A slightly different review today. This time around I am going to review a product that you too can build for yourself! It’s our very own DIY 60% board that comes with a variety of different options and is customisable to a very large extent. The version I have to review is present with Gateron Blues and is in a clear case and so that will act as the basis for review.
Firstly, the keyboard is presented in a really sturdy case, which is made of a lightweight plastic material to aid with possible portability and overall strength. This is where the first avenue of possibility for customisation occurs – There are numerous amounts of cases available which allows the user to build the keyboard to their exact specification. The case also features 4 non-slip strips of rubber that prevent the keyboard from slipping around the desk. Also present (and provided in the kit) is a Mini USB cable that allows the keyboard to be plugged in and allows it to function.
The switches present in this particular board are Gateron Blues, which are Cherry MX Blue clones that have a 55cN actuation force as opposed to the actual Cherry’s slightly heavier 60cN force. Also, the actuation point on the Gateron switch is slightly higher in comparison to the Cherrys which doesn’t really make a difference to the feel of the switch. Numerous sources state that the Gaterons are smoother than the Cherry switches. However, in the case of these Blues, I disagree. For example, the tactility of the switch is lost by comparison to the MX Blues and the slightly heavier typing feel is more suited to myself. The click, however, is considerably louder than on the Cherrys which could be looked on as a good thing, in that it makes the sound distinguishable from other clicky switches. The overall feel of the switch is slightly down on the Cherrys, but overall, in terms of value for money, the Gaterons are not a bad switch.
The kit itself can come with LEDs that shine nicely through the keycaps (see feature image for details) and can also come with a variety of all the Gateron switches, as well as the mainstream Cherry switches and the oddball MX Clears. The PCB that mounts the switches is the ever reliable Satan GH60 PCB which is fully programmable to suit the user and their associated needs. The board can come in both ISO and ANSI layouts to suit the user even more.
The 60% layout is a great idea for a compact board but unfortunately, the kit does lack arrow keys that would be useful for tasks that are performed using keyboard shortcuts. Moreover, it does also lack a Delete key, which detracts from the usability ever-so slightly. To make up for this, unlike some 60% boards, the kit features a full size space bar and ‘Backspace’ key mount that is really useful (this is unlike the Filco Majestouch MiniLa that features a really small space-bar with two ‘Function’ or ‘Fn’ keys either side that can act as an addition to the small space-bar using the dipswitch on the back of the keyboard. The MiniLa also features a ‘Backspace’ key that is the same size as a normal keycap, which does also not help matters when it comes to typing). This small issue is a double-edged sword really; one product has some keys but not all and the other product has those keys that the initial product lacks. The kit also lacks a Function key that could be used to program some keys to perform tasks that a normal keyboard could (such as programming the number row to act with a Fn key as the ‘F’ keys above the number row). The keyboard as a whole is very light and portable, which is a key aspect of 60% boards.
Overall, despite the small issues with keys, our own 60% kit is a great board that is fantastic for customisation purposes and for the purpose of convenience. I would recommend this to anyone who is just wanting something that is a little different and also somebody who wants to build a 60% keyboard.
The guide on how to build this for yourself can be found here: https://mechboards.co.uk/how-to-build-our-gh60-kit/
Alternatively, the kit can be purchased from our store either pre-assembled or sent as kit so you can build it yourself! To find it, naviagte to the ‘Shop’ tab of the website and hover over it until the drop-down menu appears. Then, click on the ‘Kits’ section and that should lead you to a page on the Kits that are available. The kit is the first one on the list – the one marked ‘60% DIY Kit’.