Epomaker launched its 2nd Kickstarter campaign in late 2020 and now the new Epomaker GK96S wireless mechanical keyboard is available immediately starting from $99 for the version with Gateron optical switches and ABS keycaps. The review unit I received from Epomaker comes with yellow Gateron optical switches and PBT keycaps.
Unboxing & Typing Test
Features & Performance
The GK96S features a 96% layout with 96 keys, including the number pad on the right. Interestingly, the maker realizes that many left-handed users were left out and couldn’t use keyboards properly because the numpad is always placed on the right; They fixed this by releasing a Southpaw version with numpad positioned on the left. This would be really useful for data entry or Excel.
Although the chassis is made of plastic, it is very well built and the colorful keycaps make the design more interesting than ever. I really like the contrast of black and white keys, along with a few red keys. As compared to a full-size keyboard, the GK96S is 35% smaller. Since the keys are crammed together to create a compact keyboard, the different colors divide the keyboard into different sections and help us find the keys quicker. As the result, we have a fully functional keyboard with very small footprint.
The PBT keycaps have higher quality than ABS keycaps on my previous keyboards. The PBT keycaps are superior in durability; You probably can use it for years and see no sign of degradation. In the case of ABS, the keycaps are smoother for your fingertips but you will see a greasy shine after just a few months. The PBT keycaps are noticeably thicker and feel textured.
The keyboard has native macOS layout with Siri and email keys. Unfortunately, there are no extra keycaps for Windows. However, it works perfectly on both macOS and Windows and you can switch among different devices with ease. The Bluetooth 5.1 connection is fast and consistent, besides, you can connect up to 4 devices simultaneously.
My unit comes with yellow Gateron optical switches and this is the first time I use this type of switch. It is significantly lighter than other linear Gateron switches like black, silver, or red. Thanks to the incredibly low 35gf actuation force, this is also the fastest switch from Gateron. In the box, Epomaker also provides some other switches including red, black, blue, brown, etc. Since this features a hot-swappable keyboard, you can change switches effortlessly without unsoldering and soldering. They provide tools to lift the keycaps and switches, so you can customize the keyboard with any switch type you want.
The keyboard is great for gaming as well since it offers full programmability. In fact, it supports 5 different layers and apart from the Standard mode, all other modes (Driver Mode, Onboard Windows Layout Mode, Onboard macOS Mode, Custom Onboard Mode) are fully customizable with the Epomaker software.
Another advantage of the GK96S is the large 4,000 mAh battery. Under my normal usage with RGB off, it could last up to a month.
If you couldn’t get the Epomaker GK96S during its Kickstarter campaign, it is a little expensive in the price range from $99 to $114. However, this is undoubtedly among the highest-quality wireless mechanical keyboards on the market and you won’t be disappointed with the purchase.
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