Best Clicky Switches [2022]

Switches and keyboards on a desk with a planet

Are you a fan of a crisp tactile bump paired with a nice, sharp click? Clicky switches are a favorite of many but are often not talked about.

A clicky switch is a keyboard switch that produces a bump at some point in the travel, paired with a higher-pitched click. Clicky switches pair the tactility that is popular with tactile switches with additional audio feedback.

With the abundance of clicky switches in the custom keyboard market, it can get extremely confusing to find the right switches for you. Today we are going to discuss the best clicky switches from our testing.

Terminology

Whenever switches are mentioned, there are always some confusing terms involved, so let’s go through them.

Click Jacket: A system that makes a loud click sound when pressed down but no click when the upstroke. This system functions by having a collar around the stem of the switch that is pushed downward and actually causes the clicking sound and activates the switch. Click jackets are the system used in Cherry MX Blues and clones.

Click Bar: A system in which a metal bar is placed and when pushed it creates a click. The click bar plays no role in the switch actually being activated but simply makes a sound and provides a tactile feel. The stem of the switch then makes contact just under the contact from this bar to activate the switch. This system is preferred by enthusiasts who like clicky switches because it allows for a more satisfying experience with stronger tactility.

Box Switches: Although there are box switches for all types of switches, they are especially popular among clicky switches. Box switches don’t get the word box from the shape of their stem but rather a different internal mechanism for activating the switch that is surrounded by a small box within the switch. This structure allows these switches to be dust-proof.

Tactile Event: The bump in the switches travel.

Pre-Travel: Any linear or smooth uninterrupted travel before the tactile event.

Post-Travel: Post-travel is the linear travel after the tactile event.

Actuation: Actuation is when the switch activates and outputs to the device.

Bottom Out: When the switch finishes traveling and hits the bottom housing.

Leaf: The metallic contacts in a switch, these themselves actually actuate the switch. The leaf is in the bottom housing as the picture shows.

Diagram pointing to the leaf on a mechanical keyboard switch.

Ping / Spring Ping / Leaf Ping: This is a metallic reverb produced by the sound of the spring, leaf, or both. In most cases it can be fixed by lube.

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Disclaimer… Please Read!

This review is largely preference, my rankings will likely be very different from yours. Do not base your opinions solely based on mine.Use this guide to gain a general understanding of the switch and where enthusiasts like me stand on these switches. Guides like this, sound tests, and opinions of content creators like Teaha Types are good ways to find switches that you believe are interesting and worth trying. Ultimately we recommend you to just hit up your local vendor and buy a pack of whatever switch your fingers and ears desire to try them out. That way you can find the best switch for you.

Also, note we will not talk about the feel of these switches after lubing. Typically clicky switches do not require lubing and can even take the clickiness or even tactility away from the switch. If you do want to lube your clicky switch then we would suggest lubing the spring with Krytox GPL 105 oil although this truly isn’t needed.

1. Kailh x NovelKeys Box Jades: Thick Clicks, Nice Weight

The NovelKeys Box Jades are a clicky switch designed by NovelKeys and manufactured by Kailh. Box Jades feature a thick clickbar for peak tactility and a click that is probably the loudest of any switch I have tested.

The Jades activate with a force of 50g at a travel distance of 1.8mm and bottom out at 3.6mm with a force of 65g. NovelKeys states they are IP56 water and dust-resistant.

We have put them at the top of this list as they feature an extremely sharp tactile bump paired with a very crisp click. Additionally, the weight does not get too fatiguing after typing for long periods.

2. Kailh x NovelKeys Box Navys: Strong Click, Heavy Weight

Kailh Box Navy keyboard switch sitting on a plant

If you think you would like the Box Jades then NovelKeys’s Box Navy switches are the same switch except with a heavier spring.

The Box Navys have the same IP56 rating, thick clickbar, 1.8mm actuation distance, and 3.6mm total travel. The only difference is that they actuate at 75g and bottom out at 90g.

We do like the thick clickbar of the Navys and Jades but because the spring is heavier we find that they can get fatiguing more easily.

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3. Kailh Box Whites: Jades Younger Cousin

Kailh’s Box Whites are a fantastic clicky switch utilizing a clickbar for a strong tactile bump and thick click. Unlike the Jades and Navys, the Box Whites do not use a thick clickbar meaning the tactility will be less sharp and they will not be as loud.

Box whites still utilize the box mechanism, hence the name, so they are rated for IP56 dust and water resistance. The switches activate at 1.8mm with a force of 45g and bottom out at 3.6mm with a force of 55g.

If you want a sharp tactile bump and a crisp click but you find that your finger gets fatigued easily, the Box Whites may be a better option for you over either the Jades or Navys.

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4. Kailh x NovelKeys Sherbet: Long Travel, Strong Bump

NovelKeys’s Sherbet switches still provide a clickbar like the previous options on this list but have a few key differences. The Sherbets feature the standard MX switch design rather than the shape of box switches.

The NovelKeys Sherbets feature a 45g actuation force at 2mm and bottom out at 4mm with a force of 85g. For those that prefer a longer travel and may be looking for a slightly quieter click. The Sherbet will provide that over the Jades, Navys, or Whites.

The clickbar allows the Sherbets to still have a very satisfying click and makes them a very solid option for clicky switches.

5. Outemu Phoenix: Solid Clickjacket

Outemu Phoenix keyboard switch by some plants

Typically we find that clicky switches with a clickbar mechanism feature the best experience but there are a few clickjackets that are quite solid. The Outemu Phoneix features a clickjacket, the same system as switches like Cherry MX Blues.

Unlike Blues, Outemu Phoenix’s have a strong tactile bump, albeit less than the Jades, and feature a click both when activating the switch and on the return. You also get two different weight options with either a 62g or 68g option.

Although there are many clicky options to consider the Outemu Phoenix’s provide a unique take on the clickjacket system that is worth trying if interested.

Conclusion

NK Jade keyboard switches on a desk.

All of these switches are great option to make your keyboard clicky. We do recommend that before you make any decisions you consider multiple different options and maybe watch some reviews or listen to some sound tests as it is hard to fully describe the experience of a switch in just a few paragraphs.

If you are also looking at tactile and linear switches, check out our best linear and best tactile switch articles. When you are ready to try or buy any of these switches then a great place to start is by looking at your local vendor. Take a look at our vendor list. A compilation of tons of keyboard vendors sorted by region.

If you enjoyed this article and you want to talk more about tech then consider joining our Discord and as always thanks for reading!

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Redragon K617 Fizz Review: Your First Keyboard?

Redragon is a gaming company that is no stranger to making budget keyboards that still give consumers a mechanical feel. The Redragon K617 Fizz is a 60% mechanical keyboard that provides enjoyable features like RGB lighting and a compact size.

Today we will take a look at the Redragon K617 Fizz to see if it should be the board to start your gaming setup.

The Verdict

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Redragon K617 Fizz is a budget 60% keyboard that offers an interesting design and a mechanical experience without breaking the bank. You get features like a hotswappable PCB and RGB lighting.

