The Masione Multi-Color Half Mechanical USB Wired Gaming Keyboard was kindly provided to me by Rightful UK free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The Masione Multi-Color Half Mechanical USB Wired Gaming Keyboard is available in the UK from Rightful UK Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £35.99 with free P&P. In the US the Masione Multi-Color Half Mechanical USB Wired Gaming Keyboard is available from ATC LLC Fulfilled by Amazon.com at a cost of $41.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
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– Phat spacebar can be handy for gaming.
– Far better to use than a traditional membrane style keyboards, especially to type on, it however does not feel like a mechanical keyboard to use. I would go so far to say the Masione keyboard was one of the best typing experiences that I have had on a plastic dome & slider keyboard.
– Replaceable key caps, but they are not Cherry MX compatible.
– Non slip pads on the underside are a little too effective (when the retractable feet are not used).
– Reasonably extensive lighting functions with 7 colours on offer with either a breathing / pulsing mode or a constant lighting with 3 levels of brightness.
– The price, for a dome with slider keyboard the price is on the steep side, coupled with the quality its very, very overpriced.
– No wrist rest
– Full US layout including single spaced enter / return key.
– Retractable feet on the underside are completely limp and do not lock into place.
– No manual or instructions.
– Inferior build quality.
– The shift, space and enter keys all make a tinny, metallic rattling sound when pressed.
– The highest brightness setting is dim, uneven light brightness across the board, dark spots, more edge lit than back lit & no light memory function.
PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The Masione Multi-Color Half Mechanical USB Wired Gaming Keyboard comes supplied in a large rectangular flat retail style box bearing product illustrations and limited product information.
Inside the box you will find the keyboard wrapped within a white thin foam bag with large cellular foam inserts attached at each end to hold the keyboard in place and protect it during transit. The is absolutely nothing else in the box and no instructions to be found either on or in the box.
There is no software or drivers included in the box, however, such is not required. The box indicates the keyboard is compatible with Windows 98, 2000, ME, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8. There is no mention of Windows 10, Mac or Linux support and sadly I am unable to test to confirm compatibility.
Having personally tested on Windows 7 Pro 32-Bit and 8.1 systems the keyboard is plug and play, it would appear that no additional drivers were required by either OS for the keyboard to be fully functional.
Measurements taken at their greatest point using a digital calliper accurate to within 0.1% and a Milwaukee measuring tape accurate by eye.
Personal measurements indicate the keyboard measures 43.2cm wide x 12.85cm long (It should be noted that the cable protrudes from the back edge of the keyboard in the right corner and the cable reinforcement adds a further 1.8cm to the depth at this point).
The height of the keyboard at the rear excluding keys is 2cm with the feet flat or 3cm when they are extended. (The section of the keyboard containing the key lock indicator LEDs is slightly raised and is about 1cm higher than the main keyboard frame). The product listing states the measurements of the keyboard are 49 x 19.6 x 7.1 cm, I am however very confident of the measurements that I have taken.
Some random key measurements are as follows (measurements taken of the top surface of the key cap).
Space bar = 105.2mm x 24.2mm
Arrow & Letter Keys = 12.75mm x 14mm
Shift keys = 37mm x 14mm
Backspace = 12.75mm x 14mm
Alt keys = 17.3mm x 24.2mm
The spacing between keys is 6.2mm
The keyboard weighs 930g (this reading unavoidably includes a small section of the cable).
The Masione Keyboard is a domed with sliders keyboard that provides the closest experience to a mechanical keyboard without the cost (the keys offer a degree of resistance but lack the tactile response). This design is similar to that of mechanical micro switches, each key has its own slider (that looks like a mechanical switch) that presses on the dome located underneath, activating a membrane keypad located within the keyboard internal housing.
In the case of the Masione keyboard the slider mounts are not Cherry MX compatible, so while the key caps are replaceable they would appear to be of a proprietary design. (Testing was done with key caps from a Corsair K70 and a Max Blackbird keyboard both with Cherry MX brown keys).
As a point of note, while mechanical keyboards are significantly more expensive, they do have a 50 million press lifespan. When you do the math, the cost of a mechanical keyboard starts to make financial sense if you are a heavy user.
While domed keyboards are quiet in use they are usually considered to be rather “mushy” in use compared to metal domes and mechanical keyboards as the collapsing dome does not provide much of a positive, tactile response. With the Masione keyboard, however I have to admit that they do actually offer more resistance than both of my MX brown keyboards do.
The frame of the Masione keyboard is actually made from clear plastic as in fact are the key caps. The keyboard has been fully assembled and then it has been spray painted black, this is clearly evident as when the key caps are lifted the frame underneath is unpainted clear plastic where the caps cover the frame.
Also evident is spray paint on the edges slider switches around the edge of the keyboard through which the light projects onto the underside of the key caps. This largely explains the poor lighting on the majority of the keys around the outside edge.
The facia on all key caps is very finely textured providing a reasonable degree of slip resistance even with sweaty hands. The size and spacing of the keys is good and key wobble is minimal comparable to that of my Corsair K70 with the exception of the spacebar which does have some fairly notable wobble but given its size I suppose it is to be expected.
Aside from wobble the Shift, Enter and Space keys have an entirely separate issue to contend with. Underneath these keys there is a centralised contact slider and either side there are plastic supports. Attached to these supports is a single metal wire that runs the length of the key cap and with the exception of where this wire is mounted to the key cap it is otherwise sits loose.
As a result, when these keys are pressed, they make a very tinny rattling sound (the louder the press the louder the metal springy noise). Most keyboards of this style use metal wire supports to prevent key wobble but in the case of the Masione keyboard, it is one of the more obvious and unpleasant sounding that I have used.
