panel removed, there was still a lone, tiny screw holding the PCB assembly onto the back part of the chassis; with it removed, the assembly popped right off.

We never recommend that you try this at home, as you may void a warranty or inadvertently cause some damage. In this case, one must take care not to allow any pulling on the wires connecting the cable's plastic bumper to the PCB. It's a flimsy connection; in fact, its connection to the PCB was a mite loose. The bumper preventing cable damage is odd, but it seems effective: There's a small plastic rectangle into which the cable connects, and it's slightly larger than the rectangular cutout in which it rests, so it will never pull through. However, I'd be careful not to tug on the cable too hard, as I'm not sure the cable connection can withstand too much abuse.

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Looking at the PCB, you can see some issues. The welds on the F1, Home and W keys have gaps, which likely contributed to the KRO issues listed in the "Key Rollover" section below. There's some sloppy soldering on the left Spacebar, although because this is purely a mechanical connection and not one pertaining to actual input, it's probably not a huge deal, but there are ugly flecks of solder around the A and Ctrl keys, as well as the 3 and the 6 on the numpad. The area around the C key is just a mess.

Further, note that the PCB is just a single layer. The tip-off is that the top of it is yellow-ish beige instead of green.

One positive note on the MEK's construction is the stabilizers. Although they're the Costar-style stabs I generally do not like, these feel much sturdier and springier than the ones I've seen on other keyboards. The metal itself is thicker, and even the plastic pieces feel less flimsy. I was able to remove several of the larger keycaps with no trouble, and although replacing them was just as annoying as with other keyboards with similar stabs, I never felt as though anything would break. A representative told me that these stabs were made especially for Gamdias.

The MCU on board the MEK is the Holtek HT68FB560.