In this post I’ll be sharing my experiences with the Filco Majestouch 2 Ninja keyboard as well as some general knowledge I learned about mechanical keyboards during my search for a new one.
I recently purchased this keyboard to replace my aging Logitech membrane keyboard I’ve been using with my home workstation.
After using a mechanical keyboard at work for several months trying to type on a membrane keyboard at home was driving me insane. Once you start typing on a true mechanical keyboard other keyboards just don’t feel right.
The specific model I’ll be discussing in this review is Filco part number FKBN104MC/EFB2 (104 key Cherry MX Blue model).
The Majestouch 2 Ninja is a no frills keyboard with a simple, clean design. You won’t find any of the flashy features found on some keyboards such as LED lighting, media buttons, or macro keys. Instead, this keyboard offers a very clean appearance and an extremely sturdy feel.
Filco keyboards have only just recently become a common name to US mechanical keyboard enthusiast. Filco is a Japanese brand produced by the DIATEC corporation which is mainly marketed to customers in Japan, and Taiwan.
The FKBN104MC/EFB2 is a 104 key model but Filco also manufacturers a tenkeyless design for customers that prefer not to have the number pad.
Majestouch Ninja Specifications
- Model Number: FKBN104MC/EFB2
- Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue
- Keycaps: Side Printed ABS
- Keystroke Distance: 19mm
- Dimensions: 440mm wide x 138mm deep x 38.5mm high
- Weight: 1.2Kg
- Interface: USB
- Key Rollover: Full N-Key
- Cable Length: 1.2 meters
- Accessories: Keypuller, PS/2 adapter, Windows key
The keycaps on this 104-key keyboard are printed on the side making it appear naked from a distance, similar to the DAS Keyboard which has completely blank keys but not quite as hardcore.
So if you’re looking for that “clean” look blank keys provide but you’re not quite ready to take the plunge then side printed keys are your next best option.
Aside from looking cool side printed keycaps offer another advantage in terms of durability. Since your fingers only come into contact with the top of the keys the printing on the side is protected from wear and tear.
As you’ve probably noticed on some of your older keyboards the printing on heavily used keys often wears off completely after about a year or so.
Unfortunately this Filco keyboard utilizes keycaps made from ABS plastic which have a tendency to “shine” over time. This shine effect is a result of the natural oils found on human skin reacting with the ABS plastic in a way that creates a smooth, shiny surface. People often describe shiny keys as feeling greasy.
The Majestouch 2 Ninja series uses the ever popular Cherry MX switches. The model I purchased features Cherry MX Blue switches but it is also available with Cherry MX Brown, Black, or Red switches.
Blue switches provide the tactile bump and the audible click sound when the key is activated. If you like the tactile bump but hate the clicky sound then browns are for you. If the tactile bump isn’t your thing then you’ll want to look at the reds, or blacks.
The other source of noise from a mechanical keyboard is the “clack” created when the keycap bottoms out. The sound of the clack can be dampened by installing rubber o-rings.
The best way to determine which keys are for you is to test them out. You can do this buy either visiting your local computer hardware store and trying out the display models, or you can purchase a Cherry MX sample tester and try them out at home.
The Cherry MX switches are excellent quality and preferred by many users (including myself). Aside from Cherry switches another switch found in high end mechanical keyboards is the Topre switch.
Topre switches are a type of capacitive switch that utilizes a capacitive dome on top of a metal spring to form the actuator.
Some regard the Topre switches as higher quality than the Cherry switches but I believe it comes down to a matter of user preference.
USB vs PS2 Connectivity
The Filco designers provided a standard USB connector for interfacing the keyboard with your computer, but they also included a USB to PS2 adapter inside the box. You might wonder why they would bother to include an adapter for connecting the keyboard to an old PS2 port, well the answer is for full N key rollerover (NKRO).
In order to get support for true NKRO you’ll need to connect this keyboard to a PS2 port using the included adapter. The reason this is necessary is because of the limitations of USB and its shared architecture. Unlike USB that uses a polling functionality PS2 uses an interrupt based system.
If you’re interested in more specifics on this conundrum I encourage you to read the excellent article on why PS2 is better over at Tom’s Hardware.
For most users USB is perfectly fine but of course most users are the type of person that would spend $150+ on a keyboard either so I think it will suffice to say if you have a PS2 port on your computer then you should use it.
Overall the build quality of the Majestouch 2 Ninja is excellent. The keyboard is extremely sturdy and has a very solid feel when typing on it.
This keyboard is also substantially heavier than many of the other keyboards on the market which helps account for the solid feel.
Another contributing factor to the build quality of this keyboard is the PCB design. Filco opted to use a thick circuit board and securely solder all of the switches to the PCB.
This design allows the force from keypresses to be distributed throughout the entire PCB to reduce excess vibration.
Majestouch Ninja Pros / Cons
- Very solid feel
- Excellent build quality
- Side printed keys
- High price
- ABS Keycaps
- No extra features
My experience using this keyboard over the last couple of months has been very good. Overall I’ve found typing on it to be a very enjoyable and pleasant experience. The solid feel coupled with the very minimalist design make for a excellent keyboard.
The Majestouch 2 Ninja’s design is definitely targeted toward a narrow market segment, specifically those looking for a high quality keyboard that provides an excellent typing experience without bringing lots of extra features to the table.
The main weakness of the Majestouch 2 Ninja is the ABS keycaps. Although the keycaps can easily be replaced with a set of high quality thick PBT keycaps. One must consider that buying an extra set of keycaps will increase the price of a keyboard already in the mid to high end of the mechanical keyboard price range.
There are many other competing mechanical keyboards out there on the market but Filco’s attention to quality and detail sets this keyboard apartment from the feature laden gimmicky mass market models.