Are you looking for a hotswappable mechanical keyboard that doesn’t cost too much? Here we take an in depth look at the Keydous NJ68 mechanical keyboard, a hotswappable, 65% layout mechanical keyboard that costs only $100.
- Price: $100 from drop.com or from AliExpress
- 65% keyboard layout with 68 keys.
- PBT dye-subbed keycaps in Cherry profile. No shine through
- Kailh hotswap sockets. Variety of switches from Cherry, Kailh, and Gateron. Mine are Kailh Box Brown switches.
- Per-key RGB lighting
- High-profile black, white, or pink ABS plastic case
- USB-C and Bluetooth 4.1 dual connectivity
- Stainless steel plate
- Rubber feet for angle adjustment
The build quality of the NJ68 is excellent. The steel plate gives the board a very nice heft that prevents any deck flex or unintentional shifting on a table. The plastic case made of ABS plastic has a rough texture that feels uniform across the board. There are no visible screws on the outside of the case, which is connected by clips along the bottom sides of the case. The high-profile case makes it so that the switches are not visible at all from the side of the keyboard. This, to me, is an important aesthetic detail to me since I think having a visible gap is somewhat ugly.
The stabilizers are pre-lubed with a good amount of lube. It completely fixes the rattle sound from regular stabilizers and they feel and sound amazing for the price. Although they are plate-mounted stabilizers, they have a snug fit, so the ‘bandaid mod’ fix is basically unnecessary.
The dye-subbed keycaps are crisp and have thick walls that don’t bleed light through like most cheaper keycaps. The keycaps have a texture that is smoother than many cheap PBT keycaps that feel nice and don’t absorb finger oils. The thickness adds to the satisfying sound they make on both the down and up strokes.
Overall, I think these are some of the nicest PBT keycaps I have tried so far.
The NJ68 comes with Kailh hotswap sockets, which means you can replace the switches with either 5 pin or 3 pin switches in the future. The NJ68 comes with either brown, white, or red Kailh Box switches or brown, blue, or red Cherry MX RGB switches for $20 extra. Although Cherry is usually a more popular switch, I recommend the Kailh box switches since they are, in my opinion, better switches for less money.
I bought my keyboard with Kailh Box Brown switches, which are more tactile than Cherry MX Browns and, in my opinion, sound much better. They are also IP56 water and dust resistant, so they will likely last longer than Cherry’s offering. Kailh’s box brown switch is a tactile switch, and coming from Cherry MX Brown’s, they feel much smoother and offer less key wobble. They feel good to type on.
This keyboard offers two levels of adjustment with the rubber tipped feet. I feel comfortable typing with both adjustment angles, and I think for the majority of people out there who don’t use ergonomic keyboards, these adjustments are plenty.
Also, I have seen in some reviews that older versions of this board may have had unstable feet that get pushed over when you slide the keyboard on your desk. I have tried to recreate this issue but can’t do it on mine, so I assume they fixed the design.
This keyboard is made by a Chinese company, and it is somewhat difficult to navigate their website if you can’t read Chinese, but the actual configuration software is excellent.
If you have the NJ68 and are having trouble finding the download page, here it is: http://www.keydous.com/qdxz Click the button on the left to download the software for your computer. The download on the right is the firmware for the keyboard, which can be installed automatically within the software. After that, just extract and run the .msi file.
The installer is in Chinese as well, but the options are labelled with the first letter of the English word like Back (B), Next (N), Finish (F). You can just keep clicking next and it should install it for you.
Once its done, the interface is pretty self explanatory. Just click the English button and you should be fine from there.
The software lets you remap or set macros for any key on the primary and function layers. It also lets you customize each individual LED backlight to whatever color you want.
The real reason all of you are here. The stock keyboard sounds amazing especially for the price.
The Keydous NJ68 is honestly my favorite keyboard so far. From the satisfying sound, to the excellent build quality, I would 100% recommend this keyboard to people who are looking to get into the mechanical keyboard scene. Coming from a gaming mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Browns to this is quite the upgrade. It really feels like a substantial upgrade.