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Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Looking for a different gaming keyboard to possibly impressive your friends? Mionix's Wei Ice Cream could be worth a look.

@chad_sebring
Published Tue, Dec 12 2017 7:39 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Nov 15 2019 1:16 PM CST
Rating: 75%Manufacturer: Mionix

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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VIEW GALLERY - 30 IMAGES

When we got our hands-on the Mionix Castor Ice Cream mouse, we had also received the accompanying keyboard to give us the complete set, if you will. It has taken us a while to get back to the keyboard portion, as we ran into an issue that was partly our problem, and partly on Mionix as well. What we ran into was either confusion on our part or a misplaced firmware upgrade on site, but none the less, when we applied the update we bricked the product. We worked with Mionix to solve the issue, and came up with two things in the process. The first thing I was informed of, was that there was not an update for the keyboard, and I must have flashed the mouse firmware to the keyboard. We take full credit for the fumble, but it did bring up a light bulb moment for Mionix, where after my mistake, they addressed the programming so that the mouse firmware can no longer be flashed to the keyboard. While this may seem slightly humorous, and maybe even trivial at best to most, but we are trying to point to the fact that Mionix stood up, and with no blame passed, fixed the issue for everyone else, and also provided us with another sample. In this way, Mionix has proven that they can adapt, they are not afraid to update their products after release, and that they are a company which delivered us service than many others have not in the past.

The idea behind the new keyboards is much the same as what was offered in the Castor. Mionix wanted to step away from the normal products offered by everyone else and develop a line more suited for those who appreciate oddities and products with a bit of added flair and personality. That being said, the accompanying naming scheme follows along to simplify life for those looking to complete the set. There is the Ice Cream model, there is the French Fries version as well, we also find the Frosting, and Black models, all of them geared to match the mouse, as well as also having a set of wrist pads, slash, mouse mats to round out the group too. While Mionix states that these products are geared towards gamers and artists, do not let that limit your decision, as even just to add a bit of style to a machine that sits out for everyone to see and use, you will not be sorry you made such a purchase.

Getting right to the point, the reason we are here now is to look at the Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Keyboard. Along with the keyboard, we will also be touching base on the Mionix Long Pad Ice Cream as well. All of our images will be of the Ice Cream gear, but we did find out some other things to discuss when the replacement keyboard was sent. The Wei Black we received does have a significant difference to what the Ice Cream provides, and we would not have thought about this as much, had we not had it on hand to observe the change. That being said, we should start our journey on what Mionix is trying to accomplish in this series of products, and deliver a verdict as to whether the Mionix Wei and Long Pad should do on the desk alongside the Castor we liked so much.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 01 | TweakTown.com
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Upon visiting the Mionix site, when it comes to the specifications, what we show above is taken directly from them. While limited in what is offered, we do see that the US version of the Wei is a 104-key keyboard, with an MSRP of €189.99. All versions come with Cherry MX Red switches, and each switch has an individual RGB LED inside of the switch body. The software to use with the Wei is Mac OS capable, and of course, there is a Windows version as well. The keycaps can be changed, and Mionix sells sets of them for each flavor, and the Wei is an exposed plate design that uses aluminum rather than steel. To ensure the keyboard will not move around at all, the entire bottom of the keyboard is one large rubber surface, but sadly, there are no flip-out feet.

Once the software is in play, you can address if you wish to use NKRO or not. Otherwise, the keyboard uses 6-Key Rollover mode. The Wei allows for remapping of the entire keyboard, you may use Macros, although the menu is simplistic, there are multimedia key options, and any key can be disabled over one of the five possible profiles. Also, since the Wei comes with RGB LEDs, the Mionix Hub delivers custom, breathing, footsteps, explosion, and rainbow modes for lighting. On each, you can adjust the brightness, and some modes can be set to an individual color or gradient of colors, and again, this can be set to each of the five profiles too.

The Long Pad can be used with your mouse or as a wrist rest for the keyboard, and the latter is the manner in which we will test it out. It is comprised of 10mm thick foam, onto which a layer of cloth has been applied, and the edges are cut with a laser. The top of the pad is stylized, and has images of donuts, fries, shark fins, ice cream bars, and hamburgers, hinting to all of the products in the series, but is said to offer great tracking performance. Since we will not be using this 440mm long and 100mm wide pad for our mouse, we are more interested in the comfort factor of the design.

