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Enthusiast custom mechanical keyboard recommendation: The Monokei Standard

By Mark Yeong - 27 Aug 2022

Enthusiast custom mechanical keyboard recommendation: The Monokei Standard

Note: This article was first published on 14 August 2022.

Meet the new Monokei Standard, which could very well be the new standard of expectations. (Image source: Monokei)

Mechanical keyboards are gaining mass popularity, and options are plenty these days. However, to have a well-tuned mechanical keyboard requires a fair amount of time (trial and error is part of the process), effort, deep pocket and passion for building a board that one can enjoy to its fullest potential.

What if I told you that this is about to change with a keyboard that is tuned and ready to use right out of the box? Continuing our recommendation series for options that don't cost too much and are promising, The Monokei Standard is a mechanical keyboard designed by keyboard designers from Singapore and Malaysia, with a mission to bring you a fuss-free, versatile custom mechanical keyboard that will provide you with a wonderful daily experience.

Monokei is a Singapore-based company, and the Monokei Standard adopts a TKL (Tenkeyless) keyboard layout. This means it does not come with the number pad, which is a fine go-between to manage keyboard size versus functionality. It features an injection molded ABS case, plate and case damping, and Monokei’s double shot PBT keycaps (this means the legends are not printed, but they are formed using coloured PBT plastic). For those wondering, double-shot keycaps are usually pricier due to the manufacturing process.

At a starting price of S$189, this is great value for a board that has much thought put into the overall design. Based on how the product is positioned and marketed, I can see this board catering to the everyday person for use at work or on the go. This keyboard can be easily used across your devices, connecting via Bluetooth or USB Type-C. It can pair up to 4 devices, which is plenty for most users considering most custom mechanical keyboards only feature a wired connection. For such functionality at this price point, this could feel liberating, creating an ideal custom mechanical keyboard for those who want to pair with multiple devices and not have to manage connectivity options.

(Image Source: 3ildcat YouTube video)

Apart from having good connectivity, the Monokei Standard also features hot-swap sockets, meaning you can change the keyboard switches with other MX or Kailh compatible switches. With this feature, you can also explore the multitudes of switch options available on the market to modulate the typing and auditory experience.

The board is gasket mounted, a popular mounting style for most keyboards today, which provides a slightly cushioned typing experience and produces less noise. That's definitely a good trait if you use the keyboard at work.

(Image source: Monokei)

In terms of aesthetics, I like the minimalistic look of the board, which gives it a clean look that's suitable either at the office or at home. If you intend to refresh the look of the board in the future, you can always consider purchasing other keycap designs to liven things up and enjoy a "brand new" board. To that extent, Monokei is also looking to release new keycap designs, which can be purchased from them in the near future.

Overall, I feel this is a good starter board for many if you are interested in experiencing what the world of custom mechanical keyboards has to offer. The Monokei Standard takes away a lot of the guesswork and acquisition of knowledge when it comes to building a fresh mechanical keyboard. This board allows one to start exploring and discover more options by slowly experimenting with different components such as keycaps and switches. If you’re adventurous, you can even perform modifications on the board to improve the sound and typing feel. The easy connectivity with up to four of your preferred devices is also a boon.

(Image source: Monokei)

Based on information available on Monokei’s website, the default kit includes the following:-

  •      USB-C cable
  •      Alternate accent keycaps (Esc & Enter in Blush Pink, Dream Lilac, Suave Blue)
  •      Switch puller
  •      Keycap puller
  •      Instruction manual

Technical specs are as follows:-

  •      Case: Injection Moulded ABS
  •      Plate: Polycarbonate
  •      Mounting Style: Gasket Strip Mount
  •      Stabilisers: Cherry PCB mount stabilisers
  •      Also includes plate foam and silencing foam
  •      Switches: Cherry MX Reds / Silent Reds / Browns (hotswappable)
  •      Keycaps: Double shot PBT Series 1 Black on White with accent keys
  •      Battery: 1000mAh (rechargeable)

Personally, I would choose Classic White or Sauve Blue as I think I would be able to have more colour options for my keycaps. I might also go with the Cherry MX Reds as it would probably be quieter for use in an office environment. But all these are my personal preferences, and it would be ideal to equip the kit with your preferences since you will be using the keyboard daily. For a quick helping hand, here's our original guide to mechanical keyboard switches.

Monokei is currently running a pre-order for the board till the 16th of September, so if you don’t intend to miss out on getting this board, do head on over to their website to pre-order one.

If you reside in Singapore or Malaysia, you can also visit their partners to try out the sample units first before making a payment:-

We’re definitely keen to try out the Monokei Standard for ourselves when it's officially out for a full review, but for now, it looks quite promising.

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