As for the keyboard itself well, the keys all have transparent lettering for both primary and secondary functions (most keyboards with shared function keys only light up the primary function with the secondary function actually being painted on rather than being transparent). Certain keys that have a secondary function are operated by way of the “FN” key and those are as follows.
FN +F1 = Music player shortcut.
FN = F2 = Volume down.
FN + F3 = Volume up.
FN + F4 = Mute.
FN + F5 = Stop.
FN + F6 = Play previous song.
FN + F7 = Play / pause.
FN + F8 = Play next song.
FN + F9 = Email shortcut.
FN + F10 = IE home shortcut.
FN + F11 = Key lock.
FN + F12 = Favourites.
FN + Page Up = Increase brightness.
FN + Page down = Decrease brightness.
Now quite a few keyboards like the Masione allow you to switch the functions of the arrow and WASD keys around. On the Masione keyboard arrows are marked on the WASD keys and WASD is marked on the arrow keys and there are also three small dots marked on the “Q” key. To me this would imply the Masione keyboard has such a function, however holding and tapping the “Q” does not swap the functions around and as far as I can see it is not possible to do so. (A manual really would have been nice you know).
On the underside in each corner of the keyboard are tiny 19mm x 7.5mm non slip rubber pads. Despite their small size these pads are highly effective to the point that a great deal of force has to be used to move they keyboard, so much so that it is insurmountably easier to just lift the keyboard.
There are two retractable feet in the back corners which are located so far in from the edge of the keyboard that frankly the only way to deploy them is to lift the keyboard up. These feet do not lock into place and are entirely limp, when deployed if the keyboard is pushed backwards so much as a millimetre they simply collapse.
When the feet are extended it greatly reduces the non slip capabilities of the keyboard. There is little resistance when pushing the keyboard in any direction which sadly very frequently leads to the keyboard slightly slipping backwards which causes the feet to collapse, making the feet useless unless you make the effort to try and secure them extended (bluetac would be a suitable non permanent solution).
The cable measures approximately 1.4m long (excluding connectors) and 4.2mm in diameter including the black nylon braiding and it is rather stiff. The cable is also fitted with a ferrite EMI suppressor albeit a small one located 6.2cm down the cable from the USB A connector. (Non gold plated)
Overall the build quality of the keyboard is basic and far from the level expected for such a price point.
The lighting features of the Masione are disappointing, there’s a nice selection of colours available, but even at the brightest setting the light level is dim and thanks to the paint job on the frame the lighting is also inconsistent.
By default, when the keyboard is first installed and each subsequent time the PC is switched on the keyboard lights up constant red at the highest brightness level. The keyboard lacks a memory and it will not remember what setting you left it at when switching your PC off.
As stated previously by default the keyboard lighting is on constant mode. Tapping the dedicated light function key (between “FN” function key and R-Alt) will change the colour displayed by the keyboard. The colours on offer are Red > Green > Blue > Yellow (more like bile green than yellow) > Turquoise > Purple > White (with a slight blue tint).
When using a the constant light mode the brightness of the light can be changed by holding the FN key down and tapping the Page up key to increase the brightness or the Page down key to reduce the brightness. There are 3 brightness levels (you can also turn the light off) but the highest brightness is perhaps closer to that of medium on most other keyboards and the dimmest setting is all but useless even in a pitch black room.
Aside from a constant single colour backlight the keyboard has one other lighting function. Holding down the FN key and tapping the dedicated lighting key cycles through the different lighting modes. Those offered are off, constant lighting mode and breathing / pulsing mode.
When in breathing / pulsing mode the keyboard lights up in a single colour, first the light is dim and it gradually becomes brighter. Once the highest brightness level has been reached it, then gradually becomes dimmer until there is no light at all. The keyboard then switches colour and the process repeats until all 7 colours have been displayed and the cycle then starts from the beginning again. The time between each displayed colour is approximately 6 seconds.
Only one real comments to make here, no included wrist rest.
When writing or using a keyboard for productivity this is less of an issue, but for gaming one really is required. While one can easily be obtained separately it will never be attached to the keyboard so when moving the keyboard. It does however mean that you can buy a nice comfortable foam pad like the Grifiti Fat Pad which is far more comfortable than any plastic bundled rest.
If all you are used to is a traditional membrane keyboard and you have never typed on a mechanical keyboard, you will find that the Masione keyboard is a pleasure to type on. While it lacks the tactile response found with most mechanical switches the resistance offered from the domes & sliders will improve your accuracy and speed vs a traditional membrane board, not to mention provide you with a more pleasurable experience.
The lack of wrist rest for experienced typists is unnoticeable and one quite honestly is not required. There is one small problem however that should be noted regarding productivity use with the keyboard and that is the layout which is US and not UK. Personally, I find that US layout keyboards are entirely bearable, but those such as the Masione that have a wide single spaced enter key are difficult to adjust to when touch typing.
I’ve reviewed countless keyboards of this type and I just don’t seem capable of getting used to the single spacing of the enter key. Beyond the Enter key the most commonly used keys you will have to adjust to are changed locations of the @ ” and the lack of a £ key, which shouldn’t take too long to remember.
The gaming specific functions of the Masione keyboard are not exactly what I would call forthcoming. The product listing, simply states “Pressing by 19 keys together, no conflict. Pressing by many keys together, no conflict, no slow”, there is nothing else noted on the packaging and there is obviously no manual.
For gaming the keyboard is somewhat like using MX brown switches, with perhaps a little more resistance offered when the keys are pressed (although not as much as black switches). The lack of a wrist rest is uncomfortable when gaming, but the US layout has no effect what so ever when gaming.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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