You won’t find features that you might find on more premium keyboards like Bluetooth or an aluminum case but the K617 beats much of the competition on the quality of the lighting and the sound of the keyboard. Unfortunately you do not get any switch options and features like hotswap are not very well executed.

If you want an interesting design, compact footprint, and a mechanical feel without breaking the bank, the K617 Fizz is a solid option to consider.


In The Box

Unboxing of Redragon K617 Fizz mechanical keyboard

Besides the keyboard, Redragon gives you a variety of accessories to improve your experience with this keyboard.

USB-C Cable: You get a rubberized cable with a 90-degree angle so it can be nicely plugged into the side-mounted port.

Keycap Puller: If you ever want to change the keycaps on your board, a plastic puller is included to easily take them off. This puller is not anything special but does the job.

Switch Puller: Along with the keycap puller, a metal switch puller is included so you can replace the switches at any time.

Extra Switches: If any switch ever breaks, four extra switches are included.

Sticker and Documentation: You are given a user manual to help you get started with the board as well as a sticker with the Redragon logo. 

Overall everything is packed quite nicely and it is good to see that Redragon gives you extras to go along with the board.

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Build Quality

Bottom of Redragon K617 Fizz mechanical keyboard

The Redragon K617 offers an all-plastic construction with a mix of either pink and white or white and grey. The board is on the lighter side at about 0.43 Kg (0.95 lbs). The low weight with the small footprint makes the K617 a very portable keyboard if you want to bring your board around with you.

The K617 has a slight angle to improve the comfort of the board. If you would like more angle though on the bottom of the board there are two rubberized flip-out feet. Also on the bottom are two additional rubber feet. This means the board shouldn’t move around while you are gaming.

The board uses a side-mounted USB-C connection. This is a downside if you care about cable management but at least the included cable has a 90-degree angle.

You won’t get a super strong board like you would with more premium aluminum boards but I considering the price point the build lines up with my expectations.

The Keycaps

Angled view of Redragon K617 Fizz keyboard

Redragon’s K617 Fizz comes with a set of double-shot ABS keycaps with shine-through legends. The keycaps are in the OEM profile. OEM profile is common with prebuilt keyboards. They are sculpted to make typing more comfortable than with something like a laptop keyboard.

The fact that the keycaps are made of ABS means that they may be more prone to developing shine over time but they seem to handle it a bit better than other keyboards I have used. They are a slight improvement over the keycaps on their older keyboards like the K552.

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The keycaps let in quite a lot of light through however this is paired with a font that does not look very good. The legends have a gamery look to them and to go along with that don’t look very consistent. However, this is all personal preference so if the gamery font is actually something that you do like then these keycaps are a decent option considering the price of the board.

The Switches and Stabilizers

Red switches on Redragon K617 keyboard

The Redragon K617 comes with Redragon’s own red switches. They are linear switches giving them a smooth travel. The actuation force is quite light like other red switches. The switches don’t provide the best experience in the world but at this price they match the competition. If this is your first mechanical keyboard then you will have a pleasant experience with this board.

Typically on budget mechanical keyboards the stabilizers are quite bad but I was pleasantly surprised with the stabs on the K617. The stabs come with some grease on the wires and as a result the spacebar actually has a decent sound. The rattle and ticking of many gaming keyboards is not as bad of an issue here.

After lubing the stabilizers they all sounded pretty decent and did not feel very scratchy. The only issue is that some of the stabilizers had a sluggish feeling when pressing them all the way down.

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Hotswap PCB

A feature that has grown especially popular in the last few years is hotswappable PCBs. What this means is that you can swap the switches out of their sockets and replace them with different switches without needing to do any soldering. You can swap out switches in just seconds.

The K617 supports 3-pin switches and is north-facing. This means that the board supports certain switches that only have 3 points of contact with the PCB rather than 5. The fact that this board has north-facing sockets means that there could be some interference with Cherry Profile keycaps.

Unfortunately, I did have issues with switches seating perfectly in the plate unless they were Redragon or Outemu switches. Some switches like Kailh BOX switches seem to not fit very well in the keyboard. This is a result of the LEDs protruding rather than being flush with the PCB.

It is nice that the K617 has hotwap support, especially at this price, but it only really is good if you want to want to mod your stabilizers or a broken switch needs replacing. If you are looking for a cheap keyboard to try out different switches then we cannot recommend the K617 for you.

RGB Backlighting and Software

Top view of Redragon K617 Fizz keyboard on deskpad

The Redragon K617 Fizz provides per-key RGB lighting. This can be controlled both onboard or more in-depth with their software. The lighting is quite vibrant and honestly, I have no complaints. This is probably assisted by the fact that the plate is white so it reflects the lighting better.

On the keyboard, you can change the lighting effects, brightness, and speed. With their software, you have much more control over the keyboard. Redragon’s software allows you to control lighting, change mappings, and add macros. I have used better software on keyboards but it does the job. Changes made to the lighting of the board will save to the board so they will work even if you use multiple computers.

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The software looks like it was designed to look gamery and as a result, it doesn’t properly take up a full window. Furthermore, it does not look HD for some reason. The function of the software might do the job but the interface certainly brings down the experience. Overall the lighting is well executed but I wish there were some updates made to the software.

Conclusion

Redragon K617 Fizz mechanical keyboard on a white table

For the price, Redragon delivers a decent option if you are looking to get a budget mechanical keyboard. You don’t get many features like a scroll wheel, Bluetooth, or a metal build but the board does the job. The only big feature that the board does have is a hotswappable PCB but the PCB doesn’t have great compatibility with other switches.

The poor interface of the software and the gamery-looking keycaps also slightly take away from the experience. However for most people who are just looking to get a compact mechanical keyboard, this board is a decent option to consider. This is especially the case because the stock sound is actually pretty decent.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to see more keyboard content check out the sound tests on my YouTube channel or some other keeb reviews.

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Redragon Horus K618: The Best Value Low-Profile Keyboard

Redragon Horus K618 low profile keyboard on a desk

Redragon is a keyboard manufacturer that is no stranger to making value-focused mechanical keyboards.

The Redragon Horus K618 is a low-profile keyboard providing a solid experience at a competitive price. The Horus K618 offers wireless connectivity, macro keys, and a variety of other features to make it a good option for anyone who is looking for a full-size mechanical keyboard.

Today we are going to take a look at Redragon’s Horus K618 and see if this low-profile board is the one for you.

The Verdict

A comparison between the board lubed and unlubed

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Redragon Horus K618 is a low-profile, wireless mechanical keyboard that is perfect for those looking for value. Redragon features Bluetooth and 2.4ghz connectivity, RGB lighting, dedicated media keys, a dial, and a hotswap PCB.

A low-profile keyboard is often found to be more comfortable. With the K618, Redragon is delivering a lot of what the competition offers at a lower price point.

