We’re starting to see a lot more Mionix products come our way, and so far, we’ve been pretty impressed. Sure, things like mousemats are never going to make or break a company, but a good keyboard on the other hand... that’s something else. The oddly-named Zabil (gallery here) is, in many ways a throwback to older, simpler times, and we mean that in the best possible way.
If you can picture the days of classic Honeywell mechanical keyboards, then you’ll be able to picture the look and feel of the Zabil. It’s pretty much one of those old beige models that people as old as me really miss, but dolled up for the modern gaming masses. With a lit keyboard, media keys and a wealth of connections, it’s pretty much a Honeywell on combat-grade amphetamines. It really does look that old fashioned in terms of shape and design, but the bells and whistles...
So, there’s the lighting. Cleverly, Mionix has replaced the all-too-often deadly Windows key with, basically, a dedicated function key that lets you choose lighting modes and levels. You can light all the keys, none of the keys, or just the WASD keys. If you know someone who has no idea what WASD is, this might be handy, but otherwise, it’s a bit naff. If you can’t find the most basic keys in PC gaming, we weep for you. On the other hand, the two-port USB hub and audio connectors are dead handy, and the massive cloth-wrapped cable that feed it all into your PC is an elegant touch.
However, what’s it like to use. The MX Black Cherry switched deliver remarkable responsiveness, and are heavy enough to make anything but the heaviest of mis-keys a thing of the past. The feel is smooth, lacking the click of the recent Razer BlackWidow, but also slightly smoother and heavier. It’s a pleasure to type on, too. The only real letdown is that it’s expensive, and after getting so used to the smaller footprint of our beloved Sidewinder, hard to really get used to, but we suspect it would reward the effort.
If it were cheaper, it would close to a perfect mechanical option, but the lower-end BlackWidows will save you at least $50. Hard to argue with that.