I'm a sucker for a pretty mechanical keyboard, but usually the keebs I'm most enamoured with have price tags to match - think £100 to £200 minimum, and think the upper end of that scale if you want a keyboard that looks like a giant ice cube or weighs a solid 2.3kg. Happily though, there are also now a range of much more affordable keyboards that still include the unusual colour schemes, high-quality components and brilliant typing experiences that make mechanical keyboards so fascinating to me. One of the best makers in this space is Akko, and today a range of their best full-size and compact keyboards are on sale at Amazon UK.
The reason I love these keyboards so much is that as well as looking a bit different from the plague of black gaming keyboards with RGB lighting emitting from every orifice, they also feel substantially better than your average gaming keyboard. That's down to the switches used - Akko's own pink silent linear switches, or alternatively, their orange tactile switches - but also critically the keycaps, which are made from tougher and rougher PBT instead of the more common ABS. That, and some internal attention to detail, produces a rather blissful typing experience you wouldn't anticipate at this price point.
The Akko 3108 is the full-size model, in an ANSI-US layout that makes it easier to find replacement keycaps (but may confuse you until you learn that £ remains on Shift+4, even if the keycap doesn't say so.) In fact, this is a 108-key keyboard, so you also get four buttons above the numpad that allow you to summon the calculator or adjust your volume - nice.
Meanwhile, the Akko 3087 is the tenkeyless model, also in an ANSI-US layout with a standard bottom row. Again, that makes for easier keycap swaps down the road, and the layout will be more familiar than a compacted 75%, 65% or 60% mechanical keyboard layout. (If you want a UK layout, Akko says that they're producing some to arrive in two months - I'll let you know as and when!)
While I've highlighted the retro white-and-grey colourway shown above - and note that the coloured keys are optional extras included in the box alongside a full white/grey set - there's also a fun blue/yellow 'horizon' colourway and a similarly old-school '9009 retro' colourway. All three options look quite different to your standard mechanical keyboard, but they're hardly ostentatious either.
I could go on about these keyboards - they've got programmable macros, n-key rollover so they can recognise as many keys simultaneously as you care to press - but I'll leave things here for now.
I'm really curious to hear what the average RPS reader thinks about these things, so do let me know in the comments below! Do you like mechanical keyboards like this, that do things a bit differently, or do you prefer a more standard gaming style? Let me know, and I'll catch you again tomorrow with more deals!