For the price, Redragon gives a lot of features and a pretty solid build. For the gamer who wants a low-profile board that will give them a solid experience all while not breaking the bank, the Horus K618 has a lot of potential. Furthermore, if you want to get a screwdriver out, the K618 is not too difficult to mod if you are interested in a more satisfying sound and feel.


In The Box

Unboxing of Redragon Horus K618 low profile keyboard

Inside the box, Redragon gives you everything you need and more.

Keyboard: The keyboard comes in a sleeve of protective foam to protect it while in transit.

USB-C Cable: You get a braided cable with a 90-degree angle so it can be nicely plugged into the side of the keyboard.

Switch Puller: A metal switch puller is included in case you ever need to replace a switch or if you want to mod this board. The puller isn’t anything too fancy but it does the job.

Wire Keycap Puller: Along with the switch puller you get a decent quality wire keycap puller. This is a nice inclusion as taking off your keycaps is essential if you are cleaning or modding your keyboard. Often companies included a cheap plastic puller that may scratch your keycaps or don’t include one at all.

Extra Switches: If any switch ever breaks, eight extra switches are included in the box.

Sticker and Documentation: You are given a sticker with the Redragon logo along with any documentation that you may need for the board.

Overall everything is packed quite nicely and it is good to see that Redragon gives you quite decent extras to go along with the board.

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Build Quality

Angled view of Redragon Horus K618 low profile keyboard

For the Horus K618, Redragon elected to go with a plastic case and thin aluminum top piece. The rubber media keys are made of rubber and the scroll wheel is also made of aluminum. The board comes in at about 700g (about 1.5 lbs) in a full-size form factor. It looks to be about the height of most modern membrane keyboards at around 2cm tall or just under an inch. If this is too big for your desk then Redragon also offers a tenkeyless variant.

The K618 feels pretty solid and this choice in material is not bad for the price. If an aluminum case is important to you then I would suggest spending a bit more for the Keychron K1 which offers an aluminum build and hotswappable PCB.

On the bottom of the board are four rubber feet. Two of which flip out for additional height adjustment. On the side of the board are a power switch and the USB-C port. The side placement of the port is not ideal but since this board is wireless I rarely used the board wired anyway so it was not much of an issue. Additionally, the wire given with, a 90-degree angle, remedies this issue.

Overall the build is decent for the price and the design is quite nice.

The Keycaps

Close up of Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

On the Horus K618 you get low-profile ABS keycaps that feature doubleshot legends. This means that the main legends are permanent. For the secondary functions printed in white, those are pad printed so that could become an issue later down the line after extensive use.

The ABS keycaps feel smooth and are what you would expect for a gaming keyboard. The only flaw with the keycaps is the legends. Although the legends while not wear off, they don’t look that great. They have this sort of gamer font with some letters not having connected parts of the letter like on the A or the O keys.

That being said the legends are a good size so they are easy to read and they let a decent amount of RGB lighting through. Also unlike most low-profile mechanical keyboards, the Redragon Horus K618 has switches with cherry-style stems. This means that if you ever wanted to change the keycaps you actually could.

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The Switches and Stabilizers

Mechanical keyboard switch next to a low-profile switch

Redragon offers one switch option with the K618 with their low-profile red switches made by Outemu. Weirdly these switches have a different pin layout than the regular low-profile Outemu switches. These switches look to be about half the height of a regular key switch. The low-profile reds are a linear switch with an actuation force of 45g.

The low-profile reds are about what I would expect from other low-profile mechanical keyboards. They feel pretty decent for the average gamer and they were comfortable to type on for extended periods.

The switches are on a hotswap PCB meaning typically you would be able to replace the switches with other types of switches. However, the nonstandard pin placement means you cannot actually replace them with other switches. Honestly, this is one of my least favorite things about the board but the fact that this is even offered for the price is nice. You are still able to easily replace a switch if it is broken and mod the keyboard pretty easily because of the hotswappable PCB.

The stabilizers on this board are cherry-style plate mount stabs. They were alright. They were better than most gaming keyboards I have had experience with from the likes of Logitech or Razer however they were nothing crazy. Luckily because the board is hotswap I was able to put some dielectric grease onto the stabilizer wires and they sounded much better afterward. Overall the stabs are fine for most people.

RGB Back Lighting and Software

RGB on the Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

Redragon’s Horus K618 features RGB lighting. The lighting is pretty bright and definitely better than some of the competition. There are a few onboard presets that can be cycled through without using any software. If you want a clean look you can change the lighting all to white.

The software lets you control the lighting, change mappings, and a few other basic things. It is not as good as VIA, arguably the best keyboard software, or even Corsair iCue but it is better than having nothing. Many keyboards even from companies like Keychron have no official software support this is nice to see.

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Wireless Connectivity

Buttons on Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

Aside from the option for a wired connection, Redragon gives you two other options for this board. Connection via a 2.4ghz USB dongle or Bluetooth 5.0. You can connect up to 3 devices with Bluetooth 5.0.

The dongle is stored magnetically at the bottom of the board which is nice so you don’t lose it if you aren’t using it.

Personally, I used the dongle the most. It requires no setup and delivers a connection with less latency than Bluetooth. Although I would recommend a wired connection when gaming, I found that using the 2.4Ghz connection was pretty solid. I never felt like it was ruining my experience during single-player or even casual multiplayer gameplay.

The K618 features a 1900mAh battery that Redragon states should last for up to 30 hours. With white LEDs and the 2.4Ghz connection, I was able to get around 25 hours of use. If you use the RGB lighting you might get a little less and with lighting turned off you would probably get more. It also depends how much you are actually typing on the board in a day. You could probably go three to five days with this board.

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When the board is not being used, after a minute, it will go into a sleep state to conserve battery. If you start typing on it though it will start typing almost immediately. This is better than my experience on a lot of other wireless boards like on Keychron boards. Also when you are running low on battery the board wi

Overall wireless connectivity makes the experience of using this board very enjoyable. It is well implemented and I don’t feel like they cheaped out at all.

Media and Macro Keys

Media keys on Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard

Media and macro keys are always a nice to have. Before I had a dedicated macropad they were a must for me.

The media keys work well. They feel slightly mushy but have a tactile response when you press them down. There are also secondary functions for some keys which can do things like open the calculator app.

The scroll wheel allows you to either change the brightness of the lighting or volume. I found that it doesn’t make much of an impact in changing volume. You have to scroll it all the way down just to go down 2 percent. To me, it isn’t that great for changing volume on the fly. Also, I wish the macro keys had dedicated backlighting at all times too.

Conclusion

Top view of Redragon Horus K618 mechanical keyboard on desk

Overall what would bring the Redragon Horus K618 to 5 stars for me is if it had the same pin placement for regular outemu hotswap, nicer keycap legends, and an aluminum frame. That being said the K618 delivers a solid build and plenty of features that make this a very enjoyable experience.

If you want an aluminum build, compatibility with different types of switches, and dedicated mac support then Keychron’s low profile offerings like the K1 may be a better option for you. However, if you want a better wireless experience, brighter lighting, macro keys, and software then get then the K618 is the one for you.

