Earlier this month, we watched Akko MOD003, a compact full-size keyboard set that defies what’s possible for under $200. Akko is back again, this time with the first 65% keyboard set, and the results are even more impressive. The MOD005 features an all-aluminum housing with a flexible pad mount design, a free second FR4 plate, improved acoustics, and a hot-swappable switch socket, all for $129.99. If you are worried about building your own custom keyboard, MOD005 is the best choice with the complete aluminum case available now.
- Current price: $129.99 (Akko)
- Akko’s first 65% aluminum spacer DIY kit (67 keys);
- Gasket holder (Poron 3mm);
- Wired Type-C (supports both Type-C to Type-C);
- RGB backlit with 4028 SMD LED LEDs
- Shell material: CNC + Anode Oxidation;
- Plate: Aluminum with an additional FR4 plate;
- TTC 5-pin hot-swappable socket;
- Supports both plate mount and PCB screw stabilizer;
- Noise-reducing foam (3.5 mm high-density EVA);
- 4mm bottom noise reduction foam;
- Windows / MacOS / Linux;
- Comes with a coiled cable (Color matching);
- Akko Cloud Driver Support (for Macro and RGB Settings).
Akko MOD005 – Video review
Akko MOD005 – Main Features and Overview
MOD005 joins the growing line of Designer Studio custom keyboards from the team at Akko. Unlike most of Akko’s previous products, the Designer Studio line is completely ordinary with all-aluminum or acrylic housings, premium components, and enthusiast-favorite designs. These keyboards require some basic assembly but are built to be customized and modified to deliver the precise typing experience you enjoy. They don’t come with switches or keycaps, but with a little effort can provide a typing experience that’s superior to anything else in Akko’s lineup and truly resembles any gaming brand. any other predecessor today. In fact, with the right modding, the MOD005 can sound and feel incredibly great for its price point.
MOD005 is the first 65% keyboard in the Designer Studio line. It’s a compact keyboard, about the same size as the 60% keyboard, but keeping the dedicated arrow keys and a column of navigation and editing keys on the right side. It removes the Function Row, Numpad, and offset editing/navigation cluster and turns those less-used keys into Function commands, accessible with the Fn+key combination. The layout is a great middle ground between the ultra-compact 60-perc and the larger TKL, providing enough functionality to be suitable for both work and gaming.
There are countless 65 percent pre-made on the market today, but MOD005 sets itself apart by adopting many features from the premium custom keyboard scene. The biggest of these is the all-aluminum housing and gasket mounting system. While most gaming keyboards have an aluminum or steel top plate, the MOD005 has a two-part CNC milled aluminum frame. It is held together with eight recessed hex screws at the bottom of the case, a boon for longevity as they are less likely to come apart. The case isn’t as heavy as other customs and there’s a huge amount of space on the bottom half, so I’d love to see a weight option in a future revision.
Typically, affordable custom keyboards have a tray-mount or top-mount feature. That is, the switch plate and the PCB screw directly into the top or bottom half of the case. This kit uses a universal spacer mounting system that completely avoids screws for mounting. Instead, the switch plate has tabs around every edge with a 3mm spacer sandwiched between both halves.
And boy there are many of them. There are a total of eight tabs with two tabs on each side. That’s 32 pads combined with 6mm total foam. This reduces any vibrations when typing and allows for a bit of flex. While I don’t subscribe to the idea of most keyboards having a “bouncing” feel with just the pad holder, it certainly makes for a softer, rather comfortable typing experience, even when using a pad. aluminum.
If you want even more flexibility, Akko also includes a second FR4 (fiberglass) sheet at no extra charge. Most keyboard sets only come with a single plate and charge an extra $10-30 for replacements, so this is especially generous. The FR4 plate is much more flexible and puts the MOD005 on par otherwise than more flexible than Keychron Q1. Both panels improve on the MOD003, but the FR4 plate is a great choice if you want a responsive, smooth feel when typing and playing games.
Below that plate and below the PCB filling the case are two additional layers of foam. They both dampen knocking sounds and do a great job of eliminating pings (not including the switch spring) and removing almost all voids. I don’t see the need to further modify the foam or muffler to “fill” the case (thus killing some of the flex). Sounds good right out of the box, which is a solid improvement from 003.
In addition to these features, MOD005 now supports screw stabilizers while 003 only supports plate holders. I tested the Durock V2 screw and the NovelKeys plate mount spikes. Both work perfectly while only NK_ stab works on 005 so that’s another improvement.
