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NZXT FUNCTION 2 Mechanical Keyboards and Lift 2 Mice Review

Damien Gula Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

When NZXT launched their new line of peripherals two years ago, I was conflicted. The LIFT mouse did a great job marrying that classy NZXT aesthetic while being both comfortable to use and functional. But for the FUNCTION keyboard… I had a few more critical words for it. Don’t misread that though: there was still a lot that I liked about the FUNCTION, but there were a few missteps along the way.

With the release of the FUNCTION 2 and the LIFT 2, has NZXT heard our critiques? And, if so, how do they stack up against their mechanical predecessors?

I’ve spent the past few weeks using them both as my main peripherals and I want to share with you what I’ve learned. So, let’s find out together.

But, first, let’s take a look at the specs.

FUNCTION 2 KEYBOARD Specifications

  • MSRP:
    • $139.99 - Full-sized (NZXT)
    • $129.99 - MiniTKL (NZXT)
  • Switches: NZXT Swift Optical Switches
  • Colorways: Black, White
  • Actuation Point: 1.0mm or 1.5mm (Global actuation switchable with CAM)
  • Polling Rate: Up to 8,000 Hz
  • Key Caps: Double-shot PBT
  • Connectivity: USB-C (Braided USB-C to USB-A cable included)
  • RGB: Per key lighting
  • Software: NZXT CAM
  • Volume Control Wheel
  • Side buttons for Windows Key lockout, speaker mute, lighting brightness
  • Anti-ghosting N-key roll-over 
  • Fully programmable keys, RGB control, and macro recording via CAM
  • Weight: 2 lbs. / 910g (Full); 1.58 lbs. / 718g (Mini)
  • Available in Black and White

LIFT 2 MOUSE ERGO and SYMM Specifications

  • Current Price: $49.99 (NZXT)
  • Switches: Optical
  • Sensor: PixArt PMW 3395
  • DPI Range: 100 - 26,000
  • Programmable Buttons: 4
  • Programmable DPI Settings: 5
  • Polling Rate: up to 8000hz
  • Lift Distance:  1 - 2mm
  • NVIDIA Reflex compatible
  • Weight: 58g (Symm); 60g (Ergo)
  • Available in Black and White

A More FUNCTIONal Approach

When we reviewed the original FUNCTION keyboard series, we celebrated the minimal aesthetics and on-board features. Fortunately, those have carried over from the FUNCTION to the FUNCTION 2 series. That means that users get per-key RGB control, programmable keyboard macros, a Windows button lockout, mute button, and volume wheel. 

Can I just pause for a second and mention how much I miss that audio wheel when I’m not using my FUNCTION keyboard? I know it’s a personal thing and I know other keyboards have similar features, but I happen to fancy this one. 

One thing that didn’t quite make the cut for the FUNCTION 2 line was the regular tenkeyless version. While it shall be mourned by TKL fans the world around, it is an understandable departure. And “departure” is a great segway to talking about key switches and caps, because this is a huge one.

On release, the standard retail FUNCTION keyboards came with Gateron Red switches and ABS shine-through caps. NZXT, however, has taken a major side step from the world of mechanical switches in favor of optical ones. And that’s not all: the FUNCTION 2 keyboards ship with double-shot PBT keycaps with a shine-through design.

I’m going to talk about the switches in just a moment, but the change in keycaps is such a welcome one. One of my critiques of the custom BLD FUNCTION was that while the keycaps were of better quality overall, without the RGB shine through the miniTLK had no way of warning the user that their caps lock was active. This change solves that problem.

Now, about the switching of switches! 

NZXT made a huge change from the linear Gateron Red switches to a proprietary switch that they’re calling the NZXT Swift Optical Switch. These switches have a two-point adjustable actuation, allowing users to choose between either 1.0mm or 1.5mm. And NZXT isn’t kidding with their name here! While you can tailor the Swift switches to your preference, both settings can be incredibly sensative! But if you find that you need a heavier or lighter actuation force then the stonk 40g switches, NZXT includes a few 35g and 45g switches to try.

(Note: On closer inspection, these switches are branded as Gateron switches. The specs do not match any known Gateron optical switches)

I found it helpful to use the 1.5mm global actuation setting as well as turning the polling rate down while I was working on taskings like writing this review, for example. But in situations where I needed rapid key response, like triggering global cooldowns in games, the 1.0mm along with a higher polling setting was the ticket! 

Fortunately, the four onboard profiles can help take some of the busywork off your plate thanks to CAM, NZXT’s controller software. If you aren’t familiar with CAM, it’s NZXT’s controller software and system that can change device settings, monitor system activity, thermals, assist with overclocking, and create app-specific profiles. This is a super handy feature.

Using the scenario above, let’s say that I’ve just finished up a script and I’m about to treat myself to a few dungeon runs in World of Warcraft Classic. As a WotLK Enhancement Shaman main, I like to keep my rotation on lock - applying Shocks, slamming down Stormstrikes and Lava Lashes, dumping Maelstrom Weapons charges ASAP, keeping totems down and my Fire Nova on cooldown… you get the picture. Basically, the faster I can trigger those cooldowns, the harder I can make the rogues and mages cry when DPS meters are posted at the end of the runs. With a quick setup, CAM can switch the FUNCTION 2’s profile for me when I launch the game. When I’m ready to get back to work, I don’t have to fuss with manually switching profiles because it’s already set.

Speaking of fussing with things manually, I did NOT have to fuss with the stabilizer bars out of the box the way that I did with the FUNCTION mechanical keyboard. NZXT must have taken to heart the critiques of rickey stabilizers and noisy keys because the FUNCTION 2 does not have those problems! This is thanks to some design changes, including the addition of dual-layer sound dampening foam, a PCB tape mod, as well as pre-lubricated switch and stabilizers.  

