So it didn’t take long for me to convert to loving mechanical keyboards. It is, after all, only 4 or 5 months since I picked up the Logitech G413 which I reviewed here Logitech G413 Review. So I decided I had to track down a keyboard for use at home too. I had a couple of requirements: 1. It couldn’t be as expensive as the G413 as I wouldn’t be using it all day and 2. It had to have replaceable keycaps as customization would be nice in my home setup. So after a brief search, I came across the Aukey KM-G8.
Mechanical keyboards are never cheap but the KM-G8 came in at £33.99 (around €39) on Amazon - Aukey KM-G8(affiliate link). This met my first need. The keyboard itself uses Outemu Blue switches. I didn’t recognize these straight away, so I almost discounted it as an option as I wanted to replace the keycaps. Yet one of the comments on Amazon pointed out that these are pretty identical to Cherry MX Blues, making them easily replaceable. That meant need number 2 would most likely be met. So, with those two requirements met and the fact I liked the frame-less design I decided to buy it.
I also picked up a set of keycaps from keypop.net - http://keypop.net/product/tai-hao-orange-graphite-grey-keycap-doubleshot-keyset. I didn’t plan to use the full keycap set but thought if I ever changed my mind it would be nice to have the darker keys. Shipping from the US, although cheap, took forever. I would have bought from Amazon again but they seemed a little expensive and I still didn’t know if they would work!
The keyboard features a frame-less design like my current Logitech G413. The Aukey KM-G8 is completely black though. If you didn’t want to customize it at all, it would look fine on any desk in any office. It lacks many of the Logitech’s other features like back-lighting, a beautifully braided USB cable, and a pass-through USB (type-A) port. But for the price, I am impressed with it. It’s nicely heavy and doesn’t seem to have any flex that might cause any problems when typing.
Typing on the Outemu Blues is a satisfying experience. The click is quite loud, but a little on the tinny side. My Logitech G413 has Romer-G switches. I’m told these are like Cherry MX Browns, so the G413 seems to make of a thud than a click. This for you will be more of a personal preference thing. As the keyboard is at home, no one is likely to complain about the typing noise but we’ll see how long my wife puts up with it. I don’t mind it at all - even without music or headphones on. If the switches are as reliable as Aukey claim, they will last for years. I do far less typing at home than I do at work - except for blog posts like this of course.
So once my tai hao key caps arrived, it was a simple task to replace the keys I wanted. So with the custom keycaps, I have a rare enough keyboard setup, that matches my current work-space at home.
My only complaints are: Because the switches have a white housing, the frame-less design means that these are visible. It’s only a slight complaint as when I sit in front of my keyboard I can’t see them, but elsewhere in the room, they are visible. The space bar isn’t as solid as the one on my G413. It works perfectly, but there’s a little more play than there should be.
At this price, and barring any switch failures, this keyboard is pretty easy to recommend. You can pick it up here if you want - Aukey KM-G8(affiliate link).