We saw the MSRP in the specifications for the Mionix Wei, and converting that to US Dollars, the cost would be well over $200. However, when looking around, we do see that Amazon has the Mionix Wei listed, and at just $159.99. The biggest issue with this is that Amazon is only listing the Wei Black version, and to get another flavor, through them, the only option is to grab a set of keycaps for another $39.00 investment. As for the Long Pad, the MSRP is set to €19.99, but Amazon is selling them for only $15 at this time. Taking this route, to obtain the setup you are about to see would set you back $213.99. To be honest, here, that is a crapload of money to spend on a keyboard, but we will give the Mionix Wei a fair shake, and wait until the end to tell if these awesome looking keyboards are worth this sort of coin.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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Mionix offers very little on the front of the box, but what they do offer is all you need to know this far. Placing the Mionix logo right smack in the center, so you can easily tell who makes it, and then using the rest of the area to show a nearly life-sized image of the keyboard, adorned with the glow of RGB LEDs. At the bottom of the panel, we find the product name, Wei, and that it is made for gamers and artists.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Both of the longer sides of the box are identical and have what we see in the black text, centered on either side. We again find the Mionix logo, and this time is it presented to the left of geographical locations, and the line that follows is "if you are in, you're in."

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Both of the smaller ends are also identical. We can read who the keyboard is made for, why it has fresh color options, the type of switches, and more information about the design found inside of the box.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 05 | TweakTown.com

We get the animal and candy references to the names of the products available in this series of keyboards, but we do find it odd that the user is eating Oreos while looking like he is using a candy bar and dog tags as a mouse. On the right of all of that, we see many features lists in many languages, and also that the Wei we have is a US layout keyboard based on Cherry MX Red switches.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Once we opened the box, we found the Wei Ice Cream in full view. Only the cardboard box is what Mionix uses to protect the keyboard, as neither sample was bagged before putting it in the box. While the keyboards did arrive safely, there is quite a bit of dust on them. At the back, under all of the food images, is where the cable is kept to keep from marring the keycaps or the aluminum top plate.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Under the Wei, inside of the box, you will find the quick start guide with warranty information. In it, there is a brief text description for connectivity, and it then moves right into the warranty. The coverage of the terms is for two years inside of the EU, and only one year for all other locations. There is also information on support, compliances, safety, environmental disposal information, Limits of Liability, and information including addresses for Mionix. Inside of the booklet, we also found a pair of stickers to put on anything you see fit.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Since we are discussing packaging, we moved the Mionix Long Pad packaging images here, but we will show the product later in the review. Again, the front of the box has the image of the product, its name, and the Mionix logo. The long sides of the package match, and displays specifications and phrases about this product.

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The back of the box shows both ways the Mionix Long Pad can be put to use, and to be blunt, as a mouse pad, you have to love high DPI and lifting the mouse a bunch to use it in that manner. In the white area, we see an Ice Cream sandwich alluding to the product inside, followed by specifications and features of the device in multiple languages.

Mionix Wei Ice Cream Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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The left edge of the Mionix Wei is made of black plastic, and there is a yellow plastic insert near the back, which has the Mionix name painted with white letters on it. Just a bit of the aluminum plate proud of the frame, and we can see all of the clear switch bodies and red stems inside of them. We also see the concave angle of the keycaps, which is fine, as long as you have a wrist rest.

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In this instance, due to it being the Ice Cream version of the Wei, all of the keycaps are pale blue and have the legends on the caps painted in a darker blue. We quickly notice that only the main functions are shown with the legends, so you better be versed in key placement if you want to use secondary functions on the numbers.

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The command keys are taken over with some of the LED functionality and the Windows Lock key, and iconography is used for some of the other commands over using abbreviations or whole command labels. There are some multimedia keys at the top, but no extra arrow markers on the number pad. In the leading edge of the keyboard, we can also make out the Mionix name carved into the plastic.

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The right-side view of the keyboard does not follow our usual look, as we would normally raise the feet under the keyboard to show the ergonomic angle the keycaps would have when used. Sadly though, there are no extendable feet on the Wei, so the only way to change the feel of the caps to your hand is to use some form of a wrist rest.

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The cable which connects the Wei to the PC starts off longer than six foot in length but is then curled like a phone cord near the keyboard, and this section is about six inches in length. After that curled section, there are roughly fifty inches of cable before making it to the USB 2.0 connection, again with the Mionix name carved into it.

