The M61 features a theme case and keycaps, and it is based on an Izakaya which is a type of Japanese bar
XVX M61 on Amazon
We have another XVX board for review today and this time it’s a 60%, the M61 Izakaya. As the keyboard hobby has grown over the past few years, there has been a bigger demand for keyboard customisation, whether it’s switches, keycaps or cases. XVX is trying to make this process easier with their own themed prebuilts. You might recall my review of the M84 which had a beautiful Coral Sea theme. The M61 also features a themed case and keycaps, and it is based on an Izakaya which is a type of Japanese bar. Once again the artwork is very eyecatching, and it definitely gives the keyboard a personal and warm feel, not to mention you don’t need to spend any money on third party keycaps. You can also get the M61 in the Coral Sea theme, so you aren’t limited to this style only.
Apart from the striking designs, XVX’s keyboards are also feature rich, and once again we have 2.4Ghz connectivity on the M61. So you can run this board in wired or wireless mode. For the wired connection there is a detachable USB-C cable included, and for wireless you can use the 2.4Ghz dongle, which can be found in a magnetic slot on the bottom of the board. To run the M61 in wireless mode, you simply flip the switch on the bottom and connect the USB dongle to your device. The keyboard should be recognised instantly, however if you’re having difficulties you can manually put it into pairing mode by pressing Fn + P. I found the wireless connection very reliable and responsive in general, and it was perfectly fine for gaming as well. The M61 has a 1850 mAh battery that wil give you up to 10 hours of continuous use with the backlighting on. In a more practical sense, this means 2-4 days on a single charge for the average user. The backlighting will automatically go off after one minute off idle time, but the keyboard will immediately be responsive again. There is an LED between F2 and F3 that will indicate low battery and charging status.
The M61 is available with Gateron Red, Yellow or Brown switches, and these are the KS-9 Gaterons that have compatibility with SMD LEDs. This ensures that you get a really potent RGB underglow on this keyboard. It’s a well-known fact by now that Gateron Yellows are one of the top budget linears, especially when lubed. They offered a very solid stock typing experience and the only minor nitpick would be that there was some metal ping, but it was mostly masked by background noise. The M61 comes with clip in stabilisers that come pre-lubed. The stock performance was pretty good, however there is room for improvement with some modding. No hot-swap sockets here, so if you’re looking to lube or replace the switches, or even mod the stabilisers, you’re gonna have to do some desoldering. This board features the XVX profile, which is almost like a combination of XDA and Cherry. It has the spherical tops of XDA but the profile is sculpted like Cherry. This is actually a really ergonomic profile and after using Cherry for many years I am slowly moving towards spherical top keycaps.
On the Fn layer we find the expected Function Row, as well as RGB controls and a Windows Lock. There are no arrow keys on the Fn layer, however you can toggle dedicated arrow keys by pressing Fn + I. This makes I, J, K and L act as dedicated arrows, so you wil be losing the normal functionality of those keys until you toggle back. The Nav Cluster is also missing here, and we only have Delete on Backspace. Would’ve been nice to see some media controls on the Fn layer, as it is something I use quite a lot in my workflow.
The M61 has full RGB backlighting with a total of 19 colour modes. You actually get a really attractive underglow on this keyboard as the keycaps are nice and thick so there is no light bleed. All the expected RGB controls are on the Fn layer, such as mode cycling, brightness and speed control as well as single colour selection. The keyboard allows for 9 single colours, however there is an RGB colour picker on the software. The alphanumerics have an off-white colour and the modifiers are red, and across the board we have Izakaya-inspired artwork that includes beer and rice wine. This artwork also appears on the case with a wave pattern as the background. The print quality on the case is excellent and the artwork looks really sharp and clear. The legends have more of an informal and playful style, which I think suits this keyboard. Then there are red Japanese sublegends, which obviously makes a lot of sense on this particular board and doesn’t look out of place.
No issues with build quality on the M61. The case features the daughterboard and battery, with a little bit of ribbing to prevent too much flex. The assembly feels quite weighty and this is due to the steel mounting plate. As mentioned before, the switches are soldered to the PCB and there are no hot-swap sockets like on the M84. The keycaps are dye sublimated PBT with thick walls of 1.5mm. The quality on these XVX keycaps is superb and the thicker walls give the keyboard a deeper and fuller sound. This is quite important as these thinner ABS or PBT keycaps can sound very tinny.
The software can be downloaded on XVX’s website, and just make sure your keyboard is in wired mode otherwise it will not be detected. You can save up to three profiles on the M61, and the keyboard does have on-board memory so all settings will persist. The first tab is called Customise and here you can remap any key on the standard layer, with all the usual options such as single key, multimedia and macros. Then we have our lighting tab, and here you have all the controls found on the keyboard’s Fn layer, namely mode selection, brightness and speed control. Additionally you can create your own static colour mode here. Then you can customise the behaviour of the Windows lock, and finally there is a Macro recorder.
So the M61 is another creative and eyecatching keyboard from XVX. The price of $79.99 is very appealing when you consider that it has 2.4Ghz connectivity and PBT keycaps. Would’ve been nice to see hot-swap on this board and a more comprehensive Fn layer, but overall a very solid board and well worth the price.