Bakeey YK75 84 Keys Low Profile Switch Mechanical Keyboard for Accessories

For an affordable, low-profile option that’s easy to set up, we recommend the Keychron V1. It has hot-swappable switches, South-facing LEDs, and a durable double-shot PBT keycap profile. It also features smooth stabilizers and a great typing feel.

The V1’s only drawback is that its software is Windows-only, but that shouldn’t be a huge deal for most people. Other ergonomic options with similar setups include the ZSA Moonlander and the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.

Keycaps

GMK keycaps have a distinctive profile that feels different than most other keyboard caps. They’re usually shorter and thicker than other keycaps, which makes them comfortable for typing and gaming. They’re also durable and easy to clean. GMK keycaps are expensive, but they’re worth it for people who want the best typing experience.

Gshopper contact

The Keychron V1 offers the most value for a wired mechanical keyboard, with hot-swappable switches and full remappability via VIA (which works on Windows and Mac). Its switches and stabilizers feel good, and its layout is more traditional than other ergonomic models.

Switches

Unlike mechanical switches, which use pins to actuate, optical switches rely on light. They also actuate faster and are water-resistant. They also have a longer lifespan than Cherry switches, at 100 million keystrokes. Optical switches are not hot-swappable, but they’re an affordable option for those who want to customize their keyboard’s feel.

Accessories & Parts

Gateron’s optical red switch has a 45gf actuation force and provides a linear feel. It’s a good choice for typing and coding, but it’s not as responsive for gaming. Its tactile bump and clicking noise are a little too loud for some gamers, but they can be customized on a switch-by-switch basis.

The Keychron V1 is a great option for those looking for an affordable, full-featured wired mechanical keyboard. Its 104-key layout includes a numpad and comes with durable double-shot PBT keycaps. It features a solid build, RGB lighting, and a switch on the back that lets you swap between Mac and Windows layouts instantly.

Backlighting

A key feature for a keyboard is its backlighting, with options like color and brightness. Some models have a bright backlight to help you find keys in the dark, while others are more subdued and less distracting. Some also use south-facing switches (the LED cutout is on the bottom of the switch) to better illuminate shine-through legends.

Bakeey YK75 84 Keys Low Profile Switch Mechanical Keyboard

The Nuphy Air75 is the best affordable mechanical keyboard with backlighting, though it has a few drawbacks. It doesn’t have hot-swappable switches, which can be a deal-breaker if you want to change the feel of your keyboard without a lot of soldering. It also has less battery life than other ergonomic keyboards, with just two weeks of typing before it runs dry with backlighting on.

For a slightly more expensive option with a similar look and feel, check out the Epomaker TH80 Pro. It has a 75 percent layout and comes with durable double-shot PBT keycaps in MDA profile, as well as smooth stabilizers and a great typing feel. It’s also fully programmable with QMK and VIA, which makes it easy to create unique layouts.

Software

The AK966 comes with Mac keycaps in the box and a button combination that lets you hop between Windows and Mac layouts, but its software — which allows you to remap keys and record macros, among other things — is only available on Windows. That doesn’t stop it from being our top pick for a budget-friendly keyboard, though. Its switches feel smooth and solid, its backlighting is bright, and its 96 percent layout makes it easy to find shortcuts and other functions without having to hunt around. It’s also the cheapest keyboard we’ve tested that includes hot-swappable sockets for different switch types, but its linear Kailh Cream switches aren’t as clicky or tactile as our top picks. Other budget picks like the Keychron V1 offer better typing feel and more features for the same price.

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