The stock stabilizers are good, but the lubricating work has been more inconsistent this time around. My Spacebar and Left Shift work fine but Backspace and Enter still have some rattling. However, they work well after self-lubricating, so it’s worth taking the time to pull them out and add some dielectric grease.
In addition to these improvements, we also see the return of hot-swappable switches, per-key RGB, key remapping, and macro programming (by software). Hot-swappable switches are a standout on an entry-level board like this, where users are likely trying out so many different types of switches. Even for veterans, with so many new switches being released all the time, I appreciate being able to easily pull and reassemble them.
However, it’s not perfect. The switches are still facing north, which means you may have problems with some of the Cherry configurable keysets. It also doesn’t support QMK or VIA, so you’ll need to use Akko’s Cloud Software to remap keys and record macros. Changes are saved on the keyboard itself and can be made between computers, which is nice, but it doesn’t offer the same level of programmability as QMK with some keys locked for default secondary functions. .
Akko MOD005 – Assembly and modification
The keyboard building process is very, very simple. It is fully assembled except for the switch and keycaps. It’s really as simple as pressing both of them into place, can be lowered in under 20 minutes, no tools required. If you choose the FR4 plate, you will have to add the gaskets yourself (included in the box), which will double that time.
For this version, Akko also offers two sets of CS Jelly Black switches and a set of Black & Gold keycaps. Jelly Blacks is a linear switch that averages 50g to trigger (Cherry MX Reds is 45g). They use an extra-long spring, so it feels heavier across the entire keypress. They also have a box-style stem to reduce wobble and a smoky cover that allows RGB to shine through. The switches have a very light layer of factory lubricating oil so coming out of the box is exceptionally smooth. At just $11.99 for a box of 45, they’re only $0.27 for a switch, which is insanely cheap for the performance they deliver, especially after lubrication.
Akko’s Keycaps are the best I’ve seen at this price point. For $59.99, the quality and colors are absolutely amazing. They use doubleshot PBT, so the legend is made from a separate piece of bonded plastic and will never fade. The Black & Gold set features black alphabets, modifiers and arrows, and bright yellow legends in English and Hiragana. The keycaps are made in Akko’s ASA profile, which are spherical like terminal style SA keycaps but much shorter and comfortable to use. They also have an excellent grip that is more obvious than the Cherry profile caps. They are also unaffected by northbound switches.
The typing experience out of the box is good! Having a good sound profile, solid smoothness, and responsiveness is part of any other dedicated “gaming” keyboard I’ve used. Aluminum sheet is said to be stiffer but still has good ductility. FR4 sheet is much softer and more flexible (lower tone). You can build it in 20 minutes and good.
But, doing so leaves a lot of performance on the table. I highly recommend modifying this board instead because it can make sound smart with just some simple mods. Here is what I did.
Step one is to lubricate the switches. I lubricated the switches with Krytox 205g0 on the body and bottom case and SuperLube oil on the springs.
Next, I prepared the PCB using Mod Tempest Tape. I used a layer of painter’s tape FrogTape. Next, I cut a layer of PE packing foam and glued it on top of the PCB. These two layers act as audio filters. Together, they tune the frequencies back out of the keyboard and leave behind a poppy, crackling sound that I quite enjoy.
In the end I replaced all the stabilizers. Good stock stabilizers, but I’ve got a NovelKeys NK_ Plate Mount stabilizer that I really like on MOD003. They sound great and are easy to take out and fix as needed. I Holee modified each stem to eliminate any rattling or ticking, lubricated the exterior with Krytox, and coated the conductors in a light coating with Permatex dielectric grease. I also added KBDFans foam stabilizing patch under the puncture to soften the bottom.
And that’s it. Tape, PE and lubed switches are installed on the aluminum plate for additional windows. Watch the video to see how it sounds.
Akko MOD005 – Typing Test
Performance and the end result
Akko MOD005 is a great first set of keyboards. It’s good in appearance but turns into something even better with a few quick mods. The keyboard feels great when typing and playing games and looks good too thanks to the blue and yellow keycaps. However, what I appreciate most is the sound and feel. The keyboard’s flexibility and potential bulge leaves the GMMK Pro in the dust and might even outpace the Keychron Q1. If you are looking for an affordable and great 65% keyboard set, this is the one for you. There’s still room for improvement, but MOD005 can turn out to be something amazing for the price, just take your time to tinker with it.
The product described in this article is provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/akko-mod005-diy-keyboard-kit-review-2000123725 Review of DIY keyboard set Akko MOD005