Ducky v cheap mechanical keyboards

I’m in the market for a new mechanical keyboard because my Shine 2 is starting to go out on me, which is really disappointing. I bought it around 5 years ago and honestly I expected it to last much longer than this. Plus for a $150 keyboard, it only comes with a 1 year warranty, which is absurd to me. Here’s what’s happening: a few of the switches on my Shine 2 are loose. It’s not the keycap. I’ve checked. They’re so loose that I can move the key back and forth. The key still registers, but it often sticks, and recently my “S” key has started to stick too. It’s becoming very annoying.

Now, I would have bought the Shine 6, until I bought a cheap TKL mechanical keyboard from Aukey for LAN events. Both keyboards use blue switches (Ducky’s from Cherry of course and Aukey’s from Outemu). They both feel pretty much the same, which is extremely surprising given the huge price difference. The Aukey keyboard was only $35, and it comes with a 2 year warranty.

So, what gives? I’ve really started to question these higher end mechanical keyboards a bit. Like, what would I be missing out on? What do these more expensive mechanical keyboards have that these cheaper ones do not? Normally build quality is the first thing to come up, however the Aukey keyboard has a surprisingly sturdy build.

For reference, here are the keyboards that I am talking about:
Ducky: (Mine is the red LED version, but I don’t think that matters.)

So I am going address this in parts.

Can you solder? If so do you have desoldering stuff, a pump or some wick/braid. If you do or can get a hold of the second half, you can replace the switches and you will be beck to a full working board.
It is odd though, this is the first I have heard of switches coming loose, can you elaborate? Pictures or a short video? Might be something less and easier to fix.

Yup this is becoming very common, we were only talking about it in the Mechanical Keyboard Corner thread. Quality mechs are getting much easier to find at lower and lower prices. A lot of it is due to the switches being cheaper from other companies, being legit cheaper and also not having a selling name like Cherry. Though as you have also found out, that is no bad thing. I have been through Cherry, Outemu and Gateron switches now and they are all every bit as good as the original Cherry switches, and for me and a growing number of enthusiasts the Gaterons are the new benchmark.

I have had it where the “gaming” stuff which is held as quality was not so, and the company in general were not good to deal with. I have also had it where I have spent a lot on a very basic TKL board from Filco, but no regrets there as that is my desert island board and while expensive it is built like a tank. Then I have had a super cheap Chinese board in the form of a MagicForce 68 which is rock solid, easily rivaling anything from a top quality company though maybe a bit more prone to damage like when in transport. And last I have a very custom, quite expensive, DIY board made by community members and assembled by myself from the PCB up.
It all depends on what you want that board to be. The “gaming” one was actually really basic but has extra keys and media control buttons, no RGB or crazy reprogramming outside the macro pads and only basic back lighting which failed in the end, wholly too expensive for what it did and was once one of the highly praised ones. The Filco is as above super basic, but will out last me I suspect, you pay for it sure but i have no doubts as to its quality. The MagicForce 68 is cheap as they come and very basic in its original form, but I bought it to learn soldering and keyboard modding as it was cheap enough to not worry about breaking it, now it is quite a bit more than it started but still a solid board. And lastly the custom one is all the bells and whistles, reporgrammable and with layers of programmable keys including macros if I so want, RGB underglow, single colour under key lighting that I choose and the LEDs are hot swappable, my own choice of switches, my choice of case components over all finish and my own choice of the keys layout.
So that is what gives there, it is all about being aware of the options and what you actually want in the end. Though it has come a very long way in even the last 3 years in terms of options and availability at many price points.

This used to be the start and end of it yeah, but now there are a lot more things you can get. So it is all choice now and it does not necessarily need to be expensive any more, but sometimes those expensive one are expensive for good reasons. It is just harder now to tell which ones are legit worth the price and which are marking themselves up. More options but also more people looking to cheat people out of cash for no reasonable extras.

Elitism. People don’t want to know about anything, that isn’t cherry mx and RGB. Seriously, some tech people just give bad reviews to keyboards, because they are not cherry.

Not much actually. I’ve watched a few keyboard reviews. I have 35€ TKL Natek Thor 300 (red Outemu). The cheapest equivalent would be 75€ Cooler Master? I guess… It have all the backlighting effects and it’s alumin(i)um on the outside… Yeah, it’s not RGB, but some 50€ keyboards don’t have any backlighting, not to mention modes and effects and 2 costume ones you can set yourself…

This was always bound to happen. In the beginning there was one good brand - cherry mx, now there are many - outemu, khail, etc…

Awesome, thanks for the replies guys! I really just want a good typing experience and something fine for gaming. I don’t care about the “gaming” look and those “features” such as RGB, macros, etc. Macros would be nice sometimes, but I’m fine without them.

I originally bought my Shine 2 because I had always heard that Ducky was the best, and I’m sure they are, but after messing around with this Aukey keyboard, for my needs, I think it would suit me just fine.

Also @Zibob, I unfortunately do not know how to solder, nor do I have the tools for it. To be honest, it’s something I want to deal. It’s always good to know that the option is there though! I’ll probably keep my Shine 2 around to tinker with once I get a new keyboard.


I haven’t had an “enthusiast” or “high-end” board - the highest would either be my Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013(MX Blues) or my Logitech G910, but they’re no Filco or Ducky.

More recently I’ve been really impressed with the value you get with cheaper keyboards. I had a Nixeus Moda v1(Kailh Browns) for a short period of time. The keys were a little bit inconsistent across the board, but the keyboard still excelled in overall typing and gaming performance.

I wanted clicky blues again, so I picked up an Adesso AKB-625UB(Kailh Blues). I put a cheap PBT keycap set on the keyboard and used it every day for over two years. No double actuations, and the keyswitches are pretty consistent across the board. Very impressed for the $40 I paid.

Now with the increasing influx of chinese mechanicals, prices are becoming really cheap. There was a lightning sale on a Redragon K552 Kumara RGB for $37. Fully RGB, Outemu Blues(I think, too lazy to double check). I’ve been using it since the end of September and it’s been awesome. The keyboard came with doubleshot ABS keycaps, the switches are quite consistent across the board, and there are a lot of lighting modes.

Sure, you might not have the reliability or reputation that generally comes with Cherry or Gateron switches, but I’m perfectly happy purchasing these cheaper mechanical keyboards since they have been absolutely a joy to use for me, especially considering their price point.

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Definitely do. Not hard to learn and you can get all sort of interesting things to try.