These features add up to one colossal win for NZXT and for the FUNCTION 2 keyboard. 

A Lighter, More Supportive LIFT

My experience with the original NZXT LIFT mouse was a pleasant one. It was a no-fuss gaming mouse that understood NZXT’s minimalistic branding while delivering some premium features. It had a beautiful, symmetric shape, soft woven cable, and an overall solid construct. Honestly, it was difficult to critique anything other than the launch price - which has significantly dropped since release. All of that being said, the bar for the LIFT 2 was set pretty high. Could it measure up to the original LIFT?  

That’s a complicated question because NZXT didn’t just release one LIFT successor, they released two. Looking at them side by side was almost like looking at fraternal triplets; you know they’re all related but there are subtle differences that make them all unique. They’re not so similar they need name tags… but NZXT has provided them anyway.

Enter the NZXT LIFT 2 ERGO and SYMM. 

As the names imply, one of them (the SYMM) is symmetrical just like the original LIFT while the other (the ERGO) has a more right-handed ergonomic shape. For users who like a more claw or fingertip style grip, they recommend the SYMM, but if you’re like me and your hand needs to gently spoon your mouse, the ERGO is big into cuddles. And if you think that took a weird turn, wait until we flip these things over.

No, that’s not a euphemism… we have to talk about an interesting design decision NZXT made with the underside of the LIFT 2 mice: they’re open. I’m not talking about a peripheral being emotionally vulnerable from the spooning, I’m talking about the bottom side of these mice being completely exposed!

At first, I thought that, perhaps, there were swappable panels somewhere in the packaging that you could pop in to add a splash of color to your mouse. But, I was wrong; NZXT just reduced the plastic used on the bottom to help reduce the weight. For me, the trade off of a few grams in exchange for a cavernous dust collector is not ideal. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh… I could be the wrong market for a lightweight mouse that is liberated from a significant portion of its undercarriage. 

That design decision aside, both LIFT 2 SYMM and ERGO mice were just as comfortable to use as the LIFT with the added benefit of optical switches versus mechanical as well as an updated optical sensor. While the new button switches have a distinctly different feel than their mechanical counterparts, the change isn’t unwelcome. Listen, mechanical switches are great, but the optical switches maye feel like an improvement for someone who prefers their feel. In nothing more, the update is a win from a durability standpoint.

The feature sets in CAM for the LIFT 2 mice are similar to those found in the LIFT. You can change polling profiles and DPI settings, set life distance, program macros, remap mouse buttons, and more. Unfortunately, RGB didn’t make the cure for these mice, but the reduced pricing and increased sensor range help make up for the omissions. 

Final Thoughts

So, how do they stack up against their mechanical predecessors?

Overall, the NZXT FUNCTION 2 and LIFT 2 feel more like the “Extended Editions” of these product lines than they do true sequels. Where a sequel would have taken the original and enhanced the overarching story with its own, an extended cut takes what’s already there and adds more context. For one of these devices, it works. For the other, it’s a bit more questionable. 

Let me explain:

The extended editions of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy took decently faithful adaptations of literary masterpieces and gave us more of that. We got Frodo and Sam seeing elves pass along to the Undying Lands, Bilbo’s commentary concerning hobbits and the Shire, the Midgewater Marshes, and so on. 

The extended editions of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit gave us buck-naked dwarves splashing in elven fountains.

One of these things is not like the other. 

With the FUNCTION 2, NZXT took the critical feedback that reviewers like you gave the FUNCTION. Instead of ignoring it, they listened and made some safe changes. I cannot emphasize enough how important these design decisions improved the overall user experience. It’s these extra fits and finishes that reminds me why NZXT has been an “it” brand for so long. 

On the other hand, NZXT took the LIFT 2 and made some less safe creative choices, but those choices felt a bit subtractive in more ways than one. To be fair, the updated sensors are nice, the optical switches will extend the longevity of them, and the new price point makes this a far more attractive option for new peripheral buyers. I’m just a bit concerned about how safe these sensors are from the inevitable buildup of dust and hair inside. I understand the decision to shed weight, but I wish the openness was optional.

Do these changes work for everyone? Not really, but there is no perfect peripheral choice for every person and, at the end of the day, you have to choose the devices that work for you. No one else can make that decision for you. After using the FUNCTION as my main keyboard for the past two years, I’m surprisingly torn between going back to it and leaving the FUNCTION 2 on my desktop. 

As for the LIFT 2, they’re both good mice that get the job done. They’re comfortable to use and have an overall high quality feel to them. But, they’re like that fountain scene… Some people liked it, but it’s just not my bag. 

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Authors are not compensated based upon clicks or commission.

7.0 Good
  • FUNCTION 2 updates feel like NZXT took feedback
  • Optical switches offer a durable option for peripheral users
  • CAM support is a plus for users within the ecosystem
  • Customization options
  • NZXT Swift switches can be VERY sensitive
  • Still no LED indicator on the miniTKL outside of the illuminated key
  • The openness of the LIFT 2’s underside is prone to collecting dust


Damien Gula

Born in the heyday of mullets and the El Camino to a tech-foward family, Damien joined the MMORPG.com team back in 2017 to review hardware and games as well as provide coverage for press preview events. He has participated in a number of MMOs over the years, including World of Warcraft, RIFT, Guild Wars 2, and the Destiny series. When he isn't writing for MMORPG.com, Damien is a pastor by trade who loves talking with anyone interested about life, God, and video games (in no particular order). He also co-hosts a podcast dedicated to these conversation with fellow MMORPG writer Matt Keith called Roll The Level.