As the popularity of PC gaming continues to grow there are more and more choices for accessories. Traditionally an expensive hobby, today it's possible to get started on a much tighter budget.
There's also a lot of stuff out there that's not worth your time. Is the i-Rocks Rock Series K10 PBT Reinforced Mechanical Feel Keyboard, which costs less than $10 bucks, one of the good ones?
Specifically, this ordinary-looking keyboard costs £7.99 (roughly US$10) from Amazon UK. It comes from a brand you've probably never heard of, it claims to be for gamers, and it offers a "mechanical feel."
For the price, you can almost forgive the ambitious marketing.
It does come with some features you would normally find on more expensive gaming keyboards. You get 30-key anti-ghosting and the ability to disable the Windows key to prevent accidents. The latter feature works exactly as described, with a quick key combination you've turned off the Windows key. The former also works surprisingly well given the price, but with a caveat: It only applies to a specific set of 30 keys, not the whole keyboard.
Thankfully those keys are around the main gaming area — so WASD and surrounding keys — and you get a little diagram that shows exactly which ones they are. For $10, it's not a massive disappointment to be limited in this way.
Constructed entirely of plastic, the iRocks is actually very solid feeling, with plenty of weight to it at over a kilo. It's not wild looking, and a slight red band is the only break from the otherwise ordinary-looking black design. The font used on the keys is also fairly reserved.
There's no included wrist rest, which is expected given the price point. It's ridiculously cheap. There's also no backlighting anywhere besides the company logo on the space bar. So if you can't live without lights, this might be a dealbreaker.
What about that "mechanical feel," though? It doesn't feel like a mechanical keyboard at all. It does have pretty long key travel and a distinct, satisfying click to it, but it's still nothing like mechanical. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, and it's by no means a bad effort for a membrane keyboard.
Honestly, the i-Rocks Rock Series K10 PBT is surprisingly good. Sure, it's not going to suit the more intense PC gamer, but for beginners or even just someone looking for a good alternative to those low-profile keyboards that have become so common, it's well worth the asking price.
It's also proof that you really don't have to spend a fortune to get started with a gaming keyboard. It turns out you can keep on a tight budget and still get good hardware. (Keep in mind, however, that shipping this from the UK might be somewhat pricey depending on your location.)
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine