AKKO 3087SP Ocean Star Tenkeyless Keyboard

Yep, another mechanical keyboard. At this point you are probably thinking this guy has a problem. And you’d probably be right. 

I love a good mechanical keyboard and the AKKO 3087SP Ocean Star is no exception.

You probably have not heard of AKKO and that really is not a surprise. AKKO is the brand name of the parent company of the more well known Ducky here in North America. In fact when it comes down to it they are exactly the same keyboards just with different names and packaging. 

I stumbled on this keyboard during a sale on Newegg Canada. What first drew me towards the keyboard was the price. Well actually the good price was on another keyboard but you can customise the design to what you want and I ended up with a keyboard that cost $102. I’m not upset by this as the quality is here.

The AKKO shipped in a bubble-wrapped envelope and then in AKKO branded box with an exact representation of the keyboard on the packaging. Inside it’s pretty standard. Though as with my Tesoro keyboard of the past the keyboard was covered in a plastic protector and then some thin foam wrapping. AKKO is apparently serious about their gear getting to you in one piece. That’s nice to see.

There are some accessories included with the keyboard including a manual completely in Chinese. Other accessories include a USB-C to standard USB cable, a key puller, and a set of extra key-caps in white or blue to add a bit more customisation to the keyboard. This is really nice to see. 

Unlike my recently reviewed G.Skill KM360, the 3087’s included USB cable works great. The key puller included is a higher quality wire style puller rather than the cheaper all plastic ones. 

Alright, let us proceed to the main event. The AKKO 3087 itself. In a lot of ways the quality is very similar to the KB Paradise V80 that I have reviewed previously. The 3087’s blue frame is really nice looking and refreshing compared to the regularly seen black or white frames. 

The bottom of the frame is the nicest equipped I have seen in a while. It has dual position riser feet which makes it nice for those that like different angles of typing. Regardless of what is being used they all have rubber feet. This is often overlooked especially on the riser feet on a lot of other mechanical keyboards. I have mine set to the highest position since the case is relatively thick (though relatively standard compared to many mechanical keyboards). 

The USB cable also has channelling along the forward end that can go either to the right or left or straight out of the centre.

The key-caps are nice and thick double-shot PBT and have a nice slight texture to them similar to KB Paradise V80. They are a real pleasure on which to type. Something different about this keyboard is the lettering and characters are silk screened to the front of the key instead of the top. I have never had a keyboard where you couldn’t easily see the character of the keys you were typing. It turns out that this is no problem when typing normally as I am touch typist anyways. Though it can through me off when typing long passwords. Thank goodness for password managers… 

If one is not comfortable with these caps though, thanks to the standard CherryMX Red switches underneath they can be easily swapped out for something more traditional. As for those CherryMX Reds they feel like red switches. I am not a huge fan of linear switches and this keyboard does not change my mind. In fact I am so used to the tactile feel of brown style switches that I find I am not pushing down far enough on the reds sometimes to actually get them to actuate. The browns give you that small feedback that I tend to be able to type faster on those switches. Also reds, to me at least, have a slightly higher resistance to them that I don’t really appreciate. 

Physically the keyboard is built like a tank. I can’t flex the board. Period. It’s incredibly strong. One downside to it however is there no back-lighting which I have come to almost be essential in my less than well lit room. 

I typed this review on the AKKO 3087 and it has been as much of a pleasure as it could be with red switches for me. If I was to order this keyboard again I would go with the brown switch option which is available. 

Now let’s talk about support. It sounds like if there is an issue with your 3087 it’s a mixed bag on what kind of support you will get. I actually understand this. This is a Chinese market QWERTY keyboard that for some reason is listed on Newegg Canada. You can navigate their website a bit with some trickery but if you see yourself needing support I would go with the identical Ducky 3087 Ocean Star though it is $50 CAD more than the AKKO model. Honestly, the only thing you really have to worry about on this keyboard is the key switch and since they are genuine CherryMX switches, you won’t need to worry about problems until long after the expiry of your warranty.

There are two things that would make this keyboard perfect for me. Brown switches, which are available. And a white back-light even if it didn’t shine through the key-caps themselves. That is also available but only on the black version of the keyboard. Such a shame.

I highly recommend this keyboard though some may scoff at the price. I think the AKKO 3087SP Ocean Star is a great value especially compared to the Ducky model. 

G.Skill KM360 Tenkeyless Gaming Keyboard

As many of you know as readers of reviews on this website and listeners of the RBG Technobabble Podcast (shameless plug), I am a mechanical keyboard fanatic. Specifically mechanical keyboards that are more compact than full size like 90%, 80% and 60% keyboards. Well I have a stack of keyboards to review and I decided to start with this one as its my latest acquisition. Continue reading “G.Skill KM360 Tenkeyless Gaming Keyboard”

Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB

It turns out, since my reunion with computers and gaming a few years ago with my first PC build in years, that I have become a bit of a snob when it comes to peripherals. Specifically the mice and keyboards that I use.

I used to be happy with the simple Logitech or Microsoft budget options. That was until I purchased a Cooler Master CM Storm TK+ with Cherry MX Brown switches. I found that keyboard to be the perfect mix of compact while still offering a numpad.

Well since then I have went through several keyboards including another TK+ with Cherry MX Blues, the very compact Drevo Gramr with Kaihl Browns, Turbot 87-Key with some kind of clone blue switch, Tesoro Tizona with Cherry MX Blacks, KBParadise V80 TKL with Cherry MX Blues and recently the Drevo Blademaster TK.

So that’s a lot of keyboards and I am convinced I have missed some. Regardless we are here today to talk about the Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB.

Continue reading “Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB”

N88 IP68 Smart Watch (X9 PRO Smart Band)

I should mention that this post is not sponsored by Wish in any way. I just wanted to try the service out and see what I could get.