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I also found that it is easy to compare the K618 to the Logitech G915. You get most of what the G915 has with the Horus K618. If you are willing to pay extra though, for over double the price, the G915 offers better software, a low latency lightspeed wireless connection, and slightly better-looking keycaps.

All this being said I still think that the Redragon Horus K618 is the best value low-profile keyboard that you can buy today.

So if you would like the Redragon Horus K618, check it out here at the Redragon store.

Thanks for reading and if you would like to see more keyboard content, check out our keeb reviews or the sound tests on my YouTube channel.

Arisu From Nico & Steph Studios: The Gateway To Ergo Boards

The Arisu by Nico & Steph Studios is a mechanical keyboard kit that is extremely unique and provides a gateway into the custom keyboard scene.

Coming in with the ergonomic Arisu layout, the Arisu provides a great value for those that want to build a custom keyboard with an ergonomic design.

So let’s take a closer look at the Arisu and see if it could be a good custom mechanical keyboard for you.

The Verdict

Arisu mechanical keyboard surrounded by switches on a desk.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Arisu by Nico & Steph Studios is a great value keyboard that can open you up to the custom keyboard world. Not only that but the Arisu also has a few unique features like having an ergonomic layout and an acrylic case.

Custom keyboards can be difficult to get your hands on let alone an ergonomic keyboard. The Arisu is often in stock or has a turnaround of a couple months which is quicker than most of the competitors in its price range like the KBDFans KBD67 Lite, Wuque Ikki68 Aurora, and many more.

Unfortunately, the board does not come with a carrying case or any custom box it just comes in the box that it shipped with. The biggest issue that we found with the board is that often fitting in switches requires some fiddling to add some greater distance between the plate and the PCB.

Overall for anyone wanting to make an entry into custom keyboards and also is interested in ergonomic keyboards, the Arisu is a fantastic option and packs a lot of value for what is being delivered.


In The Box

Materials in the box of the Arisu keyboard.

The packaging of the Arisu is quite basic. The PCB came in an anti-static bag and the case came in pieces with protective paper that you need to peel off. This is not rare for stacked acrylic cases.

Aside from the case and PCB, you will get a variety of screws, nuts, rubber feet, and a hex driver. There was no box or bag. Everything just came in some dense wrapping in the box that it was shipped in. The wrapping was good with a mix of paper and bubble wrap so I was not concerned about anything breaking.

Overall pretty average stuff for a keyboard kit. The only flaw was that there was no official box, bag, or case for packaging.

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Build Quality

Bottom side of the Nico and Steph Studios Arisu.

The build quality for the price of this keyboard is pretty decent. For about $150 you get an all frosted acrylic case including an acrylic plate. Overall the board looks quite nice and the only issue with the looks is the visible gap between the case and PCB. This may not bother you but is worth mentioning.

I will note that an aluminum case version of this board was sold previously but I haven’t seen it for sale as of late. Currently black, gray, and frosted acrylic are all available options.

The use of acrylic allows the board to sound quite good for the price even without any foam included in the case. I did try the PE foam mod on the board and it did make the board sound better in my opinion but I liked the sound both with and without foam.

The Arisu does not feel super hefty like more high-end keyboards that feature internal weights however it doesn’t feel cheap.

The case features a center USC-C port that is indented. Sometimes I struggle to find the port but this is a very minor gripe. It fits any sort of cable nicely.

On the bottom, there are 6 rubber feet included with the board. Honestly, you only need four and this board won’t slide around unless you are wanting it to move. There is also no height adjustment unless you unscrew and remove the two riser pieces from the bottom.

Initially, the case of the board also came in more pieces but in the newer version, the case has fewer individual pieces to improve the quality. It is nice that this board is improved upon and it sets a good tone for the future.

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The Build Experience

Typically when building a custom keyboard there are no instructions and your only way to know what to do is either by figuring it out as you go or maybe finding a video guide. Nico & Steph studios have created a build guide for their Arisu. This makes the build experience a lot easier, especially for beginners.

Overall the build experience for this board was pretty straight forward and I only ran into issues really with the plate. The plate is sandwich mounted which is nice because you don’t have to fiddle around with any gaskets but still provides a pleasant sound and feeling experience.

Unfortunately, this implementation of sandwich mount runs into some issues. Sometimes switches don’t fit the best in the plate which means you must fiddle around with the nuts holding the screws to allow for more spacing between the plate and the PCB. I constantly had to do this but then the hex nuts would fall. Also, be careful to put the right hex nuts in the right places because some hex nuts look similar. The plate has caused issues for me every time I try to mod the board too.

Also, note because the board is made from acrylic, parts are flexible but can also break if you bend them too much. Overall the build experience can be quite fun and it is cool to see everything come together as you build the case.

The Layout

Layout of the Arisu keyboard.

Typically the layout of a board does not require its own section but since this is an ergonomic keyboard, it is different than most keyboards that we take a look at.

The Arisu is named after the Arisu layout. This layout is like a 65% keyboard but with an ergonomic design. This board uses a unibody ergonomic design so it isn’t too difficult to get used to and is all in one package but still provides the benefits of an ergonomic keyboard.

Getting used to an ergonomic layout was actually quite easy for me. I didn’t have too many issues at first. There were a few keys that I struggled with like the Y key or B key at first but after about a week or two I made zero mistakes due to the layout. Now after owning the board for many months, I have no issues in switching between my Arisu and any of my other boards.

The Arisu’s use of an ergonomic layout places your wrists in a more comfortable position that made me feel more comfortable when typing for extended periods of time.

If you want to know more about ergonomic keyboards and our thoughts, check out our are ergonomic keyboards worth it article.

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The Keycaps

Side view of the Arisu keyboard with keycaps.

Since the Arisu is a kit, no keycaps are included. Nico & Steph Studios sell their own keycaps but you ultimately have the freedom to get keycaps from wherever you would like. You could get MT3 keycaps by Drop or some nice Cherry Profile keycaps.

On the Arisu a standard 104 key keycap set will not work. There are some requirements like a 1.75u right shift (a shorter shift than standard) and two spacebars (one 2.25u and one 2.75u) to support the split spacebar layout. Most sets over the price of $40 should support all the keycaps that you need for this board.

I would like to note for much of my testing I used an MT3 set and I had some issues on the left shift and left space keys having return issues. This seems mostly due to the design of the plate not fitting switches perfectly.

The Switches

Like with the keycaps no switches are included in this board. This means you have the option to put in any switches in the Arisu. The PCB for this board also comes equipped with hotswap sockets. This means that you can add and remove switches within seconds. You can try out different switches very easily.

The PCB supports both 3 pin and 5 pin switches and is south-facing. This means you will not have any interference issues where the switches make contact with the keycaps (for more information check out our guide on north and south-facing switches).

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The Stabilizers

Durock screw in stabilizers surrounded by keyboard switches.

No stabilizers are included with the Arisu. There are some Durock stabs that you can order on the Nico & Steph website for ease of use.

