The 60% keyboard has taken center stage in the world of computer peripherals. These compact marvels epitomize the marriage of form and function, offering a lean, minimalist design that liberates desk space while delivering a potent typing experience.
Enter the Royal Kludge RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard—a compact titan that defies expectations. The RK61 combines portability, wireless convenience, mechanical switches, and customizable aesthetics—all in a budget-friendly package. In this keyboard review, we check out the many aspects of this space-saving marvel.
We will look at the Royal Kludge RK61's specifications, delve into its features, evaluate its build quality, assess its connectivity options, and scrutinize its typing experience. Above all, we'll determine whether this compact 60 percent keyboard lives up to the expectations of budget-conscious keyboard users.
What is a 60% Mechanical Keyboard?
A 60% keyboard is a compact and space-saving mechanical keyboard layout that offers a minimalist design by omitting several keys typically found on larger keyboards. Most notably, they don't have the numpads. These keyboards are popular among users who prioritize portability, desk space efficiency, and a clean, uncluttered look. Here are some key features and characteristics of a 60% keyboard:
Compact layout: A 60% keyboard typically retains only the essential keys for typing, including the alphanumeric keys, punctuation keys, and function row. It eliminates the dedicated number pad, navigation keys, and often the function row keys, such as F1 to F12.
Function layer: To make up for the missing keys, 60% keyboards utilize a function layer. By holding down a designated key (often labeled "Fn") and pressing another key, users can access secondary functions like arrow keys, media controls, and additional symbols.
Small footprint: Due to the reduced key count, 60% keyboards have a smaller physical footprint compared to full-sized or tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards. This makes them ideal for use in tight spaces, such as small desks or on-the-go setups.
Portability: The compact size of 60% keyboards makes them highly portable. They are a popular choice among travelers, programmers, and gamers who want a keyboard they can easily carry in a backpack.
Customization: Many 60% keyboard enthusiasts enjoy customizing their keyboards by replacing keycaps, choosing different switch types, and even building their own from scratch. This allows for a personalized typing experience and aesthetic.
Mechanical switches: 60% keyboards often feature mechanical switches, which provide a tactile and audible typing experience. Users can select switches that suit their preferences, such as clicky, tactile, or linear switches.
Minimalist aesthetic: The absence of unnecessary keys gives 60% keyboards a clean and minimalist appearance. They can contribute to a tidy and uncluttered workspace.
Learning curve: While 60% keyboards offer a compact and efficient layout, they can require a learning curve for users accustomed to larger, full-size keyboards. Some keys may have different placements or require the use of function layers.
Gaming and productivity: 60% keyboards are versatile and can be used for both gaming and productivity tasks. However, some gamers may prefer keyboards with dedicated macro keys or a full set of function row keys for gaming shortcuts.
Keyboard Review of the Royal Kludge RK61
Let's dive right into a quick overview of this compact 60% layout device, featuring wireless capabilities and an appealing price point. It's a well-built, budget-friendly keyboard that doesn't skimp on features. You'll appreciate the Bluetooth wireless capability, allowing you to connect up to three devices seamlessly.
Features and Specifications
Here are the typical specifications and features of the Royal Kludge RK61
Keyboard size: 60% layout, compact and space-saving design.
Switch type: Mechanical switches (common options include Red, Brown, or Blue switches). RK switches or Cherry MX-compatible switches may be available.
Key rollover: N-key rollover (NKRO) or 6-key rollover (6KRO) for anti-ghosting.
Backlighting: RGB backlighting with customizable lighting effects.
Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0 or 5.0 wireless connectivity options.
Wired connectivity: USB Type-C port for wired connection.
Battery: Built-in rechargeable battery with varying capacities (usually in the range of 800mAh to 1500mAh).
Battery life: Typically, several hours of usage on a single charge (exact duration varies depending on usage and lighting settings).
Keycaps: ABS or PBT keycaps, depending on the model.
Case material: Plastic or aluminum alloy, depending on the variant.
Dimensions: Compact dimensions, designed for portability.
Compatibility: Compatible with Android, iOS, Windows and mac.
Compact layout: The 60% layout omits the number pad, function row, and navigation cluster to save space and create a minimalist design.
Bluetooth connectivity: The RK61 often features Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect to multiple devices wirelessly.
Customizable RGB lighting: RGB backlighting with customizable effects and profiles to personalize your keyboard's appearance.
Hot-Swappable switches: Some models of the RK61 may offer hot-swappable switches, allowing you to easily replace switches without soldering.
Dedicated function layer: Utilizes a function key (often labeled "Fn") to access secondary functions, including media controls, arrow keys, and more.
Programming support: Some versions of the RK61 come with software that allows you to remap keys and customize the keyboard's behavior.
Portable design: Compact size and wireless connectivity make it suitable for on-the-go use or for users with limited desk space.
