Many times when we purchase a keyboard, whether it be for gaming or work, we mainly only focus on how the keyboard looks. I know in my case, I wanted a mechanical keyboard that looked cool and had RGB lights. It didn’t really matter so much how the keyboard felt though because I’ve only used a couple of different kinds of switches, and for the most part, they kinda both felt the same to me. I just knew they felt better than the average OEM bundled keyboards. However, I didn’t know there was a niche market for custom mechanical switches that go beyond the standard red, blue, and brown. AKKO, one of the most innovative peripheral brands that deliver the concept of “lifestyle gaming accessories,” just introduced an entire line of AKKO Custom Series (CS) Switches in over 10 different colors, each with different combinations of distinct characteristics which we will explain a bit more about after the jump.
The main purpose of the AKKO CS Switches is to provide as many options as possible based on several key factors – Actuation Weight, Tactility, Trave Distance, Tactility Position (early/middle), Materials (PQM/PA/PC), Types of Springs Used, and Lubed/Unlubed. Those are a lot of factors that I never even considered and didn’t realize just how much variety there was with mechanical switches. For our evaluation, AKKO sent over five different colored CS Switches, each with varied factors – Lavender Purple, Cream Yellow, Snow Blue Grey, Jelly Black, and Matcha Green. These sound like they could be ice cream flavors. Some are tactile while others are linear. Some have tactile positions and tactile force, and some don’t. All have varying degrees of operating force, total travel distance, and pre-travel distance.
If all of this sounds a bit like Latin to you, don’t worry. A little bit of research can go a long way when trying to find the perfect switches. The easiest of decisions is to choose between linear or tactile switches. Linear is usually better for gaming while tactile is better for typing. The rest of the factors you’ll need to decide on your own and most likely that comes down to trial and error and experience. Luckily, these AKKO CS Switches aren’t very expensive and are priced from $12.99 to $20.99 for 45 pcs a box. This way, you can try maybe two or three of them with various specs to see which you like the best. You could even mix and match them to your liking.
What I think is pretty cool are all the custom colors you can get these in. I know that you can’t really see them once you have key caps installed, but you can see them a little bit when you tap down on the keys. Not only that, you will know that they are there and you will know how amazing they look when the keycaps are removed. My favorite of the bunch that they send has to be the Lavender Purple. They do actually tint the RGBs a tiny bit if you have them set to white giving the keyboard a soft lavender glow.
How difficult is it to swap out mechanical switches? First of all, you need a keyboard that provides hot swapping of mechanical switches. While many keyboards allow swapping of keycaps, not all provide hot swapping of mechanical switches. AKKO was kind enough to send over their PC98B Plus Air keyboard, which comes with OSA Profile Mac keycaps and AKKO Air Switches already installed. Also, you don’t see too many mechanical keyboards made for the Mac in mind, so I thought that was pretty cool. Not only that, this keyboard has built-in RGB lighting so I wanted to see how that factors into swapping out switches.
The PC98B Plus Air does include two tools to help you with your mechanical switch-swapping adventure. You get a keycap puller as well as a switch puller.
Anyways, back to the original question of whether or not swapping switches is difficult or not, I’d have to say that it is actually quite simple to do. It’s just a lengthy process because you need to pull out every single keycap and every single switch just to replace the switches and then replace all the keycaps. Also, the RGB on this keyboard is built into the board and not the switches, so you can easily swap any of the switches you want and still retain RGB lighting.
Make note that if you want to use these AKKO Custom Series Switches, you will need a keyboard that supports hot swapping. If you don’t have one, you can check out AKKO’s wide assortment of mechanical keyboards here.
I honestly didn’t know there was so much variety when it came to mechanical switches. This is especially true when all you’ve known about mechanical keyboards have come from prebuilt units that normally have their switches soldered in so you can’t swap them. I didn’t realize there was a whole world of customization I was missing out on. It’s actually pretty cool to know that you can literally build your own custom keyboard now from top to bottom, inside and out to your exact specifications. That means you can choose the base, layout, connection type, and keycaps along with AKKO’s Custom Series Switches for the exact feel you want depending on usage. You can truly build something one-off and custom that no one else will have.
AKKO Custom Series Switches are available now in a wide variety of colors, specs, and prices, ranging from $12.99 to $20.99 and can be found on Amazon.