I decided to use some Durock stabs that I had laying around. They are some of the best stabs that you can get, with a pleasant sound and smooth travel if modded correctly.

If you want to find some places to get Durock stabilizers or any other stabs check out our vendor list. Note that you will need to get five 2u stabs.

The Software

VIA software being used to control an Arisu keyboard.

A fantastic feature of the Arisu is the fact that it has VIA support. VIA is a keyboard firmware that is simple to use, has plenty of features, and is a favorite among keyboard enthusiasts.

The firmware is pre-flashed on the Arisu meaning you only need to download VIA from the website, plug in your keyboard, and it will work right away.

VIA allows you to test the keys on the keyboard to make sure all their switches work. This is very useful while building the board.

Compared to keyboard firmware and software, VIA is really good. VIA does not have the same issues as Razer Synapse or Corsair iCue, which are plagued by many bugs and are quite slow. With VIA you can change your keymapping, set up macros, change lighting, test keys, and change other settings on the board.

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Conclusion: Should You Get The Arisu?

Angled view of the Arisu mechanical keyboard.

If you want to try an ergonomic layout and are either new or a seasoned veteran of building keyboards, the Arisu is a great option. I found this board to be very fun to build and it was an interesting change from the rectangle-shaped layouts that I am used to.

The Arisu features a hotswap PCB, a very comfortable layout, a pleasing sound, and a unique case design. The board is easy to mod and play around with and not too expensive that you will be scared to get it if you just want to try ergonomic keyboards.

A more professional unboxing experience and easier to work with plate design would really improve the experience for me. Overall this board is a great custom to consider in an increasingly competitive market.

Thanks for reading and if you want to see more content about keyboards, check out our custom keyboard content and keyboard guides.

If you have any build questions also check out our discord.

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Redragon K552 Review: The Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard

So you want a mechanical keyboard, but the market is littered with options that either break your wallet or just seem too good to be true.

The Redragon K552 is a gaming mechanical keyboard that is great for the budget buyer who wants the satisfaction and performance of a mechanical keyboard without breaking the bank.

By the end of this article, you will get full clarity on one of the most popular budget mechanical keyboards, and if its low price point is the only benefit of the K552.

The Verdict

Top view of Redragon K552 mechanical keyboard

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Redragon K552 is a TKL sized board. That means it is basically a full-sized keyboard, but it does not have a numpad. Redragon gives you a mechanical experience for a very cheap price. You do not get the nicest keycaps, stabilizers, or build but the raw performance is what makes this board a compelling offer.

When buying the K552, you have two switch options. You can either get linear Outemu Reds or clicky Outemu Blues giving the buyer a couple of different options to suit their preference.

Now we knew coming into this review that for such a low price point, sacrifices were going to be made, but is that enough to overlook those many faults in the keyboard?

The fact that you get this for such a low price is great and for those who want to get into the world of mechanical keyboards or just want to upgrade their gaming setup then this is a great option for you.


In The Box

In the box, you do not get very much. You just get the keyboard along with some documentation. The board comes with a keycap puller, but unfortunately, no switch puller to help users take advantage of the Outemu hotswap. No extra keycaps or stickers, just everything that you need.

It might seem pretty bland, but at the price point, it is expected.

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Build Quality

Angled view of Redragon K552 mechanical keyboard

So the K552 has a bit of a cheap feel to it. It sports a plastic, rectangular case, but does have an aluminum plate. The bezels are quite thin and the paint job feels a bit cheap. Unfortunately, the board does not come with an aluminum build.

Arguably the worst thing about the build is the logo. The logo is on a riser piece that looks quite obtrusive in my opinion. If it bothers you many people have erased it with a regular pencil eraser but it can take upwards of ten minutes to fully get rid of it.

The case does have two kick-up feet for one level of height adjustment.

The board does not have anything else to it, like a USB-C input, a Bluetooth toggle, or a robust aluminum build. If these features are important to you, perhaps you may be interested in the more expensive Redragon K530, which has a USB-C connection and Bluetooth.

The K552 is only sold in the tenkeyless (TKL) size, but if you are interested in a smaller board with less functionality then the Keychron K6 in the 65% form factor is a great option albeit at a much higher price.

The Keycaps

Keycaps of Redragon K552 mechanical keyboard

The K552 features OEM profile keycaps made from ABS plastic. The keycaps develop shine from body oils very quickly. This is because of the use of low-quality ABS plastic. Additionally, the keycaps are very thin.

The OEM profile is the standard among pre-built mechanical keyboards. The keycaps are contoured to match the shape of your hands. Since this is similar to most pre-built mechanical keyboards, if you have used another in the past then there should not be a transition period.

The legends are quite thick and are shine through allowing a lot of the lighting to go through. There are also many inconsistencies in the legends that once you see, you cannot unsee.

The keycaps are one of the weak points of the board. It would have been nice to see PBT keycaps or slightly better legends but for the price, this is expected.

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The Switches

Outemu Blue switches for mechanical keyboard

The K552 is sold with an option of two different switches, linear Outemu Reds and clicky Outemu Blues. The Reds will have a smooth travel all the way down and the Blues will have a slight tactile bump along with an audible click when the switch activates.

This is all preference so if you do like the blues then there is nothing wrong with that or you can go with the red switch option.

On my board, I have the blues. They feel a bit worse than Cherry switches. It is also worth noting that in an older version of the board we did have problems with one of the switches sometimes not working but this was after it a couple of years of extensive use of the board. Although this is all true mechanical switches are typically more reliable than your standard membrane keyboard.

In my opinion, the blues are not very good. They are very very loud, pingy, and scratchy. However, on the plus side, the board has Outemu hotswap. So what this means is that you can remove all your switches with a switch puller, and replace them with other Outemu switches. If you want to put in any other switches, you will have to disassemble the board and desolder the switches from the board.

I put some new, better switches into the board and although it took some time, it totally transformed the board. Opting to go with the stock switches will be fine for most and what you are getting is good considering the price. Most keyboards at this price are not even mechanical so they will have a worse feel and performance.

The Stabilizers

2u stabilizers for a mechanical keyboard

Stabilizers often have a big effect on how a keyboard sounds and the K552’s stabilizers are pretty mediocre for a prebuilt keyboard. Redragon has opted to use Cherry Style plate mount stabs that are not factory lubed, which disappointingly gives the keys a rattly sound upon pressing and of the big keys like space or shift.

The sound and feel will also change based on what switches you use. Clicky switches will block out a lot of the rattle from the stabilizers while linear switches could make rattle or ping more obvious.

The stabilizers are what you would expect for this price but there are ways you can improve them. If you are willing to take some extra time and spend about five to ten dollars you can make your stabs sound a lot better if that is a concern for you.

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The Backlighting

Top view of Redragon K522 mechanical keyboard with red backlighting

The K552 comes with onboard RGB which can be customized through different presets on the board itself with Redragon’s software. By using different function commands, users can make quick changes to their preference of lighting. The LED’s are quite bright, but maybe not as vibrant as Corsair or Razer gaming keyboards.

