GK61 – The 60% Hot Swap King

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Keyboard Specifications:
Dimensions (Width x Depth x Height): 28 x 10 x 2.5 cm
Weight: 0.6 kg (with the cable, keycaps and switches installed)

Disclaimer: This review will only cover the barebones and configuration I purchased. This keyboard is highly customizable with many configuration options available to you upon purchasing. Ensure to double check these specifications first before buying.

Ever wanted to get into the custom mechanical keyboard scene, but found it too expensive? The GK61 could be your golden ticket! It offers the functionality of hot swap sockets in a standard 60% form factor at an affordable price point…oh and yes, it has RGB lighting in case you’re into that.


Here’s the video review if you prefer watching content:

Build Quality: 7/10

THE GOOD POINTS: The price may suggest that it may have quality issues, but that isn’t the case here. The keyboard features a thicker than expected plastic case and a metal plate for support. The underside of the case also has four grippy rubber feet which keep it stay planted at all times.
THE BAD POINTS: The case isn’t made of aluminum or brass like other custom keyboards. The cheaper plastic case is thick, but nothing beats a good quality metal case. However, you can configure it to have an alu case for extra cost.


Rear of the GK61
The backside of the case. Featuring an all plastic construction.

Features: 6/10

THE GOOD POINTS: The hot swap sockets is the biggest feature it offers. However, it does also come with other cool features like a removable braided USB Type-C cable, RGB lighting, a windows lock function for gaming and a standard layout (yes, I count the last point as a feature).
THE BAD POINTS: Cable gutters, height adjustable feet and Bluetooth are missing, but just like the case, you can configure the keyboard to have Bluetooth connectivity.


GK61 Hotswap feature with custom keycaps and Gateron Black switches installed.
The hot swap sockets with custom keycaps and Gateron Black switches installed.

Daily Performance: 8/10

THE GOOD POINTS: In the 2 weeks of testing, I’ve not had any issues. The 60% layout presents a slight learning curve if you’re coming from a bigger layout, but the key is patience. It’s surprised me how easily I got used to the layout within the first week.
THE BAD POINTS: The software fails to recognize the keyboard and its janky at best. This somewhat limits the lighting effects that you can configure. It’s a mixed bag of results, with some people reporting the software to work just fine to others saying its completely unusable. I don’t care much for rainbow colors anyway, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

GK61 layer instructions.
GK61 RGB lighting.
Layout instructions.
Default RGB lighting.

Reliability: 6/10

THE GOOD POINTS: From its build quality to its feature set, I’m willing to say that this will be a fairly reliable keyboard as long as you replace the cable when it frays.
THE BAD POINTS: Firstly, the hot swap functionality is both a blessing and a curse as it is claimed that switches can only be swapped 100 times. So, if you planned to swap out switches all the time, then this is something to consider. And secondly, the RGB lights may start to lose color after a few years if used constantly (happened to a couple of keys on my K70 RGB).


Removable braided USB Type-C cable.
Removable braided USB Type-C cable.

Value: 7/10

If you’re looking for 60% a hot swap keyboard and you can deal with a crappy software along with some missing features, then this is a great buy. The closest keyboard in competition to this is the GMMK – Compact which roughly retails for £30 more.

Final Score = 68/100

 

Places to purchase this keyboard:

Amazon | AliExpress | Banggood

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