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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.

Conclusion

The story of the iBuyPower MEK/Gamdias Hermes Lite is a surprising one. At first glance, it seems to be an attractive budget mechanical keyboard offering. It has a few perks, such as backlighting, not to mention the multi-faceted (if quirky) Hera software. And boy, the price is right: One way or another, you can snag this keyboard for around sixty bucks.

You would think that the sticking point would be the quality, or lack thereof, of the TTC Red switches. It smacks of cheapness and is a potential red flag. However, I found nothing at all to complain about regarding these switches. Based on my subjective experience with this one keyboard, they are on par with the quality you see from any Red switch.

No, the cheapness and quality issues are inside the chassis. The PCB is single-layer, and there were several holes in the welds as well as some other messy soldering. That appears to have affected the KRO performance, which I found to be in complete disarray.

For those reasons, I would not recommend purchasing this keyboard. There are other budget options available that do not have these quality issues, including the Nixeus Moda V2, which has a couple of issues of its own but costs $70 or $80, depending on the switch type. Even Razer has a keyboard now for $60.

Update, 5/11/16, 2:35pm PT: Updated pricing information.

Seth Colaner is the News Director for Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter @SethColaner. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • 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