The dedicated software given to the user is not very good. You cannot do much with it, such as custom lighting presets like you can with Corsair’s boards, but it gets the job done.

Personally, I think it is nice to use the onboard presets because it is quicker and easier than using the software.

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Conclusion: Should You Get The K552?

Angled view of Redragon K552 mechanical keyboard

Should you get the K552? Well like all things, it depends. If you are looking for a mechanical keyboard but do not want to break the bank then this is a fantastic option. 

With mechanical switches, an aluminum plate, and an affordable price, the Redragon K552 definitely has a lot of positives going for it. But at the same time, the terrible keycaps, difficult upgrade path, and no detachability also give the K552 a lot of cons.

The important thing for you as a buyer is to answer the question “is it worth it?” Is it worth having poor keycaps, subpar software, rattly stabilizers, and a weak case for around 30 to 50 dollars?

I would say for a first mechanical board, it is worth it. This is a great way to get a mechanical experience for cheap and if you want something more you can always upgrade if your budget gets bigger. This is a great way to try a mechanical board or improve your setup while not spending money and it is why this board is still one of the most popular keyboards on Amazon.

Overall this board will be good enough for the majority of people that get it but for some, it may pique your interest into something better and more personal like a custom keyboard.

I hope you enjoyed and if you want to learn more about mechanical keyboards, check out some of our other keyboard content.

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Best Tactile Switches [2021]

A variety of switches on a desk.

There are a plethora of tactile switches on the market, but which one is the best?

A tactile switch is a keyboard switch that produces a bump somewhere in the travel while still retaining its quietness compared to clicky switches. In theory the perfect blend between the sweet sound of linears and the lovely click of clickies. Tactile switches are perfect if you prefer a feedback when typing, most membrane keyboards will have a small and round feedback when typing, so tactiles are most similar to membranes in that way.

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Terminology

To get started, when talking about tactile switches many people will refer to types of bump and cool sciency terms like pre-travel, post-travel, actuation, and much more. Well, don’t let these big words intimidate you because I will explain them all.

Tactile Event: The bump in the switches travel.

Pre-Travel: Any linear or smooth uninterrupted travel before the tactile event.

Post-Travel: Post-travel is the linear travel after the tactile event.

Actuation: Actuation is when the switch actually activates and outputs to the device.

Bottom out: When the switch finishes traveling and hits the bottom housing.

Leaf: The metallic contacts in a switch, these themselves actually actuate the switch. The leaf is in the bottom housing as the picture shows.

Diagram pointing to the leaf of a mechanical keyboard switch.

Ping / Spring Ping / Leaf Ping: This is a metallic reverb produced by the sound of the spring, leaf, or both. In most cases it can be fixed by lube.

Disclaimer… Please Read!

This review is largely preference, my rankings will likely be very different from yours. Do not base your opinions based of mine, the best way to get opinions on a switch is to just try them yourself, guides like this, sound tests, and keyboard senpais like Taeha Types is not a good way to understand how switches feel. Just hit up your local vendor and buy a pack of whatever switch your fingers and ears desire to try them out. Use this guide to gain a general understanding on the switch and where enthusiasts like me stand on these switches.

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1. Boba U4t: Fantastic Acoustics and Hefty Tactility

U4T switch with plant.

Boba U4T is a tactile switch designed by gazzew and manufactured by outemu. It’s the sister switch of the Boba U4 which is a silent switch and is mentioned below. It produces a relatively sharp bump which is quite prominent throughout the switch. It comes in both 62g and 68g bottom out.

We recommend lubing this switch but not filming as the housings are extremely tight and well built and may not close with film.

The reason Boba U4t earn such a high position on this list is because of the sound and at what price it comes at. The T in U4T stands for thocc and it definitely lives up to its name as this may be one of the thocciest tactiles I have heard.

2. Durock T1s: Bumpy and Smooth

T1 switch with plant.

Durock T1s are a tactile switch designed by Durock and manufactured by JWK. It features a roundish bump at the top of the switch with no pre-travel. It features a few weighting options ranging from 62 to 67 grams.

These are so high up because of the tactility and how it closely resembles the wildly sought after Holy Pandas at a very affordable price. They also have unrivaled smoothness since they do copy the material of Gateron Ink switches which are among the smoothest linears.

These aren’t number 1 since they don’t have the best sound and they have very loose housings. This can, of course, be fixed by film. These switches are pre-lubed with a thin coating of oil which makes lubing not required.

3. Glorious Pandas: Budget Snappiness… Relatively

Glorious Panda switch with plant.

Glorious Pandas are Glorious PC Masterrace’s attempt at recreating the wildly popular Holy Panda frankenswitch. It features a sharp P bump with a quick and sharp bump at the top.

These switches recreate the feel of the sought after holy pandas without the price and pain of having to frankenswitch. Although this switch is far from perfect, it has immense spring and leaf ping. Although the springs can be fixed with a spring swap the leaf ping is still there and still plays a large part in the acoustics of the switch.

Even though these have a similar feel to the Holy Pandas which are a staple in the keyboard world its spring and leaf ping bring it down to number 3.

4. TKC x C^3 Equalz Kiwis: Ideal if You Don’t Like Heavy Tactility

Kiwi switches on a desk.
Picture Creds: Caughtquick, check him out at https://www.caughtquick.tech

Kiwis are the 2nd installment in the fruit switches by TKC in collaboration with C^3, and it does not disappoint. They feature medium-level tactility which is a nice breath of fresh air with all the high tactility switches on the market. With around a 67g bottom out the switch has a prominent P Bump with smooth pre-travel after a quick bump at the top. This switch does feature light lubing which makes it very smooth.

Personally, I think these switches are great if you don’t like heavy tactility and do benefit from gasket films and lubing.

These are number 4 because I prefer a heavier tactility and recently TKC has been having quality control issues where their fruit switches have been having actuation inconsistencies due to problems with the switch molds.

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5. Invyr Holy Pandas: Tactile Switch Royalty Sharp and Quick

Holy Panda switch with plant.

For years Holy Pandas have been the pinnacle of tactile switches, since then companies like glorious and in this case, Invyr has tried to replicate these switches. Similar to glorious pandas these switches have a sharp p bump at the top followed by smooth linear travel.

These switches benefit from both lube and film. Although the housings are quite tight the acoustics won’t be negatively affected by film. From my testing lubing these switches is a must as they are quite scratchy on the linear travel and there is quite a bit of spring ping, so lubing them is a must.

These aren’t number 1 because they have quite the hefty price tag at above 1 dollar per switch. This is quite expensive especially with the problems these switches are known for like spring and leaf ping. While you can’t go wrong with these switches they can be a bit disappointing especially with how much you are paying for them.

6. NovelKeys x Kailh Blueberries: Heavy Weight with Heavy Tactility

 NovelKeys x Kailh Blueberry switch with plant.

Blueberries are Novelkeys and Kailhs take at a tactile switch after the critical reception of Novelkey Creams. They feature a D-Bump with about 1 mm of post-travel and little pre-travel. The bump on these things is massive in duration but very round.

