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Nuphy Air60 V2 Review: Small But Mighty

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Nuphy has been on a roll this year, releasing new products and updates to its existing line-up. Last month, we looked at the Air96 V2, its compact full-size low-profile flagship and today we’re going the opposite direction: it’s smallest keyboard of all. The Nuphy Air60 V2 is tiny, measuring less than a foot across, and is made to sit directly atop the keyboard on your laptop and provide you an instant upgrade no matter what you may currently be using in an especially portable form factor. It also packs all of the improvements of the rest of the V2 line-up, including 2.4GHz wireless, improved battery life, enhanced programmability, and an updated sound and feel thanks to its upgraded line of switches. 

I was initially nervous that its small size would present usability issues but this keyboard has quickly become my favorite of the company’s entire Air series. At $109.95 with Gateron 2.0 switches and $119.95 for Nuphy’s own, it’s a great value and one of the best low profile keyboards you can buy today. 


Nuphy Air60 V2 - Design and Key Features

The Nuphy Air60 V2 is what most people would consider an “ultra compact” mechanical keyboard. It’s close to the smallest mainstream layout you can buy, that being the sixty-percent. I say close to because Nuphy has made a couple of important changes here that make the keyboard much more usable with a gentler learning curve. 

A typical 60% keyboard includes only your most used keys: letters, numbers, and modifiers. There’s no function row, navigation or editing cluster, or arrow keys. This is all in the name of compactness, which makes the layout popular among gamers seeking extra mouse space and minimalists who want a clean desk setup. To make the layout functional, things like arrow keys and navigation buttons are fit onto a secondary layer that you need to hold Fn to access.

Here, Nuphy has managed to squeeze in arrow keys, as well as a Delete button. This is an important change, as arrow keys are the most commonly missed feature of this layout. Right away, it’s more usable because of their inclusion. To accommodate this, the bottom right only has a single unit Right Shift, as well as a 1u Alt and Fn button.

Now, make no mistake. You’ll still need to use that Fn button because you’re still missing critical keys like Print Screen, Home, and Page Up and Down. This is all made easier by the V2’s support for VIA, an open source firmware tool that allows you to easily remap keys across up to seven layers of keymaps. This tool is web accessible and intuitive. After loading the JSON file for the app to recognize the Air60 V2 (available here), you can remap every single key and even allow them to carry multiple functions. The freedom and ease of programming allow you to craft your keys around what you need and how you actually type, which makes coming to grips with the smaller form factor much easier than competing 60% keyboards with proprietary software.

Like the other members of the Air series, the Air60 V2 is a low profile mechanical keyboard designed to be used wirelessly. At its thinnest point, along the front, it stands only 13.5mm high. In the back, it’s only 22mm. It can also be used almost completely flat (technically 3.2 degrees due to a slight incline to the case), making it a good match for the flat keys on a laptop or an Apple Magic Keyboard. There are two dual-stage tilt feet on the back that can increase that angle to seven or ten degrees. These feet have thin strips of silicone Nuphy calls AirFeet. These allow the keyboard to be positioned between the existing keys on your laptop without actually making contact with them. 

The wireless connectivity has also been enhanced since the last version. It still supports Bluetooth 5.1 with up to three devices (hot-swappable using a quick Fn combo) and 2.4GHz for the lowest latency. With this release, however, the 2.4GHz has been enhanced to connect at a full 1,000Hz (1ms) while it was only 500Hz last generation. 

The battery life has also received a major boost. The original Air60 was rated for 48 hours of battery life while this model, depending on how bright you run your LEDs, can run for up to 90 hours. If you turn backlighting off entirely, it can reach up to 150 hours. The RGB lighting is quite a bit brighter this generation, so you may want to leave it on, but the keyboard has a lot of personality even without. Even though it looks great, it doesn’t feel as necessary as some of the competition to add that “wow” factor.

One of the hallmark’s of the Air series has been its typing experience. This is the culmination of three factors: the switches, keycaps, and stabilizers — as well as some acoustic-enhancing foams. I’ve been lucky enough to try most of Nuphy’s custom switches at this point and each has been excellent. They’re pre-lubed and using long poles on the switch stems for a bit of extra pop. My version was sent with tactile Wisteria switches, but you really can’t go wrong here. It’s also available with Red, Blue, and Brown Gateron Low Profile 2.0 switches, which are also pre-lubed. The switches are also hot-swappable, so if you’d care to swap them out, you easily can.

The keycaps are also fantastic for this type of keyboard. Low profile mechs tend to use thin ABS keycaps, but here we have doubleshot PBT plastic that will never chip, fade, or shine. They’re also thick-walled for a deeper sound signature and slightly textured to feel extra nice under the fingertips. It comes with colorful accents and is available in a light or dark color to match your taste. Mac keycaps are installed by default but Nuphy includes Windows alternates, as well as some different colored accents if you don’t like the mix of orange, teal, and yellow that come pre-installed. 

