Last year, we took a look at the Melgeek Mojo68, a transparent mechanical keyboard with a lot of cool features and a really cool design. It was so neat, in fact, I immediately went out and backed the Kickstarter to get one of my own. Well, the company is back again, this time with the Mojo84, a new and improved version that looks just as cool, has the functionality of a TKL in a more compact size, and incorporates feedback from the community to make it better than ever.
The Mojo84 launches to Kickstarter today for only $159 ($229 retail) and is ready to go head to head with an ever more crowded budget custom keyboard market. Coming complete with switches and keycaps, it has a one-up on most of the market, but is it good enough to choose versus the competition?
- Current Price: (Kickstarter)
- Layout: 75% (84-key)
- Switches: Custom Kailh Linear Switches
- Hot-swappable: Yes
- Connectivity: Wired, Bluetooth 5.2, 2.4GHz (1ms)
- Keycaps: Doubleshot ABS
- Per-key Backlighting: Yes
- Battery: 4000mAh
- Software: Yes
- Additional Features: Improved gasket mount, built-in switch foam, silicone dampening pad
The Mojo84 is a prebuilt, 75% custom mechanical keyboard that comes ready for anything from productivity to hardcore gaming. Its layout is more compact than a TKL but features nearly all of the same keys in a squeezed together format. This lends itself naturally to gaming, and especially MMOs, due to the increased keys, and also makes it more functional as a day to day work keyboard.
It’s built to an enthusiast’s standard without the price or need to put it all together yourself. It features premium materials and features, including excellent, thick doubleshot ABS keycaps, custom, pre-lubed Kailh switches, lubed plate-mount stabilizers that don’t need any tweaking whatsoever (at least on the one I received), and multiple layers of foam and silicone dampening/sound tuning. This is a keyboard that could easily be sold as a barebones kit for $159 but is instead a full keyboard, ready to use out of the box.
Melgeek definitely listened to the community when it comes to the sound and feel of this keyboard. Like the Mojo68, it uses a gasket mount implementation, so the plate and PCB never actually touch the plastic of the case. Instead, there are silicone strips around the outside of the plate that are sandwiched in between both halves. There’s also PORON plate foam to dampen keystrokes and a silicone mat under the PCB to remove any hollowness, make the keyboard feel solid, and further tune the sound.
But, where the 68 had those same features and managed to feel fairly stiff, the Mojo84 restores the flex many users craved. To do this, Melgeek swapped the aluminum plate for polycarbonate. There is noticeable movement when pressing down and even during normal typing. It’s not bouncy, and you won’t notice the flexion when you’re using it, but it definitely makes for softer keystrokes and a pleasant typing experience.
The 84 features the PLASTIC keycap theme and uses a completely transparent acrylic case. This gives it a very unique look. I admit to not really understanding the plastic theme, but like its use of colors (even if it’s a bit busy for my taste), and recall it being one of the most popular choices with the Mojo68. I can see why Melgeek would bring it back here.
Unlike the 68, there aren’t multiple color options or keycap profiles to choose from. This time around, it’s just PLASTIC in white or black, both with the same clear case. I suspect this will make orders easier to fulfill for Melgeek as shipping is expected to begin in September.
The keycaps profile is the company’s own MDA. It’s a bit like SA profile (the tall, terminal style keycaps) but closer to Cherry height. I find it to be very comfortable to type on and has a deeper sound when typing. I do home Melgeek sells its MCR and MG keycaps separately, or makes them available as stretch goals, as I loved the sound and feel of MCR, and would recommend it to anybody for a thockier Cherry-style keycap.
Underneath those caps is a brand new custom Kailh PLASTIC switch. These are color-themed to match the white, orange, and light green of the keycaps, but more importantly, they feel great to type and game on. They’re very lightweight at only 35 grams of actuation force but come pre-lubed and are super smooth. Unlike speed switches, which often have a similar weight, these don’t actuate faster than normal switches and I didn’t find them more prone to typos than the MX Reds you’ll find on most gaming keyboards. The effect is a switch that feel smoother and more responsive than Reds, while also sounding better too.
