It is feasible I’m the flawed particular person to assessment the OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro. Yes, reviewing keyboards is a part of my job, however a part of what makes mechanical keyboards so interesting can be what makes them so laborious to assessment. Tastes and preferences fluctuate so extensively, and yow will discover (or construct) a board completely tailor-made to you. That additionally means it’s doable to construct a board that is every little thing you do not need in a keyboard. This may be mine.
The OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro is the product of the corporate’s collaboration with Keychron, one of many largest names in mechanical keyboards for fanatics. Even for those who’re accustomed to Keychron’s keyboards—we have examined a number of in our Home Office Gear guide—this 75 % keyboard nonetheless manages to tell apart itself.
The OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro is heavy. I imply heavy. At a bit greater than 4 kilos, its weight will really feel acquainted to anybody who has used a Keychron board however shockingly bricklike to anybody else. The weight retains the keyboard from sliding round your desk, which is a type of private preferences that doesn’t mesh with my behavior of shifting round at my desk quite a bit. But for these with good, static posture, it may be a boon.
On the underside, a thick kickstand bar that stays firmly in place. On the rear edge are two bodily toggles and a USB-C port. One toggle permits you to change between Windows and Mac keyboard layouts and the opposite swaps between wired and wi-fi connections. It connects wirelessly by way of Bluetooth 5.1, however you should utilize the included USB-C–to–USB-C cable to tether it. ((*81*) additionally a USB-C–to–USB-A adapter within the field.)
The keyboard comes with individual-key RGB backlighting, although the included keycaps have opaque lettering. In a darkish room, you may see the form of the keyboard, which ought to be roughly sufficient to reposition your fingers, however it’s not tremendous simple to see the important thing labels. This isn’t an enormous dealbreaker (particularly since you may customise the keycaps), however it’s a little bit of a bummer for me.
OnePlus sells two variations of this keyboard: Winter Bonfire and Summer Breeze. The former makes use of purple, tactile switches, whereas the latter (which is the mannequin I examined) has blue, linear switches. Additionally, solely the Summer Breeze mannequin comes with what OnePlus is asking its Marble-mallow keycaps, whereas the Winter Bonfire mannequin makes use of normal polybutylene terephthalate plastic.
It’s laborious to parse what makes the Marble-mallow keycaps so particular. OnePlus describes it as derived from the identical type of supplies utilized in “wristbands and charging cables,” that are usually tender however sturdy. Whatever the distinction within the manufacturing course of, the keys do really feel noticeably softer than these on different keyboards.
Typing on a Cloud
Combined with the linear switches, these Marble-mallow keycaps give the keyboard a distinctly squishy typing expertise. It virtually appears like typing on a cloud. Which is one other of these issues which are both nice or horrible relying in your choice. For my cash, if I’m going to kind on a giant, heavy keyboard, I desire some satisfying click on, so the Winter Bonfire would possibly’ve been extra up my alley. But for many who like softer, quieter keyboards, this feels laborious to high.
There are 81 keys on this keyboard (therefore the identify), and the 75 % keyboard structure saves house by dropping the numpad and keys like Insert or End. You do get keys like Page Up, Page Down, and Home alongside the suitable. Unlike a variety of compact keyboards although, the keys listed here are barely separated on an island of their very own, which I recognize.
The quantity knob on the highest proper additionally sits barely aside and stands out like an ornamental jewel. The knob’s clear plastic gives the look that it might mild up, however it doesn’t, which is sort of a reduction. One brilliant mild could be distracting, however it does make the knob really feel a bit misplaced. Every different key has a tender, matte grey vibe with solely a splash of muted purple. So a transparent, gemlike knob feels incongruous.