Note: Due to my poor camera I will be using images I found on Google if they are of better image quality.The full image album can be found here: http://imgur.com/a/owIfL#0
It's also available in white.
I'm not much of a wordsmith so I'll keep to the point as much as possible.
HPE is a chinese keyboard manafacturer that is known for making the HPE 87. The HPE 87 looks like a Filco Majestouch TKL.
HPE don't even have a website and finding any information about them is next to impossible. However, on the keyboard box there is an email address:
Now the HPE 104. It's a full size keyboard that comes in MX Blacks, Blues, Browns and Reds. The keyboard is available on taoboa.com and can also be puchased through Qtan. Qtan does not have it on his website but if you email him he should be able to send you one.
The keyboard cost me $100 including shipping to the UK through Qtan. The keyboard is available on taoboa.com at the moment for about ¥430 which is roughly $70.Features:
- Available in a black or white case
- Available in Cherry MX Black, Blue, Brown and Red
- Full Anti-ghosting
- Gold plated USB 2.0 with 180cm cord
- 2 port usb hub rated at 100ma output per usb port
- Media keys
- Windows key lock
- Laser printed ABS keycaps
It's a full size keyboard that looks almost identical to the Filco Majestouch. I have never owned a Filco Majestouch so I can't give a full confirmation but from comparing the pictures to the HPE 104 I believe it is identical.
Note: It looks the same as the Filco Majestouch and not the Majestouch 2.
What's in the box?
Everything shown here comes in the box.Weight and Feel
The keyboard weighs in at 1.2 kg and feels nice and sturdy with no flex.
The keyboard registers as a:
- Generic USB Hub
- USB Composite Device
- USB input device x2
The keyboard does work in the bios using USB and definitely has more at least 6NKRO. I can't confirm if this keyboard works with a Mac. If anyone could tell me how to test NKRO then please do so in the comments.LEDS
The LEDs for Numlock etc are the same as the Majestouch and that means they're obnoxiously bright and I will probably put a litte bit of tape over them so they don't distract me when typing in the dark. There is also an LED under the Windows disable key that will light up when the windows key has been disabled.
I ordered the keyboard with MX blues and it's a joyous experience to type on. The keys don't feel wobbly and neither does the spacebar. The keys with stablisers feel like they require slightly more force to push down and they feel exceptionally stable with no side wobble. It's a lovely experience to be able to use a spacebar without it feeling like a seesaw.
I'm not sure what stabilisers are used but I think they are the same as filco. I have a set of keys that are compatible with Filco and they all work on the keyboard.
There is also a full set of media keys, a windows disable key and hotkeys for the computer, internet browser, calculator and music player. These are nice additions to have.USB Ports
The keyboard has two usb ports on the top side. The ports are slightly inset into the keyboard and they don't appear to wobble. They are both USB 2.0 and have a maximum current ouput of 100ma each at +- 5v. I'm incredibly impressed that they have been added an into such a well built keyboard at this cost. However, I am disappointed that they can only ouput 100ma and not the 500ma that the Das Keyboards can. This means that you can't charge your phone through the keyboard and over usb devices that require more current than 100ma won't work.
Personally, I think this is a serious let down of the keyboard. 100ma means that a lot of basic devices such as flash drives won't even run and what good is a USB that can't even run basic devices such as them.
Also included are some replacement keycaps, a keycap puller and some spare stabilizer clips. All the keycaps are ABS and there is a set of four blue keys, four purple keys, a red Esc key and a black key. The black windows key is pretty cool being half translucent and half opaque.The under side of the keyboard
The underside of the keyboard is as well built as the top. The four rubber feet are quite sticky and it requires quite some force to move the keyboard. The flip out feet lock and also have rubber on them to stop them from keyboard from moving. The feet are thin but feel oddly strong when they lock. I don't think they will break any time soon.
You can see the screw holes on the bottom of the keyboard and there are three of them. I won't be opening up this keyboard because I am a novice to keyboards and I personally don't want to break a keyboard that I just bought and will be using. I would hope that some person with the money and expertise to give a more in depth look at this will do so in the future.
Limitations of this review
I am not an expert in mechanical keyboards and I don't have the experience that many others do here. I do not feel capable of disassembling electronics and also being confident to put them back together and working. I also do not have the spare cash to buy a new one in case I break it. For these reasons I would ask that someone with more knowledge and experience than I do will go and do a full review and disassembly of this keyboard. They should be able to compare it to other keyboards made by Filco etc. much better than I can.Final Thoughts
Overall, I'm extremely impressed with the keyboard. It has it's flaws with the usb ports not carrying enough power and the LEDs being far too bright. However, it has excellent build quality, nice quality of life features such as media keys and the look of an unbranded Filco Majestouch.
Furthermore, with it's excellent price at only $70 I think that it's one of the best keyboards out there. It has one upped other more well known companies by bringing great features that they do not offer such as media keys, maintaining great build quality and under cutting them in price. It's not perfect but with a few changes I would personally rate it as a contender for one of the best Cherry based keyboards to buy.Positives:
- Excellent price at $70
- Available in a white or black case
- Great Build Quality
- Media Keys
- The appearance of an unbranded Filco Majestouch
- Two USB 2.0 ports
- USB ports can only output 100ma each. This means that many usb devices won't work with it.
- Bright blue LEDs
- No detachable USB cord (this may be a positive to some)