October 05, 2013

The Filco Majestouch Ninja in Action

The Chronicles of Mechanical Keyboards 

Mechanical keyboards, manufactured by Cherry Corporation along with their Cherry MX mechanical switches has been around as high end keyboards for a long time and it comes with different variety of mechanical switches ranged from Red, Black, Clear, Blue, Brown, Green, etc. Lacking of aesthetic elements such as LED backlit, Media control keys, Macro keys, badass appearance, not much people are willing to spend more than $100 for a keyboard as they will rather spend that money on a membrane gaming keyboard which provides all aesthetic elements they want. The only group of people who are willing to spend more for a mechanical keyboards are the enthusiasts / typists / collectors. 

Tables are turned when mechanical keyboards making its debut during esports / gaming scene and along with gaming peripherals manufacturers like Razer, Steelseries, Zowie Gear, etc  which came up with  their gaming mechanical keyboards franchise. These gaming mechanical keyboards which often comes with aesthetic appearance is much more appealing and acceptable by more people now, especially gamers who wants a keyboard with all the bling they can get, without missing out the quality of the peripheral itself which affects their gaming experience and performance. While the gaming scene brought up mechanical keyboards with a brand new look, there are still other manufacturers like Filco, Leopold, Ducky, Cherry, etc  at faraway distance galaxy from milkyway  is sticking to the old school & simple design, well some has now included LED backlit due to the competition.

Today, we will be reviewing a mechanical keyboard which is on the other side, prized by most enthusiasts - a Filco Majestouch Ninja Mechanical Keyboard. Filco made mechanical keyboards is well known for their excellent built quality, longevity and typing experience. Million thanks to our local enthusiast from Mechanical Keyboard Hideout for borrowing us their Ninja for this review. Let's move on shall we?

First Impression 

First, let us take a look at its packaging. Simple yet stylish and makes the product looks appealing at the same time. Have you seen the Ninja?

At the side of the box, shows the model name of this keyboard, FKBN104ML/EFB2, type of switches being used, color of its enclosure,  layout of the keyboard, key rollover, type of printing. We'll go into details after this.

Well, we don't really get the idea why Filco added a flower at the botton of the packaging but we can clearly see that they included the details of the keyboard here: 

- weight: 1.2kg
- dimension: (Width * Depth * Height)  440mm * 138mm * 38mm
- cable length: 1.5m
- included accessories and so on.

Here's everything out of the box:
- transparent plastic cover to protect the keyboard from dust
- a reusable cable tie with the name Filco printed on
- 2 extra key caps which is side printed for the windows key
- a piece of USB to PS/2 converter
- a piece of Filco Wire Key cap puller / remover

Let's take a clearer view on the Filco Majestouch Ninja, as heavy as it looks, this keyboard is weighed at 1.25kg, with a metal plate mounted onto the PCB to prevent it from flexing. Simple & minimal yet sophisticated in appearance with all letters/ symbols (known as Legends) are side printed. No more fading letters? That's not the only reason it is made that way, not that simple. Just like a Ninja hiding ad a dark corner, you can only see them from the right angle. 

Now you see it

Now you don't

This odd looking piece of tool is one of the the included accessories - Filco Wire Key Puller. Wonder how you can remove a key cap with this odd looking piece of tool? 

The metal wires can be inserted below a key cap and hold the cap in place before you can remove it. All you need to do is just wiggle it by a little and the key cap will just popped without much effort.

See? It's as easy as 1 2 3. :)

By removing the key cap, we can see the Cherry MX Switch now. This is a Cherry MX Black switch mounted on a PCB with Metal Plate installed to reduce the flex of the board itself. A Black switch characteristic is that it is a linear switch (smooth all the way down, no bumps), having higher actuation force - stated 60g (varies from 40g to 80g) and claims to be the first choice for FPS gamers. In our case, we have tested it by placing 10 cent coin on the key cap, weighed at 2.82g per piece and it takes up to 23 piece to actuate it - 64.86g.

