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Plum 96 a brief review

Binge

Overclocking Surrealism
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Sep 15, 2008
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System Name Molly
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Heeeey folks, Binge with another brief review. Today's subject?

PLUM 96 MX-Enhanced Mechanical Keyboard​

Plum is a Chinese based keyboard brand with eyes on the gaming/modding communities. With much respect for their target customers they have designed full-sized as well as 10-keyless models. To further offer great solutions to their customers the 96 key layout is used in their most versatile design. While it offers a space saving design much like a 10-keyless the keyboard retains all of the functionality of a full-sized keyboard.

Briefly I will describe the functions of the keyboard and how they are used.
  • Media keys - The volume control, play/pause, and next/previous commands are printed on the side of the F1-F6 keys. By pressing (Right Fn) and the cooresponding F-key the request is executed.
  • LED-off - A key command used for modders (Right Fn+F7) which turns off the board's LEDs.
  • Open My Computer - (Right Fn+F8)
  • Tremble Control - (Right Fn+F10/F11) Tremble control is a function which makes your keys more or less touchy. If you have shakey hands this control is for you. Key strokes that occur too briefly will be ignored. I find this to be useful on MX Blue switches, but may turn the function off if it becomes a problem.
  • Lock the win key! - Gamers rejoice! Lock up your windows key with (Right Fn+Print Screen). This will turn the windows key into an additional Fn key.
  • Swap CTRL and Caps-Lock - Great for programmers and those who are used to unix/linux environments. (Right Fn+Pause)
  • Num Mode - Swaps the right pad between number pad mode and arrow with page keys. A must for this sort of space saving keyboard.

Physical Features of the Keyboard
  • Keyboards are PCB mounted for easy modding.
  • Add your own LEDs to the keyboard - Each switch is LED ready and the PCB has pre-routed traces/through holes to add LEDs. Just drop in the LED of your choice and solder.
  • Removable Micro-USB keyboard connector can operate USB mode or PS/2 with adaptor. Adaptor not included.
  • Diodes for every switch as to prevent ghosting.
  • Black keyboards use POM plastic - White versions use PBT plastics. Both of these are high grade plastics which resist physical wear. Key legends are laser etched, and will fade but never disappear over time.
  • Bluetooth capable - uses 2xAAA batteries to power. Unfortunately these batteries can only be changed by opening up the keyboard.

I might be forgetting something but it is pretty simple to see this is feature rich as well as space saving. My favorite aspects of the keyboard are that the PCB is well stabilized and does not flex in the keyboard casing. PCB mounted switches are often a softer feel. There is less noise associated with PCB mounted switches than plate mounted switches the key-caps just do not bottom out on the plate and so there is very little 'CLACK' to the keystroke. The keyboard is very light weight without a steel plate to mount the switches. I believe the total weight is under 2 lbs.

USB cable routing is a bonus as you can change the direction the cable exits the keyboard casing. The removable aspect of the cable coupled with the light weight makes this an ultra portable LAN keyboard.

Considering all of the features/functions of this keyboard I'd rate it very high on principal. The only downside I can see is that I had to find a Chinese buying agent to get this keyboard to the United States. The keyboard cost is $99.99 shipped to the USA while the original retail cost of this keyboard is a little over $70 USD. The fact that all returns/shipping require it to go back to china also means that if one of your keyboards is missing something important then it gets to be an expensive RMA. My one keyboard is missing the extension feet. For feet I am not going to RMA the keyboard, but if there were a defect this could cost me about $20-30 USD to get the issue resolved.





 
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