The mechanical keyboard market is more competitive by the day, but we’ve found what may just be the best value pick under $100. The WOBKEY Rainy 75 offers a fully aluminum case, gasket mounting, Foams, and other features usually reserved for much more expensive keyboards. It sounds and feels far better than a $99 has a right to and is one of the best values in keyboards right now. Read on to find out just what makes it so special.
Current Price: Starting at $99 (Kickstarter)
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WOBKEY Rainy 75 - Design and Features
The Rainy 75 is like a greatest hits album of mechanical keyboards over the last several years. If there's a feature you can think of, it probably has it. That is very much intentional and a core part of its design. As the company says on its Kickstarter page, it is a keyboard that's meant to encapsulate the sound of the 2020s (at least so far). To do that, it needs to adopt many of the design elements of the keyboards that inspired it.
The result, as you'll hear in the typing tests embedded in this article, is a keyboard that has a marbly, poppy sound signature that is frankly far better than you would ever expect to find at this price point. It is no exaggeration to say that only a few years ago this very same keyboard could have sold for triple the price.
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As it stands, the Rainy 75 will be available in three different versions and six different colors spread across the versions. Each of the versions has more in common than different. They each come pre-built with switches and keycaps, each use full aluminum cases with tight tolerances, each have a stylish weight in the back, and each feature tri-mode wireless connectivity. Each feature similar construction with a flexible switch plate and layers of sound dampening foam and plastic sheeting (more on that later).
The Lite version is the cheapest at $99 and is available in anodized black or silver with matching stylized keycaps. There’s no RGB on this version, which is the only difference between it and the Standard version at $107. This version features A-RGB backlighting and is available in anodized silver, electro white, electro blue, and electro pink. The electro versions are not anodized. Instead they use an electrophoresis coating process to deliver a durable finish. Both the Lite and Standard versions feature 3,500 mAh batteries (450 hours without RGB, 40 hours with) and glass rear weights that are either mirrored or, in the case of electro blue and anodized black, gradient finished with a beautifully scaling set of hues. They also utilize soft polypropylene (PP) plastic plates.
The PRO series changes things up a bit. This version is available in electro white, electro blue, electro purple, and electro pink. It utilizes an FR4 plate, which refines the sound signature a bit and is much more flex cut, in fact outlining every single key for enhanced flexibility. The battery size is doubled, coming in at 7,000 mAh (900 hours without RGB, 80 hours with), and the bottom weight has been swapped to stainless steel and finished in a fingerprint resistant texture. This version retails for $125 on Kickstarter currently.
Important note: these prices are all based on backing the Kickstarter right now. Even after release, however, prices are only expected to increase a small amount. The idea is that this will be the go-to “$100ish” keyboard kit.
No matter which version you go with, the final product looks surprisingly great for such a reasonable price. And this is no lightweight “budget” keyboard with the final weight coming in around 4 pounds. The matching keycaps are all very well done. My favorite is absolutely the colorful electro blue, though I was sent the electro white, which has a delightful high contrast theme.
I don't want to oversell it. Each version looks good, but you won't find some of the design intricacies you will find on more expensive custom keyboards. But this isn't a more expensive custom keyboard, it is a “$100ish” pre-built that balances build quality, design, sound, feel, and performance, and still manages to provide amenities like an engraved badge and a slightly weight on the rear. Put simply, it's spinning many plates and doesn't really drop any of them.
The keycaps are also decent, and should last forever with proper care. They are made of double-shot PBT plastic. The legends and the modifier keys are not the neatest I've ever seen, but they're not bad, and since it's made from two pieces of bonded plastic they will never fade or chip. Likewise the keycaps will never shine because of the resiliency of PBT.
Another difference between the PRO series and the Standard/Lite version is the included switches. The more affordable versions utilize HMX Violet switches. If you've never heard of HMX, don't worry. Neither have I and I make a point to stay deeply informed about the world of mechanical keyboards. The PRO series, on the other hand, utilizes JWICK WOB switches. JWICK is definitely a brand I have heard of, and if you're into the world of mechanical key switches, you've probably heard of their parent company JWK. JWK is the manufacturer of many boutique mechanical key switches, such as the Alpacas.
What's important to know about these switches is that they are both long pole linear switches that are fairly lightweight, both within five grams of Cherry MX Reds. They are both prelude at the factory for enhanced smoothness and both have a very poppy bottom out sound. Since I was sent the electro white PRO series version, my sample came with JWICK WOB switches and I found them to be a perfect match for the acoustic design of the keyboard.
