It looks like mechanical keyboards are becoming the fashionable gaming peripheral at the moment. They’ve been around for donkeys years and that includes mechanical gaming boards such as the Deck Legend, but it looks like the big gaming manufacturers have realised that there is a market for $100 plus keyboards that don’t have all the usual bells and whistles but simply offer a superior key mechanism.

Mionix Zibal 60 Keyboard

First we had Razer with their Black Widow and now we have the new Mionix Zibal 60 mechanical keyboard, offering gamers the superior feeling of mechanical switches over traditional rubber domes. The Zibal uses black Cherry MX switches, something that might not mean a lot if you’re not familiar with all of the different key types available. Suffice it to say, the Zibal 60 will feel a lot better than a normal rubber-domed board. Each non-tactile mechanical switch is plated with 18-carat gold, ensuring the keys will last for ages.

To justify its credentials as a gaming keyboard there is green multi-level LED backlighting on all keys. Although even if you aren't a gamer, there are possibilities for finding an illuminated keyboard. This will help you find your way through the long nights of tapping out coursework or even if you prefer to work in dim light. Who'd have thought it so easy to that avoid those near misses of clicking on a well-disguised spammy link without renewing your antivirus? But gamers are more likely to find the backlit keys indispensable. The backlighting can be set to all keys, just the WASD keys or completely off, and there’s three levels of brightness to choose from.

The Mionix action key, similar in function to the Windows key, provides access to the media and lighting controls.

The Zibal 60 also acts as a two port USB 2.0 hub, and gives you somewhere to plug in your headphones and microphone. To top if off there are full media control keys.

In something of a first Mionix are claiming that the Zibal is ‘rage proof’ thanks to a 1.6 mm thick steel frame and heavy duty braided cable. That’s something I’d love to put to the test, maybe it should be a part of all future reviews. I’m sure I could bring some almighty rage to bear on a keyboard if I tried.

The Zibal 60 should be available around the end of July 2011, although prices have yet to be confirmed. Expect it to be around 150 euros.