©2019 The Everyday Enthusiast. Proudly Created & Designed by GØLD Photography, Media & Design

  • Justin-Rey

Review: KEMOVE DK66 Optical Keyboard


I'm a big fan of 60% keyboards. They take up very little space on my desk and are VERY portable if you want to travel with them. After owning the Razer Viper Ultimate and LOVING how responsive the optical switches felt VS the usual mechanical switches, I wanted to see if an optical keyboard existed on the market in the 60% size.


After doing some research, I found this keyboard on Amazon. The never heard of the brand and there didn't seem to be a lot of reviews on this specific model but their other models seemed reliable based on feedback from owners. I decided to take the plunge and purchased this keyboard. Thankfully, it paid off.


Here's my review of the KEMOVE DK66 Optical Keyboard.

Specs

  • 60% Keyboard (66 keys)

  • Per-Key RGB, per layer

  • ABS keycaps, OEM profile

  • Hybrid - Bluetooth 5.1 with 3 profiles and USB-C for wired use

  • Built-in battery (1900 mAh)

  • Replaceable Gateron Optical Switches


Build

The DK66 is the SAME SIZE as the Anne Pro 2. It does feel a bit cheaper due to the plastic used but is still very sturdy. It has a mix of matte and shiny plastics. I personally don't like the shiny plastics since they scratch easily but those parts are found mostly at the lower trim of the keyboard. There are no buttons or switches on the keyboard, only a lone USB-C at the rear.


The keys are OEM profile and are made of ABS plastic that comes with "NANO-COATING TECHNOLOGY" to increase oil resistance and wear. The keys have a grainy texture to them and seem to resist oil as marketed. The layout is almost the same as Anne Pro 2 but it includes dedicated arrow keys which makes productivity much easier. The right shift key is actually smaller and is to the left of the UP arrow key with a DEL button found on the right. It bothers me a bit since I hit the UP arrow key on accident when I want the shift key. At least it's not like Razer's laptop designs where the shift key is actually on the right of the UP arrow key.


One of the distinct features of this keyboard is the split spacebar and the Dierya key which are both angled towards the user. This was actually more comfortable for me since it was easier to hit the keys without lifting/resting my thumb as high. The left space bar acts as normal while the right acts like an Fn key, known as FNX, when held. Holding the key will activate a new layer within the keyboard firmware while tapping activates a regular space. Unfortunately, the right space bar will always activate a space function after you release it from a hold position which can be annoying. The Dierya key is also a "normal" Fn key that's used specifically to activate some of the special commands such as key brightness, Bluetooth profile, key layout profile, etc. Double tapping the key will place a hold command on it so you don't have to continuously hold it down if you need to activate multiple functions.

On the right, you can see the stem (brown) in the shaft. This blocks the IR light and activates the button

Removing the keycap exposes the Gateron brown optical switches. They act the same as normal Gateron or Cherry MX browns but have no physical button to activate the keystroke. Instead, the stem of the switch breaks an IR connection underneath the switch which activates the button. This results in faster actuation of the button over its mechanical counterpart.


For those interested, here are the specs for the Gateron Optical Brown switches:

  • Actuation distance: 2.0±0.6mm

  • Bottom out distances: 4.0+0/-0.4mm

  • Operating force: 55±15gf

  • End force: < 110gf


The switches on this keyboard are also removable and replaceable. You can have some switches as brown, others as red, blue, yellow, black, and silver. I really like that you can customize the feel of this keyboard just by swapping to a new switch. The ESC and DIERYA keys came installed with red optical switches. 2 extra brown switches were included in case you want to swap those out. The switch housing doesn't have any wobble and are firmly planted to the PCB and top plate but the stems wobble a bit. Lastly, the board itself is supposedly waterproof, but I won't test that out. I'll take KEMOVE’s word for it.

Even though it uses some cheap plastics for the frame, the overall build is great. I do like that the switches are replaceable and you can customize the feel of each key based on your usage. I wish that they had a matte version with no shiny plastics though.


Software

The keyboard utilizes KEMOVE's own application to customize the RGB, key layout, and key layers of the board. It's not a very intuitive interface and it took me a while to understand how to customize this thing. There's a mini-guide in the middle toolbar but that wasn't too clear either. I'll go over how to adjust settings in a bit.


There are multiple profiles to configure in the software that can be bound to the keyboard itself. Besides "Standard" which can't be configured, layers 1-3 can be modified. Within those layers, you can adjust what the button color or command will be per key. An example is that the "Standard" layer can be all yellow while "Layer 1" can be all red.


An example of button commands is, WASD in the "Standard" layer will type WASD while "Layer 2" will be the UP Left Down Right. Holding the Dierya key and pressing QWER will switch between "Standard" and layers 1-3. Holding the FNX (right space bar) key temporarily activates "Layer 3".