Of course, if you'd like to change this the keyboard also supports hot swapping switches. With how attentive WOBKEY was to the wider keyboard community in every other respect, I would have been shocked if it didn't support this feature. Nonetheless, it is a welcome inclusion, allowing you to try different switches quickly and easily.
There is a lot going on inside this keyboard so let's start from the top down. Beneath the switches and keycaps, there is the plate. As mentioned previously, this is available in either polypropylene or FR4 depending on your version. Both are flex cut for a soft typing experience and subtle movement beneath your fingers to prevent fatigue. Between the plate and PCB is a layer of PORON foam. Beneath the switches is a layer of IXPE switch foam, and beneath that is a plastic PET sheet. The PCB is 1.2mm and also flex cut. Beneath that is an EPDM foam dampening pad. Finally, in the bottom of the case is another PET pad.
Breaking these down piece by piece, the plate foam surrounds the switches and removes any resonances. In practice, this isolates the sound of the switches and makes it sound a bit cleaner. The IXPE switchpad adds the marbly poppy sound that's been in vogue the last couple of years. The PET sheet beneath this just enhances the effect further making it sound even more marbly and increasing its volume somewhat. EPDM foam pad removes any sense of hollowness from the case and also refines the typing sound further, deepening it. The PET pad in the bottom is for insulation, but likely has a minor acoustic effect itself due to the reflective qualities of the plastic.
The keyboard also uses a gasket mounting structure, which is another popular trend of the last few years. It doesn't use foam strips, however. Instead, it uses silicone barbells that slot around the plate and PCB, isolating it from the two halves of the case. This structure rounds out the sound of typing and removes some of the sharpness that can occur from using hard fastening points.
WOBKEY Rainy 75 - Performance
The whole package feels remarkably well considered. It's more than just consideration, though. WOBKEY also delivers on the implementation of these features. Across the internet, just about every reviewer that has laid hands on this keyboard has remarked about how well done it is for the price. The sound, the feel, the construction all punch above their class. I'm going to be no different.
When I took it out of the box for the first time, I was immediately struck by how similar it is in construction to custom keyboards I've built for two to three times the price, not including switches or keycaps. Typing on it for the first time was equally surprising. It has a remarkably marbly sound signature that is noticeably enhanced by the use of the PET pad. It reminds me a great deal of the IQUNIX Super Zonex75, which is quite a compliment on multiple levels. Not only is that keyboard fantastic, it's also triple the price of the most expensive Rainy 75. For the Rainy to be in that ballpark is truly impressive.
Of course, you'll need to enjoy that poppy sound signature. And like everything in the mechanical keyboard hobby it's subjective. It is possible to disassemble the keyboard and remove all of the foam but I find that this makes it sound quite a bit thinner. Instead, simply removing the IXPE foam and the PET pad smooths out the sound. What's especially impressive about this, is that oftentimes affordable keyboards rely on IXPE foam to sound good. Not the Rainy 75. It loses the pop but still sounds refined and quite good for the price.
Typing and gaming on the keyboard feels very good. With all of the flex cuts, it delivers a soft typing experience. The switches are exceptionally smooth. Even though they are long pole, they still actuate at the midway point, so adapting to them is effortless. This isn't the keyboard to choose if you like a firm typing experience, but then again, if the purpose of the Rainy 75 is to capture the essence of 2020s keyboards, softness is the name of the game and it succeeds at that.
Connectivity is reliable and fast. I only ran into one issue after I remapped the keyboard for the first time. For some reason, I wasn't able to switch it out of 2.4GHz mode. Given that the programmability through via is still in development, and works but not without quirks, I believe this is what was to blame. After factory resetting the keyboard and remapping it a second time I haven't encountered that since. Otherwise, both bluetooth and the dongle connect fast and reliably.
With all of that in mind, it's time you hear the keyboard for yourself.
Video Credit: NearLucid
Video Credit: THOCCnology
Video Credit: Samuel Tan
Even in its most expensive configuration, the WOBKEY Rainy 75 is an excellent value. For newcomers to the hobby or anyone interested in satiating their curiosity to see what the custom keyboard buzz is about, this is a very good buy. You're getting a lot for a reasonable amount of money here. I consider the Rainy 75 to be a better value than just about all of the competition currently (the YUNZII AL71 is close if you’re looking for something a little more compact). As it stands, this is a project worth backing.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.