IIIP MonoPrice Mechanical Keyboard (best bang for your buck?)
Oh I remember when I typed on a regular keyboard, it was so normal, so ordinary, I totally ignored it. So why are we bringing it up? Because they don’t make them like they used to. Or do they? When you’d buy a brand new desktop from Fry’s or Best Buy and the generic keyboard that came with it looked something like this. You didn’t mind.
In fact bet you still use it. Why? Because it’s generic, simple and you know the layout. Every School and Government Office still uses stuff like this so why not the common man? The desktop is not something you need to change, you bought one specifically because you WANT to keep the original, generic setup. So why are they giving us useless pieces of flat plastic like this?
You do mind. It may look nice, but it’s not practical to type on, so you just make do, right? Wrong, we need to find the best keyboard for the best price. But at what point are you spending too much for a quality keyboard?
My friend who’s taught me some economics, told me about diminishing returns. That’s the point where you can buy something, and the more you spend (or buy depending on the product in question here) the less “satisfaction” you get in return for what you spend, it’s like a line graph that starts off well and exponentially decays.
He explained it using the ice-cream method. Eating one ice-cream cone makes you really happy right? Well two must make you really happy? What about eating 3? Less so, maybe by the fourth one, you politely refuse and by the fifth ice cream cone you’ve eating, you’re about to throw up.
This works well and dandy if you’re talking about one consistent product and multiple items, but how does the diminishing returns rule affect the purchase of only ONE product’s satisfaction and quality?
Does the most expensive product really mean it’s 1000 times better just because it’s 1000 times the price?
Of course not. When it comes to mechanical keyboards, which a niche subject really, clicky keys are usually preferable for the typing enthusiast or the nerd who simply enjoys a good computing/gaming experience. You may wonder. What’s the best bang for your buck Mechanical keyboard?
I’m here to show you the IIIP from MonoPrice.
*No it’s not a disease, it’s a $40 MonoPrice Select Series Mechanical keyboard. (13785)
And when comparing to my old $120 DAS keyboard from back in the day,
and a modern $40 Clicky from china E-Element Eagles.
Does this simple basic MonoPrice keyboard win the best bang for your buck? Yes and for one simple reason. It’s just a good keyboard. The design is as standard as it comes, without any real design changes or fancy colors. Sure there’s some slight changes in the Enter key design and some extra function keys I don’t need. This is just a no gimmick mechanical blue switches keyboard. I love that.
If you’re thinking about replacing this for someone who’s not aware of the existence of mechanical keyboards, they may think it’s just a regular heavy keyboard. But, the $40 price tag proves that’s it’s not a JUST a regular keyboard, rather, it’s an UPGRADED regular keyboard with better switches, keys and good hardware under it. It’s the no frills standard. So if you want to people to overlook your keyboard and ignore it, the IIIP is the one for you. Besides the sound, they might notice it’s a bit on the clicky side so just make something up.
This one has something every strange I’ve never tried through. It’s a subtle ridge on every key, like as if it wants you to feel every corner of every key. Not bad.
Every keycap is laser printed just like the DAS except they used the free ugly open source version of the font rather than directly copying it. The Gateron switches also feel really nice, a very different from DAS or any other’s I’ve tried. They are not to my liking, but I’m sure that these are perfect for someone else. To each his own.
Going back to typing on the DAS feels like a little slice of perfection. The IIIP may be the best bang for your buck, but it’s not something I’d buy considering as the best keyboard ever. I’ve already been spoiled by nice ones, even classics such as the IBM Model M would be preferable for my daily needs than the IIIP.
I only wish that the IIIP existed back when I first started on mechanical keyboards, it would have been like starting on a entry level bike and then moving up. Just to taste this hobby on a budget without having to risk lots of money, and this wouldn’t be money going to waste, the IIIP makes an excellent backup keyboard, second computer keyboard or even a disposable keyboard if that’s the kind of person you are. Almost like the Toyota Camry of the car world. It’s the one of the cheapest and yet it’s better than a Corolla.
The best mechanical keyboard from here on out is up to you, there’s no real winner since some prefer the classic Filco, DAS keyboard, Happy hacking, WASD keyboards. So spending anything between $100 to $150 seems to be the sweet spot, anything more and you’re just paying for customization or preference, maybe colors and lights. You fruity rainbow you….
In the meantime, enjoy the deal of the decade and type away happily on that IIIP keyboard.