review

Royal Kludge RK61 Single Color Review 60 Percent Mechanical Keyboard

Friday, April 02, 2021

While the expression "less is more" goes against popular belief, it is actually accurate. Taking a minimalist approach to things and being minimalist does make you more efficient and space saving too, which is why multi-tools are popular. 
Same goes with computer peripherals such as keyboards and mice. Rather than having separate peripherals for work and gaming, why not get one? If you own a PC, laptop and tablet and do gaming, you should look into a keyboard like the Royal Kludge RK61 with wired and wireless functionality.

Being able to use the keyboard without the cable is neat and, it's even neater that the Royal Kludge RK61 supports multipoint pairing connection for up to 3 devices. This means, you can connect the Royal Kludge RK61 keyboard to up to 3 devices at the same time, allowing you to toggle between all three devices using the Fn+Q/W/E key combination command on the keyboard. The keys Q, W and E will flash respectively during pairing.

The Royal Kludge RK61 is a 60 percent keyboard with 61 keys. A full size keyboard has 104 keys; hence the Royal Kludge RK61 is missing 43 keys. Most compact keyboards achieve a compact footprint by basically packing all keycaps together to narrow the gaps and omit some keys most people don't ever use.

If you rarely use function keys (F1 to F12 keys) and arrow keys, the RK61 is right for you. The Royal Kludge RK61 has no dedicated function keys (F1 to F12 keys) and arrow keys, although these have been programmed virtually into the other keys; hence you can still use function keys and numpad keys by using the FN command plus a key combination (e.g. FN+J=Home, FN+0=F10, etc). The full list of FN+key combination is included in the box for reference.

The Royal Kludge RK61 measures 29cm long, 10cm wide and 4cm tall at the highest part of the keyboard, which is the top row keys. The bottom row keys have a 3cm elevation. The RK61 weighs just 500 grams, thanks to being entirely made of plastic, including the top plate.The base of the Royal Kludge RK61 keyboard is made of opaque plastic.

There are several lighting effects to choose from and, you can adjust the lighting brightness and speed, all from the keyboard itself. The RK61 is supported by software and firmware, which you can download from the RK Gaming Store. The Royal Kludge software has a basic interface but, it's extremely lightweight, taking less than 4MB of storage space. The software isn't the most user-friendly but it works.

After launching the software, you have to single click on the "keyboard homepage screen", which takes you to the main menu screen where you can select options to remap all the keys however you want with unlimited configurations; hence you can have multiple profiles with different key mappings. You can also create macros and tinker with the pattern effects.
The RK61 keyboard pictured, it's the single color blue backlit version, color options aren't supported. If you like RGBs, there is the RK61 RGB version keyboard, which has a nicer looking software interface, as well as different key switch manufacturer (Kailh switches). The RK61 RGB keyboard is sold via RKGaming; whereas the single color RK61 is sold via RKGamingStore.
Bluetooth mode is powered via the internal 1450mAh rechargeable battery and has a power saving mode (standby) that kicks in automatically within 3 minutes of no operation. Pressing any key takes the keyboard out of standby mode. During bluetooth mode, the space bar led becomes a battery status led. Runtime depends on use. If you're a moderate user, using the dimmest light setting, you can get up to 10 hours of use and 2 weeks in standby time. The RK61 charging time is 3 hours.

The cable input port is slightly recessed and located in the front centre of the keyboard. On the bottom of the the Royal Kludge RK61 single color keyboard, you find four rubber feet, the bleutooth switch and serial number. There aren't any kickstands for height adjustment, although you won't miss them because the front of the keyboard has a 10-degree incline. If you need want kickstand risers, check out the Redragon K630W. It's also a 60% wired keyboard that looks very similar.

The keycaps have laser-etched key legends, which aren't as longer lasting as dye-filled legends, although the RK61 keycaps are made of double shot ABS. Being ABS, the keycaps will develop a "greasy shine" over time. That said, keycaps are relatively inexpensive to replace so, you can easily mod the keycaps with different shapes and sizes to change up the look of the keyboard.

If you can get aftermarket PBT double shot keycaps, these are generally better with the exception of GMK and SA (spherical) keycaps, which are made high quality ABS keycaps. PBT keycaps are usually made of thicker quality plastic - 85% PBT and 15% ABS - which prevents the key legend from fading. PBT keycaps are also better at noise dampening; hence they sound cleaner than ABS when bottoming out.

The blue switches on the RK61 keyboard are made by TTC, which is one of many mechanical switch manufacturers, including Cherry MX, Kailh, Outemu, Gateron and Jixian. When buying the RK61 keyboard from Royal Kludge website, you can choose switches from blue, brown and red, as well as the color of the keyboard (black or white). The RK61 switches aren't hot swappable as they are soldered onto the PCB board. The included unbranded USB-A to USB-C cable measures 1.8 meters long. You can buy the RK61 single color keyboard from the RKGamingStore and Amazon. You should also consider checking the Redragon Draconic K530 keyboard. It's also 60% but, it looks visually less cluttered than the RK61 because the second key font legend has been etched on the side of the key.

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