Despite its budget-friendly price, the Royal Kludge RK61 impresses with its sturdy build. Here is a general description of its build quality:
Materials: The RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard often features a plastic construction, which helps keep costs down. Some variants may offer an aluminum top plate for added durability and a more premium feel. The choice of materials affects the overall build quality.
Sturdiness: While plastic construction is lightweight, it may not feel as robust as keyboards made with metal frames. However, the build quality is generally satisfactory for everyday use and light to moderate typing and gaming.
Keycap quality: The quality of the keycaps can vary depending on the specific model and version. Some RK61 keyboards come with ABS keycaps, which may be more prone to wear and shine over time. However, others may feature PBT keycaps, which are more durable and provide a better typing experience.
Chassis flex: In some budget 60% keyboards, especially those with an all-plastic construction, you may notice a slight amount of chassis flex when moderate pressure is applied to the keyboard. This is less common in keyboards with a metal top plate.
USB port quality: The USB Type-C port, which is commonly found on the RK61, should be securely mounted to the PCB for a stable wired connection. Loose or poorly mounted USB ports can be a concern.
Keycap wobble: Some users have reported minor keycap wobble on certain RK61 models. This can affect the overall typing experience but may not be a significant issue for all users.
Despite being a budget-friendly option, the RK61 generally provides a reasonable level of build quality suitable for everyday use, light gaming, and typing tasks. However, it may not meet the same level of durability and premium feel as higher-end mechanical keyboards.
The RK61 typically comes with Bluetooth and USB-wired connectivity options. Here's a description of the connectivity quality for each:
Bluetooth Versions: The RK61 may come in different variants with varying Bluetooth versions, such as Bluetooth 3.0 or Bluetooth 5.0. Bluetooth 5.0 generally offers improved range, stability, and lower latency compared to older versions.
Pairing and Connectivity: Pairing the RK61 with your devices via Bluetooth is usually straightforward. The keyboard typically supports multi-device connectivity, allowing you to switch between paired devices with ease.
Connection Stability: The connectivity stability can vary depending on factors like distance, interference, and the Bluetooth version. Generally, Bluetooth 5.0 variants provide a more stable connection with less lag and dropout compared to older versions.
Battery Life: The Bluetooth functionality can impact the keyboard's battery life. However, the RK61 typically offers a reasonable battery life on a single charge, allowing for several hours of wireless use before recharging is required.
USB Type-C Connection: The RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard features a USB Type-C port for wired connectivity. This modern and reversible connector ensures a secure and stable wired connection.
Latency and Responsiveness: When connected via USB, the keyboard typically provides a highly responsive and low-latency typing experience, making it suitable for gaming and fast typing tasks.
Charging While in Use: Some models of the RK61 allow you to use the keyboard while it's connected and charging via USB, ensuring uninterrupted usage.
Overall Connectivity Quality
The connectivity quality of the RK61 is generally satisfactory for most users' needs. Note that while Bluetooth connectivity offers convenience and mobility, the experience may vary depending on your usage environment and the specific Bluetooth version of your RK61 model. For optimal performance, ensure that you are within the recommended Bluetooth range, and consider using the wired connection for gaming or situations where low latency is crucial.
The Royal Kludge RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard typically offers various switch options for users to choose from. The quality and feel of the switches can significantly affect the overall typing and gaming experience.
RK Switches: Some models of the RK61 keyboard come with proprietary RK switches. These switches are designed by Royal Kludge and are often available in various variants:
RK Red: These are typically linear switches with a smooth keystroke and no tactile bump. They are favored by gamers for their quick actuation.
RK Brown: RK Brown switches are often tactile switches with a slight bump in the middle of the keystroke. They provide feedback to typists without being too noisy, making them suitable for both typing and gaming.
RK Blue: RK Blue switches are clicky switches known for their distinctive click sound and tactile feedback. They are popular among typists who enjoy the audible and tactile response of each keypress.
Cherry MX-Compatible Switches: Some versions of the RK61 may be compatible with Cherry MX-style switches. These switches are widely recognized for their quality and come in various types, including Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Blue, and more. Users can choose the switch type that suits their preferences.
Here's how you can generally describe the switches on the RK61
Switch type: The RK61 offers a variety of switch types, including linear, tactile, and clicky options, allowing users to select switches that match their typing or gaming style.
Key feel: Linear switches (e.g., RK Red) provide a smooth and consistent keystroke without a tactile bump. Tactile switches (e.g., RK Brown) offer a noticeable bump for tactile feedback, while clicky switches (e.g., RK Blue) have both a tactile bump and an audible click.
Actuation force: The actuation force required to press the keys varies between switch types. For instance, RK Red switches typically have a lighter actuation force than RK Brown or RK Blue switches.
Noise level: The noise level also varies. Clicky switches like RK Blue are the loudest due to their audible click, while linear switches like RK Red are quieter. Tactile switches like RK Brown produce a softer sound.
Typing and gaming performance: The choice of switches can significantly impact your typing and gaming performance. Gamers may prefer linear switches for quick keypresses, while typists may appreciate tactile switches for their feedback.
