One of the things I learned about myself when the whole world shut down is that, yes, I can and do appreciate a well-built keyboard. I thought I understood what I liked, but getting into the world of mechanical keyboards was an eye-opener. I’m not building my own keyboard, but that sense that, yes, I AM doing something here is just satisfying. One of the latest to catch our eye is the IOGEAR Mechlite Nano Mechanical Keyboard.
When considering keyboards, you do need to consider how large of a board you need. Unless you’re an accountant (or in Excel all day), a full-size keyboard with the numkey pad on the right may be overkill. On the other end, you can go fully compact, to the point where even stand-alone arrow keys are eliminated. While you can navigate those, I like having those dedicated arrow keys for moving around, particularly in a shell.
While the IOGEAR Mechlite Nano Mechanical Keyboard is a 65% keyboard (with that mean it has 65% of the keys that a full-size 104-key keyboard has, and translates into a keyboard that’s about 65% the width of a full keyboard), it still has those dedicated arrow keys, which I rather like. Another thing they’ve included is a built-in volume control knob. I won’t say that’s a requirement for me, but it sure is a great thing to have. Whether you’re switching from a podcast to a call, or someone is just quiet on that call, being able to easily adjust the volume on the fly is handier than you might expect.
If you’re worried about noise coming through on your calls with a mechanical keyboard, that’s a valid thing to think about. I’ve found that ANC headphones do a good job clearing that noise. Then again, with the IOGEAR Mechlite Nano Mechanical Keyboard, that will be less of a concern. This board uses red switches, which are considered linear and quiet (more on that here), as opposed to the bombastic clicks you might be picturing in your head. These sort of keys would be handy if you’re using this in an office environment, and they’ll require less pressure to press down (and hold there, if you’re using this for gaming). It may not be as quiet as a membrane keyboard would be, but any additional noise will be well worth the lift in typing enjoyment from using a mechanical keyboard.
The keys on the IOGEAR Mechlite Nano Mechanical Keyboard are RGB backlit (which you can turn off if you don’t want the colors), and the keycaps themselves are made in a way that should keep them from wearing down over the years. The one thing we’re not clear about is if the backlighting comes through the keys (so you can read them in the dark), or if it’s only in the gaps around the keys. We’re working on getting a sample in for review, so we should be able to clear that up.
Another great thing about the IOGEAR Mechlite Nano Mechanical Keyboard is the fact that you can use it wired (via a USB-C connection) or wireless with Bluetooth. This, combined with it’s size, could make for a good keyboard to bring to the office, as well as for using with your entertainment setup, as well as a phone or tablet. You can connect up to three devices – and cycle through them – so this something that could be put to a variety of uses quite easily.
So, on paper, the IOGEAR Mechlite Nano Mechanical Keyboard has a lot going for it, and those quieter red switches should definitely appeal to anyone who is around you as you type. Another great thing, for all of the functionality, it’s price tag doesn’t break the bank: $79.95. You can find it at your favorite local shop, over on Amazon, or get the full list of retailers at iogear.com
Tech Specs from IOGEAR
- Compact mechanical gaming keyboard with compact 65% design
- Wireless Bluetooth connection and wired USB connection
- Red linear mechanical switches deliver fast and quiet actuation
- Minimalist cosmetic design for the smallest footprint
- Two-color double injected PBT key caps that never wear off
- Full per-key RGB illumination
- Built-in volume control knob
- Full N-Key Rollover so you never miss a keystroke!
- Windows key lockout prevents accidental pop up while gaming
- Detachable USB Type-C to USB Type A cable