Plugable Performance Mechanical keyboard REVIEW | Mac Sources

Plugable Performance Mechanical Keyboard


New keyboards from Plugable mean the end of a three-year search for the perfect typing companion.

I am a fan of gaming keyboards. They have a great feel to them and I feel like they are sometimes more precise than membrane keyboards. Plus, I love the clickity-clack noises the keys make. Even though a lot of gamers use mechanical keyboards because they are more durable, I like them because I type…a lot. And for me, they are just easier to type on. One of my favorite keyboards is from SteelSeries. It has a QS1 switch developed by SteelSeries and for me, the feel of that keyboard is just about perfect. Since I use that one at work, I’ve been trying to find a second keyboard that feels similar at home. The thing is, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. So, when I learned about Plugable’s new line of linear red switch performance mechanical keyboards, I thought one of them might be the perfect match for me.


The Performance Mechanical Keyboards features Outemu Red switches that have no click or tactile bump. This is a big difference from the bump/click found in the blue switches that are in the other keyboards from Plugable. The red switches allow the user to have quicker keystrokes. The keyboard has a high build with a metal top and has adjustable white LEDs, anti-ghosting and double-shot ABS shine through keycaps. Double-shot keys also give gamers an easy way to clean their keyboards and install their own custom keycap sets. In addition to the anti-ghosting option, the Plugable keyboard also has full N-Key rollover, which makes it possible for users to hit any key combination possible without missing a beat. The backlighting is adjustable to allow dimmable brightness and ‘breathing’. The keycaps have shine-through so you can use them in any environment.

Other Gaming Functions Include:

  • Ability to swap WASD and Arrow key functions (useful for retro games or left handed users)
  • Option to disable Windows and context keys
  • Ergonomic sculpted OEM profile to provide a gentle sloped arc preventing hand fatigue
  • Built-in F1-F12 keyboard function shortcuts for multimedia/volume controls, along with shortcuts to launch the calculator, email and web browser apps.

There are two versions of the cherry-key Performance Mechanical Keyboards — full size and compact. The full size one has a 104-key layout while the compact one is ten keyless.


  • Full-size 104-key layout. Features a frameless design with a minimal desktop footprint
  • Red linear Cherry MX style switches by Gaote / Outemu
  • Switches provide smooth and lightweight linear action with no tactile “bump” or audible “clicky” sound when pressed and are rated for 50 million actuations (key-presses) and require 60±15 grams of force with 4.0±0.2mm of keystroke travel
  • Full N-Key rollover (NKRO) and anti-ghosting for multiple key presses to register simultaneously
  • Each key is individually backlit with a white LED. Features full on/off control along with dimmable brightness and a “breathing” mode. No special software required
  • Keycaps are “double-shot” with transparent ABS for the legends and black ABS for the keycap itself. Keycap puller tool included
  • Keycaps feature an ergonomic sculpted OEM profile to provide a gentle sloped arc preventing hand fatigue
  • Features flip out feet (with rubber pads to prevent slipping) to raise the angle of the keyboard when typing
  • Integrated 6ft / 1.8m rear center mounted USB cable with gold plated connector
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux/Unix and all other modern USB hosts
  • Built in F1-F12 keyboard function shortcuts for multimedia/volume controls along with shortcuts to launch the calculator, email, and web browser apps (functions may vary depending on OS)


As you may have guessed by the introduction and heading line, the Plugable Performance Mechanical Keyboard checks all the boxes on my list. Thanks to the cherry keys, the keyboard has a nice soft sound, but a clicky feel. The keyboard itself is hefty so it doesn’t slide around on the desk while you work. It has footrests that help to elevate the keyboard and angle it slightly. It’s very comfortable typing on the Plugable keyboard and it lights up nicely. Most of the time, I really prefer the RGB backlit keyboards, but the white light makes for a nice, clean setup.

As I mentioned, my primary use of mechanical keyboards is typing, but I do engage in some only play as well. One of the games I enjoy playing on my MacBook Pro is Code of War. It’s a first-person shooter and requires the user to use both the keyboard and mouse to play the game. I played quite a bit with the Plugable keyboard and found it to be much more enjoyable than my standard external keyboard and FAR more enjoyable than my laptop’s keyboard. It also felt like I had more control of my actions because of the way the keys travel.

In addition to playing Code of War, I took an online typing test to measure the speed of my typing. Using the Plugable keyboard, I was averaging 65 words per minute. Using another keyboard, the Motospeed CK94 which has switches that mimic the feel of cherry switches, I timed myself averaging 56 words per minute. I do feel as though I am more productive when I use the Plugable keyboard and that typing is much easier.


I adore the Plugable Performance Mechanical Keyboard. I think that it’s perfect for people who want the strength of a mechanical keyboard, but maybe not so much of the noise. This mechanical keyboard is also incredibly budget-friendly (MSRP $60 USD) and easy to use. I became a fan of the device as soon as I started using it and think that others will, too. Thankfully, I feel like my three-year search for a home-office keyboard has come to an end.

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Originally published at on June 5, 2019.



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