How is this even possible?
RAKK Gears is at it again with their latest release; the Ilis RGB mechanical gaming keyboard. It is an interesting specimen, featuring a 96 key layout, removable frame and so much more at an affordable price of 2395 Pesos. That’s below $50 USD for a 96 key layout mechanical keyboard. The RAKK Ilis is also available in Outemu Blue at 1995 Pesos.
The RAKK Ilis RGB again, features a 96-key layout which is already rare yet even more for such a price point. Switches used are Gateron Yellows, which is something rather new to me; color and feel wise that is. Of course, RGB is supported and the keyboard is illuminated via a doubleshot ABS keycap set. Nothing to dislike so far.
|Design||Traditional / Frameless|
|Cable Length||1.8 meters|
|Lifespan||50 million clicks|
PACKAGING AND ACCESORIES:
RAKK Gears went simple with the packaging of the Ilis RGB. Nothing particularly premium looking about it, but it showcased the product’s highlights nonetheless.
Accessories are thoughtful though could be a little better. Here we’ve got a simple manual on how the RAKK Ilis works, an extra keycaps with the RAKK logo and a key puller.
DESIGN, LAYOUT AND BUILD QUALITY:
The RAKK Ilis RGB is a simple looking 96 key mechanical keyboard with a removable white frame. It’s like a mixed breed of 104 key and 87 key layouts which is one of its strong points. Build quality appears solid enough, with little flex plus the weight backing it up.
Rocking the Ilis RGB without the white frame made it thinner and modern looking with a matching gray plate for a more minimalist approach. This also made the keyboard easier to clean which is a heaven sent feature for gamers sharing their spaces with their pets.
The back side on the other hand features the three cable routing options as well as spaces for the keycap puller and the extra keycap. I haven’t seen this feature implemented elsewhere and perhaps other manufacturers could learn a few things from our local brand.
The key profile is sculpted from top to bottom, something that we will talk more about later. This is a clean looking keyboard with the exception of that massive RAKK logo for branding purposes.
Connectivity is rather simple. We have a braided 1.8 meter cable ending on a gold plated USB 2.0 plug. I’d be surprised if we got audio and USB pass through ports here but those are absurd features for a keyboard with such a price tag.
TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:
Testing a keyboard is not that difficult, but it is mostly subjective; similar to testing head gears in a sense. That said, no keyboard is perfect and the verdict usually depends on personal preferences. With that in mind our methodology is overhauled to follow the key pointers that should matter the most. That includes how good the switches are, the quality of keycap and its profile plus the comfort.
|GAMES||Overwatch, Battlefield 4, DOTA 2|
|POLLING RATE||1000Hz, If possible|
|SOFTWARE||EliteKeyboards Switch Hitter|
PHYSICAL LAYOUT, FUNCTIONALITY AND ERGONOMICS:
Keyboards are generally categorized in 4 standard sizes or layouts: Full Size, TKL, Compact 75% and 60% layouts. These standard layouts had drastic effects on the functionality and ergonomics of the keyboard. Generally, compact layouts allows for better ergonomics; whereas full layouts offers 100% functionality.
The RAKK Ilis RGB features a 96 key layout; maintaining the number pad with secondary functions that allows the use of arrow and navigation keys with a click of a button. Playing games and doing paper works on hours end shouldn’t be a problem with this keyboard. This is effectively an 80% layout with an extra column of keys that allows a more balanced left and right arm placement and or movement.
As for functionality, there’s a lot to say about the RAKK Ilis’ 36 keys with secondary and tertiary function. The top row for an instance houses the media keys, app shortcuts and the toggle key for number pad and 87 key mode. The second, third row and fifth row houses the lighting options. You may even save your own lighting profiles or use pre-loaded ones from the get go; though it is not possible to store macro settings physically. A shame, since I’d be more than happy to ditch the extra lighting options for that feature.
Dear me is lazy enough to jot everything out so check out a copy of the manual below for reference.
KEYCAP PROFILE, PRINTING AND MATERIAL:
The keycap profile is often overlooked when it comes to keyboards. It shouldn’t be, considering that the profile usually makes or breaks a portion of keyboard’s ergonomic and feel. The DCS family is the most common one here, with Cherry and OEM profile slotted beneath it. On the other hand, profiles such as the DSA and SA profiles are mostly found on higher end mechanical keyboards.
