Many typing purists maintain that the IBM Model M keyboard will always be the standard to compare all modern keyboard designs to, especially for users that rely on the tactile feedback and satisfying "clack" emitted by the switches underneath the keys for accuracy and speed. The rise in popularity of mechanical keyboards that replicate the Model M's design opens the door to more independent companies like Rosewill making their own versions, and the RK-9000 has all the parts typists are looking for in a mechanical input device, including Cherry Blue switches, a tough nylon-wrapped USB cord, a low-profile design, and an affordable price to top it off. If you're just getting interested in these unique keyboards and don't care about extra USB ports or robust cases, the Rosewill RK-9000 is a great place to start.
The appeal of the RK-9000 starts with the mechanical switches that live underneath the keys. They're the same Cherry switches found in most mechanical keyboards including the Das Keyboard, and the MX Blue is the most tactile version available, with two stages of movement, with a longer vertical travel distance required to actuate each key press.
This also results in the satisfying click sound that some claim to improve typing speed and accuracy, sometimes coming at the expense of irritated coworkers around you. This isn't exactly a scientific test, but we checked our speed and accuracy using TypingTest.com and were able to achieve almost 10 extra words per minute using the RK-9000 compared with other scissor-switch laptop keyboards.
The RK-9000 is as simple a keyboard as they come; the Das Keyboard is a better choice if you want dual-powered USB ports and a more robust overall shape, but that's not to say the RK-9000 isn't well-designed, either. We like that you can see the red chassis peeking out between the keys, and the key caps themselves are concave to fit the natural curvature of your fingertips, which results in a much more comfortable typing experience. We also appreciate Rosewill's attention to detail with regard to the durability of the device: the tough nylon wrap around the USB cord and the laser-printed characters on each keycap justify the price by adding an extra layer of durability to the device.
The RK-9000 also adds the extra gaming benefit of multikey rollover, meaning the board registers each key press independently so the character is recognized regardless of how many other keys are hit at the same time. Specifically, the RK-9000 supports six-key rollover using the standard USB plug, and full n-key rollover (any number of simultaneous keys) with a PS/2 adapter (not included). Finally, Rosewill protects the RK-9000 with a year of service that includes parts and labor, should your keyboard need in-person attention.