GK61 Optical Mechanical Keyboard Review

GK61 Optical Mechanical Keyboard Review

Hello all! It has been awhile since I last did a hardware review on Luro.io. With the amount of news I have to keep up with, and my day job, getting around to do a proper hardware review has been difficult.

But, here we are with a new review! And this time I will be reviewing probably my most favorite keyboard I have ever own. The GK61 Optical Mechanical Keyboard!

This review will be using the Luro.io Keyboard Scoring System for its rating.

Anyways, let us begin!

Quick Overview

The GK61 is a great budget keyboard that can get you into the 60% keyboard game. With hot-swappable switches and pretty decent built quality, you can't go wrong with purchasing this keyboard.

Specifications

  • Size: 11.5in x 4.05in x 1.57in
  • Weight: 1lb 3.3oz | 546g
  • Keycap: ABS two-color injection
  • Bottom case: ABS bottom case
  • Backlight: full-color RGB / about 16.8 million colors
  • Layout: 61 keys / 60% Keyboard
  • Interface: USB-C Wired
  • Driver compatibility: Windows and Mac OS
  • Switch: Gateron Optical

Features

  • IP64 Waterproofing
  • 16.8 Million Color Combination RGB
  • Hot-swappable Optical Switch PCB
  • Built-in Microphone for Music Sync
  • On-board memory to store user profiles

What's in the package?

  • GK61 Keyboard
  • Keycap puller
  • Switch puller
  • USB-C Cable

Full Review

Build and Design Quality

Starting with the design of the GK61, you will notice that it looks like a standard 60% Keyboard layout. It is compact, small, and significant for those who want a little extra space on their desk or a more portable keyboard.

gk61-top-view

From a top view, you can see that the keyboard has a slim bezel around it, helping keep the compact form factor. The keycaps have a font that, in my opinion, is not the greatest. However, they did label all the function keys, so if you are new to 60% keyboards, you will be able to find out what keys you need to press quickly.

gk61-side-view

From the side view, we can see that the keys have a slight increase to help with ergonomics. Both the keycaps and the base of the keyboard have a noticeably glossy finish.

gk61-bottom-view

Now, on to the bottom of the keyboard. In the middle, you will see the logo of the keyboard, the serial numbers, the rating, and where it is made. On the four corners, you can see rubbery feet that help keep the keyboard in position and not slide easily. This keyboard does not have adjustable feet.

gk61-back-view

From the back, you can see the USB-C on the side of the keyboard.

Other than the logo on the bottom, this is a pretty stealthy keyboard!

gk61-plate-front

Going on to the internals, you can see that the keyboard has a metal plate to help with rigidity. Underneath that, you can see the brains of the keyboard—an Optical Switch PCB.

gk61-pcb-front

The metal plate is mounted to the keyboard base with the help of eight screws. The PCB is mounted to the metal plate with the help of six screws.

It is a budget keyboard; I would not expect any fancy materials being used, such as an metal base instead of plastic.

Overall, the build and design for this keyboard is a solid 7/10.

Layout

Let us go on to the layout of the keyboard. If you have never seen a 60% keyboard before, it may look a little funky to you. A 60% keyboard does not have your standard arrow keys, the F1-F12 keys, the Numpad, and the control keys.

However, the keys are still there, and you will just need to use the Fn shortcuts that are programmed into the board.

The Fn key is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the keyboard, with the associated shortcut keys in that region. Using the number row with the Fn key will allow you to access F1-F12.

Overall, the layout of the keyboard is relatively standard, and not too confusing when you need to use the layered keys. A 9/10.

Lighting

gk61-top-view-light

The GK61 features full RGB allowing up to 16.8 million color combinations. With the assistance of the software, you can set up lighting profiles and save them on the on-board memory of the GK61. There are also a few lighting effects like pulse, wave, and static profiles.

gk61-top-view-light-no-key-cap

The optical key switches have a magnifying glass on them that increases the brightness of the RGB lighting.

Lighting is pretty standard and customizable, so I give it an 8/10

Keycaps/Switches

20200610_104808

The GK61 comes with your choice of Gateron Optical Switches. These keys are almost precisely the same as the regular Gateron Switches. However, they do not have metal pins that connect to the PCB. Instead, they have a stem that blocks optical light emitted from the PCB when the key is pressed down.

20200610_104729

This design allows for the switches to have faster response times, longer life, and are easily replaceable thanks to not needing to be soldered to the PCB.

The downside to optical switches not being soldered to the PCB means that they can be wobbly, but not too much.

You can get this keyboard with Gateron Optical Reds, Blues, Browns, Blacks, Yellows, and Silvers. Each having its switch type just like normal Gateron Switches. I opted for the Gateron Optical Browns as I wanted to try out the tactile type switch, and it is just as good as I imagined!

20200610_104756

The keycaps that come with the GK61 are ABS Doubleshot keycaps. Not the greatest, but still durable for typical use. Feel free to switch them out with your preferred keycaps with the included keycap puller.

Overall, I give the Keycaps and the Switches an 8/10.

Typing Experience

For me, the typing experience with the GK61 is rather pleasant. My previous keyboard was a Corsair K65 with Cherry MX Reds, and it was a bit noisy. The keys had a pinging noise when typing, and it almost felt like I was using clicky style switches.

The GK61 feels smoother in a sense. I know that it is weird coming from linear switches to tactile switches, but typing on the GK61 feels a lot less effortless than on the Corsair K65.

However, the keys are slightly loud. Not as loud as my K65, but it is still audible.

For me, the key wobble is not noticeable when typing, unless I stop and move my finger around on a key.

Typing experience for me is an 8/10.

Gaming Experience

Much like the typing experience, the gaming experience feels smoother. More reactive keys thanks to it being optical allows you to get your inputs out faster, and move on to the next key that much quicker.

The key wobble can get a little annoying while you leave your fingers on the keys. But, not to the point that would affect your gameplay.

Because this is a Mechanical Keyboard, it also has NKRO or N-Key Rollover. For those that do not know what this is, it means that no matter how many keys you press, there will not be any interference, and they will all register as their own key press. With this being a wired keyboard, the change of any latency issues with NKRO is nill.

The gaming experience is a 7/10.

Software

Time to get into the not so great part about the GK61. The software.

gk61-software

The software is extremely confusing to use and takes some time to get used too. It allows you to set custom macros on all of the keys, and create lighting profiles that you can save to your keyboard.

Since this keyboard is created by a company based in China, the English translation of the software is not the greatest. However, if you spend some time, you can learn the software and create your lighting profiles and macros with relative ease.

I stick to the default lighting profiles and do not mess with the software.

Software gets a 4/10.

Verdict

Overall, the GK61 scores a 51/70.

If it weren't for the software, the score would be a lot higher. For the cost of the GK61, and the fact that it is a hot-swappable keyboard, the score is decent, putting it in the Recommended category according to our scoring system.

The option to have multiple different key switches is also a plus. If you want a tactile feel, you can go for the Gateron Optical Browns. If you want a linear switch, pick up the GK61 with the Gateron Optical Reds. There are a fair bit of switch options, and you can always swap them out in the future if you want to try something different!

If you are looking for a budget 60% keyboard, the GK61 Optical Mechanical Keyboard is an excellent value for what you get. And with a little bit of modding, it can be even better!


Get the GK61 Optical Mechanical Keyboard on Amazon today!

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