Mistel MD600 Alpha Split Alice Keyboard – Review
Mistel are a company that produces unique and excellent keyboards. So it was a no brainer from me, when they got in touch and asked me to take a look at their newest model. The MD600 Alpha, a split-design keyboard in the ALICE style layout.
So here we go with another review, I hope you enjoy it!
Mistel have been producing keyboards for a while now, generally following a split ergonomic design. Keyboards such as the MD600 Barocco feature a standard 60% layout and standard height keycaps whereas revisions like the MD650L feature low profile keycaps and switches to give a different feel.
The MD600 Alpha I have here follows the MD600 Barocco in a lot of ways. However as mentioned the layout differs by quite a ways. The Alice style layout adds a slight curve to make it more ergonomic and pleasing to use.
The Split design also helps with the ergonomics by allowing you to space tilt and otherwise have the halves of the keyboard setup in a suitable way for just yourself.
Mistel have seen fit to include RGB and Bluetooth Wireless functionality onto the MD600 Alpha which just adds to the overall package. As well as upgrading the connectors to USB-C if you want to wire it in.
The keyboard package is customisable as well, by the stickers on the side of the box this keyboard seems to be planned to ship with many different configurations. Although really good news is that if you get one with switches you don’t want, you can swap them out as the keyswitches are easily removed.
But enough of that for now. Pictures and Video
The keyboard itself follows on from Mistel’s other split designs, so you have two halves. These are connected by a USB-C to USB-C cable which a cable that nicely bends to be straight connecting on both ends (unlike the Barocco which had only one side angled that could cause the keyboard to move)
On the back of each half, are two USB-C ports. On the primary (left) side is where the USB-C cable connects to the PC. The right hand side has two ports as well but the one labelled for PC is designed to allow you to update the firmware.
Going underneath you can seethe recesses for the magnetic feet that come with the keyboard. There are also dip switches to allow you to make changes to how the keyboard functions. Such as swapping certain keys and the layout.
The left hand side of the main half of the MD600 Alpha has the power button and the Bluetooth connection button.
In the box, you should get the same as below. A cable to connect the keyboard to a PC, a cable to connect the two halves, the magnetic feet and two screws which screw into the recesses to lock the keyboard halves together.
You should also get a keycap and keyswitch puller but it seems to have been missed here.
Speaking of the keycaps, they are doubleshot PBT and have a slightly transparent inner layer to allow the RGB to pass through.
The switches in the keyboard I received were Gateron Silvers which are linear style switches (I was really glad they weren’t speed silvers)
For lighting, you can see my video unbox below with the time stamped section for the lighting modes.
I’m not going to lie, the layout took a bit of getting used to. It was a bit awkward using the left control key for example. As the MD600 Alpha has two Fn keys (one on each side) and due to the size restrictions the left control key is reduced in size and easily hittable.
The RGB options are nice and you can set per key lighting through the keyboard directly without software which is still nice but in practice feels a little clunky to do. There are a few really nice preset modes though and I settled on the swirl one for most of the time.
Interestingly, the pivot point on the Swirl mode changes to the key you press so it makes it into quite a light show as you type.
The build quality of the MD600 Alpha is everything I know Mistel to be. The keyboard itself is sturdy and well put together.
It was hard to gauge the battery life in use when I did use via Bluetooth. As I’d generally use it for a few days before it needed to be charged up. The Mistel MD600 Alpha has an aggressive battery saving policy as the lighting switches off very quickly. Just as quickly though, when the a button is pressed it does swing back into life.
One thing I did notice is that if you wanted to use the MD600 Alpha via Bluetooth on a second device whilst it was plugged into another to charge it was not possible. It would always be locked onto the one that it was plugged into. Though I wasn’t able to test if it was able to charge by plugging in the non-control side.
I didn’t feel the need to use the magnetic feet after setting the keyboard down although I can confirm the little recesses keep them contained very well.
I feel like I would’ve preferred the two halves to snap together magnetically to make the connecting part more aesthetically pleasing. As the screw holes look a bit out of place.
Even going so far as to have a connecting piece like earlier Mistel keyboards that allows the MD600 alpha to retain its sleek look.
Connecting it up via Bluetooth is simple as well. Simply pressing the combination for the there are up to 3 saved devices that you can swap between.
The Mistel MD600 Alpha is a fun keyboard to use if not having some annoying design choices. Namely the layout, with its extra B key and the use of an extra Fn key on the left side which reduces the size of the Ctrl key making for awkward use.
These are things that are overcome with time using the keyboard so your mileage may vary and overall as mentioned is a very well put together keyboard that has a good solid feel and great customisability.
The ability to swap keyswitches is a feature becoming all more common on mechanical keyboards and one I am loving as it allows you to use test and trial switches on mass without needing different keyboards. (looks worriedly at stack of keyboards behind him)
The keyboard is available to preorder from MechanicalKeyboards.com store directly for $149 at the moment with the RRP being $168 which isn’t a bad price for such a unique keyboard.