To adjust key commands, do the following:

  1. Choose the layer you'd like to adjust (Red Outline)

  2. Click the key you want to change (Orange Outline)

  3. Choose the key you'd like to bind (Green Outline)

  4. Save and apply (Blue Outline)


To adjust colors, you need to do the following:

  1. Choose the layer you'd like to adjust (Red Outline)

  2. Create a color profile (Blue Outline)

  3. Choose the keys you'd like to color (Green Outline)

  4. Choose the color of choice (Orange Outline)

  5. Save, go back to the config page, choose the color and apply


Performance


Height comparison. Left is the DK66, Right is the Anne Pro 2

The performance of the keyboard was great, but not perfect. Let's start with the feel of typing.

Compared to the Anne Pro 2 with the Kailh box switches, the keys felt a little mushier. That was expected since the stems on the box switches don't wobble as much (if at all) vs these gateron optical switch stems. The slightly mushy feeling doesn't bother me though. I did feel more comfortable typing with the DK66 over the Anne Pro because of the lower typing angle and height of the entire keyboard, especially the space bars. The lower profile eliminated pain my wrists which start to ache after ~1 hour of use with the Anne Pro 2. With the DK66, I haven't felt any pain at all, even during marathon sessions. I do use a wrist rest with both and the DK66 was superior in comfort for my usage.

The layers built into the keyboard are a HUGE win in my opinion. Something that the Anne Pro lacked was the ability to light up usable keys when an Fn key is pressed. With the DK66, I have the ability to light up usable keys when the FNX key is pressed. I LOVE that.

The multiple layers of commands built-in are also very nice. Holding the Dierya key lights up which keyboard and Bluetooth profile are active.


When it comes to gaming performance, I honestly couldn't feel a difference in actuation speed vs the Anne Pro 2. I will say that I was more comfortable playing with the DK66 because of the key angles. It just felt better for me since I didn't have to "reach" as much with my fingers. I also didn't have issues with ghosting or keys holding.


RGB lighting was great although I couldn't get true white to come out. It had a slightly pink/purple hue instead. All the other colors showed up as they should. The various RGB effects are also pretty cool. One effect in particular is the audio effect which lights up the keyboard based on what the keyboard hears because there's a mic built under the space bar.


Bluetooth performance felt stable in my use. To activate Bluetooth, you first need to turn the keyboard on which is a combination of Dierya + Tab for ~4 seconds. You then choose the profile by pressing Dierya and Z, X, or C.


Normal word processing and general use was smooth without any connection, ghosting, and repeat character issues. For gaming, there was some lag but nothing that would stop me from using Bluetooth on occasion. I could still play COD and Overwatch on Bluetooth, but the lag lowered my performance a bit when the timing of certain actions was critical. Obviously, go wired when playing fast-paced games. Wireless is fine with adventure games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.


Battery life is good. I tend to plug it in at the end of the day but I never had an issue with the battery dying during my use.


Overall, I'm pleased with the performance of this keyboard. Bluetooth connection was solid and the feel of typing and gaming was great. Pressing the keys was more comfortable when compared to the Anne Pro 2. I didn't really notice the benefits of optical when it comes to speed of actuation but it's probably less pronounced than clicking with a mouse.

My Improvements

Just like Anne Pro 1, I added clear O-rings under the keycaps to reduce the travel distance and improve the feel of the key presses. The o-rings in particular are a 50A hardness. I do plan to swap out many of the brown switches for yellow, swap the top housing to make the switches more stable, and also lube the switch stems in the near future. Another blog will be released once that's been completed.


Who should get this keyboard?

I feel like this keyboard is suited for a mobile user that wants to take their keyboard with them but also wants to customize keyboard feel without fully building one themselves. These users can buy new switches, take them apart to lube or swap parts, and install them without soldering. It's also for someone who wants to save as much desk space as possible while retaining all of the functionality of a full-size keyboard. Finally, they'd want an optical keyboard for faster switch actuation vs mechanical switches.


What about the other optical switch keyboards like the Razer Huntsman TKL?

I can't speak for those because I haven't used them. I also don't plan on buying them since they're a TKL keyboard. I only buy 65% keyboards and below with Bluetooth to save on desk space and to use wirelessly.


Should I buy this instead of the Anne Pro 2?

If you don't plan on doing any mods and want something that's easier to use, then get the Anne Pro 2 instead. The software is more intuitive and the physical Bluetooth power switch is a welcome addition.

But, if you want to really customize your keyboard with different switches per key, different key lights per profile layer, and want the latest in switch technology, then this is the better option.

Conclusion

KEMOVE made an awesome keyboard despite its flaws in hardware and software. I feel they should have included a power button switch like the Anne Pro 2 instead of holding some buttons and they can streamline their software a lot more to make it easier to use. Even with these issues, this is now my main keyboard at home. I still use the Anne Pro 2, but it's now in my backpack for when I travel since I feel it's the better mobile keyboard overall.


If you're looking for a 60% optical keyboard, look no further, this is the one!

Have Fun!

-The Everyday Enthusiast

Disclaimer - I purchased this keyboard with my own money

Click Here For Product Link (Not an affiliate link!)

765 views