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Filco Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless Review

Filco’s mechanical keyboards are legendary, renowned in gaming circles for their performance and longevity. Their flagship keyboard, the Majestouch, has received an upgrade this year and become the Majestouch-2. It’s available with the standard array of Cherry switches: Blues, Blacks, and Browns.

This particular review sample uses Cherry MX Browns, a ‘tactile action’ mechanical switch. This means that you can feel a small feedback bump as you press down each key, letting you know that the keypress has registered. These switches are also fairly quiet, lacking the distinctive clicky sound of the similar Cherry Blues. Finally, these switches are the lightest Cherry switch, requiring only 45g of force to actuate. For these reasons, Browns are viewed as a middle-of-the-road option, offering both good gaming and typing performance, particularly for long sessions.

It’s also worth noting the Majestouch-2 comes in two formats: 104 and Tenkeyless. This particular keyboard is the Tenkeyless variant, meaning that it only includes 88 keys — the numberpad is not included. This results in a lighter, more narrow keyboard that easily fits on crowded desks. It also allows your mouse hand to rest closer to your keyboard hand, which tends to be more comfortable.

A keyboard is more than just its switches and format though – let’s get into the rest of the review, starting with its looks and construction.

Looks & Construction

While some keyboards tend to overdo it with dozens of macro and media keys, integrated displays and flashy backlighting, the Majestouch is a different breed. It focuses on practicality, with its lean frame responsible for the high-end mechanical switches that define the board and nothing else. The Tenkeyless variant is the smallest full size keyboard I’ve ever used, barely larger than my mousepad and about equal in width to my 15″ laptop.

The construction is excellent; the keyboard’s weight and simple design lend it great strength. The sturdy chassis and solid mechanical switches seem unbreakable; this is definitely a keyboard I’d be comfortable travelling with. The flip-down legs seem adequate to keep the Majestouch rooted firmly in place. My only criticism is the keyboard’s cord, which sadly isn’t removable like comparable Leopolds.

This no-frills approach applies to the keyboard’s looks as well – beyond two abnormally bright LEDs, the keyboard is very conservative, with a simple but readable font and a matte black finish. While some gamers might prefer flashier kit, the Majestouch’s understated looks won’t be an issue for many.

To get a better idea of how the Majestouch looks, you can check out some shots in the photo gallery at the bottom.

Gaming Performance

As the Majestouch-2 doesn’t provide any gaming-specific features, its gaming performance is chiefly determined by its switches; therefore the content of the following section is determined more by the switches in use (in my case, Browns) than the keyboard itself.

The Brown switches are well-suited for gaming, as the reset point and actuation point are quite close together and it’s easy to quickly jet between the two to generate keypresses quickly. The Majestouch-2 also features N Key Rollover (NKRO), meaning that an unlimited amount of keys can be pressed simultaneously and all will be captured. This only applies over the PS/2 connection though, as the USB specification limits all keyboards to 6KRO.

The light key resistance means that while keypresses can be performed quickly, accidental keypresses are also easy to perform. For gamers that tend to mash the keys, stiffer Black switches might be preferable. The light keys also meant that the Majestouch was also quite comfortable to use for long gaming sessions. I also found that I was able to keep my hands in a more natural position due to the narrower Tenkeyless format. While some games do make use of a keyboard’s number pad, I can’t think of one off the top of my head and I can’t remember coming across one during my testing of this keyboard, so at least in my experience the Tenkeyless form factor was only a positive.

As a gaming keyboard, the Majestouch-2 is strong and simple. While it lacks easily configurable keys, backlighting and other common gaming keyboard selling points, it belies its staid exterior and performs beautifully.

Typing Performance

Typically, typing performance is determined by the type of switches used in the keyboard. The Majestouch 2 is no exception, and the Cherry Browns in my review sample provided a great typing experience.

While I miss the audible feedback of the Cherry Blues of the BlackWidow, the Majestouch-2 is still a good keyboard for typing. Unlike the linear Black and Red switches, it provides excellent tactile feedback and is weighted lightly, allowing accurate and easy use over an extended period. The lack of macro and media keys also ruled out what had been relatively commonplace accidental keypresses, doing much much to improve my accuracy.

While I still recommend Blue switches for heavy typists, these clicky switches can prove distracting to co-workers. The Browns found in my Majestouch were much quieter (although far from silent), so I’d recommend using these if you’re worried about upsetting your co-workers.

Typing performance is also somewhat impacted by your choice of board format. As I chose the Tenkeyless variant, I did miss having a number pad on a few occasions, such as attempting to resize windows in Linux. For the most part however, I was surprised at how little I used the number pad, easily adapting to using the number row instead.

Overall, I found typing on the Majestouch to be easy and comfortable.

Conclusion

Filco’s Majestouch-2 is a top-notch mechanical keyboard, offering strong, no-frills performance at a good price. If you’re looking for a lean, quiet and well-balanced keyboard then the Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless Brown is an excellent choice.

As with all mechanical keyboards, there are a bevy of switches and formats available so do your research to find your perfect keyboard. You can find a quick explanation of the options available here. If you have any questions about the Majestouch-2 or other mechanical gaming keyboards, please leave them in the comments below!

The Filco Majestouch-2 review sample was provided by The Keyboard Company. This keyboard was tested over four weeks in StarCraft 2, Brink and Dawn of War II, and was also used for writing my Masters thesis.

Posted in Hardware, Keyboards, Peripherals and tagged , , , , .