Just recently I reviewed the Mantistek GK3-61 mechanical keyboard, and that was an example of the growing range of budget 60% boards. But today we have the Motospeed CK61, which is yet another budget 60%.
Thanks to Banggood.com for providing this keyboard for review and their continued support. I’ll leave the links in the description.
- Motospeed CK61 Mechanical Keyboard
- USB type C cable
- Plastic ring keycap puller
- User guide
- Warranty information
DESIGN & BUILD
The keyboard only comes in black, with the black case, and black keycaps. So there’s no colourful options like the Anne Pro. The case is a very simple and typical 60% enclosure design. We have very minimal bezels, which are chamfered. It is a high profile design, so the keyswitches are hidden away, creating a clean look. And it does have it’s natural inclination to it, as there are no flip up feet.
On the bottom we have some rubber feet for non-slip, and just some branding that’s fortunately hidden away here. So yeh, a very typical plastic case design.
And on the rear we have a USB type C port dead centre, and if you know 60% boards, that’s not an encouraging sign, which we’ll see later.
In the hands it feels fine with a bit of flex. And it’s a very light keyboard, as it has an aluminium plate, rather than the normal steel which would be heavier. So it weighs at just about 440g.
LAYOUT AND FUNCTIONALITY
It’s a very familiar look as you would expect with a 60% board. A 60% features just a main area of the keyboard, with the other functions on secondary layers.
Now this is where it gets a bit confusing. Usually secondary layers are pretty simple, by using the FN key in combination with another key. So normally, to say press up arrow. You would look at the keyboard and think that FN plus W would be the up arrow key. However, that does not work.
This uses a really weird system that doesn’t really make sense to me.To allow the WASD keys to be arrow keys, we have to press FN plus 4, which then toggles that mode. So WASD will now be directional arrows, until you press FN plus 4 again, to exit that mode. Alternatively, you can change these keys here to arrow keys by pressing function and 3. And at least that makes a bit more sense since it’s out of the way.
The usual function plus W for up arrow allows for a much more flowing experience. With this, you constantly have to switch between the layouts which is absolutely terrible. And this is the case for the function row, so F1 to F12, and then the nav cluster, which includes print screen, insert, delete, home, and all that.
I don’t know how and why they decided to do this, and go against the grain. Literally every other single compact board does it the normal way, where it’s a hold down combination.
To add to that, there isn’t any programmability on here, which is pretty important as you get into smaller keyboards, as you rely on combinations to access other keys.
So yeh, I’m being quite negative, but I believe it to be a very disappointing trait. And you may think differently, and perhaps I’m missing something, so definitely let me know otherwise.
We have Kailh Box White keyswitches, and this is the only switch it comes with. I’ve done builds with Box keyswitches in the past, but the Box White’s are a light clicky keyswitch, kind of being the Cherry MX Blue of the range. However there’s one major difference. Rather than using a click jacket like the MX clicky switches do, these use a click bar, resulting in quite a clicky switch.
The click is sharper, and more crisp than the typical clicky switch which tend to rattle. And in turn has a higher pitched sound, that may be more infuriating. To add to that, since it is a click bar, it has 2 clicks, rather than the usual 1.
This creates for quite an enjoyable typing experience. However it’s sometimes described as a clicky linear, as the tactile bump is very weak. You’d of course have to like clicky switches to consider this keyboard, and I would probably recommend keeping this as a home only keyboard. But yeh, Kailh Box Clicky’s are a nice change to the quite stagnant MX clicky range. It’s just unfortunate that this is the only switch available for this keyboard though.
The stabilisers aren’t great, so they do rattle, which is the usual with nearly all retail boards. But with clicky switches, it’s always a bit less noticeable in comparison to say a tactile or linear keyboard.
The typeface or font on them are clean enough, but are broken up because of its doubleshot construction. These are made from ABS plastic and are about 1.1mm thick, so pretty thin, but not the worst. And because of its doubleshot construction, the legends will be very durable overtime, as they’re another piece of plastic.
Another headline feature is the RGB lighting. I’m happy to report that it does have a legit RGB colour spectrum, unlike some other budget boards that only have like 7 colours, so the transitions are smooth. However you can’t really take full advantage of the colours as there isn’t proper customisation or software. There’s some set lighting profiles on the 5 to 0 keys. And then a bunch of different patterns and effects as per usual.
So this is a proper budget 60% keyboard, and that’s something that I’m happy to see. The build doesn’t really differ from the others, with the plastic case, and the doubleshot keycaps, but is lighter because of it’s aluminium mounting plate.But it’s all very similar. It even has legit RGB lighting, and it’s really impressive to see the Kailh Box White keyswitches.
It’s such a delight to be able to see these keyswitches in prebuilt retail boards. You’d normally have to build a custom to have them. But they provide a really nice alternative to the usual clicky switches, and in my opinion, these are better.
However in the end, I feel that a lot of it comes down to the way the secondary functions work, and whether the low price is enough to let that pass. In my opinion, it’s just a poor implementation of accessing the secondary functions. And for me personally, it was just too much. But also keep in mind, that I am already accustomed to the standard way. Again, you may be okay with this.
Some other things. Because of its weird standoff locations, and the centred USB C port, this won’t be compatible with aftermarket cases. But then again, that’s fine if you don’t want to spend more money.
But yeh, it’s good to see another option, especially with these switches. But ultimately I do not recommend it if you think that the way the secondary functions work won’t work for you. If you think that it’s not an issue, then it’s packing some real value. Thanks again to Banggood.com for providing this keyboard for review, and for their continued support.
Motospeed CK61: https://goo.gl/Vfg1EV (8%off coupon code: 44ec66 ) June Mid-Year mega Sale up to 80% off: https://goo.gl/WWfheV