Gaming peripherals are afraid of coloration. Truly, I’d wager this is a matter that goes past peripherals to know-how at massive. White, black, silver, and grey are the usual pallete. The rest is relegated to an accent at finest. Apple made waves within the ‘90s with these teal iMacs, after which what occurred? A decade later they had been again to “House Grey” and different impartial tones.
But when Mionix’s new peripherals are something to go by, an injection of coloration may do us properly. I’ve been utilizing the Mionix Wei on and off for just a few months now, and you recognize why I maintain coming again to it? As a result of it’s rattling fairly.
The Wei is Mionix’s first keyboard since 2011, which is a giant deal. In the identical means that the HyperX model is understood for headsets, Mionix has been primarily recognized for one factor: mice. And I’m an enormous fan of them too, each the NAOS 7000 and the smaller Castor mice. For a no-name firm, Mionix rapidly proved it had a watch for ergonomics that few different firms may match—and one eye on design. Mionix mice look elegant, a trait that was particularly uncommon three or 4 years in the past (although fortunately much less uncommon in the present day).
It’s no shock then that Mionix’s first keyboard appears to be like extra like an upscale boutique mannequin than a “gaming keyboard,” within the conventional sense. By default, the keyboard ships in slate grey, with barely any seen branding. Keys are adorned with a wispy sans-serif, about as minimalist because it will get.
And a unusual contact? The Wei makes use of a coiled telephone-style cable, just like the IBM Mannequin M and different classics. That characteristic has made a comeback in fanatic circles lately, nevertheless it’s nonetheless shocking to see it on a mainstream mannequin just like the Wei.
Mionix appears lifeless set on profitable over that fanatic/gamer cross part although, providing coloured keycap units as properly. That is the place the actual enjoyable is discovered. Mionix despatched over a set of ice blue (or “Ice Cream,” to make use of their title) keycaps to associate with the Wei.
And…properly, simply take a look at it:
It’s attractive. The distinction between the opaque grey and translucent blue keys is eye-catching, to say the least. You possibly can, in fact, decide to switch each key with its blue substitute—or not trouble, and keep grey—however I’ve discovered a mixture of the 2 to be most interesting.
Mionix isn’t the one firm to supply customized keycaps. We’ve reviewed the WASD V2 up to now, for instance—a keyboard you design on the web site with any variety of customized colours. It’s additionally straightforward to purchase keycaps by a 3rd celebration for any board with Cherry MX switches—PMK is a well-liked selection with fanatics.
Mionix is providing this selection in-house although. They’re ABS caps, not the extra upscale (and sturdy) PBT plastic—a bit disappointing. It’s additionally expensive, coming in at $39 for a full set, which albeit corresponding to different ABS alternative units continues to be in all probability greater than the common individual desires to spend.
Even so, it appears good for Mionix to make this play as a distinct segment fanatic firm. The observe of changing keycaps has been well-liked in fanatic circles for some time—one take a look at the mechanical keyboards subreddit is proof sufficient. Nice to see a gaming firm lean into the pattern.
Different firms may (and may) be taught from Mionix’s instance. I don’t know if each firm must have a stockpile of colourful customized keycaps available, a la WASD, however some variation could be good. Even higher if keyboards would ship with that choice, as an alternative of requiring a guide swap-out just like the Wei.
However first they need to take cues from Mionix’s RGB lighting. See, each different RGB keyboard I’ve available defaults to the identical neon rainbow: pink, orange, yellow, inexperienced, blue, purple—eye-searing and so simple as a toddler’s fundamental crayon field. Some pull it off higher than others, with Corsair’s K95 and its distinctive mild bar in all probability high of the heap. However it’s all very comparable, very rudimentary.
The Wei is subtler, defaulting to a rotation of pink and purple pastels that play properly with the default grey keys and complement the customized blue ones. If you’d like the neon RGB colours you could find them in Mionix’s software program clearly, however the Wei is probably the one keyboard I’ve left on the default setting for weeks on finish. It jogs my memory of an aurora, and I actually, really adore it.
Cherry MX within the combine
Design is what units the Wei aside, in different phrases. Nonetheless, Mionix has all the time been good about pairing its distinctive aesthetic with enthusiast-quality elements, and the Wei is not any completely different—it’s a ravishing keyboard, for certain, however beneath the shiny exterior you’ll discover acquainted industry-standard Cherry MX switches.
5 years in the past that may’ve been apparent, however in 2018 it’s nearly shocking. There are so many Cherry clones these days, and most (perhaps all) of them accessible at a less expensive value. One after the other I’ve watched firms both design a proprietary swap a la Razer, or begin utilizing a Cherry knock-off like Kailh or Outemu. Solely Corsair, HyperX, and some others are utilizing Cherry RGB switches.
And now Mionix, evidently. Good, so far as I’m involved—I nonetheless closely favor Cherry MX Blue switches for day-to-day typing. Cherry switches are sturdy, dependable, and constant. That’s about all I may ask for.
The one draw back is, like all Cherry or Cherry clone, the RGB lighting is barely offset in direction of the highest of every key to accommodate for the swap’s “stem” design. This nonetheless annoys me at occasions, particularly since keys with twin capabilities (just like the quantity row) sometimes illuminate one enter and never the opposite. However I’d nonetheless take the Cherry typing expertise over any of the switches that declare to have “solved” that drawback.
Oh, and value. Worth is the opposite draw back. The Wei is available in at $159, and that’s earlier than you order any alternate keycaps. That’s one hell of an costly keyboard, presumably on account of some mixture of high quality parts and limited-run manufacturing—in any case, Mionix continues to be a fairly area of interest firm. It really works in opposition to the Wei although, particularly because it’s comparatively feature-bare in comparison with the competitors. It’s a must to actually love the way it appears to be like.
Luckily I do love the way it appears to be like. I feel the Mionix Wei is without doubt one of the prettiest keyboards to ever cross my desk, and much more so after swapping in among the non-obligatory blue keycaps. It’s gorgeous, and the aforementioned Corsair Okay95 might be the one different keyboard that even comes shut.
Certain, it’s expensive. Most likely too expensive for the common individual. However with one fell swoop, Mionix has upturned all conventions of what a “gaming keyboard” ought to seem like—identical to they challenged assumptions about gaming mice with the NAOS 7000.
Change is habit-forming, I suppose. I count on the Wei will stay a distinct segment product, however I additionally assume those that find yourself with one will completely adore it, and that’s actually all anybody can ask.