While filming these is optional lubing is necessary otherwise the switch will be very scratchy and pingy. These switches have the exact same material composition as Novelkey Creams which means they are quite scratchy before break in.

These switches are sixth on the list because they are very scratchy and the bump is frankly nothing special compared to the other switches on this list although it does get points for being a very long bump. Acoustics are also not very pleasant as they sound quite scratchy.

7. Zealios V2: Sharp Cheddar Cheese… Except in Switches

Zealios V2 switch on a mousepad.

These switches are like the bigger stronger and older brother too Holy Pandas, the tactility is as sharp as a knife and maybe even sharper. They boast a P-Bump with no pre-travel and about 3 millimeters of post-travel which is quite smooth out of the box. Zealios V2s are the product of a collaboration between ZealPC and Gateron.

Filming these is optional and same with lubing. From my research even lubing the stems of legs, which is not normally done in tactile switches but is common in these because of how sharp and harsh the tactility in the switch is.

These are seventh because of the price of these switches at about a dollar per switch they have mediocre sound as the tactility is so sharp you can hear the reverb from the leaf flicking back into place after the tactile event.

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8. Boba U4: Best Silent Tactile

Boba U4 switch with plant

This switch designed by gazzew is a silenced version of the U4t. These switches definitely take the cake when talking about silenced switches, they feature a nice round bump which takes up most of the switch and they have very little pre-travel. The stem wobble control is excellent with very tight housings.

Filming and lubing these is optional as they have very tight housings and quite a smooth switch. If you are lubing these to improve acoustics no need because it produces a mush sound which cant be improved much. Filming is not necessary, in fact recommended against, since they have a nice and tight housing.

These are eight because silent switches really aren’t my thing unless I’m at a public place. When you think of mechanical you think of clickity calckity and thoccity thaccity not mush mush, for that reason silent switches just got boring after a couple days of daily use. They made this list because they have quite an amazing tactile event and are a great experience for when I want to use a mechanical keyboard without disturbing others.

9. Cherry MX Clears: Solid Potential

 Cherry MX Clear switch on a rock.

This is one of three tactile switches by cherry, the others being the MX Browns and the MX Gray. These are considered to be the best out of those two. They feature a medium-sized bump with 2 millimeters of pre-travel and about 1 millimeter of post-travel. While they aren’t the greatest stock they still quite nice. Many people do swap the springs on them to something a bit lighter as the stock ones are quite heavy with around an 80 gram bottom-out force.

While filming these aren’t required they will still benefit from filming. Lubing these switches is definitely recommended since the nylon cherry housings are quite scratchy stock. As I was saying previously the springs on these switches are quite heavy and do benefit from a spring swap.

These switches don’t have the greatest stock form nor do they have very good acoustics and feel. For that reason, they ended up at number 9.

10. Cherry MX Browns: Mainstream

Cherry MX Brown switch surrounded by keycaps.

Cherry MX Browns are super common and what most people think off when tactile switches are mentioned. They are featured on almost every gaming board as the tactile option. Well, you may be asking since there on practically every mainstream prebuilt then why isn’t it number 1 on this list? It’s because these switches are not very tactile after all, especially in comparison to many other switches on this list. Wildly popular YouTubers like Glarses have dedicated their existence to hating these switches but he along with many others are joking about this, no functional switch is objectively bad and nearly everything in this hobby is up to your preference.

That being said this switch has quite a small bump and does not feel as tactile nor as smooth as other switches on this list. And I prefer more pronounced tactility over light tactility, but everybody is different and has their own preferences. These switches start out at about 45 grams of actuation and bottom out at 55 grams making it quite light especially considering how light the tactility is.

While filming this switch isn’t necessary lubing this switch is advisable since it has quite a scratchy and pingy housing. Filming this switch isn’t necessary but won’t hurt the sound nor the feel of the switch.

This switch is number 10 because the tactility is light which is not my preference but, it may be yours.

Where To Start?

If you wanna try these or any switches check out your local vendor! Who are those you may ask? Take a look at our vendor list. It’s a great compilation of all the keyboard related vendors sorted by region.

As always thank you for reading and please check out our discord and chat a little. We will happily answer any questions you have!

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Keychron K6 Review: The Best Board For 100?

The Keychron K6 is a mechanical keyboard that is absolutely packed with features such as Bluetooth connectivity and RGB lighting.

In a compact and efficient 65% layout, the K6 delivers many features that make it a great option for anyone who needs a solid keyboard for a good price.

Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at the Keychron K6.

The Verdict

Top view of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Keychron K6 is 65% that delivers backlighting, macOS support, and the option to get a hotswappable PCB.

In addition to that, the board features wireless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.1 with an 80-hour battery life.

You get a solid case with an adjustable height and if you are willing to pay about 10 dollars more you can get aluminum bezels.

Keychron gives you a ton of customization on what features you want, obviously at an increased cost, to get an aluminum case, hotswap PCB, and RGB lighting. You are also given the option to choose the three main kinds of switch, clicky, tactile, and linear.

If you want a board with a ton of features and great value all with a compact layout, the Keychron K6 is a great option. It’s not only a great value offering but the K6 also makes for a great travel board.


In The Box

Unboxing of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

In the box, the K6 comes with several items that will help you get up and running as well as some extras to improve your experience with the board. In the box you will find:

  • USB-C Power Cable: You get a nice braided cable that is USB-C and has a 90-degree angle because the port is on the side. No kinks developed after months of use.
  • Warranty and Information: Keychron gives you all the essential information on how to use the board with clear instructions along with a pamphlet for warranty information.
  • Extra Keycaps: You get additional keycaps to add orange accents and for better support for both Windows and macOS. There are modifier keys for Windows and macOS-specific keys.
  • Keycap Puller: A wire puller is included which makes the process of taking off keycaps very easy while not scratching your keycaps like with cheaper plastic pullers.
  • Key Switch Puller: If you get the hotswap version of the board then a metal switch puller is included. It is not amazing but it does the job.

Overall it is great that you get so many things in the box and the extras really tie in the experience.


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Build Quality

Angled view of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The Keychron K6 has two case designs. Plastic and aluminum. The majority of the case is made from plastic aside from the aluminum top plate. If you do opt for the aluminum version there will be aluminum bezels around the sides for a more hefty feel and premium look.

There is little flex to the board and it feels quite sturdy, especially if you get the aluminum version.

There are 3 levels of height adjustment to the board with a flat typing angle, 6-degree angle, and 10-degree angle. On the bottom of the board, you will also find for moderately size rubber feet to keep the board from sliding around.

The front height was a common complaint with older Keychron boards but while it is still not ideal it is a bit better with the K6. I am able to comfortably type without my wrist rest.

On the left side of the board, you will find a USB-C port along with two buttons. The first button allows you to switch between Windows/Android and macOS/iOS. The other button allows you to switch between Bluetooth, wired, and off.

