The world of mechanical keyboards is ever expanding and, well, it’s usually in the area of RGB. But what about those gamers who don’t want a rainbow spiraling from their desk? Today, we’re looking at the latest keyboard from enthusiast keyboard maker, iKBC with the Table E 412. It’s quiet, smooth, and features a built-in wrist-rest to pair with its white backlight. At $119, its compelling but is it the next keyboard for you?
- Current Price: $119.99
- Cherry MX Key Switches
- Ergonomic Backlit Keycaps
- Built-in Wrist Rest
- Dedicated Media Keys
- Password Lock
- Backlit: White illumination, 5 brightness levels, 7 preset effects
- Key Switches: Cherry MX Brown, Red, Silent Red, Blue
- Key Life: 50 Million Actuations
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
- Interface: USB Type-A to Type-C
- N-Key Rollover: Yes
- Illumination: Yes, white
- Media Keys: Dedicated
- Warranty: 1-Year
As mechanical keyboards become the new standard for gamers, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing enthusiast boards push ever more into the mainstream. iKBC has always been one I’ve enjoyed since they offer premium features that typically far out-do average gaming keyboards while costing less. That’s a cool experience anywhere you find it but with a keyboard - your main interface to your computer - it’s especially cool. We all spend so much time interacting with these devices that it’s worth getting the best experience you can afford; any company bringing premium features to affordable price points is worth paying attention to.
That said, unlike a keyboard like the MF108 we reviewed last year (which is glorious, in case you missed it), the new Table E series really isn’t targeting gamers specifically at all. Yet, what are the keyboards that do? Usually they feature flashy RGB lights and aggressive designs made to look edgy and dangerous. I love RGB but, the fact is, a lot of gamers find lights distracting and want something that feels a little more grown up on their desks.
That’s where the new Table E series comes in and why we’re covering it today. It’s a distinctly more restrained keyboard with features that would be right at home in a den or office space.
The first thing I noticed, and, indeed, what everyone will notice, is how large the keyboard is. It’s designed with ergonomics in mind and features a built-in wrist-rest that’s not removable. The keys themselves are also wider and sit lower to the body of the keyboard, allowing for a more natural hand position without going the route of a full Ergo keyboard. The new keycap design also has the side effect of making the Table E 412 one of the quieter mechanical keyboards I’ve used, so you’ll be able to worry less about bothering anyone in the room with you while you type.
In the upper right hand corner, you’ll also notice that you have a unique button cluster that offers an extra set of controls. The knob is, of course for volume and under that are dedicated buttons for controlling your media and opening the calculator. From left to right, the buttons on the top control: password setup, password reset/update, Function row shortcuts, Windows Lock, swapping FN/Win keys, and resetting all settings. You’ll also notice that there’s an off/on switch just to the left of these to prevent those accidental key presses when you’re away from your PC - something I appreciate with little kids who like to push every button they see.
Moving over to the Function row, the shortcuts are actually fairly limited. F1-F4 controls your lighting brightness and mode. F5-F8 control the speed and direction of the effect. Since it’s a single color backlight, the effects are fairly limited but still neat to see. You can make the keyboard breath, send streamers of light along the row pressed, wave left and right or up and down, or light up only the keys pressed. There’s also a neat effect where the keyboard will send anything from a single key to a stream of light down to slowly fill the board up from the bottom.
There are also five levels of brightness, which you might want because the keys are some of the brightest I’ve seen on a mechanical keyboard. Filtered through the keycaps, they’re not bad but in a dark room, I find a brightness of three to be about perfect when my RGB boards look best at 100-percent.
Speaking of keycaps, iKBC has gone with laser-etched ABS here. I was rather surprised to find that they didn’t go with PBT but the thinner material does allow light to shine through better and it surely helps to keep costs done. I do wish they’d kept with the trend of using double-shot PBT, though, as it’s one of the defining qualities of iKBC up to this point and the stock caps will surely begin to shine over time.
iKBC uses genuine Cherry keyswitches, though, so you can easily swap them out with a different set if you choose. I may actually do just that since the charcoal grey shell would look just great with a set like Carbon.
The Table E is an interesting keyboard on multiple levels. Number one, it’s just big. I like that it has a built in wrist rest but ultimately wish it could be removed. The overall design speaks to a keyboard that’s all about consistency. Being able to turn off the keyboard even when it’s plugged in or even to password protect it; you don’t want to worry about anyone messing up what you’re working on or accessing your files. The wrist rest keeps you comfortable and you never have to worry about adjusting it or reattaching it like some of the magnetized ones out there. Still, between the extended height from the volume knob and the customization buttons and the wrist rest, you have a board that’s more than four inches taller than a normal keyboard. On my standing desk riser, it just barely fits and if I angle it, the lip of the keyboard tray kicks the tilt feet in.
Then there’s the design of the keys. They’re remarkably similar in shape and spacing to those on the Cooler Master SK621 and, if you recall from that review, there’s a learning curve to using keys that are spaced closer together like that. The combination of linear switches and close keycaps really made me feel like a clumsy typist for a good few hours until I got used to them. Now, I’ve written this whole review on the Table E 412 and actually rather enjoy the scooped, low height profile (pictured above), but you should be prepared to spend some time getting used to this subtle but meaningful change.
All that said, the keyboard feels remarkably smooth to type on. The Cherry MX Red switches don’t have any kind of tactile feedback and their linearity pairs very well with the build of the Table E, leading to a typing experience that feels almost airy. The one thing I wish is that iKBC had implemented macro programming for some fast, on-the-fly keystrokes. If you’re the same, you’ll want to look into AutoHotKey for your macro-needs.
At $119.99, the iKBC Table E, available in full-size or tenkeyless versions, provides a solid alternative to the round of RGB gaming keyboards taking over the market. It features the same 1000Hz polling rate and NKRO gamers expect at the sacrifice of macro programming. In its place, you have some protective features like a password lock to keep greedy hands from nabbing at your keys. I do miss my PBT, though.
- ‘Grown-up’ design - single color backlight
- Refined look
- Low height keycaps, Cherry MX key switches
- Dedicated media controls, including Fn/Win swap
- 1000Hz Polling and NKRO
- Key spacing involves a learning curve
- No programmability
- ABS key caps
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.