I was immediately impressed by the colours and crispness of the legends
HK Gaming 9009 Keycaps on Amazon
I’m currently on a bit of a keycap spree, looking at sets for my GMMK Pro and KBD67 Lite. One of the sets that made my shortlist is the 9009, which is an attractive old-school design based on the Reuters keyboards from the 90s and early 2000s. The recognisable combination of grey and beige is sure to offer a pleasant nostalgic trip for some.
HK Gaming has a growing selection of keycaps, and most of their sets are based on GMK and ePBT colourways. Even though clone keycaps can be a touchy subject among keyboard enthusiasts, I feel like consumers are winning, especially those on a budget. The HK Gaming 9009 is a 139-key set in the Cherry profile, made of dye-sublimated PBT with walls of 1.4mm.
I was immediately impressed by the colours and crispness of the legends. The icon style on the modifiers looks really clean. No molding marks, production faults or warped keys, and this set exudes quality with 1.4mm walls and dye-sublimated legends.
One thing to note is that these keycaps have a smooth surface, giving them a different feel than the more typical textured PBT finish. I found this odd initially, but quickly adjusted and it was a non-issue. They’re smooth but not slippery.
This profile is actually a tad shorter than Cherry. You could almost call it low-profile Cherry. There isn’t a huge difference in sound, but I would say they’re a little bit more clacky than conventional Cherry.
I did pick up an issue with the extra ISO keycaps where they’re not entirely consistent with the rest of the set, and the font is thicker on the number-row keys. Needless to say, this will look horribly inconsistent on an ISO layout. Another minor nitpick would be the tilde key: the tilde legend is absolutely huge, which doesn’t look consistent with surrounding keys.
Even though it’s a 139-key set, I did find a few keys missing. First of all, there is no 1.25U Fn key, with there only being 1.25U Fn1 and Fn2 keys. Nitpicky, I know, but it’s a small detail that more experienced users will pick up. This set also doesn’t include a 1U Ctrl and Alt which is common on 75% layouts (like my GMMK Pro), so you have to make a compromise and use some of the other 1U Row 1 keys.
A common problem with HK Gaming sets is that the bigger keys have mushy travel, especially the space bar. I did find the space bar mushy on my GMMK Pro, but experienced no issues on the KBD67 Lite. This is not related to wobble, but it’s an incompatibility with certain stabilisers and keyboards, so something to be aware of.
These keycaps made a satisfying sound on my GMMK Pro, and I quite enjoyed the extra clackiness. I was able to hit some nice speeds on Monkeytype. Make sure you use a south-facing switch configuration as I experienced some interference on my SnowFox (north-facing).
All in all, the HK Gaming 9009 offers good value with a few caveats. The potential space bar mushiness, inconsistent ISO legends and smooth finish are all things to consider, but if these things are a non-issue for you, it’s great value at under $50.