Disclaimer: All opinions expressed within this article are just that, opinions. Civil discourse is always welcomed in the comments.
The Gk68Xs is a 65% mechanical keyboard from EPOMAKER. It is my first ever mechanical keyboard bought at full price (my first one was purchased used). It’s a great option for individuals just getting into the hobby.
Why would you want a mechanical keyboard? Because it will improve accuracy, speed and equip you with the most gratifying, ASMR-ing, typing experience you can’t get from a magic keyboard. For more research, I recommend visiting the r/mechanicalkeyboards on Reddit.
For by the book readers, here are the specifications directly from EPOMAKER:
Key Switch: Gateron and Cherry
Hot-swappable Mechanical Switches: Yes
Interface: USB A to USB Type-C
Number of Keys: 68
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Battery Capacity: 1900mAh
Material: ABS plastic or Aluminium, PBT Keycaps
Backlight: RGB backlight, supports 16.8 million colors, customizable within software
System Requirements: Mac OS, Windows 10
Dimensions: 313.9 x 104.9 x 33mm / 12.36" x 4.13" x 1.3"
Weight: 229.9g / 8.11oz (Plastic case)
The GK68Xs packs a punch for a beginner mechanical keyboard and boasts one key feature productivity buffs might get a kick out of. It has a split space bar module that splits into 3, so perfect for you macro and shortcut fiends. On top of that, this keyboard is programmable and can connect to three different devices with separate layouts. Where most big company keyboards feature ABS keycaps, this one features durable PBT keycaps that last long. However, for most, these keycaps usually get changed out for much more stylish options. It also has a hot-swap capability meaning that those just entering the mechanical keyboard hobby can experiment with multiple switches or if you fancy a clickier backspace but also enjoy an overall linear keyboard, nothing is stopping you from mixing it up with this board.
The GK68Xs comes with several options; a purple or grey aluminum case or a white or dark gray plastic case and white or dark gray keycaps. As far as design goes, it doesn’t scream enthusiast. It’s not very customizable when it comes to changing the case however it is hot-swappable. The materials the board is built with are sturdy and durable. There are no obnoxious logos in sight (underneath the keyboard) which is a must for me when it comes to enthusiast tech.
EPOMAKER’s software for programming its devices has seen effective overhauls for ease of use whereas in the past it was a pain to work with and Mac OS users had to jump through several hoops to program their boards. In this new software, users can customize keys and lighting effects and even use community curated configurations. I will disclaim through, I haven’t figured out how to use the RGB programming feature, I just gave up on it since I’m not that into lighting when it comes to keyboards. The board has 4 layers; 3 programmable ones and 1 standard non-changing layer.
The placement of the backspace key is what most keyboard enthusiasts might complain about. It will take a while to get used to but once you do, it’ll be a breeze. I should warn though, if you change keyboards again to a more standardized layout, it’ll take a while to reacquaint yourself with the backspace placement. As someone who uses a lot of keyboards, the fact that I can change layers and devices with a simple key click is nice. But this keyboard is like a vehicle, if you don’t use it for a while, when you power it up again it might need some reconfiguring and re-pairing to Bluetooth devices you previously connected it to.
No review would be complete without an alternative. When looking at substitutes, I always consider the features. If Bluetooth is your stand out feature, I recommend the Keychron K2 or K6. If you’re after the programmability, just get a regular mechanical keyboard with no bells and whistles and use third party applications like Karabiner Elements, Keysmith, Auto Hotkey or SharpKeys to create new mappings.
All that being said, the GK68Xs is a wonderful addition to your keyboard hobby or an introduction to it. It pack a punch without being to flashy or pricey. I still have it in my arsenal of boards. I mostly use it when I am commuting on the go and drawing with my iPad or writing this article. I’m currently at iHop typing this article and using it. Convinced, you can get it at Amazon or Epomaker’s website.
Vincent Bekong | @mrbekong
I am Vincent Bekong, Freelance Illustrator and Character Designer by day, medium article writer by night! You can find me on Upwork for project collaborations or on Instagram @mrbekong for one-off commissions.