If you’re a PC gamer, then you would certainly be well versed with the advantages that a mechanical keyboard offers over the likes of chiclet and/or membrane keyboards. The tactile feedback, the pressure sensitivity, the enhanced grip, all these features add on to provide the user a better control. Sadly, all this comes with a hefty price tag as well. The direct relationship between quality and price has carried on for ages and seems to be applicable in the case of mechanical keyboards as well. But what if I told you that there’s a new keyboard in town, that offers high-end features at a budget-friendly price tag? Yes, you heard that right. The latest offering from Zebronics, the Max Plus, is a budget friendly mechanical keyboard with a price tag of just Rs. 2,999 and features that enable it to compete against the best in the market. So, if you’re on the hunt for a mechanical gaming keyboard that’s not too heavy on your pockets, read on, as we bring to you our review of the Zebronics Max Plus keyboard:
Zebronics Max Plus Specifications
|Key Stroke||Key pressure 50±10g, Key travel 4.0±0.2mm|
|Life Span||10,000,000 times Life Span|
|Key Cap Drawing Force||2.0 +/- 0.2 KG|
|Power Consumption||DC 5V, ≤50mA (max)|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||467 x 158.5 x 36.5 mm|
|Net. Weight||1.27 kg|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Mac and Linux|
Design and Build Quality
The Zebronics Max Plus is a neatly designed mechanical gaming keyboard. Coming in as the successor to Zebronics’ previous mechanical gaming keyboard, the Max; the Max Plus offers additional features missing from the Max. The most notable addition is the fact that the latter one offers a full sized keyboard with a Num-pad, thus offering a total of 104 keys.
The keyboard has quite a sturdy build to it. Weighing in at 1.27 kg, it is quite heavy, which should actually aid you for those long hour gaming sessions, and also survive your rage gaming moments. The surface underneath also features rubber grips for enhanced surface grip, so that your keyboard doesn’t slide off despite the heavy weight.
The quality of this keyboard is top notch, which is quite eminent with the parts used while building the keyboard. The keyboard comes with a braided cable and gold plated USB port, and the frame itself is made up of high-quality plastic. It also offers durable elevation stands on either side to ensure easy access to all the keys on the keyboard.
While the design is good, I do feel that a wrist rest would have been a good addition to this keyboard. The lack of the wrist rest makes me take my hands off every once in a while in order to relax them. That being said, there is adequate space below the bottom row of keys, which does enable users to opt in for third-party wrist rests like the Belkin WaveRest Gel Wrist Pad.
So now that we’ve discussed about the build quality of the Max Plus, let us talk about some of the features that this budget mechanical keyboard offers:
The Zebronics Max Plus keyboard ventures into the path less traveled, by putting in high-quality Blue Mechanical Switches. These switches feel similar to the Blue Cherry MX switches found in high-end premium gaming keyboards, which are quite costly as compared to the Zebronics Max Plus. The switches on the Max Plus are pretty responsive, offering tactile feedback as well as audible sound from the keys. Building upon the ideology behind mechanical keyboards, the switches are durable and made to stand the test of time. Furthermore, mechanical keyboards are just much more satisfying to use, and the Max Plus surely doesn’t disappoint on that front. Another noteworthy fact is that although there is no mention of anti-ghosting anywhere, in my experience, I did not experience any sort of ghosting in my gaming usage.
While the switches work exceptionally great, despite the product coming off at such a low price point, I feel the company could have done a better job with the keycap selection. Don’t get me wrong, the double-injection keycaps are highly durable and work astonishingly well. The spacebar, which has just a single mechanical switch underneath its cap, might seem wobbly to some, but it is not that big a deal.
What really annoys me is the font on these key caps. I can understand the gamer approach that the company tried to go with, but trust me, the end result is disappointing as hell. The font is almost unreadable in most cases, and the abbreviations used for most of the keys are quite hard to understand in the first go. Thankfully, the keycaps used on this model are compatible with all MX switches, so you can always replace them if you like.
Unlike other gaming keyboards in this price segment that have no or constant lights, the Zebronics Max Plus features multi-color backlight LEDs. Rather than giving each key a different LED, Zebronics offers a different color scheme to each row on the Max Plus. The keyboard comes with 7 pre-programmed color modes including game, wave, snake and more. The keyboard also comes with modifier hotkeys for these lighting modes, allowing you to choose from 5 different brightness levels and transition speeds. That being said, most of the lighting modes are quite annoying and aren’t as good as the ones offered by the likes of Razer, Logitech or even Red Dragon. Furthermore, I’d have personally liked if the keys were user customizable, rather than restricting the user to the pre-configured modes. But I guess that’s the sacrifice you have to make if your pockets aren’t that deep.
The Zebronics Max Plus comes with 12 function hotkeys which include shortcuts for launching the music player, controlling the media volume, seeking the tracks and more. Furthermore, keeping the gamer market in mind, the keyboard also comes with a windows lock key, that is basically used to disable the action of the windows key on your keyboard. This comes in quite handy when you’re gaming and don’t want that start menu to pop-up accidentally. While the hotkeys are great, do note that they are all accessible using the Fn(function) key on your keyboard, which is similar to the ones found on laptop devices. Personally, I like to have a dedicated row of multimedia keys on my keyboard like the one on Corsair K55, but then again, that’s more of a personal choice, so you may or may not agree with me on this.
