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Keydous NJ80-AP Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Review

Enthusiast Quality in an Out-of-the-Box Package

Robin Baird Updated: Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

One of the first things I noticed as soon as I unboxed the Keydous NJ80-AP is that the keycaps looked a bit bigger than the other 75% keyboards I have used before. Conversely, the total size of the keyboard also seemed a bit smaller. Right away those two things intrigued me and I was excited to hop into seeing how the NJ80-AP would stack up against the others. So how did it do?

Specifications

Current Price: $172.99 (Amazon)

Keydous NJ80-AP - What Is It?

The Keydous NJ80-AP is a 75% compact keyboard with wireless capability as a baseline. The version I received has the brass plate and the Gateron Pro Milky Yello Switches. The other option available for the plate is a steel one, and the main difference between the two is brass will muffle sounds a bit more and have a slightly heavier weight. The plate can also be seen clearly between the keys and when the keys are removed, so there is an aesthetic aspect to the choice between the two.

Two things immediately stood out when I started using the NJ80-AP. First, the V key is slightly raised compared to the other keys. Initially, I thought this would be an issue while typing, but it mostly hasn’t been an issue at all. My nails occasionally hit it when I go for the B key and cause an extra keystroke, but this is rare. Aside from that, I’ve had no issues with it, though I’m also not sure what the point of it being slightly raised is either. At first, I thought maybe it was to help find positioning without looking. However, in practice, this didn’t seem helpful at all. It might be due to my typing habits, but I tend to look for the notches on the F and J keys to find positioning. This might be useful for some people, but at least it wasn’t a real hindrance either.

The other thing I quickly noticed was that the alphanumeric keycaps are slightly larger than some other 75% keyboards I have used. When I measured this, I discovered this keyboard had 1.2 cm keycaps while my other 75% keyboard has 1.1 cm keycaps. A difference of 0.1 cm might not seem like a lot, but the subtle shift did result in needing to retrain where I thought the keys were a bit. Despite the slightly larger keytop, the distance between the keys was the same as the other 75% keyboards I have. The slightly larger cap was a bit easier to hit once I got used to it, and it would probably be especially nice for people with larger fingers as well.

I particularly liked the simplicity of the key combinations for moving between the different modes. For example, to turn mac mode on and off, the key combo is FN+M, and there is a different backlight flash to signal if you are moving to mac mode or window mode. To turn the window button lock on or off, the key combo is FN+Win. I greatly appreciated the simplicity as it meant I didn’t have to constantly refer to the user manual to remember how to make adjustments or change modes.

Likewise, switching between Bluetooth, 2.4 G, and wireless mode is incredibly simple. Bluetooth is FN+1/2/3, and because it is set like this, there isn’t a separate process to go through to save a Bluetooth device. It’s automatically set to whichever number you used to pair to in the first place. Then, to switch to 2.4 G mode it’s FN+4. Technically there is also a key combo for wired mode, but it just switched to that mode automatically when plugged in, so there’s not much point in that setting.

Of course, the NJ80-AP does have its own backlighting with various modes and settings. However, it has three big drawbacks. First, the backlight doesn’t shine through the key itself, which sort of defeats the purpose of having backlighting. This is mitigated a bit by the second issue, adjusting the brightness level seemed to make very little difference (the same goes for speed on the keystroke wave setting). There seem to be four settings, but they are all pretty close to the same level, though the last one is noticeably dimmer than the brightest. If you don’t tend to play in a dark room this might not be an issue for you, but for me, it was overall too bright so I just turned the backlighting off altogether. This brings us to the final issue with backlighting.

There are two ways to turn off the backlighting on the NJ80-AP, but their functionality varies in a key way. The first way is to keep turning down the brightness until the lights go off. This is by far the superior way to turn off the backlighting, as all the other indicator lights still work in this mode (win lock, caps lock, keyboard mode, etc). However, when looking at the user manual, it indicates using FN+Backspace to turn off backlighting. However, using this mode, neither the win lock nor caps lock indicators will work. The mode indicators work, and the low battery indicator works, which is the saving grace here. However, not having an indicator for caps lock and win lock can be incredibly frustrating, especially when trying to figure out why something isn’t working as expected. There’s also no indication in the user manual about the difference between these options or that there is even a secondary way to turn off the backlighting.

