Qisan's Magicforce mechanical keyboard doesn't cost a lot and is as portable as they come.

If you like mechanical keyboards that you can easily take on the road with you, this little gem might be right up your street. It's called the Magicforce, and it's a ridiculously small, 68-key layout mechanical keyboard with OUTEMU brown switches. And it only costs $40.

Purists will be able to tell the different between these switches and the industry standard, Cherry MX equivalents, but for a fraction of the price, you get a really nice alternative. And it delivers a super satisfying click every time you press one of the keys.

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Magicforce keyboard

Minimal compromise

With the super compact layout, you'd expect there to be some compromise, and you'd be right. But there aren't as many as you might expect. Obviously, there's no number pad, and there are no macro keys either. But thanks to the function key, you can still activate media controls, volume, and even launch the calculator app right from the keyboard.

The layout of these additional functions takes a little getting used to, but once you've programmed your fingers it's only a mild inconvenience having to hit the function key. It's certainly better than not having them at all.

Magicforce keyboard

For a low-cost mechanical keyboard, the Magicforce is very well put together. This one has no backlighting, which helps keep the cost down, but you can spend a little extra and get one with white lighting. It looks pretty swanky, too, with the white keys accented by an anodized aluminum backplate. The floating key design gives an air of simplistic style, while showing off a glimpse of the switches nestled beneath.

Despite the overall dimensions of the keyboard being shrunk down, the shift keys are not. Small shift keys are incredibly annoying, but here both are full size. This isn't a serious gaming keyboard, with only a six-key rollover, but it'll still work well in a pinch, as well as being an ideal partner to a laptop for some impromptu fragging on the road.

Flipping over the Magicforce, there's not much to look at besides some rubber pads and a pair of feet to prop it up at an angle if you're more comfortable typing that way. There's also a removable USB cable, which pleases this reviewer perhaps more than it should.

Magicforce keyboard

Not many negatives

Is there anything bad to say about it? Depending on your preferences, you may find the key noise to be a little on the loud side. That can be altered by the use of some O rings over the switches to dampen the noise. Personally, I don't mind it, and I love the sound of a mechanical keyboard. The keys are easy to remove, though, and you get a tool for doing so included in the box.

There's also a little bit of a metallic echo when you press some of the keys. It's not a deal breaker by any means, but again it's down to personal preferences over the sound.

What could be the biggest negative is also conversely one of the positives about this keyboard: size. It's not a completely standard layout because of the 68-key design, and while all the keys are full size and spaced as you'd find on a larger keyboard, it takes a little getting used to. Your hands are always close together and a standard wrist support will be much too big to use here. And, of course, much functionality is buried beneath the function key.

Magicforce keyboard

So, the verdict? If you're looking for a compact mechanical keyboard this is a superb buy for a low price.

There's a satisfying click from the keys and it'll be really easy to pack inside a bag and take on the road. It's perhaps a little too noisy for some tastes, but you can't argue with what you're getting for the price.

It's a tiny mechanical wonder.

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