Gaming keyboards are somewhat predictable in their design, and although they do their best to evolve, they should still be broadly appealing in the end. Looking at the more aesthetically pleasing part of the market, Akko offers alternative options for gaming keyboards that offer a difference from traditional gaming keyboards.
Akko BOW’s ACR59 use an appropriate form of polarization. While this slim keyboard may not be an ideal choice for competitive gaming, there’s no substitute for its dial-up aesthetic.
Nuts and bolts
Despite its dramatically different look, Akko’s acrylic CNC-based ACR59 BOW boasts many of the core features of a standard gaming keyboard. Looking past the Windows keyless design, the ACR59 has n-key travel, customizable RGB lighting, double-fire PBT keycaps, USB-C connectivity, macro support, and hot-swappability. At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss the ACR59 as anything other than a gaming keyboard, but its feature set matches that of a traditional keyboard well.
As companies move away from software, custom integrations are becoming more and more common — as recently seen with Xtrfy’s M4 Wireless. Being able to change the lighting with a few keystrokes is far more convenient than navigating cumbersome, buggy software. True, some users prefer the software and can clearly see it missing on products that don’t match the onboard commands. Luckily for Akko’s small form factor keyboard, this is not the case.
Probably the easiest way to get an attaboy in 2022 is to use the USB-C port that the ACR59 comes with. It also has a rubber coil cable for better or worse. While coiled cables are all that stands out in the enthusiast scene, Akko’s repeat is folded rather than coiled, which causes kinks. Time will solve the problem but it cannot.
A smaller feature that would be greatly missed in its absence are dual-fire PBT keycaps. Using PBT instead of ABS puts the Akko ACR59 on par with larger gaming peripheral companies like HyperX and Razer. The ACR59’s lids are less textured than Corsair and Razer’s, but they feel good to type on and have more texture than the HyperX. The ACR59 also comes with additional keycaps for a variety of layouts up to full size.
Adding value to the mix is a hot-swappable PCB. Hot-swappable PCB allows users to change their switches quickly. While capable of packing more value, a hot-swappable PCB is what you make it of. If you’re not interested in trying out new switches, there’s nothing to be excited about. On the other hand, those who aren’t sure what they want can greatly benefit from the ability to try new types of switches.
One design element that will stand out to any gamer is the keyless Windows layout. This can help players stay in the game and avoid accidentally pressing the Windows key while tapping the Ctrl link. It’s not for everyone, but for those who have suffered at the hands of accidentally pressing the Windows key, it could be a lasting solution.
Wrist rest tips
One pitfall of many more enthusiast-oriented keyboards is that many have fixed typing angles. While this isn’t an inherently “bad” thing, it does detract from the versatility of the ACR59. Akko realizes and tries to fix the problem with the dual-layer adjustable adhesive feet, but unfortunately they can’t always lock.
Sticky feet included don’t have any use. After trying everything, there is no way to fix the foot. Every time you put your feet in place, they unlock almost instantly, making it impossible to customize the typing angle.
While enthusiasts may be familiar with getting a fixed typing angle to work, many gamers may not be as familiar. There can be a degree of discomfort without a wrist rest to counter the height of the keyboard but it’s not just a fixed typing angle that can cause problems.
The keycap dilemma
Immediately, the ACR59 BOW dripped with style. Aesthetically, the keycaps don’t look like some of the more expensive options from GMK and other high-end keycap manufacturers. Even in those kits, the expansion mods cost an arm and a leg, but Akko provides keycaps for every other popular layout up to the full size. But the problem is with the profile of the keycaps.
Akko uses ASA profile keycaps on most of its keyboards, and while this shouldn’t be a problem for enthusiasts, it will annoy most gamers. If you are not familiar with the ASA configuration compared to the OEM and Cherry configurations, the ASA keycaps are taller and have a rounded design. This can get in the way of fairly easy gameplay, which is unfortunate since the PBT fires twice and the overall look and feel of the keycaps are all good quality.
If you are someone who has never ventured into other keycap configurations, having a wrist rest ready will easily solve the above problems. Since this is an easy fix that requires a modest additional investment, there’s no need to stay away from gaming on the ACR59 BOW, especially when discussing its switches.
Satisfied with stock swithces
There are many click switches on the market. Some manufacturers like HyperX and Akko make their own switches, while companies like Cherry and Gateron have been operating independently for some time. Akko includes its Jelly White switches on the ACR59 BOW, but other versions come with different switches that are color matched to the board.
Jelly White switches are lighter than traditional Cherry MX Reds, making them responsive enough for gaming. Akko’s proprietary switches have a 35-gram actuation force and a two-millimeter trigger point. For reference, it’s 10 grams lighter than the standard Cherry MX Red while maintaining a two-millimeter trigger. The experience here is optimal for gaming. The Jelly White switch is fast but a little fiddly. However, nothing is a little grease that can’t be repaired if you’re willing to invest more time in customizing your keyboard.
While ideal for gaming, the Jelly White switches fall far short when it comes to the typing experience. With the ultimate trigger point and feather-light actuation force, Jelly White switches can make you press the backspace button a little more than usual. There’s always the option to swap out the switches if you’ve attached to the rest of the board’s feature set.
Is Akko ACR59 for you?
If you’re looking for something new that isn’t a dedicated gaming keyboard, Akko ACR BOW is an interesting option. Having a keyless Windows layout is going to be a polarizing design element — you’ll either love it or hate it. Either way, the smaller form factor saves a lot of desktop space and the unorthodox design gives a lot to talk about when it comes to changing gaming setups.
While the performance of the switches and the quality of the keys are like solid performers, the keyboard’s profile and lack of adjustable typing angle may be a turning point for those accustomed to more traditional gaming keyboard. That’s not to say the Akko ACR59 BOW isn’t suitable for gaming, just that it will give the wrist a break to make it a truly comfortable gaming option. If you’re willing to invest more in a wrist rest, the Akko ACR59 BOW is one of the more interesting ready-made options on the market.
- Aesthetic design
- Small form factor
- Double-fire PBT
- Jelly White Switch is the best device for gaming
- Hot-swappable PCB
- Additional keycaps for popular layouts
- Keyless Windows layout might not be for everyone
- Configuring the ASA keycap can interfere with the game process
- Attached adhesive feet do not lock in place
https://dotesports.com/hardware/news/niche-form-niche-performance-akko-acr59-bow-keyboard-review The right form, the right performance: Akko ACR59 BOW keyboard review