Posted On 12/30/2015 By In Keyboard Reviews, Reviews

REVIEW: MechanicalKeyboards.com DISCO

Page Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Typing Test
  3. Packaging, Unboxing, and Contents
  4. External Build
  5. Internal Build
  6. Switches
  7. Layout and Function Keys
  8. Summary & Conclusion
  9. Full Gallery
  10. Where to Buy

Introduction

The DISCO is a new RGB capable TKL from the MechanicalKeyboards.com brand. The DISCO is a brand new RGB TKL, and with a current price of $119, the DISCO is by far one of the most affordable RGB keyboards in the market. The description from MechanicalKeyboards.com states:

The Ducky OEM “Disco” from MK features cutting edge RGB LED functionality in a sleek, classic Tenkeyless layout. You wanted a Shine 5 TKL? This is basically it.

MK partnered with Ducky on the Disco so we could build the ultimate RGB TKL keyboard. We took our favorite TKL case (Shine 3), designed a custom dual-layer PCB to utilize the incredible RGB lighting functionality of a Shine 5, and combined them with Ducky’s super-sharp ABS keycap legends for superior readability. Keyboards, quite simply, don’t get much prettier than this. The Disco is available with the new Blue, Brown, Red, and Black KBT switches.

Cheap prices can often mean cheap products, but is that the case with the DISCO? Read on to find out.

Typing Test

Packaging, Unboxing, and Contents

The DISCO came in a box very similar to the MK2016 that I recently reviewed. The box is elegant and clean, with very minimal advertising and flashy pictures on the box. There is a sticker that clearly marks the “KBT Brown” switch in the sample unit I received as well. As someone that is always a fan of simplicity, I do like the packaging design. On the back of the box a few select pieces of information are listed:

  • Dimension: 360(L) x 140(W) X 41.5(H)mm

  • Weight: 1.2 KG

  • Interface: USB

  • Origin of Production: Taiwan

Inside the box

Upon opening the box I was very pleased with how securely the keyboard was held in place by the secondary cardboard covering. I was also quite happy to see that the plastic dust cover, high quality wire key puller, and well documented manual (in English!) were included, just as they were with the MK2016. A standard USB Mini cable was included as well. Overall the accessories were above average and I had absolutely no complaints with any of them. The manual is very clear and easy to read (as seen further down) and was very helpful when it came time to figure out the lighting on the DISCO.

External Build

Case

The case is made out of relatively thick plastic, giving the keyboard a very solid feel overall. There are no visible brand markings on the top or sides of the case, which is also something that I am quite a fan of. The Case is held together by a single screw under the “Do Not Remove” sticker, that will void your warranty if broken, and 8 clips, with 4 on the front and 4 on the back. Even with the minimal number of screws, the case was very secure, and in fact was one of the harder keyboards I’ve had to crack open.

Reverse side (rubber pads, feet, etc.)

The underside of the keyboard has a USB Mini B connection in the middle of the keyboard, with 3 routing channels (back left, center, back right) for the cable. The cable is held securely in place by small clips in the channels, which in turn protect the connector in the keyboard from being wiggled around and broken over time. There are 4 rubber feet that keep the keyboard soundly in place, even with heavy typing. The back of the keyboard is not flat like some, but already slightly angled due to a raised section that runs across the back of the keyboard. There are also flip up feet, that are just plastic without any rubber, that can further raise the keyboard. I was slightly worried that I would experience some slippage due to the feet not having rubber, but the keyboard managed to stay in place without any issues thanks to the thickness of the front pads.

Keycaps

The keycaps are thin laser etched ABS, and are generally unspectacular. They are extremely thin and were prone to some shine after a solid week of use. There spacebar has a nice MechanicalKeyboards.com and DISCO logo etched onto it, and the font isn’t bad either. The main purpose of the caps is to allow the light from the RGB LED’s shine through, which they do well. Overall these are pretty much what I’ve come to expect from laser etches ABS keycaps. They are decent enough, but replacing them with a better set of backlit compatible Vortex caps in the future would be a solid upgrade.