Performance is an area where this keyboard really shines. If you’re coming from a chiclet or membrane keyboard, it can take you a while to get used to the feel of a mechanical keyboard, but once you adapt to it, trust me, you’ll never want to go back. From a writer’s perspective, the Max Plus actually aids you in achieving faster typing speeds, allowing you to type in more words per minute than you usually would. Also, the tactile and audible feedback offered by this keyboard is great. Not to forget, the key travel on this keyboard is just about right, so you need not worry about missing out on your key strokes.
Now, judging from a gamer’s perspective, the keyboard is highly responsive. There is almost zero input lag, and the report rate of 1000Hz really helps. If you’re not aware of what report rate really means, in basic terms, it basically is the rate at which the keyboard reports the computer of its various keystrokes. So, the faster you press the keys, the faster the reporting rate needs to be in order to maintain consistency. Upon testing the Zebronics Max Plus on various games, I found the overall performance to be quite good. Not once did the keyboard let me down while I annihilated my enemies in fast-paced games such as Unreal Tournament Pre-Alpha, or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. As far as the performance is concerned, the keyboard performs way better than most of its competitors in the same price bracket.
How Does It Fair Up Against The Competition?
The Zebronics Max Plus is priced at Rs. 2,999 and competes directly with the likes of the Logitech Prodigy G213, the Redragon K551-RGB, and the Redgear MK881. The cheapest of the lot, the Max Plus offers the best bang for the budget, while the others add more features for a slight increase in the price tag.
The Redgear MK881, priced at Rs. 3,181 comes with Kailh Clicky blue switches and offers full anti-ghosting keys. It also features Chroma Luminous Light that offers the user 8 different LED modes and 6 different profiles. That being said, the floating key cap design on it might look pleasing to the eye but reduces the overall productivity. Also, the font used on the keycaps is similar to the one on the Max Plus, so if you’re looking for an alternative to that, the MK881 simply doesn’t cut it.
Currently on sale at Amazon for Rs. 3,364, the Logitech Prodigy G213 keyboard is a hybrid of membrane and keyframe constructional designs. What that essentially means is that even though it is not technically a mechanical keyboard, it manages to offer similar performance and user experience. Another advantage of the G213 is the fact that it comes with its own curved wrist rest. While it may not be padded, it does provide a soft surface to rest your wrists on while typing. That being said, the keyboard has an unusually large footprint underneath the flimsy construction, which not only takes up a lot of space on your desk but also is not that durable.
Finally, the Redragon K551 comes in as the closest alternative to the Max Plus in terms of features, but at a price difference of almost 1K. Currently available for Rs. 3,990 on Amazon, the K551 offers everything that the Max Plus offers, and then some. To start off, it features Outemu Blue switches which are a bit louder than Cherry MX Blue switches, and also offer a better feedback than the custom blue mechanical switches on the Max Plus. Furthermore, all keycaps come with 100% anti-ghosting protection, and the font is also much more readable and practical. Additionally, the keyboard is also splash-proof and comes with a keycap remover in the box to facilitate easy cleaning.
Zebronics Max Plus Keyboard: Worth It?
The Zebronics Max Plus offers great value for money along with supreme performance. It is one of the cheapest mechanical keyboards available in the market, and despite the low price tag, does not compromise on the quality. Simple things such as a braided cable, gold-plated USB port, and double-injection keycaps make a huge difference in terms of quality. Also, while it may not feature the Blue Cherry MX switches that most seasoned users are familiar with, the custom Blue Mechanical switches work quite well. Typing on this keyboard is a great experience, and the feedback is satisfying. Overall, if 3K is your budget, this is the keyboard to go with. That being said, if you have a few extra bucks, I’d surely recommend the Redragon K551 over this.
- Superb build quality
- High value for money
- Custom Blue Mechanical Switches work well
- Highly durable
- Includes Pre-programmed RGB Lighting
- No Wrist Support
- Font used on the key caps could have been better
- Lack of user-customizable lighting
Zebronics Max Plus: Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard
Zebronics is a well-known brand in the Indian market, with it being the highest supplier of IT peripherals currently. The company is known for offering high-quality products at an attractive price point, and the Max Plus keyboard is no different. Coming in as a worthy successor to the Zebronics Max, the Max Plus offers features exclusively designed for gamers. The entire product has been precisely engineered to promote optimum performance. In my opinion, the Max Plus, despite being one of the cheapest mechanical keyboards, is in-fact one of the most powerful keyboards that one can currently buy. If you’re looking for a budget mechanical gaming keyboard, the Zebronics Max Plus is an easy recommendation. But that is what I think. What about you? According to you, what’s the best budget mechanical keyboard for gamers available right now? Let us know in the comments section below.
Buy Zebronics Max Plus from Amazon: (Rs. 2,999)