High-end enthusiast keyboards are marvels of engineering and design, with cases cut from bead-blasted aluminum, suspended gasket mounts, and convenient features like hot-swappable key switches. Gaming keyboards are all RGB lighting effects, sleek angles, shine-through keycaps, and eye-catching bells and whistles. Announced today, just in time for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the $400 Hyte Keeb SR65 combines both sensibilities into a single shiny package.
From Hyte, the new peripheral and accessory subsidiary of PC-builder IBUYPOWER, the Keeb SR65 is an incredibly ambitious first entry into the enthusiast keyboard market. Available for preorder on January 14 for $400 fully loaded or $350 without switches and keycaps, the Keeb is a 65 percent board, eschewing the number pad and function row of a full-size keyboard while maintaining the all-important arrow keys.
“We designed keeb to encourage expression,” said lead roadmap architect of Hyte Rob Teller via official announcement. “It’s a multi-sensory reward for typing that keeps you comfortable, engaged, and in control.”
Not every keyboard comes with a cylinder.
Unlike many 65-percent keyboards, the SR65 does include dedicated media keys, which seems weird, as well as a pair of rotary wheels which by default control the board’s RGB lighting and adjust sound volume, which is also weird. I’m just used to seeing more space economy in my small-footprint keyboards. It’s like racing stripes on a fuel-efficient compact car. But this is a small, pricey keyboard aimed at the gaming market, where things like quick access to media controls can come in handy, so I can see where Hyte is coming from.
The upper portion of the keyboard case is bead-blasted aluminum, which should give the little board a mighty heft. The base is frosted polycarbonate, which should make the Keeb’s 138 RGB lights look amazing. Some of my favorite custom kits make heavy use of frosted polycarbonate, and I am a huge fan.
If your keyboard looks like this, place some heavy books on top until it is flat again.
The inside of the Keeb SR65 is just as pretty. The board utilizes a suspended gasket mount, which keeps the switch mounting plate from touching the other metal bits, making for a nicer feel. Though the $400 model is available with a selection of tactile and linear Durock switches, the PCB (printed circuit board) features hot-swap switch sockets, enabling you to put in whatever Cherry-MX-compatible switches you want.
As well it should at its price point. In my experience, $400 is the lower-end of the upper-end when I’m shopping for a very, very nice mechanical keyboard. It’s where I start shopping hardcore designers like Rama, whose online store breaks my heart on a regular basis. It’s strange to see an unproven player trying to slip into those ranks right off the bat.
But Hyte seems to be focused on high-end designs with striking engineering, going by what the company’s announced so far (the Revolt 3 PC case is so hot). Plus mechanical keyboard hobby insiders and creators like Alex (alexotos) Medeot and Marcia (apiary keyboards) Roberts have provided feedback on the design of the Keeb SR65, which makes me feel a little more secure with the Keeb’s price point.
Wait, how is it glowing with the USB-C unplugged? I call shenanigans.
We’ll find out if the Hyte Keeb SR65 is worth the hype once we’re closer to the board’s May launch.