Inside the Mionix Wei

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With the Ice Cream model, we are given single shot keycaps in the light blue plastic, has darker blue printing, and uses standard Cherry MX stems for support. French Fries caps are yellow with what looks like brown painted legends, and Frosting caps are pink with red. The only keycaps which allow light through them are the default black caps, as they are molded in opaque plastic, and then painted black, leaving the legends unpainted.

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All flavors of the Wei use the same base, which is the black plastic and gray aluminum top plate. This also holds true for the switches, as, at this time, the Wei is only available with Cherry MX Red switches. The LEDs are not exposed, they are internal, and the larger switches uses stems connected to the torsion bars for support.

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To get inside of the Wei, you have to remove many keycaps and find the seventeen screws which anchor the aluminum plate to the plastic frame and holds the keyboard together pretty darn solidly too.

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Even without a ton of features listed on the box, once the software is involved, there are many things which can be addressed, and to coordinate all of the customizations, Mionix chose the MCU from NXP. This is the LPC11U35F, which is an ARM Cortex-M0 32-bit controller. More than enough to control this keyboard.

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Any random spot would do for this image, and we see three things right away. First, the PCB is black, not that you can see it, but we like the look. Second, there is dust all the way down to the guts of the Wei. Lastly, we see a lot of residue from the soldering process, and while the solder points are made well, we do feel a bit more time cleaning is needed.

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Believe it or not, with many of the flavors of the Wei, when it is time for the LED lights to dance, you do not get much of a show. The colored keycaps block most of the light shining up through the caps, and all you can see, is the under glow, and even that requires a darkened room. The default Black model is much better when it comes to lighting aesthetics.

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Since the Wei comes without extendable feet under the keyboard, the only way to lessen stresses caused by the odd keycap angles is to raise your hands. That is why we used the Long Pad exclusively for this, and the squishy yet firm foam allows your wrists to stay comfortable while improving your angle of attack.

Mionix Hub Software

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Once the software is located on site and downloaded, installing it is the next step to get to see what we are showing now. Upon opening the Mionix Hub Software, we can see that the Wei is shown in a tab at the top, as one suite covers all of their products. The keys tab is where you get started, but we want to direct you to the right, where it says, "Add profile." Here is where you click on the plus sign, and across the top, you can add up to five profiles to adjust and customize.

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By clicking on any individual key in the layout at the top of the window, you are then able to change it. Once a key is selected, the grey tabs are selectable. Default is self-explanatory, Re-map allows you to set any other key to the selected key with a simple process, and the Key sequence is what Mionix calls the Macro editor. It will only record what is presented and has no options to edit the series of commands. Multimedia allows you to change from the four default keys at the top right, and assign them to whatever is most convenient. Disable, well that is also self-evident as to what it does. At the bottom of the window, we see that NKRO is the default mode, but it can be unchecked to allow 6=key Rollover mode.

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In the Color tab settings, this is what we find to start things off. We can see the various modes of Custom, Breathing, Footsteps, Explosion, and Rainbow in the tabs across the middle. Each mode allows for brightness adjustments, but four levels can be done through the keyboard, you can set solid colors or a gradient of colors.

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There are a few ways to select which keys are being addressed too. You can set a profile of LEDs where each key is addressed individually, for those that want to do specialized patterns or 8-bit imagery. You cannot mix modes while programming, but each key can be controlled on its own, or be used with the various patterns.

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The other method is to click and drag. This can be done in smaller groups, and have each group show different colors or patterns, but not both on the same key. In this instance, we selected all of the keys, so that whatever settings we do make will be set to the entire keyboard with one easy step. Do not forget; this can be done over the five profiles so that gamers and productivity types can only illuminate what is needed, or contrast those keys against another color so that they stand out.

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The Info tab offers what it sounds like it should, information on the Wei keyboard. With the arrival of the second sample, there was a firmware update shown in this window, which we successfully flashed without issue this time. The Info section is also where you can click out from the software to the Mionix download, FAQ, Support, and main page via direct links. If you screw everything up and want to go back to the start, you can factory reset the device, and even change the language in which the software text is presented.

