I’m especially liking the PBT keycaps and 2.4Ghz connection at under $100, and this keyboard is going to be very competitive against something like the Keychron K6
Gamakay TK68 on Banggood
We’re taking a look at the Gamakay TK68 today, a keyboard that comes with Bluetooth and a 2.4Ghz receiver. It’s good to see the 68-key layout penetrating the mainstream market, as it is more beginner-friendly than the ubiquitous 60% form factor.
The TK68 is available with ASA or XDA profile keycaps, and it’s refreshing to see something other than OEM or Cherry on a prebuilt. Similar to DSA, XDA features a flat profile with a cylindrical top. The keycaps are uniform, meaning they are exactly the same shape and size from R1 to R4. ASA is Akko’s proprietary profile, which also has a cylindrical top but features a more natural-feeling sculpted profile. It took some time getting used to XDA, and the bigger surface area felt quite awkward initially as I kept hitting two keys by mistake. You need to hit the keys towards the middle to avoid this from happening. I feel like it’ll take a few days to adjust to these, especially if you’re used to a sculpted profile. One thing I liked about the XDA keycaps is that they seem to have a deeper and more thocky sound than Cherry. These keycaps are dye-sublimated PBT with walls of 1.5mm, which is a strong feature of the board as many similarly priced mechs still come with ABS, such as the Keychron K6.
No surprise to see Gateron switches on this board, and we have the usual Red, Brown and Blue options with the addition of Silver and Yellow. This is the Gateron KS9 version that supports SMD LEDs. Gateron Yellows are of course one of the most popular budget linears and they offered decent stock performance. The springs are quite crunchy and pingy, but this was barely noticeable during general use. A nice feature of the TK68 is that it comes with CIY hot-swap sockets, making it very easy to remove the switches. I would highly recommend lubing these Yellows as they become almost indistinguishable from higher-end switches. The stabilisers were quite impressive and I didn’t pick up any substantial rattle or mushiness. They are plate-mount stabs with a generous application of factory lube. I did find the space bar quite loud, so you might want to consider a band-aid mod for sound dampening. The stock sound of the TK68 was pretty good, albeit a bit hollow and rattly. There was a big improvement in the acoustics after lubing.
The 68-key layout gives you dedicated arrow keys and a partial Nav cluster. If you’re coming from the more standard layout, the 1.75U right Shift might take some getting used to and you will just need to reprogram that muscle memory. The Fn layer has everything you would expect, with the F-Row, media functions and RGB controls. I’m very happy to see that there are no Fn icons printed on the keycaps and it looks so much cleaner.
The TK68 is a dual wireless mech, so you can choose between using Bluetooth 5.0 or the 2.4Ghz receiver. Playing CSGO on 2.4Ghz, I was really impressed and there was no perceptible input lag. A good way for me to detect input lag is doing corner peeks in CSGO, and the keyboard felt very responsive when doing this. I would definitely use this over Bluetooth for gaming. The connection was also very stable and I didn’t experience any connection drops or input issues. The TK68 comes with a 1900 mAh battery and you should get around a week of use with the backlighting off. The battery life is less impressive with the backlighting on, and I only got two days with the RGB at full brightness. The backlighting automatically goes off after two minutes of idle, however the keyboard will immediately be responsive. There is also a sleep mode that is triggered after about five minutes. Wireless setup is straightforward: make sure you set the switches on the side appropriately, then use the Fn setup controls.
The TK68 is easy on the eye, featuring a very stylish grey-white colourway with red accents. The bezels are nice and thin and we have some Gamakay branding on the front right of the case. There are a total of 15 RGB modes, and the Fn layer has all the usual RGB controls, such as mode cycling as well as brightness and speed adjustment. There is also a customisable static backlighting mode that is accessed with Fn + Pg Dn. This colour mode can only be edited with the software.
Looking at the build, the case consists of a top frame that clicks into a bottom piece. The mounting plate is curved at the top and bottom so it slides into the top piece. There are actually no screws in the chassis, and the assembly is held in place by two standoffs and the curved mounting plate. The case is fairly light and most of the heft comes from the plate. On the bottom we find four rubber feet, as well as dual flip-outs that will give you two different typing angles. The side positioning of the USB-C port works great when connected to a laptop, saving space in front of the keyboard. We have a 1.5m braided USB-C cable with an angled connector.
The software can be downloaded via a Google Drive link on the Banggood listing page. Just note that the keyboard has to be plugged in for the software to work. The software is pretty barebones, featuring single key remapping, backlighting control and macro recording. It would be nice to have the option of remapping the Fn layer, something which is curiously rare on prebuilt mechs. The TK68 does have on-board memory, so all settings will persist when closing the software. The RGB tab will give you access to a few things that are not possible with the Fn layer, namely selecting single colours and editing the custom backlighting mode.
The TK68 is an excellent board with an impressive list of features, and at around $90 it offers serious bang for buck. I’m especially liking the PBT keycaps and 2.4Ghz connection, and this keyboard is going to be very competitive against something like the Keychron K6.
I just want to add a little observation about the switches. So the Gateron Yellow is available in different versions, such as the KS8 and KS9. I’m actually not a big fan of the KS9, as they are sometimes inconsistent where some of the switches are abnormally scratchy. The KS8 version is more consistent in my experience. The scratchiness persisted even after lubing, and it seems to be an issue with the bottom housing. I just ended up using the smooth ones on the alphas and modifiers, and the scratchier ones I put on the lesser used keys. This is something that Gateron needs to work on.