Trending Games | World of Warcraft | Overwatch | Valnir Rok | Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Facebook Twitter YouTube Twitch.tv YouTube.Gaming Discord
Register
Quick Game Jump
Members:3,824,326 Users Online:0
Games:965 

iKBC MF108 V.2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Ultra-Premium RGB Goodness

By Christopher Coke on January 20, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

iKBC MF108 V.2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard: Ultra-Premium RGB Goodness

iKBC is one of those companies that gamers may not know but absolutely should. They’ve been making high-end enthusiast keyboards capable of giving even the most premium gaming keyboards a run for their money.  Today we’re looking the completely aluminum bodied MF108 V2. It’s packed with features, doesn’t require software, and will make sure you never overcook dinner again.

 advertisement 

Specifications

  • MSRP: $199.99
  • Model name: MF108 Black Aluminum / Silver Aluminum
  • Size: Full Size (108 keys)
  • MF108 Keyboard Dimensions: L438.5 X W136 X H41.6H
  • MF108 Unit Gross Weight: 2.50Kg / 5.5lbs
  • LED Color: RGB (per key customizable, includes presets and multi-zone customization)
  • Mechanical Switches: Cherry MX RGB (red [tested], silent red, brown, blue, black)
  • Keyboard Case Color: Black / Silver Aluminum
  • Keycap Material: Backlit Doubleshot PBT keycaps
  • Keycap Color: Black / White (with silver aluminum)
  • Keycap Font Position: Top
  • Layout: ANSI
  • Cable: Detachable Mini-USB
  • NKRO: Full
  • Multimedia Keys: Yes (dedicated volume keys)
  • Built-in Qwerty / Dvorak / Colemak layouts
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac
  • Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty
  • Made and Designed in Taiwan

Five Pounds of Solid Aluminum

From the minute you pick up the box, it’s clear that this isn’t your average keyboard. Coming in at over 5.5lbs, it’s more than double the weight of your average mechanical keyboard. That’s because of the MF108 features a solid metal frame composed of two pieces of milled aluminum (hence the “MF” in MF108). While most gaming keyboard makers have been selling themselves on having aluminum top plates - which are good in their own right - stepping up to a full aluminum body redefines the meaning of premium.

To say the keyboard is build like a tank would be an understatement. Like the Mistel MD870 we looked at earlier this year, this is a keyboard that could double as a home defense weapon. In more practical terms, it means it never slides around on your desk. Typing on a solid aluminum body is also distinctly quieter as your keystrokes deaden out almost as soon as they make contact.

You pay a premium for an aluminum body; however, iKBC sells an identical version but in a high density plastic for only $129.99. As we get a little further on and look at what the keyboard offers, you’ll be able to decide which is the better fit for you, but I think both models well justify their price point against their competition. I’ll say this, though: once you go full metal, it’s hard to go back.

That Sweet, Sweet Keyfeel

The most important element of any keyboard is how it feels to type on. If construction is one element, key switches and keycaps are the other two. iKBC spared no expense in either department. The MF108 uses genuine Cherry MX key switches, which have near single-handedly defined quality over the last decade in mechanical keyboards. They’re still manufactured in Germany to the highest standards of quality, with higher tolerances and better consistency than many other brands on the market today.

The unit I tested featured Cherry MX Red switches. Cherry reds are a lightweight linear switch, perfect for games. They only require 45g of actuation force, which is about 10g less than your average membrane keyboard. Since they’re linear, they’re perfect for double taps and effortless motion in games. The keyboard is also available in blue, brown, silent red, and black, so there are options for most tastes out there.

The key caps are also fantastic. Like many of these high end keyboards, they throw the thin-walled ABS caps right out the window and instead use high-quality doubleshot PBT. PBT is a much higher quality plastic and the dense walls not only make the keys feel sturdier and higher quality, they feel much better to type on. It’s one of those things that’s hard to understand why it’s better until you’ve tried it for yourself, but all keycaps are not created equally, and, if you think about it, they are your main contact with your PC. Using a good set of PBT keycaps makes thin, spray-painted, ABS caps feel as cheap as they are. Since the ‘caps on the MF108 are doubleshot, they’re actually composed of two pieces of molded plastic, so the legends will never wear out or fade away.

It also features dedicated volume controls, as well as a calculator button.

Excellent Software-free Programming

One of the other big selling points of the MF108 is that you don’t need to install any software to take advantage of all of its functions. You can swap the caps lock and control, and the windows and alt keys, as well as swap between QWERTY, DVORAK, and COLEMAK layouts with easy key combinations. You can even adjust the character repeat rate, a bit like entering turbo mode on old custom controllers. Lighting is a bit more complex but not hard when you learn the combinations and there’s a whole lot that you can do.

Whether you’re the kind of gamer that likes to color code every key or turn on a preset and leave it, the MF108 has something for you. There are nine preset modes, everything from ripples to rainbows, reactive lighting to a snake that traces the rows of your keyboard. What’s neat, though, is that you can actually program the individual layer behind these effects, so instead of having your ripple be a single color, it will light up your preset hiding underneath the illuminated keys.

Programming in these static layouts, whether they’re underneath a reactive effect or a static layout is cleverly done. Like other keyboards we’ve seen with onboard color controls, you hold the Fn button and select varying levels of red, green, and blue, then tap the keys you would like to be that color. You’re not able to achieve every color this way, though, so another key combination will light up your keyboard in a spectrum to choose from. It’s an intuitive solution that gives the greatest amount of choice I’ve seen on a software free keyboard.

Never Run Late Again (Or Burn Dinner)

Interestingly, the MF108 also has a built in timer. By pressing Fn+Scroll Lock, both your function and number rows light up. 1-9 represent single minutes. F1-F12 represent ten minutes each. Want 129 minutes? Hit F12 and 9, then enter to confirm. When you’re one minute away from the timer concluding, you keyboard turns red and lights start ticking down. When the timer is done, your keyboard will flash white until the timer is turned off. Neat, right?

The potential uses for this are great. Once you learn the key combo, you can quickly set cooldown timers to remind yourself that spells are ready. If you share the computer, your children will no longer be able to say they didn’t know they were playing too long (“It’s flashing in your face!”). If you’re sticking to a schedule, it will help get you out the door on time. And yes, if you have dinner in the oven and think you have time for that Destiny 2 raid, the MF108 will help you avoid burning dinner. Not that that’s ever happened to me… never.

Minor Quibbles

If I had to quibble - and quibble I must - I’m a bit concerned about the Mini-USB plug. There’s a cutout to keep it safe (plus), but that cutout also makes it challenging to plug in and it needs to be slightly torqued to get positioned in the port. Over time, I would hate to see this cause damage. Second, and perhaps more meaningfully for gamers who love them, there is no onboard macro programming. This isn’t uncommon for software-free keyboards and is easily worked around with AutoHotKey, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

Final Thoughts

I’m extremely impressed with the iKBC MF108. You’re simply not going to find a gaming keyboard of this caliber. Keyboards like this redefine premium when you’ve spent a lifetime with peripherals marketed for gaming. Between its solid aluminum body, high-end doubleshot PBT keycaps, and exceptionally powerful onboard programming, this isn’t a keyboard to be missed. And if that solid aluminum body isn’t for you, you can save $70 and pick up the standard F108 for only $129.99.

Pros

  • Solid aluminum body - it’s hard to go back
  • Doubleshot PBT keycaps - seriously, don’t overlook this
  • Genuine Cherry switches
  • Great onboard lighting controls

Cons

  • No onboard macros
  • Can be troubling to slot the USB

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.