You in all probability have not heard of the Shenzhen-based keyboard makers, Akko, however if you happen to’ve been scared off the fanatic keyboard market by the $200+ boards flooding the globe, then it is value listening to Akko. It’s making fanatic keyboards waaaay extra accessible.
I like an fanatic keyboard. Yeah, I’m one in every of these guys, a kind of who will get anal about precisely which type of mechanical switches they’re tapping away on. But it is an costly, altogether pointless luxurious curiosity, sat atop the opposite costly luxurious in my life: PC gaming. The latest rise of the fanatic keyboard market is such that each conventional producer has began to embrace the concept of scorching swappable mechanical switches, double shot PBT keycaps, and boards that aren’t simply the standard 100% 104-key format.
The Akko Prunus Lannesiana 3098B is a $110 compact 98-key board, that manages to squeeze in a full numpad regardless of being solely marginally wider than a TKL board with out one. It’s additionally wi-fi, utilizing both Bluetooth 5.0 or a 2.4GHz micro USB dongle, or wired by way of a USB Type-C cable.
That’s not a foul value for a wi-fi mechanical gaming keyboard, nevertheless it’s additionally sporting real fanatic credentials because of its double shot PBT keycaps, sound dampening foam layer, with silicone pad between the PCB and backside of the chassis just like the Razer Huntsman V2.
That PCB permits for decent swappable mechanical switches to be simply dropped in and pulled out on the fly. It’s a 5-pin connection so most switches you should purchase will comfortably match.
Switch: Akko CS Jelly Pink | Jelly White (linear)
Hot swappable: Yes
Layout: 98-key compact
Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 | 2.4GHz wi-fi | USB Type-C
Backlighting: Per-key RGB
Software: Akko Cloud Driver
Keycaps: Double shot PBT
Though you do get your selection of Akko’s personal CS (Custom Series) switches included in any case, in order that’s solely one thing you want fear about afterward if you happen to select to interchange the lot. My assessment unit has include the marginally CS tactile Lavender Purple switches, however if you happen to’re shopping for now you’ve gotten the choice of both Akko CS Jelly Pink or White linear switches with dust-proof Cherry MX suitable stems.
And I’ve acquired to say, I’m critically impressed with the standard of those finances mech switches. They are strong, strong, and completely responsive. And, extra importantly to a keyboard nerd like me, they really feel actually, actually good to make use of. The typing expertise is immaculate, aided by the extremely concave keycaps on the letters making me virtually mis-strike free. Normally I’m a typo machine…
There aren’t any discrete media keys—simply alternate Fn modifier features you’ll recurrently must search for within the guide—and you do not get luxuries like a wrist relaxation. But then we’re speaking a couple of genuinely compact, reasonably priced board, although one which is nearly solely absolutely featured. It means you get the performance of a full-size 100% board, although with the additional desktop actual property afforded to your mouse by the compact design. And that is tremendous useful for avid gamers wanting the additional house in your low-DPI mouse enter.
The 98-key format solely eschews a handful of keys PC avid gamers hardly ever care about. I wager you could not even identify the six keys which can be lacking from the design. I imply, who pauses or breaks as of late?
While we’re speaking about design, I’m a BIG fan of the clear, clear font Akko has used for the Prunus Lannesiana 3098B. And who would not love a white and two-tone pink keyboard? In phrases of construct high quality it is ace, too. I’ve used many a straight out-the-factory model keyboard in my time, and I do not suppose any have felt this strong or this skilled straight out the field. It feels prefer it’s come from an organization who has acquired the manufacturing completely nailed down, and is now shifting on to aesthetics.
And Akko is actually eager to push that aspect, with so many various customized designs on provide. Gotta say I’m very keen on the Spongebob keyboard. But if you need a straightlaced keyboard with these fanatic leanings Akko gives that, too. There’s a variety of barebones boards to select from, which you should use to kind the bottom of your individual customized keeb with your individual decide of keycaps and switches.
Akko additionally has an enormous number of reasonably priced scorching swappable mech switches on provide on their very own; high quality choices which can be lower than half the worth I paid for a set of Halo True switches simply final 12 months. This is an organization that is providing excessive ranges of customisation for such an accessible value. It’s completely unbelievable, and with the standard on provide I’m actually impressed with the top outcome.
The solely actual subject I had with the board got here throughout setup, the place enabling the two.4GHz wi-fi mode required somewhat extra effort than simply flipping the swap on the again of the board. It took a obtain of the guide to find that it wanted an additional Fn+Y to kickstart its wi-fi connection even with the mini dongle plugged in and recognised by Windows.
I did additionally must replace the firmware by way of the Akko Cloud Driver, which was admittedly a very simple course of. The software program itself is fairly primary, however does permit you to add in your individual macros and regulate the per-key RGB illumination. Did take a little bit of digging across the Akko assist pages to seek out it, nevertheless. But these are minor issues, rapidly forgotten as soon as the board is ready up and also you’re bashing away at it.
The Prunus Lannesiana 3098B is a showcase for what Akko is doing within the fanatic keyboard sphere, and I feel it is nice that somebody is providing so many choices to a far broader viewers than we have seen earlier than. And the 3098B is a superb board by itself deserves, too. The wi-fi is responsive, the construct high quality is great, the worth proposition is nice, and the precise really feel of utilizing the keyboard is excellent.
Yeah, I’d love a wrist relaxation to assist these weary joints of mine, and I like a discrete quantity management, however this is among the greatest small model compact wi-fi keyboards I’ve ever used.