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March 07, 2016

Unboxing & Review: 1st Player Black Sir Gaming Mechanical Keyboard


Cherry MX imitation switches have been around for years and Kailh is one of the very well known Cherry MX imitation that has now manifested in the form of a more affordable alternative for those who fancies of a mechanical keyboard. We've seen various kailh switch based mechanical keyboard from various brands but not many are able to live up to the standard. 


Here's 1st Player, a new brand in the gaming peripheral industry from China attempt to set foot into the already tough competition against renown brands like Steelseries, Razer, Roccat, etc. One thing about 1st Player that caught our attention is that the amount of effort they put into the product packaging, unlike any other newcomer that tries to attract the end users with odd and unnecessary design on the packaging.   

We have the Black Sir Mechanical Keyboard at Tech Critter's lab today, special thanks to 1st Player in the provision of the keyboard for this review. Let's see if the Black Sir is the kind of "Sir" that meets our expectation!

(The 1st Player Black Sir is available from Amazon at the price of $54.99)  

Unboxing

The Black Sir comes in a stylish yet minimalist packaging, which isn't something we'd normally seen on a Chinese branded gaming peripheral which is usually fancy and colorful.


At the back of the box, you'll find a brief description of the history of 1st Player, as well as the feature of the Kailh switch available for this model.


So what's in the box? A Black Sir keyboard, the user's guide and a plastic ring type key cap puller.


Braided cord makes it more durable against pulling damage, the ferrite core is included to minimize the electromagnetic interference that might affect your gaming performance, and the gold plated USB connector that is more durable against oxidation so your awesome keyboard wouldn't look bad with a dull looking USB connector. So far so good, moving on!


The Black Sir comes in the standard ANSI layout, which is good for those who wants to install custom keycaps onto it.


from the side, we can see that there is an ergonomic curve that is claimed to provide better typing experience.


The switch used on the Black Sir we have here, are Kailh blacks. The Kailh black feels heavier that the usual Cherry MX black, intensive finger training incoming!  


The Cherry stabilizer is used on the Black Sir's spacebar.


The function key rows are filled with multimedia functions (pun intended) that can be triggered with the FN key located at the bottom right of the keyboard itself.


Q key comes with input repeat rate toggle and W - Here's a unique feature that you don't get to see every day, toggle between WASD and Arrow keys. It'll come in handy if you need to reach the arrow keys in a less awkward way.


Windows key lock, a very common feature for gaming keyboard nowadays.


It's good to see that the Black Sri comes with a palm rest, but it'll be even better if they can make this removable.


The bottom view of the Black Sir.


Here's a design fault we've spotted on the Black Sir, there's no way you can or even would want to, route the cord here in a natural way. We believe that the cord is supposed to be in the middle of the chassis or that they simply placed on a different chassis here by mistake.


The non-slip pads size is just good, we've hardly got a slip throughout the weeks of the review. 



The keyboard feet is also available in case if you prefer that extra steepness. 

Key Rollover Test





Instead of having large numbers of key rollover, the Black Sir is designed with an optimized key matrix to prevent blocking / ghosting for the commonly played games. We've tried several key combinations for some commonly played games from various genres (FPS, RTS, Rhythm games) and each combination is able to register perfectly without any issue.

User Experience
The typing experience was okay overall, but do note that if you're switching over from Cherry MX variants, the Kailh switch might feel a bit different; the most noticeable differences are the smoothness of each keypress and the actuation force of the switch. It's definitely not something you would get used to right away if you've been a Cherry MX keyboard user for years. 

Thoughts and Verdict
While it's not the kind of quality that can go on par with Cherry MX based gaming mechanical keyboards that we're used to deal with, the build quality was surprisingly okay for a China made gaming peripheral (everything is Mada in China anyway).

Actuation wise, rapid keypress is not an issue at all as we can see that all of our keypress is registered - which is a good news for those who needs a keyboard that is able to support rapid keypress wit high precision.

The game optimized key matrix and all the features that you can expect for a gaming keyboard to have now come at a very affordable price of $54.99.


If you're looking for your very first mechanical keyboard on a very tight budget and yet still expect for a decent quality from a non-Cherry MX switch based keyboard, the Black Sir would be a good choice to consider. 

Pros
  • Very affordable for those who is on a tight budget for a mechanical keyboard
  • Swappable arrow keys and WASD keys
  • Adjustable input repeating rate
  • Media keys for music and video playback
  • Optimized key matrix that works well on most mainstream games (FPS, RTS)

Cons
  • Non-detachable palm rest
  • Ring type keycap puller that could potentially damage your keycap
  • Design fault on the cable route at the bottom of the keyboard

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