The GK61 is a mechanical keyboard ideal for users who want to improve their gaming experience without breaking the bank. Surprisingly, the keyboard offers Gateron optical technology usually reserved for premium products. This certainly brings its price level up a notch.
The Hong Kong game GK61 is a fan favorite when it comes to a good budget mechanical keyboard. In addition, the keyboard also has RGB lights, USB-C output ports, programmable function keys, and more. If you’re looking for a compact keyboard with quick switches, let’s take a closer look at what makes this keyboard a great choice for your setup. Let’s look at them in detail in this detailed review.
GK61 Keyboard Specifications
Keyboard Name and Model: GK61 mechanical keyboard
Dimensions: 11.42 x 3.94 x 1.18 inches
Layout: ANSI 60% layout
Keycap Material: Double-shot ABS
Backlight: RGB per-key LED backlight
Switch: Optical Gateron red switches
Connections: Wired only
Wireless Support: No
Compatibility: Windows and Mac OS
Design and Build Quality
The appearance and design of the GK61 are completely different from the other 60% of keyboards we’re used to. It offers a slim bezel that further emphasizes the small size common to most 60% keyboards, with rounded edges and sloped surfaces that offer better ergonomics. The keyboard has a standard ANSI layout, which makes it very easy to replace damaged or faulty keycaps.
While the fonts here are very similar to those on the cheaper models, the keycaps of GK61 have some extra layer legends to compensate for the cheaper look. The keyboard weighs 546g, which means you can take it with you and enjoy games on the go without any trouble. Its sturdy sheet metal, coupled with a plastic case, also helps reduce bending and AIDS portability.
It has a very interesting smooth surface that you can see once you turn the keyboard over to the side. Notably, the GK61 keyboard comes with a standard OEM profile. However, the key cap’s smooth finish gel works perfectly with the overall design, giving the board a unique outlook.
The keyboard’s keycaps have a smooth surface that makes RGB lights look better. The key is placed on sheet metal and has a white covering, creating good contrast and a premium aesthetic. The sheet metal is also incorporated into the strength of the design, making it very durable. The GK61 features a cherry-style stabilizer mounted on a plate. These are pre-lubricated and sound much better than other cheap keyboards.
The GK61 has four rubber feet that keep it stable on the surface. Users don’t have to adjust the keyboard over and over again during an immersive game. Like most 60% keyboards, it also offers auxiliary navigation keys marked with arrows.
In addition, the keyboard has an IP64 water and dust resistance rating, which not only keeps it clean but also improves its service life. Overall, the design offers a premium feel that covers all the bases and certainly stands out in this price range.
The GK61 comes with all the accessories you need to customize the keyboard to suit your preferences.
Aluminum switch puller — The switch puller conveniently pulls out the current switch on the keyboard so that it can be swapped with a new switch.
Plastic Keycap Pull – A keycap pull allows you to change keycaps with very little effort. However, we recommend that you use a wire keycap pull like this to reduce the chance of scratching the keycaps.
Braided USB-C cables – Braided USB-C cables have longer durability and can be straightened to avoid kinks much easier than rubber cables.
As mentioned earlier, the GK61 comes with an ANSI layout that works right out of the box. However, it misses the dedicated Numpad and arrow keys, which are common on almost 60% keyboards. But that doesn’t mean you’re missing the buttons entirely. You have access to all numeric and function keys at another level.
In addition, you can access the device’s backlight effects control from above the keyboard. This layout provides a “navigation cluster,” also known as nine special keys. You can use the function keys in the bottom right corner of your keyboard to trigger these buttons. GK61 really beats many 60% layout keyboards in terms of the implementation layer and its various features.
The keycaps on the GK61 are made of ABS plastic with dual injection molding. It is common for most modern keyboards to adopt ABS or PBT when it comes to keycaps components. Notably, the GK61 sticks to the former, using sturdy ABS plastic in each keycap.
One of the cool things is that the top of each keycap is textured and the side walls are shiny. In addition, you’ll appreciate the way the texture of the key cap merges with the shiny and glossy look of the entire device. Thanks to its dual-lens design, the translucent plastic under the keycaps enhance the keyboard’s backlighting and create plenty of room for legends.
This means that the legends on the chessboard will never fade because they are different layers of plastic. However, the sub-legends will wear out over time as they are laser etched. The keycap is an OEM configuration, which is common on most stock mechanical keyboards. The OEM profile is a uniform profile that attempts to reduce the distance between each line.
Fortunately, the GK61 has a standard 60% layout and a common bottom row, which makes it very easy to replace the keycap with a better PBT plastic setting, more oil resistant, and more professional to the legend. For the price, these keycaps are not bad. Over time, however, they will show a sheen and will feel smoother to type on.
The GK61’s stabilizer is a flat-mount, cherry stabilizer. They are pre-lubricated from the factory. However, lubricating oil seems to be overused and confusing. There are visible and large drips of lubricating oil between the stem and the stabilizer housing as well as on the stabilizer wires.