And now, the included key caps will be 2 pieces of windows key caps. Originally comes attached to the keyboard itself, we have Mechanical Keyboard Hideout installed this in the first place for a cleaner look during our review.

Just not to left out any important details, we'll take a look at the space bar. Just like other keyboards, the spacebar for the Filco Majestouch Ninja has a stabilizer as well, but removing this will be a little troublesome as there's a metal wire piece hooked to the stabilizer piece under the caps and it requires some skills to remove it. ( Do ignore the O-ring /rubber ring as it is installed by the owner and doesn't comes with the keyboard itself )

The white colored part you're looking at now is the stabilizer insert that holds the metal wire piece in place, it is pre-lubricated with some grease like substance to reduce friction that will cause unpleasing squeaky experience while typing.

It is removable just for your info, so in case it you accidentally broke one while removing it, you may find the replacement from most online stores - Wasd Keyboards is one of the great place to find these parts.

Up next, is the indicator lights. Unlike most keyboards with green LED indicator like, Filco uses 3 dim red LED on their Filco Majestouch Ninja.  

Now here's a small comparison on the key caps arranged from left to right, the PLU POM key cap, Filco ABS key cap, Keycool ABS key cap, Signature Plastic Look of Disapproval Doubleshot ABS key cap. Filco key cap has the best texture (smoothness) among all the caps, giving its user a rather pleasant experience while typing. 

Key Rollover Test

key rollover is the numbers of keys can you press and registered at the same time. If you pressed 10 keys but having only 6 keys registered, the number of key rollover for that keyboard is 6 KRO. The culprit behind the unregistered keys is known as Ghosting, where signal has been blocked due to the internal design of the circuit on the keyboard. This often occur on USB keyboards where the limitation is 6 keys for most of the time, not inclusive the modifier keys (Shift). Most gaming peripherals has came up with a solution known as the Anti-Ghosting to reduce the ghosting effect and some even came up with solution to fully eliminate the ghosting effect, which allows the user to press all keys at once without fearing of the Ghosting to occur. Being able to register all keys at the same time, it is known as NKRO, carries the meaning of n Key Rollover. Microsoft SideWinder X4 is one of the non mechanical keyboard with 24KRO.

The Filco Majestouch Ninja is prebuilt with USB connector, so we will be testing out its KRO capability first on USB port. The KRO test is carried out with a tool known as the Aqua Keytest from

The result is pretty much expected, out of all the keys pressed, we can clearly see that the registered keys (darken ones, except the print screen key) sums up a total of 6 keys - 6 KRO.  

Filco claims that their Majestouch series are all NKRO under PS/2 connector, and from our test, it's no doubt that they're not bragging on their product. Under the PS/2 Connector, well I can't possibly press all the keys at once because I have limited limbs but the total numbers of keys registered in the screenshot pretty much sums up everything.

Final thoughts

Aimed at the enthusiasts level, Filco keyboards uses the simple classic old school keyboards design instead of having a spaceship like appearance, focus more on its build quality such as the key caps, keyboard layout, metal plate, key alignment. If you're looking for a mechanical keyboard where quality comes first, then the Ninja is something worth consider for, Else if, appearance is what comes first to your mind, you might want to skip this.

- Good quality key caps, silky smooth
- Comes with a clear plastic cover to reduce dust intake when unused
- Comes with high quality key cap puller that doesn't really damage your key caps like the ring type key cap puller did
- All keys is aligned in precision, no uneven gaps in between each keys
- Uses metal wire stabilizer, much stable based on personal experience
- PCB is mounted with a metal plate, reduce flexing and gives keyboard a tank like sturdiness

- Relatively expensive, priced at RM459 each
- Optional :
  • No LED backlit desipte of its high price
  • No braided USB cables
  • No gold plated USB Connector
  • ABS key caps is less durable, unlike PBT and POM made caps which is much more durable