The customized keyboard world is totally exploding. For the primary time ever, it’s attainable to purchase a high-quality equipment with out breaking the financial institution. Many inexpensive kits are fabricated from plastic and have compact layouts; there aren’t many who push into the full-size house. That’s precisely what the Akko MOD003 goals to ship, whereas additionally incorporating fan-favorite choices like hot-swappable switches and gasket mounting for a comfortable, flexy typing expertise. Coming in at $189.99, is that this the DIY keyboard equipment for you?
- Present Worth: $189.99 (Epomaker)
- Format: 1800 (98-key)
- Case Materials: Premium CNC Case
- Case Colours (Anodization): Jade Inexperienced, Ocean Blue, Darkish Night time, Sakura Pink, Peacock Blue
- Plate Materials: Aluminum (matching anodization)
- Mounting Technique: Gasket Mount
- Stabilizers: Plate Mount, Pre-lubed
- Included Foams: Case, Plate
- Hotswap Sockets: Appropriate with 3/5-pin mechanical switches, helps Cherry Swap/ Gateron Swap/ Kailh BOX Swap
- Swap Orientation: North going through
- Cable: Removable Sort-C
- Backlight: Sure, RGB SMD gentle
- Weight (approx. 4.7 lbs assembled)
Akko MOD003 Overview and Key Options
Akko has been a go-to model for brand spanking new mechanical keyboard followers for years, however with the MOD003, it’s stepping up its sport. Like Keychron and Glorious, Akko is delivering a full DIY customized keyboard equipment. It’s fabricated from a two-part CNC-milled aluminum case in a wide range of anodized colours. It makes use of the enthusiast-favorite and utterly in vogue gasket mounting fashion for a comfortable, dampened typing expertise, hot-swap sockets to simply set up and swap out switches, and contains two layers of froth beneath the plate and throughout the case to dampen any reverberation. Straight out of the field, it’s higher than most prebuilt keyboards in construct high quality and typing expertise, even from main gaming manufacturers.
Let’s deconstruct that, beginning with the format. The keyboard makes use of an 1800 format, which is sort of a compact full-size. It features a full Numpad, perform row, and arrow cluster. Above the quantity pad, you even have a collection of navigation and enhancing keys (Delete, Insert, Web page Up, Web page Down). By holding shift, you may as well entry maintain and finish by the quantity pad like a full-size keyboard. This format is a good match for customers who want the additional buttons of a full-size keyboard however nonetheless wish to step as much as a customized.
The case consists of two items of strong aluminum. They’re huge, heavy, and really nicely milled. The underside half even contains little sub-chambers that appear to be associated to lowering reverberation (ping) from switches. Trying carefully, I didn’t see any blemishes on the anodization or swirl marks from the ending course of. Each halves are held along with eight hex screws, that are tougher to strip, however word that you just’ll want an extended bit or an precise Allen wrench to achieve these within the prime half of the case. The underside half of the case options some slick-looking angles and a yellow piece for some added aptitude. Word that it’s not a brass weight, however this equipment actually doesn’t want it because it weighs roughly 4.7 kilos totally assembled.
Between the 2 halves is the plate that switches will mount to. It’s additionally aluminum and anodized to match the colour of the case (accessible in Jade Inexperienced, Ocean Blue, Darkish Night time, Sakura Pink, and Peacock Blue). There are flex cuts alongside the perform row and quantity pad so as to add a little bit of flex to the board. Out of the field, the extent of flex is definitely excellent, which permits the typing expertise to really feel comfortable. It’s not fairly to the extent of the Keychron Q1 however remains to be excellent.
This brings us to the gasket mount implementation. In the event you’re new to the world of keyboards, gasket mount signifies that as a substitute of the plate screwing proper to considered one of half of the case, it’s lined with foam gaskets which might be then sandwiched in between every half. This prevents any of the reverberations from typing from making its manner into the case, dampens/softens the typing expertise, and may even enable the plate to flex extra on prime of the flex cuts.
The gasket mount implementation right here is fairly good! It’s higher than I might count on from an inexpensive equipment like this and works nicely to each dampen typing and permit flexibility within the plate. There are 28 foam gaskets on all sides of the plate, 56 altogether, so there’s no scarcity of fabric. The froth is considerably agency however is thick sufficient to nonetheless depress and get the job finished successfully.
Contained in the case is a layer of froth beneath the plate (between it and the PCB) and throughout the case. The plate foam is ok however the case foam may be very light-weight. Out of the field, there’s fairly a little bit of hollowness (however not a lot ping), so I might advocate swapping this out for some shelf liner, neoprene, or, as I’ll present later, a devoted sound dampener.
