Review: iQunix F60 Joker mechanical keyboard
A solid, mid-priced mechanical keyboard.
In the mechanical keyboard market, once you decide you want a fully-metal case, you usually have to adjust to eating ramen for a while. That’s because custom, hot-swappable keyboards that come with metal cases can run anywhere upwards of $300 to several thousand if you’re buying on the secondary market.
That leaves a huge gap in the market between your sub-$100 manufacturers and the custom, low-volume hobbyists, just waiting for someone to come along and carve out a market presence.
One of the companies that have seen the potential in the mid-price range is iQunix, who might not be a household name yet, but based on the quality of their devices, should be on everyone’s up-and-coming lists. We’ll be looking at one of their newest keyboards today, the F60-2020, a 60-percent, hot-swappable mechanical keyboard. Can it bring value to the $150 price range?
Joker in the house
Okay, so the first thing you notice taking the F60-2020 out of the box is that it’s a hefty boi. iQunix says it weighs 790g, and I don’t doubt it for a second. That’s mainly down to the anodized aluminum shell, which makes for nice stability when you are typing. It feels, and looks, premium.
Most gaming keyboards you may be used to only have the top plate as metal, with the rest of the keyboard being plastic. Not so here, with every part of the case being aluminum.
To save costs, the case isn’t machined out of a solid block, like custom keyboards are, but bolted together with the sides, bottom, and plate all being removable. The metal used isn’t thin and cheap either, it’s nice solid, thick plates. Top stuff so far.
This model is a 60-percent board, which means it has roughly 60-percent of the keys of a full-sized keyboard, which has 104 usually. That means you’ll have to use layers to get things like the F-row, or the Arrow keys, but anyone who has used a smaller form factor keyboard should be right at home. It’s programmable, both with on-keyboard key combos, and an upcoming software package.
As configured, our F60-2020 sample came in the Joker colorway, with under-switch RGB LEDs, and genuine Cherry Brown key switches. The keycaps look custom and are made from PBT, with dye-sublimated legends. That’s good, as PBT is known for not really picking up grease from your fingers and going all shiny after a while. There is quite a bit of shine-through when the RGB LEDs are on, which is to be expected from a cheaper set of keycaps. Remember, thicker, custom group buy keycaps are around the total cost of this keyboard.
Oh, and one thing that does set these smaller, Asian companies apart from the mass-produced gaming boards? Accessories. iQunix has included a long, braided USB-A to USB-A cable, a keycap/switch puller, replacement stabilizers, and rubber bumpons in case you break or lose some, and my favorite part, a small brush to keep your keyboard looking immaculate. Nice.
The PBT keycaps, Cherry MX Brown key switches, and solid, aluminum case all combine to a great typing feel. The best part of this keyboard though? If you get bored or don’t like the key switches it came with, then just change them! Kailh hot-swap sockets are on the PCB, so all you need are some compatible key switches and a chunk of time to pull the installed switches out and swap in the new ones.
I found that I didn’t really like the tactile feel of the brown switches, so I swapped in some Kailh BOX Silent switches, which are a silenced version of their BOX Red linear switches. These have muting pads inside the switch to make them quieter and are a great upgrade in my opinion. Now my typing isn’t so loud, there’s almost no wobble on the keycaps, and the RGB glow is slightly muted. Oh, and they feel better when gaming too (at least to my fingers). This is totally down to my preference though, so feel free to experiment to find the switches you prefer to type on.
The other thing that really helps the amount of noise this keyboard makes is that iQunix has put sound-dampening foam both underneath the PCB and also between the PCB and the top plate. That’s a great thing to see, and really adds a lot to the premium feel of the F60-2020. Just to contrast, the dampening foam used in my custom keyboard is $20 on its own, so including it in a production item is awesome.
So, should I buy an iQunix F60-2020?
The iQunix F60-2020 is a great midpoint between the worlds of enthusiast keyboards and gaming ones. It’s built well, feels great to type on, and has customization options so you can find the typing experience you most prefer. At $149, it’s an insane value proposition, packing genuine Cherry MX switches, aluminum construction, and responsiveness.
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A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.