This is quite a convenient spot for the buttons as it is not in the way and easy to reach but it is not the nicest spot for the cable. It makes cable managing your keyboard cable a lot harder if you are using it in wired and removes the possibility to use custom cables.

For most people, this won’t be too much of an issue, especially if you plan to use the board with Bluetooth.

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The Keycaps

Keycaps for Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The K6 comes with a set of ABS keycaps in the OEM profile with doubleshot, shine through legends. Included are some alternate keycaps including some mac keys and accent keys if you want to add an orange accent to the light or escape keys.

Since the keycaps are made of ABS they will develop shine over time but since the set is pretty good quality for a prebuilt board, it will take at least a month for it to show up. This shine will come from the natural greases and oils from your hands.

The OEM profile is the standard among pre-built mechanical keyboards. the keycaps are contoured to match the shape of your hands. Since this is similar to most pre-built mechanical keyboards, if you have used another in the past it will be very easy to get used to.

Since the keycaps use the doubleshot method for the main legends this means that the legends are reliable and won’t fade away. Although the main legends are shine through there are some printed sub legends to show extra functions that work with the fn1 and fn2 keys.

The keycaps, aside from the orange accent keys, have a gray theme with the use of both light and dark gray. They have a very smooth feel too. The legends on the modifiers look modern and simplistic which is very nice in comparison to other pre-built boards that have aggressive-looking legends.

The Switches

Switches for Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

Underneath the keycaps, Keychron gives you 3 switch options. You get a clicky, tactile, and linear switch from Gateron.

Gateron RedA light linear switch with a smooth travel
Gateron BrownA medium weight tactile switch with a light tactile bump
Gateron BlueA medium weight clicky switch. It has a loud sound and sharp tactility

Gateron provides some great switches for pre-built boards. All these switches are good options but if you get the hotswappable version of the board, you can replace the stock switches with any option of your choosing.

Gateron’s switches have a durability of 50 million keystrokes which just means that these switches will last a very long time and will probably last longer than the majority of other components on the board.

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The Stabilizers

Stabilizers often have a big effect on how a keyboard sounds and Keychron’s stabilizers are some of the better ones that I have tried on a prebuilt keyboard. Keychron has opted to use Cherry Style plate mount stabs that are factory lubed for a better sound and feel.

The sound and feel will also change based on what switches you use. Clicky switches will block out any rattle from the stabilizers while linear switches could make rattle or ping more obvious.

Overall the stabs are not perfect but they are much better than the stabilizers on most gaming keyboards. If you are coming from a Corsair, Razer, or similar keyboards these stabilizers will be an upgrade. If you get hotswap version of the board then you can easily mod the spacebar to sound and feel even better by lubing it and clipping it yourself.

Software (or Lack Thereof)

Sharpkeys Software for Keychron K6

Unfortunately, Keychron has no official software or firmware for any of their keyboards.

Keychron has rumored that they are making a software of some sort but little details are known about it and its release date.

Luckily there are some options that Keychron suggests for you to use. On Windows, they recommend that you use Sharpkeys and Karabiner for MacOS (Note: Karabiner won’t work on Linux and GNU based systems). Both softwares work by remapping the buttons of the keyboard input at a low level in the operating system.

This means that all these changes will not actually save to the board so if you move the board to another device none of your mappings will be there. This also means that if you plan to use any other board with your computer that the mappings will be changed because of these softwares.

Hotswap PCB

Keychron K6 with switches, keycaps, and switch puller

If you choose to pay extra, you can get a K6 with a hotswappable PCB. This means that you can change the switches without needing to desolder anything. This process takes a few seconds just to take out or put in a switch.

The board supports both 3 and 5 pin switches and it is north-facing. This means that the keyboard supports switches from most switch manufactures including Kailh, Cherry, Drop, and much more. The fact that the sockets are north-facing means that there could be interference between the switch and the keycap with high-end GMK keycap sets but it does allow more of the lighting to get through. This will not be an issue for most people that are in the market for this board though.

A PCB with hotswap sockets is a very useful feature and it makes this board great for those who want to get into the mechanical keyboard hobby but if you just want a keyboard to type on then there is no need to spend the extra money.

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Bluetooth Connectivity

One feature that makes the Keychron K6 such a great option is the fact that you can connect the board to three devices with Bluetooth 5.1. This is very useful for those who may use multiple devices or want to travel with the keyboard.

The Bluetooth works with Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

The board supports a 4000maH rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery is rated for 80 hours or 10 days with 8 hours of usage, while backlighting is on. This was consistent with my testing. After about 5 minutes of inactivity, the board will go into a low power mode turning off the LEDs. The only complaint you may have is that it takes a few seconds for the board to turn back on.

The latency with Bluetooth actually is not bad. Although I would not recommend it for gaming it is not a terrible experience. Depending on the game, it was not even noticeable that I was still on Bluetooth.

It is worth mentioning that I did have some connectivity issues when I first got the board. At first, the board would not go into pairing mode. I fixed this issue by leaving the board to charge for a few hours and then it worked. Ever since I have never had any issues with Bluetooth.

Mac Support

Angled view of Keychron K6

A very nice feature about all Keychron boards is MacOS support. Many boards only officially support Windows so some boards either won’t work or some of the modifier keys may have no functionality.

On the side of the K6 is a button to change between Windows/Android or Mac/IOS. This is complemented nicely by the Apple-specific keycaps.

This feature is very nice because it means you can use this keyboard no matter what operating system you plan to use. If you are primarily a Mac user then this is one of the best boards that you can get.

Back Lighting

RGB lighting on Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The Keychron K6 features either white or RGB backlighting the RGB option will cost a bit more. The RGB lighting is not as bright as gaming keyboards that I have tried from Corsair, Logitech, or Razer. It is not very bright but is still noticeable.

RGB lighting is always nice to have to add to a desk theme and the white blends well in an office environment.

The LEDs along with the modern font of the keycaps are not obtrusive and don’t make the board look overly gamery. The LEDs are versatile for any situation.

Due to the keyboard having no dedicated software currently, all the effects are on the board. There are a variety of effects from static colors to type lighting. With the white LED models you won’t have nearly as many lighting effects.

You can also easily turn on and off the LEDs by pressing either fn1 or fn2 and the light button.

Conclusion: Should You Get The K6?

Side view of Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard

The sub $100 price range is very competitive but the Keychron K6 emerges as a great option with great performance and features.

It delivers tons of utility with a nice-looking case. You get Bluetooth, macOS support, backlighting, and the chance to get a hotswappable PCB. You get all the utility that you need while in a compact 65% layout.

The wireless connectivity helps this board be very portable and it allows you to have a clean setup.

The board is quite sturdy with minimal flex and a decent weight for its size.

The only major drawbacks of the board are the fact that the USB-C port is on the side limiting your options for custom cables and cable management options as well as potential Bluetooth connectivity issues. Luckily the connection issue that I faced had a simple fix but, unfortunately, these issues are common.

If you are interested in checking out this board then you can see the Keychron K6 on Amazon.

Also if you enjoyed this article consider checking out some of our other keyboard reviews.

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