Recently I’ve checked out a bunch of budget mechanical keyboards, and I’ve been really impressed by some of them, and seeing what can be delivered today does get me excited, as quality mechanical keyboards become more accessible.
So today we check out another contender in the market, the Rakk Ilis RGB mechanical keyboard, which actually comes out of the Philippines, so yeh, this video will mainly be for them.
- Rakk Ilis Mechanical Keyboard
- User guide
- Gateron keyswitches
- Outemu keyswitches
I have the Gateron version. The only difference, is that the Outemu version is available in more switches, and is also hotswappable with other Outemu keyswitches.
COMPACT "FULL SIZE" LAYOUT
In the hands it feels good, with minimal flex, and a good solid heft to it, coming it at about 1 kilogram. Alright so looking at the layout of the keyboard, it isn’t a normal one, and is part of what’s special about it. It has 96 keys, so for reference, a typical full sized has 104, and a typical tenkeyless has 87. And that’s basically what it is, it’s a cross between the two.
And they’ve done this by combining the traditional nav cluster, with the number pad. Perhaps the most well known keyboard like this would be the Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M. And the Vortex Vibe is similar as well. But what I like about this, is that they didn’t leave the top right corner empty, so we have a proper complete tenkeyless keyboard.
So how does this work. There’s 2 modes. The TKL mode, and the Numpad mode. And to switch between these, we press the key in the corner. Which by the way, is completely different. Like it’s a UV coated keycap, so the finish is different, and it’s like a tiny bit shorter as well, so yeh, kinda weird.
But I digress. The TKL mode makes it so it’s exactly like a TKL, and in doing so, disables the other keys around it. So if you want to use the arrow keys, you have to be in the TKL mode.
And then the numpad mode simply gives you the numpad. Therefore, you can’t use the numpad and the arrow keys simultaneously which can be a problem for many, and is the drawback with trying to merge the two together. And that’s why the other 96 key layout, often seen with custom keyboards, and even like the Leopold FC980, are good because they’re compact, but don’t have that compromise.
So it’s quite a bit shorter than a full sized keyboard, but only 1 column longer than a tenkeyless. So it’s kind of like a superior tenkeyless keyboard in my opinion. And with that more compact size, it gives you more space on your desk, more space for mouse movements, it’s ergonomically more comfortable, and is a bit more portable.
DESIGN & BUILD - CHANGEABLE COVER!
See video for full demonstration
And I just like how it looks as well, like it’s packed with keys, making it look a bit neater for me personally. The keyboard as a whole looks pretty neat as well. It has a very traditional exterior design, with sizeable bezels, and just a straight forward rectangular shape. The white case is very contrasting from the black caps, however, we can do this.
So as with all keyboards with a plastic enclosure, you can take off the plastic top shell. But with this, it’s actually meant to be taken off, as it’s held on just by the magic of magnets. And when you take it off, it now looks like a typical floating key design keyboard. The plate is made from steel, so that’s how it magnetically attaches, and it’s flush with the plastic bottom shell. And we even have some Rakk branding on the side, which I guess reinforces the idea that it can be used this way, but yeh, a bit too much for me, because it does look pretty nice with the all dark aesthetic.
So yeh, pretty cool that you can change it up a bit, and this also means that you can do whatever you want with the plastic shell, which we’ll do later in the video.
Looking at the bottom of the keyboard, we unfortunately have a non removable cable.We have some rubber feet for non slip, and two flip up feet that are also nicely rubber tipped. And then we have a plastic ring keycap puller which is pretty handy to have on board. And then this keycap, which again is that different UV finish that’s different to the rest of the keycaps.
And speaking of keycaps, these are made from about 1mm thick ABS plastic which are pretty thin, but are doubleshot, so the legends are another piece of plastic and will never fade away. The unfortunate part for me personally is the font or typeface. They’re pretty edgy and not the cleanest to match the rest of the keyboard, but as always, looks are subjective. And while it is a different layout, a standard full keyset will fit this easy.
KEYSWITCHES & TYPING
See video for full demonstration
Underneath the keycaps we actually have Gateron Yellow keyswitches. And it was pretty surprising to see since I didn’t do too much previous research prior to receiving this, and I was wondering why it did feel pretty good to type on.
But yeh, so there’s actually 2 versions of the Ilis. We have this Gateron Yellow version. And then the Outemu version which is slightly cheaper as well. And the Outemu version like the last 2 keyboards I’ve checked out, are hotswappable. So if you want to learn more about Outemu hotswap, then watch my 2 previous videos.
But anyway, these are medium weight linear keyswitches, so there’s no bump or click, and are pretty smooth.
So it’s actually a great typing experience. Gateron Yellows are and have been a good solid linear switch, with a nice weight and smooth press. And even the stabilisers aren’t bad at all. Like there is a bit of rattle, but honestly as you could hear, they’re not bad.
RGB BACKLIGHTING & SOFTWARE
See video for full demonstration
And of course to tie it all up we have the RGB backlighting and software. It does have legit customisable RGB lighting, so all the effects and transitions are smooth. We can control the lighting on board via the FN key, with a couple of effects and whatnot.
However for even greater control we can use their software. So here we can just pretty much more easily navigate through all the effects and colours that you want. There’s the direction, speed, and brightness, but yeh, very simple and easy to use.
And then as always we have our customisation area where we can pick a key, and assign something else to it. So it can be another key, mouse functions, a combo key, you can open up a program, and have a multimedia control. For the most part, you don’t want to change the function of most of these keys. Like you wouldn’t want to change the letter F to something else, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to type properly. But that’s why we have different profiles, so that you can switch between them.
And another one of those options is a macro key, in which you record in the macro section. So here we can just record whatever you want. It could be a sentence, or some sort of sequence that you often use. And you can have your delays and all that to make it suit your needs.
So another simple piece of software. They’re honestly all so similar, and there’s not much that can go wrong. So it works perfectly fine.
So all up, this is an amazing keyboard, because again, the price. This is about the same price as the Tecware Phantom that I checked out in the last video, and I absolutely loved that keyboard, saying that it would be very hard to beat. But this, this is just as good. I mean, the Outemu version of this is even cheaper, and it pretty much has all the features that the Tecware did. But, we have this removable and customisable plastic top cover which is amazing. And then it’s basically a tenkeyless keyboard, but even better, as it gives us the option of using the numpad. So yeh, based on that, I mean this might just be even better. Like I don’t like to say a keyboard is better than the other, like all keyboards are different, but this is just adding more features and I truly believe that this is again, one of the best budget mechanical keyboards out there.
All it needs are nicer keycaps, and a detachable cable, and it would pretty much be perfect, considering the price of course.
Anyway, a special thanks to my friend Myk for hooking me up with this keyboard. Again, this is primarily available in the Philippines. There are other branded ones of this lurking around, but they’re harder to find.