We have reviewed many keyboards here in AnandTech, both electronic (membrane) and mechanical. In today's market, most cost-effective keyboards are based on membrane designs, while more advanced keyboards are using mechanical switches that are either made by Cherry or, usually, are a "cloned" version of their products. Recently however we had something relatively rare shipped for testing in our labs - the i-Rocks Pilot K70E, a keyboard with unique capacitive switches.

Capacitive switches are not something unique to this keyboard. As a matter of fact, the current top-of-the-line capacitive keyboard switches were introduced by Topre several years ago. The problem with Topre-based products is that their prices are excessive, placing them well outside what the mainstream market can afford.

The i-Rocks Pilot K70E keyboard that we are reviewing today has non-contact capacitive switches developed in-house by i-Rocks itself. The Taiwanese company's capacitive switches are available in two variants, 45g and 60g, with slightly different force-to-travel charts. The retail price of the Pilot K70E is rather steep, with the keyboard retailing at $150 at the time of this review, and yet that price is significantly lower than that of any keyboard using Topre's capacitive switches.

Packaging and bundle

The packaging of the i-Rocks Pilot K70E is very basic, with the keyboard supplied in an all-black cardboard box. Only a very basic schematic of the capacitive switch is printed on the front side of the box. There is very little information about the keyboard or the switches, just a few colored sketches at the rear hinting that it features RGB lighting. Inside the box, we found the keyboard adequately supported by cardboard pieces and wrapped inside a soft foam bag. There is nothing bundled along with the keyboard - no keycap pullers, no accessories, not even a small manual.

The i-Rocks Pilot K70E Capacitive Gaming Keyboard
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  • pjcamp - Friday, September 21, 2018 - link

    The retail price is salty? Reply
  • JohnnyBravissimo - Saturday, September 22, 2018 - link

    In some languages, e.g. in German, "salty prices" (gesalzene Preise) means "steep prices". It's probably just a mistranslation. Reply
  • alif619 - Saturday, September 22, 2018 - link

    This is somewhat okay, not that exciting . Reply
  • Cliff34 - Sunday, September 23, 2018 - link

    The retail price of the Pilot K70E is salty - what does this mean? Reply
  • ados_cz - Monday, September 24, 2018 - link

    No volume control wheel - no deal :-) Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Monday, September 24, 2018 - link

    Logitech G105 here, I wish the light could go a wee bit brighter and have no use for the extra row of quick macros (whatever they are called) but the keyboard works well for me, I suppose the only negative is that because the way it is designed (light coming through key) is is nigh on impossible to use without them being lit up (if you need to look for a specific key) Reply
  • BillyBuerger - Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - link

    Um, actually, these are not membrane keyboards, but rubber dome. The rubber dome is the, well dome part of the switch that provides the tactile feeling and return force. The membrane on other keyboards is the sheets below the rubber dome that has the contacts on them that touch when the switch is depressed. This keyboard and Topre are a slider over dome and replace the membrane with a capacitive sensing circuit. Where as something like a Model M is actually a membrane based keyboard, just with a buckling spring over the membrane instead of a rubber dome.

    Also, the keycaps appear to be normal OEM profile in their height. So using other OEM keycaps should work just fine as far as being the same height. These just "look" lower profile in that they cut the bottom part of the keycaps off to let more light shine out from below. So mixing OEM keycaps might look funny as they won't let as much light shine underneath but it shouldn't affect actually typing on them. Some other keyboards have done the same thing with their keycaps. Or instead of cutting off the bottom, they use a translucent bottom to get the same effect without making the sides shorter.
    Reply

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