The modern consumer does not live by single brands. Sometimes he really wants to plunge into the abyss of Chinese goods and find something inexpensive there (even taking into account delivery from the Middle Kingdom), but superior, or at least not inferior to their eminent counterparts in terms of quality. Is it possible in principle? Yes. But it should be remembered that, in any case, in such an event you have to rely more on luck, and expectations may not always be met. This lyrical digression is a prologue to a review of a very exotic mechanical keyboard, from the not very well-known brand Aula (according to rumors, this is one of the Acme brands), with no less pretentious name — Mechanical Demon King.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Specifications

Manufacturer Classroom
Product page aulacn.com
Device type/model Mechanical Demon King
Connection Wired
Interface USB 2.0
Polling frequency, Hz
Type gaming
Number of keys 104
Additional buttons
Keystroke resource, mln. 60
Key type Mechanical
Switch type Outemu MX blue
Changing the angle of the body +
Built-in memory, KB +
Ability to record macros
Handling rollovers NKRO
Backlight Yes (in rows of keys from top to bottom — red, yellow, green, blue, purple, white)
USB cable length, m 1,8
Braid material
Built-in display
Material Plastic
Color The black
Software
Removable palm rest
External interfaces
Dimensions (L x W x H), mm 450 x 162 x 38
Weight, g 1260
OS Compatibility Windows 7, 8, 10 / Mac OS X
Peculiarities Limited water resistance — there are drains, the mechanisms are closed with rubber caps. A lot of color effects and the ability to individually adjust the glow of the keys in three modes. Game mode available (Win key lock)
Average cost, $ 70

Contents of delivery

The packaging of the keyboard looks pretty decent. There is also good printing, and similar to real product images, and even short technical specifications with an explanation of the principle of operation of the switches built-in here. But the manufacturer himself could not decide on the correct time for the buttons to fail — in the text part there are both 50 million and 60 million guaranteed activations of these mechanisms at the same time. Internal protection against damage during transportation is provided by a bag and a pair of soft dampers on the sides of the box.

Aula Mechanical Demon KingAula Mechanical Demon King

There are only two things in the package, but the most necessary and important. This is an instruction manual and a key to dismantle the buttons. What is noteworthy is that the trilingual instruction is quite well localized into Ukrainian and Russian, although there were some surprises here.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Appearance and design

The design of the keyboard looks very unassuming. The shape of the case is very simple, with a wide frame around the buttons and a slight bevel in front. The case material is a rough matte plastic. The keycaps are straight, without bends, made of matte plastic with a slight sheen, which diligently collects all fingerprints. The engraving is made by burning inscriptions into the painted surface of the buttons. The characters look unusually large. The key layout is the most standard. Pleasantly pleased with the presence of not only correctly applied Russian, but also Ukrainian engraving.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

The left Shift key is long, the Win and F1 buttons are in their rightful place. Function keys F1-F7 in combination with Fn are responsible for multimedia and sound control: rewind, stop and start tracks, mute and decrease / increase volume. If you hold down Fn + Esc, the keyboard will be reset to factory settings.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

A pleasant surprise for fans of high-speed printing will be a double-row Enter button and a long Backspace. In addition, there is also a Win key on the right side. It can be disabled if pressed in combination with Fn. This will be useful in games to avoid accidentally exiting the application. A disabled Win button will be indicated by a special indicator in the upper right corner. The combination Fn + F8 turns on a sequential demonstration of all available lighting effects on the keyboard, and Fn + F9, F10, F11 turns on one of three profiles, in which only the buttons selected by the user light up. Fn + «–» or «+» controls the playback speed of the effects.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Numeric, arrow and printed blocks of keys are located quite close to each other, which, in my opinion, is not very good. After all, when typing in the blind, you can easily miss them. Most striking are the unusual shapes of the lock indicators located at the top right, under the Aula logo. For some reason, they are made in the form of card suits. Fortunately, there are signatures below, otherwise there is no way to guess that Num is a heart, Caps is a spade, Scroll is a tambourine, and the inactive Win-button is a club. Combinations of Fn + PrtSc, ScrLk, Pause, Ins, Home, Del, End, PgUp, PgDn and four arrows control the switching of lighting effects.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Something unusual was also found when dismantling the keycaps. As it turned out, this keyboard is based on the little-known Outemu MX Blue tactile mechanical switches, which are characterized by non-linear travel and a very loud click when triggered. The body of the switches is made of transparent plastic, and an LED is built into their upper part. I already came across them once before, but in this version, a rubber pad with a hole in the middle is also put on top of the mechanism. Its only possible purpose is to protect against liquid ingress. However, it also affects the tactile sensations from pressing the button. In particular, the pressing force increases. However, the most unpleasant thing about this is the indecent “bang” sound that occurs during the reverse stroke of the key, when this rubber band straightens. The stabilizers of the large buttons are made of wire, which tends to cause them to turn slightly on the axis when pressed. Under the space bar, in addition to the stabilizers, there are also two soft springs. Instead of the usual metal plate, the switch mechanisms rest against a translucent plastic bar. As a result, the keyboard tends to flex in the middle when typing heavily.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

In profile, the keyboard case resembles a triangular wedge, tapering towards the front. The slopes of the front rows of keys are not particularly aggressive, as well as the height of the keycaps looks small, since they are partially recessed into the cases. Folding feet add another 12mm to the height of the keyboard. By and large, you can use this device at any angle and without a palm rest. Its shape is comfortable enough so that the wrists do not get tired during work.

