NPET61 Mechanical Keyboard Review

It’s the best bang for buck keyboard I have ever reviewed

Today we have a super budget keyboard for review. The NPET61 sells for only $19 on Amazon, making it the cheapest mechanical keyboard I’ve ever reviewed.

Honestly I wasn’t expecting much for $19, but when I opened the box I was intrigued. This is a legitimate mechanical keyboard and it actually comes with Gateron Red switches. If you think about it, just a 70 pack of Gateron Reds already costs more than $19, which is what you pay for the whole keyboard. This board also comes with full RGB, which is another unexpected feature at this price. The deal becomes even better when you throw in a detachable USB-C cable and a very handy 68-key layout. And yes, it does have anti-ghosting and N-key rollover.

I’ve tried my fair share of budget mechs in the past, and these boards are usually characterised by pingy and rattly sound profiles while being horrible to type on. Thankfully that isn’t the case with the NPET61, and I was actually quite impressed with the typing experience. The board feels great and I was easily hitting my normal typing speeds. The stabilisers even come pre-lubed. The ABS keycaps are quite thin so the sound profile isn’t the greatest, but it’s more than adequate for what you’re paying. It has a kind of pleasant marbly sound profile which you sometimes get with thin ABS keycaps. I think it’d actually sound really good with a thicker set. This keyboard punches way above its weight and the typing experience is comparable to boards five times its price. The only real downside is that the board is not hot-swappable, so you’ll have to get out the soldering kit if you want to perform mods.

Keyboards in this price range usually have single-colour or rainbow backlighting, so having full RGB is a big bonus. The white mounting plate and shinethrough keycaps make for a vibrant and bright RGB aesthetic. There are a total of 14 RGB modes, and you can cycle through these with Fn + Back Slash. Then you have all the usual RGB controls, including speed and brightness control. While the ABS keycaps have thin walls and feel kind of flimsy, they are double-shot and the legends look really clean and consistent. Not that stencil appearance that you find on some budget mechs. I like the fact that the Fn layer is printed on the side of the keycaps as opposed to on top.

The NPET61 comes with a plastic case, and this is one area where it actually feels like a $19 keyboard. The case has a few unsightly manufacturing marks on the frame, which gives it an unfinished appearance. But apart from that, the build quality is satisfactory and there is even dual flip-out feet on the underside.

The NPET61 doesn’t have software but the Fn layer is fairly comprehensive. The Fn layer features the F-row, Nav Cluster, RGB controls, and a Windows lock. There are actually a second set of Fn functions on the F-Row. You can toggle between the main and secondary functions by pressing Fn + Left Ctrl. This is an awkward design, as you would need to switch back and forth between the main and secondary functions. It would have been much better if they just put the multimedia functions somewhere else. There are plenty of unused keys. Fn + W allows you to swap the WASD and arrow keys.

The 65% form factor has been my sweet spot for some time now, so naturally I enjoyed the layout of the NPET61. I was especially pleased to see a dedicated Delete, as some 65% boards inexplicably omit this key. The dedicated Nav Cluster keys are Home, Delete, Pg Up and Pg Dn, and the rest is placed on the Fn layer. Then of course you have those juicy dedicated arrow keys, something I cannot live without. On a personal note, I like to remap my Caps Lock to Delete, so the lack of software for remapping was a disappointment.

The NPET61 is a keyboard that exceeded my admittedly low expectation, and I can confidently say it’s the best bang for buck keyboard I have ever reviewed. This is the perfect entry-level keyboard.


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