I’ve finally become a mechanical keyboard fan and I owe it all to a spilt soda

Alienware Pro keyboard in Lunar White
(Image credit: Dell)

I’m cursed with the butteriest of butter fingers. Honestly, I can barely go a day without knocking something over in my apartment. I’d blame the fact I constantly swivel on an office chair while working across two of the best gaming monitors, but the reality is I’m simply a natural born klutz. Now my innate clumsiness has just cost me a keyboard I dearly loved. And weirdly, I’m not all that sad about it. Let me explain why. 

The Logitech MX Keys Mini is a terrific membrane board that’s ultra portable thanks to its 75% form factor. Up until last week, I would have told you it’s the best keyboard I’ve ever typed on. I’ve used the Logi’s peripheral not only with my desktop, but also my Steam Deck OLED and iPad Pro 2024 because it’s so easy to connect and switch between three different devices over Bluetooth with the click of a profile button. 

Sadly, my little keyboard that could is no longer usable, and I’m blaming its demise squarely on my country’s greatest national export. 

Enter a can of Irn-Bru. “Scotland’s other national drink” — behind whisky, naturally — is a carbonated soda that’s literally as orange as the surface of the Sun. It’s also absolutely delicious. To my complete surprise, a quick Google search informs me that my favorite beverage is actually available in the U.S. (apparently it’s “solely imported by Great Scot International in Charlotte, North Carolina”). Good to know. 

The Bru Brothers

Alienware Keyboard Lunar White with RGB lighting on.

Here's what the MX Keys Mini looks like if you don't spill soda all over it.  (Image credit: Future)

Not so good is the fact a can of that magical orange drink coated every key on my Logitech board after I clumsily knocked it over while swiveling my chair during a late night session playing the best Steam games last Friday night. Despite scrubbing it thoroughly using a cue tip/cotton bud several times over, days later I could tell certain inputs (particularly the space bar) had lost their snap due to that pesky Irn-Bru. Most folks may not have noticed the slight drop in typing crispness, but alas, it wasn’t something my obsessive fingers could get past.

Handily, I had the Alienware Pro on standby. Dell’s mighty mechanical gaming keyboard may be expensive at $199/£199, but you get what you pay for with this premium product. When I reviewed it a couple of months ago, I praised its superb battery life, alluring RGB lighting and the fact it proved a blast to use for blowing away aliens in Doom Eternal — and this is coming from someone who does 99.9% of their gaming on Sony’s DualSense Edge controller.

Not only does the Alienware Pro feel super tactile to type on, I also love the fact it makes me feel like I’m writing on an old school typewriter.

In retrospect, I think I may have slightly underscored the Alienware Pro in my review. Back in April I awarded it 3.5/4. Now that the Pro has saved my bacon after that Irn-Bru incident, my affection for it has grown. Not only does it feel super tactile to type on, I also love the fact it makes me feel like I’m writing on an old school typewriter, such is the extended travel on the keys compared to Logitech’s teeny keyboard.

The Alienware Pro has also saved me from being forced to use a wired Microsoft board (which has been lying in the corner of my home office for a year) that looks like it was manufactured shortly after the human race invented the first wheel.

Its software is also probably the best I’ve ever used on a keyboard. The Alienware Command Center may sound like an institution where you go to serve hard prison time, yet despite the questionable moniker, it’s a fantastic app.

Alienware Pro Keyboard: for $199 @ DellPrice check: $199 @ Amazon | $199 @ Best Buy

Alienware Pro Keyboard: for $199 @ Dell
Dell's mighty mechanical gaming keyboard may be expensive, but you get what you pay for with this premium product. In our Alienware Pro review, we said it feels awesome to type on with amazing RGB lighting. Although it's not meant for every genre, we found it's solid for first-person shooters and strategy titles.
Price check: $199 @ Amazon | $199 @ Best Buy

Command and Conquer 

The Alienware Command Center app showing color presets.

(Image credit: Dell)

A large part of why I love the Alienware Pro’s software solution is because I’m the cliched gamer who adores RGB lighting. And hot dang has Dell’s board lit up my life over the past week.

Using the Command Center, I have a plethora of eye-illuminating options to choose from. I can cycle between 12 different color presets, which looks particularly cool when setting the board to one of Alienware’s various animation presets — like “Pulse”, “Breathing” and my personal favorite, “Single Color Rain Drops."

The fact the Alienware Pro can last 72 hours with RGB enabled proves what a battery beast it is"

The fact the Alienware Pro can last for up to 72 hours with RGB enabled proves what a battery beast this classy keyboard is. I’ve not had to charge it once over the last seven days, and its 2.4GHz dongle has never let me down on the connection front. Always a big bonus when dealing with wireless devices.

So what have I learned over the course of the last week? Mainly that I’m Team Mechanical over Team Membrane now — I can’t get enough of that wonderful “clickety clack” with every key press on the Pro. And also thar I’m never going to place a can of Irn-Bru within 10ft of any piece of technology I own ever again.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.