Aula Mechanical Demon KingAula Mechanical Demon King

There are no additional external ports and connectors on the reverse side. The cord enters the keyboard case at the back and exactly in the center. There is a small rubber kink protection at the junction.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

The USB cable is soft and flexible, 1.8 m long. There is no braid on it, but there is a Velcro that allows you to comfortably roll it up and a small ferrite is located near the connector to eliminate interference and signal interference. The pin connector has an ornate shape and plastic red inserts on the sides, made in the shape of the brand logo.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

The bottom of the case is solid, made of matte plastic. It is made up of two separate parts. At the back, four fixing screws are visually observed (it is possible that a couple more are under the legs) and as many as eight holes for the drain. Four large rubber feet are glued to the corners, which firmly hold the keyboard from slipping during use.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Folding legs have a single locking position in the expanded state and are devoid of rubber patches.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

The backlighting of the keyboard is made as exotic as everything else. In fact, each row is highlighted with a single color that does not change. The light is adjustable only in brightness, plus it can be turned off individually on each button. From top to bottom, the colors are red, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white. By the way, it looks generally good — bright and juicy. In addition, both Latin and Cyrillic characters are read without problems. Lock-indicators seem too bright, only if you look at them strictly from above. In the normal position of the user’s head relative to the keyboard, these LEDs are not annoying at all.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Functionality

The main focus of the manufacturer of this keyboard, obviously, was focused on the backlight. Therefore, all that can be done with it is to set up a variety of lighting effects. But do not forget about the more useful features that have already been mentioned above — the ability to control multimedia, sound and disable the Win-key. Since there is no software for this device, all its functions are configured through keyboard shortcuts. Let’s look at them in order. Fn + PrtSc turns on the «breathing» mode of the LEDs. Fn+ScrLk runs the color wave from left to right, or vice versa (can be selected by pressing Fn+left/right arrow). The frequency of the effect is adjusted via Fn + «-» or «+». Fn+Pause toggles left or right sloping oncoming wave. It forms at the edges and collides in the center. Fn + Ins — the buttons light up, or vice versa, they go out when pressed. Fn + Del — launches a glowing «snake» moving through the rows from left to right (or in the opposite direction) and from top to bottom (or vice versa). Fn+Home turns the backlight on, Fn+End turns it off. Fn + PgUp — launches two oncoming waves passing through each other (you can also choose the direction). And finally, Fn + PgDn reproduces the effect of a wave that scatters from the pressed button. Fn+ down/up arrow adjusts the brightness of the glow. A total of ten brightness levels are available. If you hold down Fn + F9, F10 or F11, you can turn on one of the three light profiles. In each of them, you can choose which buttons will light up by pressing Fn and one of the keys mentioned above again, and then clicking on the buttons you need to light up or turn it off. In a word — there are many and different color effects. Only one thing is not clear — why they are needed at all anywhere, except for a shop window.

Ergonomics and testing

In operation, Aula Mechanical Demon King made a very mixed impression on me. On the one hand, it is quite comfortable in terms of shape, although the overall ergonomics is at a very average level. It turned out to be inconvenient to type blindly on it. For a week, my fingers could not get used to its layout of the keys, although at first glance the layout looks extremely standard. The reason can be both in the size and shape of the caps, and in the distance between them. Tactile sensations from pressing the keys are also unlikely to appeal to gourmets. Pressing the buttons requires quite a lot of effort, the feedback is non-linear, the sound when triggered is very loud and really resembles an old typewriter much more than any other Blue-mechanisms. In addition, the return stroke of the key is accompanied by an unpleasant «smacking» sound from the straightening protective rubber band. I also encountered jamming of some buttons, again due to a jammed rubber lining. Fortunately, this moment is eliminated quite easily. You need to remove the cap, align the gasket and carefully put the cap back on so that its rod passes exactly through the central hole in the rubber. The backlight looks good enough, although the whole set of lighting effects that come with it is unlikely to be needed by anyone. When idle for a long time, the backlight turns off automatically to save energy. Macro recording and key remapping are naturally not supported here. In gaming application, I frankly did not like the keyboard. First of all, due to excessive pressing force and the lack of a clear sense of the moment the mechanism is triggered. However, the keyboard supports full anti-ghosting (NKRO) when connected via USB, and you can press any number of buttons at the same time, which means you can play anything on it.

Aula Mechanical Demon King

Results

A detailed acquaintance with the mechanical keyboard Aula Mechanical Demon King makes me think that it was originally intended for the Asian market. In particular, the orderly six-color backlighting and a very strange set of effects for it is clearly not something that will interest the average European, spoiled with Cherry switches combined with RGB LEDs. Lock-indicators in the form of card suits look no less strange. And it’s not at all clear why an attempt was made to increase protection against liquid spills by putting rubber pads on the buttons. After all, the mechanics, unlike the membrane, is not resistant to moisture by definition, no matter how you close it. All this is complemented by rather average build quality and materials and very noisy Outemu MX Blue switches.

However, the Mechanical Demon King keyboard is not without some advantages. In particular, the backlight looks good, and laser engraved Latin and Cyrillic characters are very easy to read. Secondly, this is probably the only mechanic on our market that is carefully localized at the factory not only in Russian, but also in Ukrainian. In addition, the keyboard controller supports NKRO anti-ghosting. For lovers of old typewriters who dare to make this purchase, tempted by a relatively low price, I would recommend, after an initial check of functionality, to disassemble the keyboard and remove the rubber protective pads from it. Without them, the feel of using mechanical switches will be much more enjoyable.

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