I had never heard of Mionix before trying out the Zibal 60 mechanical gaming keyboard.
It turns out that this Swedish company has been making gaming peripherals since 2007. It launched the Zibal 60 four years ago.
Mionix's products are mainly sold in Europe and the United States, but the company is expanding into this region. In Singapore, its products are available at Sim Lim Square (Xtreme Solution), though I have been told that the keyboard is currently out of stock. You can, however, snag one from Amazon or other online retailers. But should you?
The Zibal feels really sturdy. This matte black keyboard is so solidly built that I can almost believe that it would stop a bullet. In fact, Mionix says the keyboard has a 1.6mm thick steel frame. In other words, if your gaming battles ever spill over from the virtual realm to the physical, you would want this keyboard within reach. Even the braided cable that connects the Zibal's two USB connectors and audio cables to your gaming rig is thicker than usual.
Unsurprisingly, this keyboard is heavy at 1.56kg, but that is comparable with recent mechanical keyboards from heavyweight brands, such as Razer (BlackWidow Chroma) and Logitech (G910 Orion Spark).
Unlike these newer gaming keyboards, the Zibal does not have a backlight that supports many colours. Its backlight comes only in green, although you can choose to have only the W, A, S, and D keys illuminated. There are three brightness levels.
No drivers or software are required for this keyboard. It is purely plug and play. This is because it does not save game settings or macros, unlike its newer counterparts.
There are no extra keys to map to game controls, although there are dedicated keys for media controls such as volume. Zibal has moved the Windows logo key from its usual position to the right-hand side, so you are less likely to hit it accidentally while gaming. Replacing it is a special key that is used to adjust the media and backlight features.
The Zibal uses Cherry MX Black mechanical switches. These are much quieter than the Cherry MX Blue switches that I prefer. In fact, they feel very much like Cherry MX Red switches, but require more force to register. This means accidental key presses are less likely to be registered.
At $209, it is more affordable than its rivals, albeit with far fewer features. However, I like its simplicity and old-school design.
Built like a tank, this gaming keyboard lacks the extras found on newer models.
Switch type: Cherry MX Black
Actuation force: 60g
Cable length: 1.55m
Value for money 3/5
This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.