The Rosewill Illuminated Gaming Keyboard RK-9100BR

I'm keen to go ahead and get this out of the way now: despite being at least called the Rosewill Illuminated Gaming Keyboard, there's very little here beyond a selected backlighting toggle that recommends this keyboard for gamers. That doesn't make it a bad keyboard, but you should have your expectations in order beforehand.

With all that in mind, I'm pleased to report that Rosewill's Illuminated Gaming Keyboard at the very least continues Rosewill's trend of producing simple, attractive keyboards. Though I'm still very much in love with the style and design of the Corsair K90, I still appreciate the basic, functional design of the Illuminated Gaming Keyboard. More importantly, too, is now I can evaluate the Cherry MX Brown switches on a level playing field. Logitech included them in their G710+, but modified them to reduce noise. With the RK-9100BR in hand, I can tell you there's a definite difference.

As with other mechanical keyboards, Rosewill uses individual blue LEDs behind each keycap to backlight it, giving them control over which keys are illuminated. As a result, they include a toggle that allows you to switch between illuminating the entire keyboard, just the WASD cluster and arrows, everything but the number pad, or even killing the backlighting entirely (except for the Lock keys, which have green LEDs behind them to indicate their status.)

The RK-9100BR is bright at its highest setting, but thankfully there are also four levels of brightness to choose between. Note that these toggles are all handled by an Fn key that replaces the right-hand Windows key and the function keys at the top of the keyboard. As with everything else, it's an elegant, simple solution. In addition to the toggles, there are volume controls, playback controls, and home and mail shortcut keys, all mapped to F1-F12.

In terms of build, Rosewill wasn't able to offer PS/2 connectivity like they do with their lesser models; the RK-9100 and RK-9100BR require two USB 2.0 leads, one for the keyboard itself and the other for power. In exchange, though, you do get two USB 2.0 ports on the back of the keyboard, behind the number pad. The shell of the keyboard is basic rigid black plastic, and the keys employ a black soft-touch paint coating that's very comfortable to the touch. The USB cable itself is braided and of high quality.

Before even testing it, I only have two major complaints: the green LEDs used for the Lock keys are just as bright if not even brighter than the blue backlights, and unfortunately these can't be turned down or off without actually just disabling those keys. That's a minor quibble. The other is the price; the RK-9100 with MX Blue switches is $119, and the RK-9100BR with MX Brown switches is $129, and that's just plain uncompetitive. This is surprising considered Rosewill is typically a value brand, and given the minimal frills with the RK-9100's design, I think we're at least $30 over where we need to be. There are feature-rich monsters from Thermaltake and Corsair that sell for less and feature arguably superior gaming switches in the Cherry MX Reds and Blacks.

Introducing Rosewill's RK-9000I and Illuminated Gaming Keyboard The Rosewill Illuminated Gaming Keyboard in Practice
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  • Beenthere - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    I went to Newegg to take a look at these mechanical mobos and no matter what Rosewill model I looked at, the reviews all said that the mini USB port on the keybord where the cable plugs in, fails after about 6 months. There is one review after another with the identical defect/failure on multiple models.

    I'm wondering if the RK-9000I and RK-9100BR have this same mini USB port issue?
  • Impulses - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    I haven't had an issue with mine but it never moves so there's no way the port could fail... I've heard it's actually fairly easy to fix if it's out of warranty tho, at least if you're handy with a soldering iron.
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    Actually several reviews by people who never move their mobo have reported the Rosewill mini USB port on the mechanical keyboards failing, which is why I asked because this is a serious design flaw.
  • Purpose - Monday, November 26, 2012 - link

    Cherry MX Blue switches require less force to depress than browns because there is no resistance from the leaf spring encountered until the actuation point, unlike browns, which have a near linear resistance.

    That's the primary difference between browns and blues. Blues are easier to depress until the actuation point, then you get noticeable resistance, and once the switch is activated, the resistance of blue switches decreases dramatically.

    Browns on the other hand are slightly harder to depress due to the near linear nature, but require less force at the actual activation point.

    Shame, shame for the obviously horrible research done prior to writing this article.
  • Pheesh - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure why the reviewer thinks brown's are not ideal for gaming. In the large fps gaming community that I follow gamers prefer either brown's or red's. (seems to be mostly browns, actually). Black switches are somewhat despised.
  • LintMan - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    I have a Steelseries keyboard with MX Black keys and found that while it was fine for FPS-type games where you're holding down the keys for movement, it was not so great for games where you are quickly just tapping keys, and it was especially bad for "double-tapping"; I had a very hard time reliably getting a double-tap response because it's not very clear where the actuation/release points are without the tactile feedback of the click point.

    Similarly, I had problems with typing - the number of typos I was producing shot up compared to how I do on typical non-mechanical keyboards or on the RK-9000 MX Brown I replaced my Steelseries with. It was such a relief going from the MX Blacks to the MX Browns.
  • McFoozle - Sunday, December 2, 2012 - link

    IBM Selectric was genius in that the keyboard was concave which reduced the amount of distance your fingers had to reach to get from Home Row to the other rows. Why can't anybody make a proper keyboard even after I explain it to them? I want a concave design split into two halves which are angled outward kind of like the GoldTouchApple but with palm rests.

    Every single damn tech thing I buy or look at isn't the way I want it. I totally understand why Steve Jobs used the "F" word so much.
  • Beenthere - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - link

    While the Rosewill mechanical keyboards seem to be a decent product they are way over priced, IMO. I don't see how they can justify a ~$100 price tag for any of the mechanical keyboard models.
  • batguiide - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

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