Knewkey Rymek Typewriter Review Upgraded Version Classy Grey

Friday, April 01, 2022

One of the coolest looking mechanical keyboards at the moment - the Rymek retro style typewriter by Knewkey. It is an 84 key (75%) keyboard with Cherry MX blue switches (60g actuation force), four virtual multimedia keys and inclusive of a platen roller knob, paper rest and carriage return, as well as led cutouts that resemble typebars (strikers). 
The platen knob, paper and carriage return are functional too, letting you adjust volume (with platen knob) and toggle connectivity mode (with carriage return) to switch between wired and wireless mode. The paper rest is a detachable U shaped cradle (14cm long x 7cm wide) that can accommodate a small smart device (tablet or smartphone). The cradle is made of thin aluminum alloy flat wire so, it's very lightweight and can be adjusted in two positions to elevate the smart device between ~45 degrees and ~80 degrees.
The casing of the Rymek typewriter keyboard is made of plastic and has a slanted base with a gradual rise (4.5cm high) towards the front of the keyboard. The top row of keys sit 4cm high, while the bottom row of keys sit 3.5cm high. The dimensions of the keyboard are 36cm long and 19cm wide (deep). The highest point of the Rymek typewriter keyboard is the platen roller knob (7.3cm high).

The carriage return is made of dark chrome electroplated plastic and, it is attached to a spring loaded push switch that toggles betwee wired and bluetooth mode, which supports Bluetooth 3.0 multipoint connectivity for up to 3 devices. This means, you can maintain an active bluetooth connection to up to 3 different devices  and from different platforms (e.g. Windows, macOS, iOS or Android) at the same time. 

The vintage typewriter design is definitely the biggest selling point of the Rymek keyboard and, the fact it is a mechanical keyboard makes it stand out in a good way. That said, the Rymek typewriter keyboard does have some limitations and drawbacks. 
For instance, the stock Cherry switches are not hot swappable and the keyboard is rather bulky and heavy (1.1kg) so, it isn't really portable. The typewriter style keycaps are really nice and they're removable too but they have a custom design with a very long stem, which means finding aftermarket replacement keycaps is challenging. 
Knewkey has said they will be selling keycaps for this keyboard, although they're not available yet from their website. It's not known whether the keycaps will be a different style or just spares, which wouldn't be ideal as you would pretty much  be stuck with the stock keycaps. 
Double shot ABS or PBT keycaps would have been a good option for the Rymek typewriter keyboard, although the stock keycaps aren't bad at all. They're made of electroplated ABS with piano lacquer, which give the keycaps a similar performance to double shot keycaps so, the legends won't fade away. The electroplating also seems to reduce the classic greasy shine that quickly develops when typing on regular ABS keycap.
The Rymek typewriter stock keycaps are also opaque so, the legend lettering isn't translucent. This means, the RGB lighting does not shine through the keycaps, although the blue backlighting bounces off against the keycaps reflecting nicely on the glossy plastic top plate. You can still use the Knewkey Rymek typewriter keyboard at night for ambience, although you won't be able to see the keycaps properly in the dark so, you can't really type unless you're used to typing without looking. 
Even if you're a pro typer with decent muscle memory though, first time typing on the Rymek typewriter keyboard takes a little getting used at first. This is mainly due to the shape of the keycaps and typewriter form factor. The Rymek typewriter keyboard also integrates dummy switch stabilizers for the longer keycaps. The dummy stabilizers have not been lubed but there is very little rattling when shaking the keyboard (check video's shake test).

The Rymek typewriter lighting is limited too since it isn't a proper RGB keyboard. It uses blue only led lighting with 7 different blue dynamic lighting effects and a blue solid color option. There is no custom light mode. The lighting effects are controlled directly from the keyboard using the Fn command key. You can also control the speed and brigthness (between 5 different levels, including "off mode" to turn off the backlighting).

While the Rymek typewriter keyboard isn't fully RGB, it has a longer lasting battery life. It is equipped with a 1200mAh battery with a charging time of 2 hours and 8 hours battery life with lights turned on. With the lights turned off, you get around 6 days of battery life, which is pretty good. The Knewkey Rymek charges via micro USB connection and, you get two micro USB ports (one on left and the other on the right). 
The dual charging port feature is nice, although it would have been neat if the charging ports had in/out functionality for charging external devices too. Being micro USB though, it could be a deal breaker although it's not likely since most people buying the Rymek typewriter keyboard are likely to be users who own legacy devices. A micro USB cable (60cm long) cable is included, which is useful for those who don't have any old cables laying around.

In bluetooth mode, the lights turn off automatically after 2 minutes of inactivity and the keyboard will go into full hibernation after 10 minutes of inactivity to preserve battery life (this feature cannot be disabled). There are rubber pads on the bottom of the typewriter and no feet risers. You can buy the Knewkey Typewriter from amazon. It is available in different colorways and Cherry MX brown switches and Cherry MX blue switches.

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