The N88 is one of a gazillion cheap Chinese smart devices on the market that can be easily bought on websites such as AliExpress and Wish (where I purchased mine).

My initial plan when I made my order on Wish was to see if I got anything I actually ordered and if they even worked at all. Well this story has turned into a full review of one of the three devices that arrived. Now the FCC ID on the back of this device calls it a X9-PRO smart band made by Shenzen Niyajia Technology Co. Ltd. Catchy right? Continue reading “N88 IP68 Smart Watch (X9 PRO Smart Band)”

My New Phone… Again!

I may be slightly addicted to buying phones. This time my addiction didn’t cost me a large part of my pay. Instead it was a small investment in the aftermarket, specifically eBay.

My last phone was the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus. I actually really like the phone. For an Android based phone I really can’t think of anything I really need more that the Redmi 5 Plus. And Xiaomi has been faithful in providing security and feature updates which is great.

So lets be clear. I didn’t move on from my last phone because I didn’t like it.

So why?

I hate virtual on screen keyboards. I can’t type quickly on them as there’s no feedback. I’m constantly typing the wrong letters as no keyboard seems to be well spaced out for my fingers. And there’s no feedback. No click, no feeling that you have indeed typed what you have typed other than seeing the mess of a result on the screen. I have been trained to not have to look at the keyboard to type but with no defined keys a normally easy process on a computer is turned in to hell on the modern smartphone.

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I am reminded of the days back when I had my various Blackberry devices. I started with a Blackberry 7130e. From there I had three different Blackberry Curves. Then I graduated to the ultimate Blackberry Bold 9930. I bought that Blackberry full price from Verizon about two years after that phone was relevant. In fact the box had dust on it when the sales guy brought it up. You could just hear the sales guy’s muttering under his breath on me buying such an out of date phone. Keep in mind at this time I could have bought a Samsung Galaxy S2 or S3 (I think the S3 was just available).

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Anyways I used the Blackberry Bold 9930 for years until my dad and I left Verizon for Virgin Mobile Canada. My Bold was not compatible with the Canadian network so I had to buy a new phone. That started my stint with Blu phones. While their phones are cheap their support is miserable and their promised updates never came.

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I discovered Xiaomi after my miserable life with my last Blu phone. But during all this time using the all screen smart phones I have been ever increasingly ticked off at not having a physical keyboard. As referenced by the success by Blackberry’s latest KeyOne and Key2 offerings the keyboard has become popular again. No I didn’t buy either of those as they are still around $400 CAD to buy but I did do a lot of research on their older phones and came up with the perfect solution:

(BlackBerry)  CLICK02_BBY_070516_COMPANY

The Blackberry Classic (also know as the Q20)

The Blackberry Classic is ancient by all means nowadays being released in 2011 with the Blackberry 10 OS based on Blackberry’s own QNX operating system.

The phone itself looks like a bigger version of the Bold that I had before (and actually still have). It has all the same features where it comes to input. Qwerty keyboard, touch scroll button, send and end buttons and the blackberry menu button. You also get the volume up and down buttons with a hot button that can be set to what you like and a lock button up top. The screen is also touch sensitive like the the Bold.

The Blackberry OS smooth to work with but doesn’t feel like natural update to the previous OS on the Curve. The Blackberry tablet OS on the Playbook felt more like a natural update in my opinion.

Anyways you will have to deal with the lack of apps on the App World (which is being discontinued soon I believe anyways) or the installed Amazon App Store. There aren’t many apps on the Amazon store either so you may have to manually install the Google Play store which is easy to find on the internetz.

I haven’t installed many apps regardless and have honestly been enjoying the fresh experience of just having a browser and the ability to text and get email. It has been great.

The Classic is snappy when using it’s built in apps. The emulated android apps run OK when they run. Don’t expect any Android apps that are somewhat resource intensive to work as the resources on the Classic are limited. It is a seven year old phone after all.

The real benefit of the Classic is the physical keyboard. OH THANK THE HEAVENS! It is glorious. I love having a physical keyboard. It has made using my phone such a better experience. I don’t need a spell check anymore as I can touch type without worrying what I have typed in. It’s so great.

The best part of all this is the phone only cost me sixty bucks. In almost perfect shape and it even came with charger. Very impressed.

Do I recommend doing this. Actually I do. It has been very therapeutic. I have been unplugged from social media though Facebook and Twitter are available on the Classic. It feels really good to just have the ability to text and get email.

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Give it a shot. I’d even recommend going to a Nokia E71 if you are with a communications company that supports 2G and 3G still.

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus

Xiaomi is a little known company from China that has been making huge strides into the North American market. They are known mostly for mobile devices like smart phones, tablets and notebook pcs. They also produced the recently released Oculus Go VR headset.

In the last couple of years Xiaomi has made a name for themselves building high quality devices at a great value compared to others in the space. In an environment where high end phones are demanding more than $1000 CAD Xiaomi is selling devices in the $150 to $300 range.

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This is the colour I chose.

I have been happy with my Motorola built Nexus 6 but recently I’ve been feeling the lack of on board storage, second sim slot and memory hampering my experience. Which is too bad really as the Nexus 6 is a great device. Continue reading “Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus”

Virtual Reality On a Budget – Oculus Go

A couple years ago everyone was excited with the release of the Oculus Rift funded through Kickstarter and HTC’s Vive. Both are basically dumb high quality stereo displays with sophisticated sensors on board to detect what position your head and feet are in relation to things in a game.

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The HTC Vive.

Both the Rift and the Vive require a high end PC to be tethered to it to experience anything otherwise all you have is an expensive mound of sensors and displays. Continue reading “Virtual Reality On a Budget – Oculus Go”