Keycap printing method is also an important aspect we should look into. Pad printing is the most common one here, while dye sublimation and double shot injection being the more premium ones due to their printing quality and durability.
Keycap materials are important too in selecting a mechanical keyboard; though it is common to see keyboards shipped with either ABS and PVC keycaps. These materials do however shine faster than other materials and quality is generally not the best. PBT doesn’t shine as fast compared to these keycaps and are highly regarded for their quality and distinct texture. POM on the other hand is also a durable material but they are rarely found as aftermarket options.
Profile is definitely under the DCS family, more specifically the OEM profile; a comparable profile to Cherry’s own.
Printing on the other hand is double shot injection – along with pad printing for some keycaps that offers secondary functions. I like the double shot implementation but some legends on the modifiers could use better fonts.
Material used for the main shell is definitely ABS plastic, yet I’m not quite sure about the injection and the stem. The thickness of these materials are excellent, yet you have to forgive RAKK for leaving some nub marks.
MECHANICAL SWITCHES AND STABILIZERS:
The mechanical switches makes up the reason why mechanical keyboards are called “mechanical keyboards” in the first place. There are tons of switches out there but Cherry MX switches are the most popular of them all; setting a standard for the rest. They have clicky, linear and bumpy switches; all with their own mixture of actuation forces and actuation points.
The RAKK Ilis RGB features the Gateron Yellow switches inside. It felt like a mash up between the Cherry MX Red and Black, with a required force of 50g and actuation point at 2.2mm. Maximum key travel distance is 4.0mm which is higher than Cherry’s standards. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite linear switches; bridging the gap between the lighter MX Red and the stiffer MX Black.
Stabilizers are present on most keys that requires them. These are Cherry inspired ones but quality could be better. Nothing else to complain here.
KEY ROLLOVER, CHATTER AND GHOSTING:
EliteKeyboard’s Switch Hitter is an excellent freeware to test key rollover, chatter and ghosting. Key rollover is basically the number of keys the keyboard could register, while chatter is multiple registered inputs with a single press of a key. Ghosting on the other hand is the unwanted input registration when several keys are pressed together.
The RAKK Ilis RGB passed with flying colors on our rollover, chatter and ghosting tests. Excellent performance so far.
SOFTWARE, LIGHTING AND SPECIAL FEATURES:
The RAKK Ilis comes with its own software, which is downloadable via RAKK’s website. I’d be honest that I never intended to use this software along with the keyboard though it has its own merits. That includes fine tuned lighting options with tons of effects to boot.
Other than lighting, the software is pretty simple. It has a game mode and a macro option though it doesn’t feature polling rate adjustment nor a key roll over option.
Per key lighting is superb with the RAKK Ilis RGB. The clear switch housing, together with the translucent double-shot injection made it a worthy spectacle.
WRAPPING IT UP:
EASY PC and RAKK Gears once again did the unbelievable with the Ilis RGB 96 key mechanical gaming keyboard. It is one of the few budget local offerings that I could totally recommend; not just for the newbies but for the veterans of the mechanical keyboard game as well. Bridging the gap between a full size keyboard and a tenkeyless option.
The Gateron Yellow switches also made the experience worth while. I never thought I’d like a new Gateron switch from the get-go. Unbelievably smooth, with a feel in-between the Cherry MX Red and Black.
Of course, the RAKK Ilis is not perfect. The keycaps could use better fonts, stabilizers are flimsy and we do not have many options for an aftermarket 96 key layout keycap. That’s something RAKK is possibly working on right now.
Price wise, the RAKK Ilis RGB is slotted under 2000 Pesos. Value alone, this is already an excellent alternative over some 104 and 87 key layout keyboards above the price range. I’m happy to have this one tested.
RAKK Ilis RGB 96 Key Mechanical Keyboard Review
- BUILD QUALITY
The RAKK Ilis RGB is an excellent budget oriented mechinical keyboard under $50 USD. It is also a serious contender at the sub $80 mechanical keyboard category. A feat that some might think otherwise impossible.