Feenix Autore -- a mechanical keyboard inspired by '2001: A Space Odyssey' [Review]
For many consumers, when they buy a desktop, they use whatever keyboard the manufacturer thew in. Sometimes though, the keyboard will break or the user just wants better quality for something like gaming. When selecting one, that consumer has several decisions to make; wired or wireless? number-pad or not? membrane or mechanical? Wait, what?
That third one is not something consumers have had to consider in a while. Mechanical keyboards have fallen out of favor for cheaper membrane variants, largely because of cost. Inexpensive, spongey, creaky keyboards are "good enough" for many. Sadly, consumers just don't know what they are missing. Luckily, mechanical variants are making a comeback in a big way. I have been testing the Feenix Autore for a couple of weeks and I would like to share my experience with you.
Believe it or not, my daily keyboard is an Apple Wired Keyboard. I use this keyboard on Windows, OS X and Linux. It is my go-to on multiple machines. While Apple cannot make a good mouse, they do make a great keyboard. And so, it takes something very impressive to pull me away from it. Amazingly, the Feenix Autore has done just that.
Upon removing the grayish-blue keyboard from the box, you can tell much care went into the product. It has a good amount of heft and the materials feel soft and pleasant. A high-quality, braided, gold-plated, miniUSB cable comes inside too, including a PS/2 adapter.
You may be wondering why a USB cable is included. Well, Feenix has taken a modular approach to the cable. In other words, it is not hard-wired onto the board, it can be unplugged and replaced. This is a huge deal, as the cable can become bent, or bitten-up by a nasty cat or dog.
When plugging into any computer, no drivers are needed; the Feenix Autore is picked up instantly by Windows, OS X and Linux. There is no customizable bloatware included. I appreciate that, but some gamers may be disappointed that there is not more bells and whistles.
And that is the thing, I am not a gamer, I use my keyboard to write and type. But believe me, the Gold plated Cherry MX Brown switches are not lost on me. When writing, feeling the slight tactile bump, results in a much more satisfying and confident experience. There is no wondering if a keystroke was registered -- you will know. Ultimately, I found that I typed at about the same speed, but produced less typos.
Now, the blessing and curse of a mechanical keyboard is the sound -- users will like it, but people around them may be annoyed. Even though this uses Cherry MX Brown switches (which doesn't have an audible switch-click), it is louder than a chiclet variant, especially when you bottom-out. I am a very hard typist, so for me, it produces sound. If you want to tip-toe to your office and secretly surf the web late at night, it won't be silent. However, it will not be as loud as a keyboard with Blue switches, either.
Feenix claims that the build-quality makes it extremely resistant to spills of water and other beverages. While that may be true, I am not about to dump a bottle of Perrier on it to find out. Quite frankly, it is like a piece of art and I cant bring myself to risk ruining it. The company says it has "an aesthetic design inspired by the monolith in Kubrick's 2001: A Space odyssey", and I do actually see the resemblance.
So has the Feenix Autore converted me into a mechanical keyboard user? Absolutely. It is a very satisfying experience. I like the high build-quality and the modular cable. Much love and care has gone into the Autore and that makes me happy. Knowing that a product is not just a mass-produced soulless piece of plastic, generates a relationship with the user. The Feenix Autore ($163) is my new best friend.
While there are less expensive mechanical keyboards, you get what you pay for. Supporting a small company like Feenix is money well-spent, especially when you consider that you receive dedicated tech-support from one employee of the company. They even give you the Skype details of that employee for easy access. Not only do you build a relationship with the keyboard, you get one with the manufacturer too. Recommended.
You can read more about this awesome keyboard and buy it here: http://www.feenixcollection.