This optical-mechanical keyboard for $38 is such a good deal we're buying one

This spill-resistant, optical-mechanical keyboard is dirt cheap (just $38)
Save a hefty $72 on Monoprice's Dark Matter Aether gaming keyboard with optical key switches. (Image credit: Monoprice)

If anyone asks us which is the best gaming keyboard on the market, we'd point them to Corsair's K100 RGB Optical, a delightful plank and one of a relatively small few that employs optical-mechanical key switches. That one will set you back about $200. An optical-mechanical keyboard we have not tested but would be willing to take a flyer on, however, is the Dark Matter Aether. It uses optical-mechanical switches as well, and is on sale for just $37.99 at Monoprice right now.

That is ridiculously inexpensive for a gaming keyboard, and especially one that utilizes fancy light beams to register keystrokes. As for the Dark Matter brand, it belongs to Monoprice, which it attaches to various products, like the Dark Matter 34 ultrawide monitor that impressed our friends at TechRadar. Monoprice is also a great place to buy various cables without the usual retail markup, by the way.

Inexpensive Optica...

Dark Matter by Monoprice Aether Optical Mechanical Gaming Keyboard | <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank">$109.99 $37.99 at Monoprice (save $72)
Most optical-mechanical keyboards are rather pricey, but this one is light on the wallet/purse, while offering features like spill resistance and RGB lighting.

Monoprice says its Dark Matter Aether is its "most advanced gaming keyboard," which seems mostly predicated on the Light Strike switches. It lacks gaming amenities like dedicated gaming keys, and no USB pass-through is a bit of a bummer. But it does offer full N-key rollever, RGB lighting, and IP57-rated spill resistance.

There are two versions of this keyboard—one with tactile and clicky Light Strike Blue switches for $37.99, and another with smooth and linear Light Strike Red switches, on sale for $49.99 (also down from $109.99). Both are backed by a 1-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).