After just four videos in, it should be clear to my YouTube channel viewers that I intend to cover production keyboards as much as the custom stuff (in fact I’ll cover all sorts of peripherals in the channel later on, but right now the keyboard content schedule is so busy that I’ll keep focusing on it for a few more months).
As someone who has been using mechanical keyboards since the early 90’s (mostly Alps switches back then), when custom keyboards were not even a thing yet, I can assure you that I love good production keyboards as much as I do customs! And I know this is a rather rare occurrence within the mechanical keyboards community these days, where there seems to be a certain divide where average consumers and gamers are usually happy with production boards (as long as they have “gaming features” for the latter) while professionals and enthusiasts tend to be more into custom keyboards. Which kinda make sense if you think about it, since the first group usually has less disposable income (based on age and other demographics), while the later have not only the financial means, but also the need for super high-quality keyboards for long typing sessions.
But while I certainly understand the appeal of custom keyboards, I’m not part of the crowd that believes that only custom keyboards are worth your money. In fact, I would emphatically disagree with that statement! While I love the custom side of this hobby, I also understand that spending hundreds of dollars on custom parts, not to mention countless months waiting for Group Buy parts to come in, plus hours of work to assemble these keyboards, is not for everybody.
And that’s why I decided to produce this four parts series (with an extra bonus episode at the end) right from the get-go… I wanted to make it clear to my audiences that I intend to cover everything related to keyboards: production and custom, and in all price segments. Nothing will be discriminated here and there will be something for everyone.
This particular “[Home] Office Keyboards” series is obviously focused on the professional crowd who now, more than ever, needs to improve the comfort and productivity of their home office work (although I also intend to cover products focused on gaming and content creation in the future as well). With such a large number of people being “forced” to work from home in the last few months, I felt this series would be quite relevant for the times we are living through now.
The first episode has been published already and starts with the most budget option out of the four products I will recommend in the series: the Akko 3087, the “Silent” color version in particular. But Akko offers their keyboards in all sorts of color combinations, from the super office friendly “Silent” version I have here all the way to the flashiest of color combinations.
After using this keyboard for a couple of weeks before producing the video (and after turning it inside out as I usually do, of course) I came out very impressed with the state of Value Keyboards in 2021! What you get from around US$85 here (give it or take $2 to $5 for shipping if you get it from Banggood.com) is surprisingly good!
Yes, it does not offer fancy features and light shows of course (that usually appeal more to gamers anyway)… It wouldn’t be possible to hit this price level if Akko tried to add those things. But you know what? For professional use, I actually prefer a keyboard without too many bells and whistles, since those usually require you to install the horrible companion software that plague these types of peripherals these days, which can be a big problem for people using company issued laptops with all sorts of restrictions on what kind of software you can install.
What you do get here is what really matters to those who type for a living: solid construction, good mechanical switches, USB-C connectivity, macro programmability and deliciously well made PBT keycaps. Which, in my humble opinion, is basically all you need on a keyboard for work.
Akko also give you four different layouts to choose from within their 3000 series: Full size (108 keys), TKL (87 keys), 75% (84 keys) and 60% (68 keys), all of them in ANSI configuration.
Naturally, there is always room for improvement in products of these lower price tiers, and that is the second focus of my “[Home] Office Keyboards” video series: to show you how you can upgrade these boards to the next level of typing comfort and lower noise level with little mods and hacks that can go from the very basic all the way to the more advanced (depending on how adventurous you’re feeling). Oh, and of course, all of that without breaking the bank!
After checking out my video, if the Akko 3000 series of keyboards piques your interest, you can check out all of their different layouts and colors, that I’ll link below, to see if you can find the perfect match to your home office setup*:
On the second video of the series coming up on the channel in another couple of weeks, we’ll step up to the next tier of my keyboard segments market scale: Performance.
Which means the keyboard will go up a notch in price, between $90 and $150 US, but will also bring additional features such as quieter switches out of the box (no need to mod them for silence) and more advanced programmability (through proprietary companion software).
So, stay tuned to the channel and I hope to see you back there soon!
* Disclaimer: some of the products linked in this article are affiliated links and will result in a small commission (paid by the retailer in question) to this website's owner.