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Filco Majestouch FKBN105M/UKB
As we've espoused many times before, performance keyboards aren't just for gaming nuts and they don't have to be covered in silly gimmicks like flashing lights, and LCD screens. If you just want a hard-working tool that will make you type faster and more accurately and will stand the test of time then you'll be wanting something like the Filco Majestouch keyboard.
Like the Steel Series 7G gaming keyboard we looked at recently, the Majestouch range is all about having a simple functional design but building it from the best quality components. So instead of the flimsy rubber membrane switches (that wear out quickly and offer poor responsiveness and feedback) used on most conventional keyboards, the Majestouch range use individual mechanical switches for each key. In particular, they're the renowned MX switches made by Cherry.
These switches are rated to last up to 50 million keystrokes and thanks to sturdy slide mechanisms they will operate even if you approach the key at an acute angle – many normal keys jam if you don't press them directly down. They're available in three different types; linear (black), soft tactile (brown), and click tactile (blue). As you'd expect the click tactile gives a response just like your classic clicky keyboards of old, while the soft tactile has a similar feeling whereby the key has a light initial resistance but then 'breaks' after you've pressed it a couple of millimetres. The linear, meanwhile, is the key used on the Steel Series 7G and it has a firmer overall action but without the break, for it's full 4mm of travel you get the same resistance. The switch triggers when you've pressed the key about half way down.
To correspond with this choice of key switches, Filco/Diatec, the Japanese keyboard manufacturer has created three otherwise identical keyboards all under the same general banner of Majestouch. The FKBN105M/UKB we're looking at today uses the soft tactile switch while the FKBN105MC/UKB uses the click tactile switch, and the FKBN105ML/UKB uses the linear switch. Other variations are available including 'tenkeyless' designs (referring to the lack of a number pad) and ones with non-UK layouts, all of which are available at the Keyboard Company, who has exclusive distribution rights here in the UK.
Getting onto the keyboard itself then, it's based on a completely conventional UK keyboard layout. So you get a full-size Enter key, large Right Shift key, and everything else where you'd expect. What you don't get, however, is any sort of multimedia shortcuts – even as secondary functions of the F keys – or even a simple volume control. Neither do you get audio pass-through cables or USB extension ports. This is a keyboard only.
Simple it may be, but the Majestouch makes up for this with incredible build quality. It's built entirely on a steel chassis and finished in thick layers of textured plastic. The result is a keyboard that could probably stop bullets and certainly doesn't know the meaning of the word 'flex'. One consequence of this is it weighs a hefty 1.2kg but, along with four sizeable rubber pads on the bottom, it means the keyboard certainly won't start shifting around your desk as you type.