The keyboard also features RGB backlighting, but it’s so dim you may not even notice it. At most, with a light on in the room, you’ll catch a bit of shine around the edges of the keycaps, but looking straight down, it’s as if there’s no lighting at all. It’s much less noticeable than on the Mojo68, but is still programmable if you would like to customize what you can see (and is more visible in the dark, of course).RGB is ON in this picture
You’ll need to use Melgeek’s KBTools software to change lighting and remap keys, as it doesn’t support QMK or VIA. That’s a major miss when most of the competition offers that more advanced programming, and I can only hope it’s something Melgeek can add in the future. The Mojo68 did offer VIA support on its wired version, but it’s just not an option here, even though other keyboards like the Ikki68 and QK65 both offer Bluetooth VIA support. That could be a dealbreaker for some, but if all you’re looking to do is remap keys and change the lighting, KBTools gets the job done easily enough.
The Mojo84 is also very versatile with its connectivity options. You can connect over USB, of course, but it also supports Bluetooth 5.2 and 2.4GHz wireless using the included dongle. That last one is particularly important for gamers because you can connect to your PC at 1000Hz, or 1ms, which is the same as most wired gaming keyboards. You can have up to eight connections total, which is impressive. The 4000mAh is quite large and I wasn’t able to run it dry in my few weeks of testing, periodically plugging it in when I was away from the computer.
Melgeek Mojo84 - Performance and Sound
The Mojo84 is a very nice keyboard and sounds great out of the box, without the need for any adjustments whatsoever. All of that dampening makes the keyboard sound rather light and more on the clacky side. Melgeek has added a layer or PORON switch foam to add a bit more pop to the typing sound too, though it’s different from the marbley sound of PE foam and doesn’t negate the benefits of adding a layer of tape to the PCB.
The stabilizers, while plate mount, are very good. There’s not much wiggle and there was absolutely zero rattle on my unit. This is one of the first keyboards in a long time that sounds and feels like a tuned custom, right out of the box, with zero intervention needed.
That said, I would definitely still recommend applying a layer of painter’s tape to the back of the PCB. As I found on the Mojo68, that light typing sound can be deepened and you can pull a bit more pop from the typing experience by adding it — just keep it to a single layer. I tested everything from stock to three layers of tape and anything more than one makes the keyboard sound muted and “tapey” if you know what I mean.
If you’re interested in applying that mod, I’m sorry, because this is one of the most difficult cases to get into since, well, the Mojo68. It genuinely seems like Melgeek does not want you to open this keyboard. You’ll need to use at least a dozen picks to hold open the clasps holding the two sides of the case together, otherwise they’ll snap right shut again. This gets easier over time but is incredibly tight the first time you try to open it.
Be careful. Acrylic will crack. Do not force anything.
Melgeek Mojo84 - Video Review and Sound Sample
Melgeek has made some meaningful improvements from the Mojo68 to make this a really compelling board at $159. Though that obviously diminishes somewhat at $229, it’s still a good value and a solid recommendation at this price point. I say that understanding the very solid competition from other plastic keyboards like the Ikki68 or KBDFans KBD67 or Tiger Lite vying for your keyboard dollars right now. While it may not be as bouncy, you’re getting a complete package without the need for extra parts or work on your end. The materials and build quality are absolutely higher than the KBD67 Lite, which is a good board in its own right, but takes a backseat to the Mojo84 in virtually every way. It also has the 75-percent layout, which those keyboards don’t, and has this really unique theme and look to it.
There are some sacrifices, like the lack of VIA or weak RGB lighting, that could be deal breakers. If you don’t need VIA and want a custom keyboard experience without all the work of building one yourself, this is a solid bet and easy recommendation to make. Melgeek knows their stuff and it shows with the Mojo84.
Find out more at the official Kickstarter page.
The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. There are no affiliate links within this article and the author's compensation is not related to clicks or click-through traffic.