These stabilizers do sound better than other inexpensive optical keyboards, so the lube has a role to play. If you really have extra time, I suggest you wipe off the factory lube and do it again yourself. This will ensure a more consistent and improved sound and feel. This is easy for the GK61 because it is a hot-swappable board. You don’t have to remove anything, just pull the switch at the top of each stabilizer and operate the wires.
The unique selling point of the GK61 is, of course, the Gateron optical switch. Most keyboards in this price range come with either an Outemu regular or Outemu optical switch, which lags far behind the Gateron switch in terms of performance. Gateron switches are faster, more reliable, and provide a better overall feel. These are usually reserved for advanced keyboards, which makes it quite surprising in this price range.
In addition, users can choose between multiple types of Gateron switches based on personal preferences. There are six options, each with its own unique characteristics. The optical switch is superior to the traditional metal mechanical switch in performance and durability. Delay is reduced by the photoelectric switch and infrared detection button. In addition, there is no need for metal prongs, which eliminates the metal contact responsible for wearing the key.
Almost all Gateron switches offer a total travel of 4.0mm, with the exception of the yellow and silver switches, which offer a distance of 3.2mm. Feedback from all switches was good, although its nature varied between types. Best of all, the switch requires as little as 45g of drive, which is exactly what players want.
The RGB lights in GK61 are brighter than the other keyboards on this floor and can be seen even in direct sunlight. The amplification effect is achieved by covering a surface mounted led with a tiny glass-like material. In addition, these are the original RGB lights, enabling access to 16.8 million color combinations on each LED. It’s also an uncommon feature at this price point.
Users can choose from a large number of modes and effects, including ripples, music, waves, rainbows, and windmills. Brightness can also be adjusted between 21 levels. Lighting can essentially be controlled by a keyboard, but for some features, such as monochrome, users may have to use a dedicated application.
The keyboard also has a built-in microphone that syncs the lights with the audio. Whether it’s a game, music, or film, the effects change according to the sound, giving the player an immersive experience.
GK61 Keyboard: Typing and Gaming Performance
Whether you’re a typist or a hardcore gamer, it’s important to have a keyboard that meets your specific typing and gaming needs. The GK61 mechanical keyboard is excellent in both areas.
When it comes to typing, the optical Gateron red switch on the keyboard is very touchable. This means that you can effortlessly manipulate keys to trigger different commands. If you are a fast typist and know a fair bit about touch typing, you will find this very attractive.
You have to be very careful here, though. The low driving force of the Gatron switch means you may often find yourself hitting random keys by mistake. You should also note that the auditory and tactile feedback here is not as pronounced as on the optical Gateron Brown and optical Gateron black switches, respectively. Specifically, the optical Gatron Brown switch requires approximately 55 g of driving force, while the optical Gatron black switch requires 60 g of driving force.
Overall, the GK61 keyboard provides a reliable typing experience for all users. While the keyboard may feel a bit wobbly at times, it doesn’t have any real impact on the keyboard’s performance when typing.
Typists have slightly different preferences than gamers when it comes to choosing a keyboard. Such users usually look for feedback that is ergonomic, comfortable, and decent. Luckily, the GK61 has it all, which makes it a good choice for typists, too. The wide variety of switch types enables users to choose which switch they think is best for a particular job.
New users of mechanical keyboards should know that they have very low power. While it makes the keyboard sensitive, it also increases the chances of hitting random keys by mistake. In addition, the haptic feedback from some optical switches is not as loud. So it will take some time for users to get used to the keyboard.
That said, the average user doesn’t need most of the features that make this keyboard suitable for games. Typists do not need RGB lights or programmable and switchable keys. Because of these features, the GK61 costs more than a typist’s keyboard. So buying this keyboard doesn’t make much sense. Users can choose from a number of other keyboards that cost significantly less than the GK61.
The GK61 offers a great performance overall and it is a solid choice for all avid gamers and enthusiasts.
The low drive of Gateron’s red light key switch doesn’t really help you when you’re typing, but it’s fun for players. The lower drive means you don’t have to hit bottom before the buttons trigger some quick action during gameplay.
This is especially useful in situations that require quick thinking and action. With the touch of a button and preset keys, you can quickly change weapons, reload, and make some quick decisions.
Also, because the GK61 can only be used as a wired keyboard, the n-key flip works well every time, meaning you can initiate special operations by pressing multiple keys at once.
The GK61 is an ideal keyboard for users who want to enhance their gaming experience. It offers all the features that gamers need, and the price is perfect for amateurs. At the top of the tip optical switch, you get RGB lights, USB-C ports, and hot-swappable keys.
From the build quality to the sleek design and compact layout, the GK61 really comes in handy for most typing and gaming activities. You can customize your game experience and modify various lighting modes to suit your mood.
The keyboard’s light switch allows you to react faster when issuing commands. This means that the GK61 provides faster response for an overall smooth and seamless gaming experience. We hope you found this review of the GK61 mechanical gaming keyboard helpful.