Keydous NJ80-AP - Performance

I wasn’t sure how I would like the Gateron Pro Milkey Yellow switches at first because they seemed to have a lot more resistance than the ones I am used to. In use, they are smooth as butter. However, when writing long articles, I have a bit of finger fatigue from needing to press a bit harder than I normally do. However, these switches have quite a lot of springiness to them, making them feel good to use and increasing my typing speed a little bit. They are also incredibly quiet, which is an absolute requirement for me.

Most of the time I’ve been using the NJ80-AP, I’ve been switching between two Bluetooth devices and one on 2.4 G mode. The only issue I had with the switching was one time I forgot I had turned the keyboard off, so it took me a minute to realize why it wasn’t connecting. I had no issue with unexpected repeated letters while typing or any issue with using the WASD keys to move in games. Regardless of the connection type, everything was as good as when using a wired mechanical keyboard.

I only have two functionality complaints with the NJ80-AP. First, I don’t like how the dongle sits under the keyboard. It just sits on the underside facing straight down, making me nervous it might randomly fall out while ferrying it between work and home. Other keyboards I have used have it recessed in the notch made for the legs, which feels a bit more secure. That said, the dongle does fit pretty securely in there, so it is unlikely to fall out unless it loosens up over time. Either way, this could only potentially be an issue if you plan to move the keyboard between different locations often.

The other issue is the on/off switch is fairly small, on the underside of the keyboard, and exactly the same color as the keyboard case. All of this combined made it difficult to quickly tell if the switch is on the on or off position. It’d help some if the on/off designations were written in a different color, so they stood out more, but as it is, was frustrating. This is, of course, worse in low-light conditions as well.

One area where the NJ80-AP greatly exceeded my expectations is in its battery life. I’ve been able to use it for weeks, with the backlight on and sometimes without it, before needing to recharge it. Of course, the brighter the backlighting is, the more it drains the charge, but the difference seemed to be minimal. When it does reach 10%, the F12 key starts flashing red. When the keyboard is charging, the F12 will be green instead. I do wish there was an indicator at 30% as well. However, the battery life is so long on this that 10% is enough of a notice to not have it cut out in the middle of something important. 

Final Thoughts

The Keydous NJ80-AP is an excellent keyboard that I loved using, with the best battery life I’ve seen out of a mechanical wireless keyboard. Although I loved the switches which came with this keyboard, it is also fully hot-swappable so you can customize the typing feel you desire for each key. The biggest downside of this keyboard is how some indicator lights don’t work when put into no backlight mode, but there is a secondary mode with the backlight indicators still working. Unfortunately, the only way to discover that is through trial and error. The NJ80-AP is a bit on the higher side for cost, but if you are looking for a fully customizable keyboard, you won’t have to constantly charge; this is the board you’ve been looking for.

 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links, and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.

9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Will hold a charge for multiple weeks even with consistent daily use, multiple hours a day
  • Incredible typing feel and is very quiet
  • Slightly larger keys make hitting the correct key a bit easier
  • The Combo keys for various functions are simple and easy to remember
Cons
  • Not enough variation in dimming and slowing down the backlighting
  • If you follow the instructions in the user manual for turning off the backlighting, you also lose some important indicator lights
  • Slightly raised V key, which seems to serve no real purpose


Arlee

Robin Baird

Robin loves RPGs, MMOs, JRPGs, Action, and Adventure games... also puzzle games... and platformers... and exploration games... there are very few games she isn't interested in. When it comes to MMOs she focuses on WoW and GW2 but will pick-up other games as they catch her fancy. She's a habitual returner to FFXIV because that game is an all-around great MMO.