I wouldn’t say the GK61 blows the competition out of the water, but it’s a solid buy at $50
The GK61 is a 60% keyboard from HK Gaming. This board goes for around $50 to $60, and you’ll find quite a few similar offerings at this budget price range, such as the DK61E and RK61. These are cheaper alternatives to boards like the Ducky One 2 Mini and Anne Pro 2, which are over $100. So let’s see if this is a good buy.
The GK61 features Gateron Optical switches, so there is no metal contact and the keyboard uses infrared sensors to detect keypresses. Not only do these optical switches have a longer lifespan of 100 million keystrokes, but you get that juicy response time of 0.2 milliseconds. I like my linear switches, so I opted for the Gateron Optical Reds. These switches have an actuation force of 45g and are extremely smooth, in fact they are some of the smoothest linears I’ve tried. There is just no scratchiness on them, and it was an absolute joy to type and game on this board.
The GK61 has a lower pitched bassy sound, and it is fairly loud for a linear keyboard. The stabs are factory lubed, albeit a bit haphazardly. Nonetheless the bigger keys feel very good, and I only detected some slight rattle on the left side of space bar. Another thing I should mention here is that the GK61 features no fold outs, however the case has a natural angle which felt comfortable for me. Would’ve been nice to have some foldouts though.
The GK61 has a plastic casing with a steel mounting plate. Build quality is very good and the keyboard feels sturdy. There are four rubber feet on the bottom, and of course no fold outs. The board comes with double shot ABS keycaps that have a glossy side finish. You’ll find the USB-C port on the back left of the case. The cable is 1.5 metres long, and it is braided and detachable, which is nice. The GK61 is hot swappable, but just note that you can only put in other Gateron Optical switches.
This is quite a good looking keyboard. It features a medium font that you find on a lot of Chinese manufactured boards. The backlighting doesn’t shine through the legends very evenly, but apart from that the RGB looks decent. The mounting plate is white, so you get a nice underglow effect which looks good in the dark. The Fn layer is printed on top of the keys, so some of them look a bit crowded and busy. I would’ve preferred the Fn stuff on the side of the keys, but just a nitpick. I really like this case, and the HyperX White Pudding keycaps looked absolutely stunning on here. With the keyboard you can access 15 RGB presets, but there are more to be found on the software. You can also reassign the RGB modes that are saved on Fn + ]. A cool little feature is that one of the RGB modes reacts to sound, which is detected by a microphone that sits underneath the space bar.
We have the typical 60% layout here. The F-Row, Nav Cluster and arrow keys are on the Fn layer. There is also a full set of media controls. Not sure why there aren’t any icons indicating this, but Fn + A-G gives you access to these useful media keys. I like the fact that Fn is on the bottom right corner; it’s very easy to find without looking at the keyboard.
In addition to Standard more, there is a driver mode and three layers. You can access these layers via Fn + Q, W and E. Layer 1 will give you dedicated arrow keys, which is very convenient if you’re looking to use the board for productivity. With the software, any button can be reassigned. You can remap to a single key, media, mouse and some system apps and functions. You also have the ability to record and assign macros. The software gives you access to a pretty cool list of RGB presets. Some of these colour modes were completely new to me, so that was refreshing. There is also a DIY static mode, where you can create your own static colour scheme.
I was actually very impressed with the GK61. The keyboard works like it’s supposed and there were no unexpected glitches. I wouldn’t say it blows the competition out of the water, but it’s a solid buy at $50.