The stabilizers are also very good. Unlike most low-profile keyboards, the stabilizers here are much closer in design to full-sized plate-mounted mechanical keyboard stabilizers and can be removed and modded with extra lube. I didn’t find this necessary at all, however, as there was no rattle to speak of. The spacebar has also been dampened with silicone inserts, taking inspiration from the company’s GhostBar found on the Halo series.

All of this speaks to a lot of inspiration Nuphy has taken from the enthusiast community. This is also evident with the mirrored badge on the bottom of the keyboard. It’s not a weight, that wouldn’t make sense on a keyboard designed for portability like this one is, but it looks great and definitely makes the package feel a bit more premium. 

Nuphy Air60 V2 -  Typing and Gaming Impressions

The Nuphy Air60 V2 is one of my absolute favorite low profile mechanical keyboards. The company has done so much right here. The typing and gaming experiences are fantastic with notable improvements from the last generation. It’s what you would hope for in a sequel, and is one of the most approachable ultra-compact keyboards I’ve used yet. Nuphy has nailed it. 

The typing experience, while not bouncy like some of the gasket mounted options we see in full-sized mech keyboards, isn’t stiff. The switches and layers of foam do a good job of dampening the typing experiencing while maintaining enough tactility to ward of typos. This is a fairly major concern on keyboards of this type since the keys are all perfectly flat and without sculpting. Yet, because of the subtle scoops carved into each keycap and the tactile feedback, it felt accurate without the typical learning curve these keyboards typically carry.

The Wisteria switches are excellent. They’re smooth and have a rounded bump that’s similar to Cherry MX Browns but more pronounced. This bump occurs in the middle of the press rather than the top like the Moss switches I tried with the Air96 V2. They have a deep sound to them which pairs very well with the keycaps. 

With it being such a low profile design, you won’t need a wrist rest with this keyboard (though Nuphy does sell some). I was able to use it comfortably with a bit of incline on my desk. At the end of the day, I was able to slide it into my bag and essentially forget it was there. If you have other things in your bag, I would suggest picking up the NuFolio or NuPack to protect the keycaps. I didn’t have any pop off, but it’s a concern if anything happened to get under an edge of one.

Wireless connectivity is excellent. It connects quickly and reliably over both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless. Once it connects, it doesn’t let go unless you walk a good distance away; I had to go two rooms over in my house. When you come back, it re-connects on its own. Swapping connections only elicits a second or two of delay before it tethers to the alternate device. It’s fast, easy, and solid, exactly as you would hope.

This also means that wireless gaming is perfectly safe. Without the fear of connection lag or dropouts, you can plug in the dongle and even enjoy competitive shooters. Now that it connects at 1,000Hz, it officially has parity with most wireless gaming keyboards, so you won’t be disadvantaged for using it.

Even though it’s easier to learn that most keyboards of its size, I would still recommend taking the time to program in your own keymaps using VIA. Whether you do this or not, you’ll need to plan on a day or two of memorizing where everything is; there are few secondary legends on the keycaps and once you go remapping, they won’t matter anyway. But it’s worth doing because it makes the layout much more personal and usable. 

With only a fraction of the keys of a TKL, my own layout is able to maintain nearly 100% functionality of that higher layout, all surrounding the home row and without losing the functionality of any of they physical buttons whatsoever. I accomplish this by making the Caps Lock key turn into an Fn layer shift when held. From there, I put all of my lighting and connectivity buttons on the secondary layer under my left hand and all of my navigation and editing buttons under my right. Everything can be right under your fingertips while maintaining extra mouse space for gaming and freeing up desk space. 

My biggest gripe is frankly a small one: there’s still no onboard storage for the dongle. The keyboard comes with a clasp that allows you store it on the wire, but if you’re taking it portably, it would be much nicer if there were some built-in slot to keep the dongle handy. 

Final Thoughts

The Nuphy Air60 V2 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-profile keyboard to take on the go. It’s a big upgrade to any built-in laptop keyboard and it works perfectly sitting directly on top of the keys without interference. Though I was initially worried about its small size, I didn’t need to be. Thanks to its dedicated arrows keys and easy customization through VIA, you don’t have to miss out on any functionality at all and can have all of your most used commands at your fingertips. The Nuphy Air60 V2 is one of the best, most portable low profile keyboards you can buy.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. 

9.0 Amazing
  • Excellent sound and feel
  • Fantastic portability
  • Includes dedicated arrow keys — uncommon to this layout
  • Excellent switches, keycaps, and stabilizers
  • Supports VIA for web-based customization
  • Small layout makes layers mandatory
  • Learning curve


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight