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REVIEW : 1ST Player Firerose MK3 2 Mechanical Keyboard

April 23, 2017

The 1st Player Firerose MK3 lists a lot of extra features at a budget price. But the execution of these features is another story.

 

CONTENTS

  • 1st Player Firerose Mechanical Keyboard

  • User manual

  • Plastic ring keycap puller

  • 4 extra Outemu Blue keyswitches

  • Keyswitch puller
     

LAYOUT & SIZE

 

This is a full sized 100% keyboard, so we have the numpad on the side which is useful for those who need to use numbers constantly. The layout is a completely standard ANSI layout, so replacing the keycaps will be absolutely no problem if you need or want to replace them.

 

DESIGN & BUILD

 

It has some pretty good heft to it, and there’s no flex to it. It’s a very simplistic rectangular design that I like. There is no top shell, so it has a floating key design, so we can see the switches are partly exposed on the sides.

 

The top is made from steel which is a nice feature. Usually keyboards that have no external top shell will have an aluminium plate, making them a bit lighter. So that’s why this is quite weighty. And we can tell this because it’s magnetic and is a ferrous metal, where aluminium on the other hand is non magnetic.

 

The typeface or font on the keycaps has that gamery look. It is a gaming keyboard, so it fits the theme, but I personally prefer a cleaner and more simple design.

 

The keyboard has a quite slim build. There’s a touch of natural elevation for more comfortable typing, but it’s pretty flat. The plastic and steel have a very similar textured black finish that makes it difficult to distinguish between the both.

 

On the rear is the non detachable USB cable, which is unfortunate, but common. On the bottom we have the plastic shell, with some rubber feet for non slip, and the 2 flip up feet which are also nicely rubber tipped.

 

LIGHTING

 

Plugging it in we’re met with some colourful lights. While it may look like an RGB keyboard from pictures, unfortunately, this has a fixed colour array. So the LEDs themselves cannot change colour, so we kind of have this tacky looking pattern. As always, if it’s not true RGB, then it should just be a singular colour in my opinion, and preferably white for that neutrality.

 

There are some lighting effects though.

 

There’s also some lighting profiles from 1-8.

There’s 2 customisable lighting profiles on 9 and 0. We can customise these by pressing FN and Home, and we can press the keys to our liking. Then press function and END to save it.

 

The lighting is quite vibrant and bright though.

See video above for full lighting demonstration.

 

 

KEYSWITCHES

 

The switches used are Outemu Blue switches. These are just Chinese clones of the German made Cherry MX key switches. So we have a click and a tactile bump halfway, making for a nice loud and clicky experience. However these are slightly more clickier and louder than the Cherry MX Blues, which I actually do like. And I would go as far to say that I prefer typing on Outemu Blues compared to Cherry MX Blues, but that’s just me.

 

These Outemu Blues are the newer ones though, which have these different looking sliders on them. They still have the standard cross stem, but there’s also these other protrusions that are supposed to prevent dust and other contaminants from entering the switch.


CIY - HOTSWAPPABLE SWITCHES

 

This stands for change it yourself, and basically allows us to switch out keyswitches without the need of soldering work, like hotswapping.

See video for full demonstration.

 

But basically we can just pull out the switches with the included silver keyswitch puller. However with my testing, other keyswitches from Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh, etc, do not fit. 

 

WATERPROOF?

 

The device claims to have an IPX7 rating, which is a very common water rating for mobile devices, but you’d mostly hear something like IP67. Where the 6 would be the dust rating, and 7 is the water, but they don’t give a dust rating interestingly.

 

A 7 rating means that we can submerge the keyboard up to 1m deep for up to 30 minutes.

 

But this thing isn’t water sealed or anything. Rather, it’s using a drainage system to allow spills and liquids to drain out, meaning that it’s very open. But let’s just get to testing.

  • Pouring water on it while on
    - Working okay.
    - Water drains out downwards through the PCB.

  • Submerging keyboard 
    - Worked for a minute or so
    - After a minute, started doing random inputs
    - After 5 minutes, the device stopped lighting up and stopped registering.
    - After taking it out and draining the keyboard, it turned back on with LEDs flashing, and did random inputs.
    - 10 minutes later it was working absolutely fine, even when pouring water directly onto the PCB.

    - 12 hours later, device wasn't being recognised.
    - 24 hours later, mostly working, but some keys not working properly.
    - 36 hours later, functioning at 100%

     

CONCLUSION

 

At the end of the day this is a budget keyboard. So we have the budget Outemu Blue keyswitches, which I actually like anyway. We also have a somewhat cheapy aesthetic, with the fixed rainbow lighting, but that’s subjective from person to person.

 

So it doesn’t look the part, but it has so many other features that gives the keyboard a lot of value at the budget price. The steel plate rather than the usual aluminium plate gives the keyboard good rigidity and that classic mechanical keyboard heft, at over a kilo.

 

We have the CIY feature with the hotswappable keyswitches. Unfortunately I couldn’t get other keyswitches to fit in which really does degrade the feature, but it’s still there for the Outemu switches, so it’s better than nothing, since you could desolder the sockets anyway.

 

And lastly the waterproof tag is misleading, but it still has drain holes for spills, so it’s better than nothing, and it’s actually still working, so not bad at all.


Overall, for a full sized budget keyboard, it’s packing a lot of features for a low price, with my personal main negative being the aesthetic design of the keyboard.

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