Pros and Cons
Let's delve into the pros and cons of the Royal Kludge RK61 budget keyboard. The Royal Kludge RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard offers a compact and wireless solution at an affordable price point, which makes it appealing for users seeking portability and a mechanical typing experience. However, it may have some trade-offs in terms of build quality and convenience due to its budget nature. Users should consider their specific needs and preferences when evaluating the RK61.
Compact and portable: The 60% layout of the RK61 makes it highly compact and easy to carry, making it suitable for on-the-go use and small desk setups.
Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth options (e.g., Bluetooth 3.0 or 5.0) provide wireless convenience and allow you to connect to multiple devices, reducing cable clutter.
Customizable RK61 RGB lighting: The RK61 typically offers customizable RGB backlighting with various lighting effects, allowing you to personalize the keyboard's appearance.
Hot-Swappable switches: Some versions of the RK61 come with hot-swappable switch sockets, allowing users to change switches without soldering.
Budget-friendly: It's often available at an affordable price point, making it accessible to users looking for a mechanical keyboard without breaking the bank.
Multiple switch options: The RK61 usually offers a variety of switch options, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches, catering to different typing and gaming preferences.
Multi-device support: The keyboard typically supports multi-device connectivity, allowing you to switch between paired devices easily.
User-friendly software: Some versions come with software for customizing key assignments and RGB lighting, enhancing the user experience.
Build quality: The budget-friendly nature of the RK61 can sometimes result in a plastic construction that may not feel as robust or durable as more expensive mechanical keyboards. Some users may notice chassis flex or keycap wobble.
Keycap quality: Depending on the model, the included keycaps may be made of ABS plastic, which can wear and shine over time. Premium PBT keycaps are generally preferred for durability.
Bluetooth connectivity stability: While Bluetooth is convenient, the stability of the wireless connection can be affected by factors like distance and interference. Some users may experience occasional connectivity issues.
Battery life: Although the RK61 offers wireless functionality, the battery life may not be exceptionally long, particularly when using RGB lighting extensively.
Limited layout: The 60% layout omits certain keys like the function row and number pad, which may be essential for some users. It can require a learning curve to adapt to the layout's limitations.
Non-standard keycap sizes: Some versions of the RK61 may feature non-standard keycap sizes, which can limit the availability of replacement keycap sets.
Lack of dedicated arrow keys: The absence of dedicated arrow keys can be inconvenient for users who rely on them frequently. Arrow keys are typically accessed through a function layer.
Lack of dedicated function row: Similarly, the lack of a dedicated function row means that function keys (F1 to F12) are often accessed via a function layer.
Keyboards Similar to the Royal Kludge RK61
There are several keyboards similar to the Royal Kludge RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard that offer a compact design, wireless connectivity, and mechanical switches. These keyboards cater to users who value portability and a clutter-free workspace. Here are some alternatives to consider:
Anne Pro 2: The Anne Pro 2 is a popular 60% mechanical keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity. It features customizable RGB lighting, hot-swappable switches, and various switch options, including Gateron and Kailh switches. The keyboard is known for its build quality and programmability.
Ducky One 2 Mini: The Ducky One 2 Mini is another compact 60% keyboard with a solid build, customizable RGB backlighting, and a detachable USB-C cable. It offers a range of Cherry MX switches and has a reputation for quality and durability.
Varmilo VA68M: The Varmilo VA68M is a compact 65% keyboard with wireless Bluetooth options. It's known for its excellent build quality, PBT keycaps, and a variety of switch choices, including Cherry MX and Varmilo's own electrostatic capacitive switches.
Keychron K6: The Keychron K6 is a 65% wireless mechanical keyboard that combines a compact layout with Bluetooth connectivity. It offers hot-swappable switches, customizable RGB lighting, and a choice of switch options, including Gateron, LK Optical, and more.
Akko 3068: The Akko 3068 is a wireless compact keyboard with a 68-key layout, offering a bit more functionality than a traditional 60% layout. It features Akko's own switches and offers Bluetooth connectivity.
Leopold FC660M: The Leopold FC660M is a 66-key keyboard, often referred to as a "65%" layout. It's known for its high-quality build, PBT keycaps, and Cherry MX switch options. While it's not 60%, it's still a compact and portable option.
The Royal Kludge RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard stands as a compelling option for those seeking a balance between affordability, portability, and the tactile pleasure of mechanical switches. Throughout our Royal Kludge RK61 review, we've explored the keyboard's key features, build quality, connectivity options, and the overall user experience it offers.
The Royal Kludge RK61 Budget 60% Keyboard represents a worthy contender in the budget-friendly mechanical keyboard market. Its compact design, wireless capabilities, and customizable features make it an attractive choice for those seeking a balance between functionality and convenience. While it may not match the build quality of premium mechanical keyboards, it would be a good choice for those who want a respectable typing and gaming experience at an accessible price point.
Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
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