Rosewill is a known brand name in the North American markets. Although they started as a small company mainly focused on marketing budget-friendly products, today they have a large selection of technology-related products, including products that have been designed with advanced users in mind. One such example is their mechanical keyboard series, which stands out from the many non-mechanical keyboards that they also offer. In this capsule review, we will look at the Apollo RK-9100 and the RGB80, two of their most recent mechanical keyboards. Are they worthy successors of the famed RK-9000? We are about to find out.

Rosewill Apollo RK-9100 - Key features and specifications

  • 100% Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Key Switches
  • Custom Programmable Keyboard
  • Five Profiles with Quick Switch Keys
  • Up to 50 Marco keys
  • Individually LED Backlit Keys (Red or Blue LEDs, depending on the model)
  • Three Levels of Brightness Control: 0, 1, Breathing Mode
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Built in Headphone & Microphone Pass-Through Jacks
  • Two Built-in High-Speed USB 2.0 Ports
  • Detachable Wrist Rest for Maximum Support and Comfort
  • Gold-Plated Connectors to Reduce Latency
  • Includes Eight Orange Gaming Keys with Key Puller
  • Multimedia Keys with Gaming Mode
  • High Quality Braided Fiber Cable
  • Soft Rubberized Surface

Rosewill RGB80 - Key features and specifications

  • Customizable RGB LED Backlighting
  • Six Backlighting modes
  • Five Profiles with Quick Switch Keys
  • Multimedia Keys
  • Gaming Mode
  • 6-Key or Full-N Key Rollover Modes
  • 100% Mechanical Key Switches
  • 512KB Onboard Memory

The lists above display some of the advantages of these two keyboards but reveal some of their weaknesses as well. For example, Rosewill makes clear mention of the Cherry MX switches of the RK-9100 but hardly mentions the mechanical switches in the features list of the RGB80 at all, hinting that the RGB80 is not using Cherry MX switches. We'll discuss the above in more detail on the following pages.

Rosewill Apollo RK-9100
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  • Spoogie - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    Disappointing that AT didn't do its homework this time around.

    This keyboard is identical to many others and simply rebranded with a name change. Sometimes the keys change...

    Try the Monoprice if you want MX Blacks ($97) or Red ($97). I should mention that this keyboard is identical to the QPAD MK-85 ($250), save the larger enter key, and to the Nighthawk series ($150). The Xarmor u9bl also appears to be the same keyboard, but uses MX Blues.

    MonoPrice confirmed that the MX Black version does not have a backlight, even though the picture they have shows it with a backlit red. You can get a Ducky that's backlit, in MX Black, though it's not programmable. It comes with the option of green, white, or blue backlighting.

    If you want MX Browns, you can try the Nighthawk X8.
  • Araemo - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    I thought the RK-9100 looked a lot like my Monoprice keyboard.

    I tried the RK-9000.. three of them, actually. All 3 died within a couple months. Rosewill warranted the first two, and I gave up when the third died, it's just not worth the hassle.
  • fishman - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    I've had a RK-9000 for over a year. It's used quite a bit, and it still works fine.
  • cbrownx88 - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    I have two RK-9000's. Work one has blue switches and has had zero issues. Gaming board at home with Brown switches has been replaced once.

    Hoping it was a fluke...
  • Souka - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    So this is better than the keyboard my dell came with?

  • JCheng - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    Good to know. Though it looks to me like the Monoprice $97 model doesn't have macros, the comparable one is $134:
  • Spoogie - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    This is the one I got two years ago on sale for $74. It works great and has macros. Only thing is, if a key breaks there's no way to replace it due to the way it's built. I imagine the others share the same issue.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    So let me get this straight: sometimes the keys change, the switches change, the prices are different, there may be a larger enter key... but the keyboards are "identical"? Never mind the fact that there are only so many things you can do with a keyboard to make it "different" before you go too far. Anyway, we're well aware of the myriad mechanical keyboards out there, but rather than trying to list every alternative we've focused on keyboards that are potentially better.

    If something is more or less the same (which would mean backlighting plus basic macro support), then the only reason to get it instead of the Rosewill keyboards would be price. In this case the keyboards you mention (e.g. Monoprice) are essentially the same keyboard as the RK-9100 but they cost more. If you don't want backlighting or macros, there are plenty of other less expensive options. Personally, unless they can save me money I wouldn't buy a Monoprice product over another option; they're pretty much as no-frills as you can get, but where that's great for things like cables, keyboards and displays sometimes need a bit more in the way of features and extras. Rosewill is a known brand with decent support in my experience, so you either need to beat them on price, features, or support. The Corsair and Roccat keyboards can do that, but many other keyboards fall short in one area or another.

    That's my two cents at any rate.
  • Spoogie - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    The ones I listed are essentially the same. No, they're not like comparing a Filco to a Steelseries to a Logitech to a Mionix, to a Corsair etc. etc etc. If you'd done your homework then these facts certainly demand noting in your review. That tells me you didn't, so own up to it already.

    The differences are minor: sometimes the keys, backlight colors, macro options, prices, and warranties.

    Some readers might find these facts useful.
  • wetwareinterface - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    and most readers will find a breakdown list like you expect to be tedious at best to read through. this isn't a comparison article of rosewill vs. other brands. this is a review of 2 keyboards listing their features and the included software.

    if you wish to comparison shop online try newegg and amazon. this is a review site

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