Gaming and General Impressions

DOOM & PUBG

While playing DOOM, we did find the lack of noise appealing, as each press is near silent, but at the same time, we were able to press multiple directions at the same time, due to the softness of the switch. Using NKRO mode, we ran into no instances where we pressed something, and it does not register in game, but in 6-Key Rollover mode, we did find some instances where the shift key would not register if a couple of keys in the main field were being used.

Much of the same can be said for PUBG gameplay as well, except that PUBG is better with friends, and they too appreciated the lack of noise going through Discord as we listened carefully for footsteps outside of the buildings. Since there is no real reason to disable the NKRPO support set by default, we feel that customers will not have issue gaming on a keyboard such as this. Even for the MMO style gamers, there are Macro capabilities, and the keyboard can be illuminated to see only the keys used in said game, does help to raise the Wei up a notch to compete with many other keyboards offered today.

Windows and Productivity

Even though we have been using a keyboard for many years, we did find that without some of the secondary functionality printed on the keys, there were times our recall was a bit slow. This means we were slowed down a bit guessing as to the lesser used symbols and commands. This is not a deal breaker for many, but if you are newer to PCs and have a propensity to forget, you may want to gain experience on another mechanical solution.

That being said, with lots of practice, we have been sufficiently accurate with our key presses, but every once in a while, we do hit more than one key at a time. What dramatically changed the game with our time using the Wei for anything outside of games, is the Long Pad. Since there are no feet at the back, you are left with a poor angle of use in our opinion. Adding in the $15 Lap pad is a must do for long comfortable hours of use.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, we are torn. On the one hand, Mionix has made some extraordinarily attractive solutions to adding some color to your life with a new mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, single shot keycaps that are molded a solid color do not let the light through, which is a huge selling feature of this keyboard. There is no denying that the Ice Cream, French Fries, and Frosting models do look amazing, but it is the basic Black version that has won us over. Yes, we do love the colors, yes we would use them if somewhere where more people would see it, but for our daily grind, is the painted keycaps with exposed legends that wins hands down. We do wish that the colored keycaps would have had the same potential as what the black caps do, but they would likely have been painted caps, or double-shot caps, and they would cost much more too. All in all, Mionix has a good keyboard to be used, but it is not for the beginner, and if you want vibrant colors, the LED lighting will take a back seat.

The software is minimal, but that is fine by us. We like all of the features offered in the software, whether it be key controls or LED lighting, but the one thing that needs work is the Macro system. While similar to recording on-the-fly, there are times when mistakes will be made, and editing a Macro is far easier than to start over, which is the only option available at this time. The lack of feet is a bit of a disappointment to us as well. Not everyone needs them, but the extended front edge will leave a crease in your palms after using it a while, and stress on the wrist is also a concern after many hours have passed. In our opinion, to get the most out of the Wei, you should also pick up a Long Pad, which in turn increases the price, even if just slightly. We also know that some people out there would also like switch choices, and at this time, that does not seem like a possibility either. We get using red switches for gaming keyboards, but what about those in production, or typists, who tend to find stiffer solutions a better option?

We do not dislike the Wei, in fact, we applaud Mionix for giving the masses a choice in colors, without the need to order a completely custom set of caps. It can get expensive and can be confusing to people new to the scene when it comes to buying the proper set for the layout. Whereas Mionix has done all the work for you, and they are affordable. At the same time, we find some things lacking. The RGB LEDs with solid color dyed caps, aside from the under glow, almost negates the benefits of RGB LEDs in the first place. The lack of feet is trivial, as Mionix does offer a solution, although it will cost you more money to use it. If you do not mind the lack of feet and don't want to spend a lot, go for the Mionix Wei Black, while ordinary in looks, it is the best way to take advantage of all of the features offered. To go this route, all it will take is $159, but we do advise you to buy the $15 Long pad as well.

At this point is where we start to run into problems too. $174 is a lot to ask of the Wei, as it does not bring everything to the table that others do for less money. Secondly, if you do want to go bold with color choice, that will set you back another $39 on top of everything else. As much as we love this Mionix Wei Ice Cream for stepping outside of the box, it is almost as is Mionix got ahead of themselves, and by trimming the fat, they lost some of the essential bits in the process.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Performance90%
Quality80%
Features70%
Value60%
Overall75%

The Bottom Line: While we love the initial appeal of the Wei in its various flavors, only the black model delivers all of the features as they are intended! Mionix Hub software could have more depth, and the overall cost to get the keyboard and the accessories will take it out of reach of many.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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