Mechanical keyboards are wonderful. They will last for decades with minimal maintenance, they can be customised with new switches or keycaps, and they just feel fantastic to type on. However, they're also normally quite expensive - most of the mechanicals we feature at RPS cost $100 or more. Today though, that changes - as we highlight a Monoprice mechanical keyboard that's dropped from an MSRP of $100 to just $42.99.
You'd expect a $40 mechanical keyboard to be a bit rubbish, but surprisingly the Dark Matter Collider gets a ton right. It comes with a bog-standard full-size US layout, making it easy to use and perfectly suited for new keycaps later. It uses real Cherry MX Red switches, in a world where Cherry knockoffs are far more common - and the soft linear switches are ideal for gaming, without being too sensitive for typing. The Dark Matter also comes with per-key RGB lighting, giving you the option of backlighting in any colour you fancy, pretty rainbow effects or just no backlighting at all.
There are a few cheap mechanical keyboards that tick some of these boxes, but often things fall down when it comes to the design. Thankfully the Monoprice keyboard keeps a restrained aesthetic, with no aggressive branding or loud colours. It's just a simple black keyboard, with a thin bezel and nicely inscribed legends on each ABS keycap. You could upgrade these keycaps down the line for something more eye-catching, or keep things standard with a look that's equally at home in an office or in your gaming setup.
Perhaps the most important feature here is what really sets it apart from non-mechanical keyboards at a similar price point. N-key rollover. This is a weird name for a simple concept: you can press as many keys as you want simultaneously, and all will be registered by your PC. Cheap membrane boards often top out at just two or three keys at a time, and that means some of your inputs just won't be recognised. I've had this happen a few times when testing cheaper non-mechanicals, and it's always incredibly infuriating - especially when you're playing something competitive!
So, let's recap. Genuine full-size mechanical keyboard with real Cherry MX Red switches, per-key RGB backlighting, adult design and n-key rollover. It's an impressive spread for an $80 mechanical keyboard, so getting a keyboard that ticks all the same boxes for nearly half that is absolutely incredible.