Today we’re taking a look at the SK64S, a 60% board that incorporates dedicated arrow keys into its layout. Like the SK61 and SK71, this board features Gateron optical switches and a hot swap PCB. It also comes with custom keycaps, and you can choose from the black-gray, gray-white and pink-white colourways. Once again the gray-white version has eluded me, as it was out of stock. The SK64S can run wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.1 and comes with a 1900 mAh battery.
For this board I chose the Gateron Optical Black switches. If you’re not familiar with these, they’re a heavier version of the Red switch with a 60g spring. These switches are really smooth with no scratchiness, and you just cannot beat Gateron when it comes to budget switches . Heavier linears also work great with lube, and I’ll be modding these with Krytox 205g2.
What makes these SK boards unique is the keycaps. In addition to the different styles, the keycaps also have what is called a GSA profile, which is quite similar to DSA and XDA. The keycaps are uniform with a low profile design. So this means they all have the same shape and size, regardless of what row they’re on. Most of us are used to the OEM profile, so this keyboard will have a flatter feel. The case does have a slight incline so it’s not completely flat. The keycaps are dye-sublimated PBT, and feel really durable with a thickness of 1.5mm. Like the other SK models I’ve reviewed, this board makes that characteristic bassy sound, however the SK64S isn’t as loud. The metal ping is also very low, which is an added benefit. This board offered a very pleasant typing and gaming experience. The stabilisers are factory lubed, and they did a decent job. I did detect some rattle on space bar, and even after modding it persisted. These blacks are a little heavier than the Gateron reds I normally use, but every bit as smooth.
So this 64-key layout is quite similar to boards like the Dierya DK63 and Blitzwolf BW-KB1. With this layout the right Shift is only 1U, which means the forward slash key stays in the same position. On the far right we have a dedicated Delete key. Now for me this was super useful, especially in my video editing workflow. Another change that isn’t so apparent is that the left Shift is 2U as opposed to the normal 2.25U. I really enjoyed this layout, and having dedicated arrows plus a Delete key really gave me a productivity boost in coding and video editing. The 1U right Shift will take a while to get used to, and you’ll have to develop some new muscle memory. If you’ re interested in keycap customisation, just note that there are quite a few non-standard keys with this layout, so when buying a set make sure these keys are included as extras. There are quite a few sets on Banggood that support this layout, so it’s not like you don’t have any options.
The SK64S is a very good looking keyboard, and the custom keycaps really makes it stand out. Regrettably I couldn’t get the gray-white version again, but the black-gray looks attractively quaint. The keycaps aren’t shinethrough, but the board has an eyecatching underglow, which is enhanced by the white mounting plate. You’ll find plenty of backlighting modes on the software. You can choose five modes to save on Fn + ]. There are also some reactive modes, including a microphone controlled mode that will respond to sound. A cool feature is that you can freeze the backlighting with Fn + |\. So you wait until that perfect moment and turn it into a static mode. Brightness and speed control are on the arrow keys, and you can switch the backlighting off with Fn + Backspace.
Another great feature is that the board can run wirelessly using Bluetooth 5.1, so this is ideal if you’re going to hook it up to a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The 1900mAh battery will give you around 3 days of battery life with the backlighting off, and you should get 10 hours with the backlighting on. Bluetooth setup is very easy. You press Fn + Space Bar to switch to bluetooth mode. Then you hold Fn + Z for three seconds until it starts flashing red and green. You can then go ahead and pair your device. The keyboard can remember up to three devices, and they are saved on Fn + Z, X and C. With Fn + L Ctrl you can set how long before the board goes into sleep mode. An LED will flash under one of the digit keys to indicate the time. 1 means 5 minutes, 2 means 10 minutes, 3 means 15 minutes, and so forth. You can also switch the keyboard off by long pressing Fn + Tab.
We have all the expected functionality on the Fn layer, including the F-row, Nav cluster and complete RGB controls. I’m always happy to see media controls on the Fn layer, as I cannot live without these. The Fn layer is not printed on the keycaps, so you’ll just need to keep the manual handy for a few days until you have it memorised. Personally I’m a big fan of this as it gives the keyboard a really clean look. The SK64S has a layered design, featuring a standard layer and Layer 1 – 3. Layer 1 -3 can be customised via the software, and then you can switch between these layers on the fly with Fn + Q, W, E and R. Just take note that the keyboard has to be plugged in for the software to work. With the software you can finetune the behaviour of Layer 1-3, and then there is also a Driver layer. You have the full gamut of remapping options, including macros and media. It doesn’t seem like it’s possible to set the backlighting directly with the software, so you need to save the mode on the keyboard before having access to it. You can also create your own colour modes with the RGB studio.
The build quality is very good, and the case is made of thick plastic. Not too bendy and it feels robust. This keyboard has an IP68 waterproof rating The keycaps are also high quality, and as mentioned they are nice and thick at 1.5mm. The board has a USB-C port situated on the back left, and we have a braided cable of 1.5m. The PCB is hot swap, but just remember that only Gateron optical switches are compatible. Always good to see this feature on a keyboard, as it leaves the door open for customisation.
So in summary, the SK64S is a very good keyboard if you’re looking for a smaller form factor without sacrificing productivity. The dedicated arrows and Delete key will boost productivity, and you still have that extra mouse space for gaming. The keycap styles give this board aesthetic appeal, and it features a solid out of the box typing experience with a sturdy build. If you like this kind of layout and keycaps style, this is good value at $80.