So we’re looking at a super budget gaming keyboard today, the Rii RK100. This board is going for only $20 on Amazon, making it one of the cheapest backlit gaming keyboards. The RK100 has 3 colour LED backlighting, but there is also an RK100+ version that comes with rainbow backlighting. The + version is also a bit more expensive at $25. So this is a membrane keyboard, but the product description promises a mechanical feel, so it supposedly it mimics a real mechanical keyboard. So let’s see what this board can offer at only $20.
The first thing I usually look at with these super budget boards is build quality. I’m not expecting any miracles here, but I don’t want the keyboard to break after a few months. So the RK100 has an extremely slim plastic case, and it’s no surprise that the frame is very bendy and creaky. Even during normal usage I noticed the frame bending slightly. Applying average pressure will cause it to bend inward. This is not ideal, but I have to add that it didn’t actually bother me when using the keyboard, just something I picked up. If you’re more of a heavyhanded user it could potentially be an issue. As I said, it’s unrealistic to have high expectations at this price point, so I won’t be too critical of the build here. But it has to be said, this keyboard feels light and flimsy. But it’s not a train smash, and as long as you handle it with care, it should be okay. So no keyboard rage, and be careful when moving the keyboard.
The typing and gaming experience was surprisingly good. I really enjoyed typing on this keyboard. I wouldn’t say it has a mechanical feel, as you still get that mushy feeling of a membrane board, but the keys do provide some nice tactile feedback. It also makes a pleasantly soft sound, so you can even take this to the office. If I had to guess, I’d say these keys require about 60g of force to actuate. So it’s almost like a brown switch, only heavier and a little mushy. I hit an average of around 125 on the Aesop test, with a top speed of 133, so again a good typing experience and my typing speed didn’t drop by much. The RK100 has a thicker than normal space bar. I’m not a big fan of these bigger space bars, but it didn’t really detract from the overall typing experience, so that’s fine. The space bar and left shift has a fair amount of rattle, but again not a train smash, just something that I was aware of while using the keyboard.
For gaming it worked very well. Playing CSGO and Fortnite felt good. Not quite the speed and comfort of my preferred Cherry MX reds, but it got the job done. I didn’t really feel inhibited and my level was more or less the same, and that’s good.You’ll also see that the keys on the bottom row have more of an outward curve, so it feels a little bit different from a conventional keyboard. Personally I quite like this ergonomic design so no issues there.
I quite like the overall look of the RK100. It has a nice compact frame and vibrant backlighting. They could’ve made the Rii logo a bit more subtle though, it’s very out there. The Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock indicators unfortunately won’t match the backlighting, and remains blue. The keyboard uses a blocky, bold font, which actually looks pretty cool. You’ll also see that the finish on the casing creates a little transparent block around each key, which gives the keyboard a nice underglow effect. It does look a bit messy though, but you won’t notice it for the most part. As with most backlit membrane keyboards, the plastic plungers are visible on the legends, but it’s not a big deal. The WASD keys are extra thick, with little arrow icons below the legends. The arrow keys are also stylised. These things just adds some fun to the keyboard, which is absolutely fine considering the target market.
As far as functionality goes, there is not much to know. There is a dedicated backlighting key, which allows you to change between red, blue and purple. And I must say each colour looks great. I was constantly changing between the three unable to pick a favourite. The thicker font in combination with the underglow effect makes for some powerful backlighting. There are also five brightness levels that can be conrtolled with Fn + Pg Up and Pg Dn. Then there is multimedia and quick access on F1-12, and also a Windows lock button. And that’s it – that’s all you need to know to start using this keyboard. The keycaps are ABS, and look pretty thin, so watch out for these legends fading over time.
So the Rii RK100 is pretty much a case of you get what you pay for. While this keyboard won’t blow you away, it’s a decent entry level gaming keyboard. I hope Rii improves the build quality in the future, as it would give the board some good bang for buck.