The stabilizers on this equipment are surprisingly good however are plate mount. Screw-in stabs usually are not supported on this equipment. They’re extraordinarily tight, so there’s no wiggle to current further rattle and are available lubed out of the field. Most of my stabilizers had been rattle-free however I did want so as to add some further grease to my spacebar. Bear in mind that the tolerances are so tight that not all substitute stabs will match. I attempted a set of Durock plate mounts and so they had been squeezed so tight that they wouldn’t seat correctly. You don’t want to interchange them, nonetheless. Those within the field are wonderful, particularly for brand spanking new builders.
The keyboard as a complete is sort of spectacular for the value, nevertheless it does miss the mark in a single key space: it doesn’t assist QMK or VIA. As an alternative, you’ll have to make use of Akko’s Cloud Driver. This lets you remap keys, program macros, and modify the lighting. These settings additionally keep on the keyboard and may journey between PCs, nevertheless it doesn’t provide the identical stage of customization as QMK. I might like to see Akko add this in a future model.
Akko MOD003 – Constructing the Inventory Equipment
The MOD003 comes totally assembled aside from switches and keycaps. This makes meeting extremely straightforward. In the event you’re not planning on doing any mods, all it is advisable do is press the switches into place (bear in mind to press straight down) after which press the keycaps on prime. This complete course of will be finished inside 20 minutes.
After all, should you do get this equipment, you’re in all probability excited about performing some fundamental mods. Disassembly may be very simple. After unscrewing the eight hex screws on the underside, the 2 halves of the case will be separated and the plate merely pulls out. There aren’t any added cables for RGB or a USB daughterboard (which can be a draw back for some customers and likewise means you’ll be changing the entire keyboard if the USB port ever breaks). The PCB is held to the plate by eight extra Phillips head screws.
Akko MOD003 – Modding and Efficiency
For this construct, I rolled out fairly just a few mods to essentially attempt to make this keyboard the most effective it may probably be. For switches, I used Novelkeys Silk Blacks, lubed with Krytox 205g0. I changed the inventory stabilizers with Novelkeys Plate Mount Stabilizers, housings lubed with Krytox and the wires lubed with Permatex. The spacebar was Holee modded to get rid of any tick or rattle. Keycaps are the NicePBT Black on White.
For extra mods, I additionally coated the again of the PCB in a single layer of painter’s tape (Tempest Tape Mod) and put a layer of PE packing foam between the PCB and the included plate foam. The case nonetheless sounded slightly hole, so I eliminated the included foam and changed it with a layer of Kilmat automotive sound dampener. I used 2mm of dampener on the highest the place the case has extra depth tapering all the way down to 1mm on the underside. I attempted neoprene which is less expensive however wasn’t glad with the slight remaining hollowness. All of these items are optionally available extras. It’s completely attainable to construct this equipment for beneath $250.
With the keyboard utterly constructed to my desire, I’m very impressed with the way it got here out. The typing expertise is great. It sounds very poppy and the switches are exceptionally easy with the added hand lubing. The Kilmat additionally eliminates and leftover hollowness, so all that’s left is the sound of the keys.
I used to be capable of remap the whole lot to my desire, however the keyboard additionally options second-layer instructions for lighting and media controls. My solely gripe right here is that the lighting actually isn’t very brilliant. My selection of switches and keycaps makes an enormous completely different right here, so I don’t count on lots, however the shine is relatively dim to different keyboards with very related builds.
With my modding, I did get rid of a number of the flex of the board however not all. Because it’s so thick, I nonetheless have fairly a bit there’s sufficient room so as to add 2mm of fabric on the prime with out and nonetheless have room to flex. That top did trigger me to tug out my wrist relaxation.
The place this keyboard actually shines although is that it pulls off a mixture of options different choices available on the market at the moment don’t. It’s full-size (virtually). It’s gasket mount and flexy. It’s all aluminum. These three issues make this an awesome choice for individuals who use their keyboards for productiveness or want the quantity pad and performance row for gaming. Choices are factor, and it is a very strong selection should you want these options.
Akko MOD003 Video Evaluation and Typing Demo
The Akko MOD003 hits virtually all the proper notes. If it supported screw-in stabilizers, QMK, and was much less hole out of the field, it might be out of this world. However, it’s at the moment doing one thing only a few different boards are doing with its format and mounting fashion mixture, and it’s doing so at an inexpensive worth. In the event you’re prepared to do just a few mods, like swapping out case foam, you possibly can elevate this keyboard additional, nevertheless it provides an out of the field expertise that different manufacturers may be taught from.
The Akko MOD003 is a winner and a very good worth.The product described on this article was supplied by the producer for analysis functions.
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