Internal Build

Like the MK2016, the DISCO is manufactured by Ducky. As expected, the internals were all very good quality and the soldering work was perfect. You can see in the middle picture above where a switch and 4 pin RGB LED (Red, Blue, Green, Ground) were soldered to the PCB. Unlike some keyboards I’ve tested where the soldering joints are all different sizes, the DISCO had very uniform solder joints across the board. The DISCO PBT wasn’t branded by Ducky like the MK2016 was, probably because this is a PCB that is brand new, whereas the MK2016 was using the Premier PCB.

Switches

There are currently 4 different types of KBT switches available (Red, Black, Blue, Brown). My sample unit came with Brown switches. There was some speculation on the forums as to who manufactures the KBT switches. MechanicalKeyboards.com later posted that Greetech was behind manufacturing the switches for KBT. After using the switches for a solid week I can say that I definitely enjoyed them more than Cherry MX Browns, but slightly less than Gaterons. They are actually very smooth and have a slightly more noticeable bump than Cherry Browns, which is a very good thing in my opinion. The switches also have clear top housings which helps make the lighting disperse more evenly. Finally, the larger stabilized keys use Cherry stabilizers. Benefits of Cherry stabilizers are that they make swapping out keys extremely easy, with the downside being that they can feel mushy in some instances. For the DISCO, they felt just about as good as I’ve ever experienced. The larger keys remained crisp and felt uniform with the rest of the board.

Layout and Function Keys

The DISCO has a standard ANSI layout, meaning if you do get any aftermarket keycaps, they should fit on the DISCO without any issues. There are 4 DIP switches on the back of the DISCO to allow for more customization as well. Unlike the MK2016 I was very happy to see that I could swap the CTRL/CAPS position on the DISCO. Keep in mind that you have to reset the keyboard by unplugging it before a DIP switch effect will take place! Here is a full chart of the DIP switch capabilities:

 ONOFFDefault Setting
DIP 1Left CTRL & Caps (Exchange Position)Retains PositionOff
DIP 2Alt and Windows Key (Exchange Position)Retains PositionOff
DIP 3Windows Key Lock Windows Key OnOff
DIP 46 Key-RolloverN Key-RolloverOff

Now, for the lighting. Instead of trying to chart out all of the lighting effects I thought it would be easier and more clear to simply include pictures of the manual. I have also included a video showcasing most of the modes. Overall I was quite pleased with the capabilities of the DISCO. I extensively tested the modes and found them to be quite customizable and useful. I also tried to see if I could replicate some of the bugs that the Ducky Shine 5 has with some of the lighting modes. As of this moment I was unable to find any bugs in the DISCO, but will report back here if that changes. I personally really like being able to customize the lighting from the keyboard without the need for additional software, though this does limit how deeply you can customize the lighting as well.

 

Summary & Conclusion

Overall the DISCO is quite a steal. I wasn’t able to find any big issues with the DISCO, and overall was extremely impressed by it. The KBT switches were surprisingly nice, and the lighting modes were fantastic and highly customizable. The real winner though, is the price. At $120 this beats out the competition by a mile in terms of pricing, and should definitely be considered if you are in the market for an affordable RGB keyboard.

Pros

  • Price is very competitive
  • The lighting modes are impressive
  • The internal build quality is superb, as is expected from a Ducky product.
  • USB Mini B connector
  • DIP switches provide good customization
  • Included accessories are great

Cons

  • Keycaps aren’t very good
  • Not as many switch options as I’d like.

Final score:8.5/10

 

Full Gallery

Where to Buy

MK2016 on MechanicalKeyboards.com

Disclaimer: The same keyboard was provided courtesy of MechanicalKeyboards.com, and is in no way a paid review/advertisement. 

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