Well, this has been an experiment for more of this type of review and has turned out very interestingly for me. I will now talk briefly about my thoughts on each product alone and then tie things together in a conclusion and maybe even dish out some awards.
So, starting off with the A05, what are my thoughts?
Well, I would say from a looks point of view it’s a good effort for something of its price, the design stays clean enough and they are certainly something that most wouldn’t object to wearing in public I imagine, so that’s an achievement for i-Rocks I feel. The major letdown is the glossy finish, if it weren’t for this I’d give the A05 a pretty much perfect score for design.
From a quality point of view I was impressed with the A05, the metal headband stops things flexing like you might expect them to and it feels solid in hand. For the money I have no quibbles whatsoever with the build quality, I wouldn’t have any if it cost twice as much to be honest.
Onto the performance and there is nothing overwhelmingly negative here, you cant expect a lot of audio quality for £29, but the audio quality on the A05 is more than good enough for a headset of this price. The microphone is a let down and something I feel i-Rocks really need to address, however it is still serviceable at the end of the day.
So good price, good looks, great quality and good enough performance get the A05 a thumbs up from me.
Onto the ‘Spirit Cocoon’, how does it fare?
Starting with aesthetics, they are superb. Yes the mirror finish is a pain, and yes it needs cleaning more often but it doesn’t have any bearing on the fact that the mouse just looks so cool lit up. It was always catching my eye on my desk and the fact that it has a braided cable just makes it that much better in the looks department.
In terms of quality it’s less tangible on a mouse, the braiding on the cable is good enough, everything worked as expected and the mirror finish is all but free of imperfections. Unremarkable, in the best possible way.
When it comes to performance, as I have previously said it is not really for the big of hand but other than that the Avago 3090 sensor does its thing and does it well, combined with the smooth sliding feet this mouse is perfectly accurate for an entry level product.
So, if you can excuse the lack of thumb buttons and get on with the small size the M05 is a great, and unique, budget offering.
Last but not least is the K10, for all its claims how does it stack up to other entry level gaming keyboards?
Again starting with aesthetics, for me the K10 ticks all the boxes. The matte black plastic doesn’t get covered in finger prints like its gloss counter parts, and the front of the keyboard is free from any nasty contrasting writing or cheap ‘GAMING’ branding. I’d give the K10 perfect marks for looks if it weren’t for the slightly naff lettering.
Quality is another area where the K10 really shines, if you put it in my hands and told me it cost twice as much as it does I wouldn’t even blink. i-Rocks have outdone themselves there.
The performance is another area where I was pleasantly surprised, as a loather of membrane keyboards in all their shady forms I wasn’t expecting a lot in terms of performance. However I was pleasantly surprised by the K10, there is some tactile feel there and it is certainly a world away from regular membrane keyboards. I would go so far as to say that it resembles a (squishy) Cherry MX brown, which is praise indeed for a £21 keyboard.
There you have it, the K10 really steals the show for me, if you are looking for a simple gaming keyboard in this price range, stop looking; buy this one.
Before I wrap up here I wanted to address one thing, and that is the fact that i-Rocks already make products that remedy my main objections to the M05 and A05. The M06 is an M05 with an ergonomic grip and some thumb buttons which sounds perfect to me. There is also the A05-G, a circumaural padded A05 with matte black plastic, which again sounds ideal to me. So whats the catch I hear you say? Well, i-Rocks only sell those two in Asia, and have no plans to bring them to the UK. This is a true shame in my opinion and I hope they might re-consider in the near future.
Well, all in all I think this has been an interesting test, with plenty of pleasant surprises for myself. You may not have heard of i-Rocks before but you should certainly be watching them now as I feel in a few years time they will be snapping at the heels of the big boys.
The group we have had on test today is a great set of kit for those just getting into PC gaming, or those not looking to break the bank. To think you can have all this for less than a lot of us spend on our keyboards alone is very interesting, and a testament to the innovation and aggressive pricing we see here.
Without hesitation I award today’s group a Value award, I also feel a design award is in order too, albeit with the glossy finish of the A05 dragging it’s heels onto the podium. Whilst the absence of a Gold award seems at odds to our other reviews with this kind of rating, I must explain this is because I graded the group as a whole; the products may have scored differently as individuals, and because I would not award all three of them a Gold award if I were to score each separately, I cannot award a Gold to the group. Nonetheless I am very pleased with these offerings from i-Rocks and the awards given are well earned.
A massive thanks to i-Rocks for sending us today’s samples and I hope to see more from them in the near future.
You can’t have it all your own way when you shop at the entry level, but i-Rocks can get you pretty damn close with good design and quality to match. The mediocre mic on the A05 lets the group down, but it’s still a great value package.
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