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The Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is a Tesla-inspired and Completely Over the Top Keyboard (We Love It)

Christopher Coke Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

The Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking from Angry Miao is all about the flex. It’s over the top, the kind of keyboard that makes people stop and stare. It’s 100-percent not a keyboard from everyone but is 100-percent the kind of keyboard you buy when you love mechanical keyboards and want everyone to know about it. Luckily from Angry Miao we do love mechanical keyboards and are all in on this unique kind of awesome. 

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking - What Is It?

The original Cyberboard took its inspiration from none other than the Tesla Cybertruck. It’s all about the angles, and when you keep that in mind, you can see it. But it goes deeper than that. Angry Miao and Tesla have a lot in common. The pursuit of technological innovation. Jamming technology into places it’s never been before. Pushing the limits of what you understand a product to be. That’s what the Cyberboard is all about. 

It’s a statement piece, and that’s clear from the get-go. The Cyberboard arrives in a metal briefcase, complete with branding on the outside and custom-fit foam to keep it secure. I wouldn’t put it beyond Angry Miao to install lights in the case so it glows when you open it for the first time. This is that kind of mechanical keyboard. 

Like previous versions of the keyboard, Le Smoking is available as a kit or a bundle, which arrives as a fully assembled keyboard. I opted for the bundle and was struck taking it out of the case. In more ways than one; the hits kept coming. 

Firstly, there’s a giant screen on the back of the keyboard (angles, remember). It’s a customizable LED matrix with 200 separate LEDs. It’s bigger than I expected and completely visible from the front, so it’s not the kind of flair you’ll only notice before setting it down on your desk. It comes with a bunch of preset options, including animations, a battery indicator, a clock, and scrolling Cyberboard marquee, and even a little Tetris game simulator. 

You can download more or create your own on Angry Miao’s DIY site. Want Pac-Mac chomping ghosts? A scrolling Gengar? How about a cat that peeks up with its paws and pointy ears? You can do all of that and more. It’s a statement piece that can literally make a statement (I recommend, “hands off my expensive keyboard!”).

This next thing that stood out to me was the keycaps. The bundle comes with the company’s custom Glacier keycap set. It’s made entirely of acrylic and high gloss with bright green legends. You thought you’ve seen RGB? You haven’t seen anything until you see what this keyboard is capable of. It is the most RGB of RGB keyboards. The smoked out color of the keycaps provides just enough diffusion to blend the effect together and look great. 

The bundle also includes Gateron Ink Black switches (community favorites) and Gateron Ink stabilizers. You don’t have to look far to find out that Gateron Inks are highly regarded and for good reason. The sound and feel are top-notch. Out of the box, I had to add some lube to the spacebar. That might sound odd for a high-end keyboard, but enthusiasts are particular about their stabilizers. Expecting them to lube them to taste isn’t that unusual. Angry Miao knows its customers: we’re tinkerers.

The Cyberboard has had several revisions now. We had the original Cyberboard and the Matrix-inspired Cyberboard Terminal. Each model has had different aesthetics and design choices on the internals. Thematic keyboard releases are becoming a staple of the brand, a testament to the “creativity first” design ethos that runs through its products. 

The Le Smoking is “inspired by Le Smoking, the iconic women's suit designed by Hedi Slimane, during his career at Yves Saint Laurent Paris. It brings us back to 2013, at a psychedelic live band show…” You can see that from the very first unboxing. My version comes with a mirrored black top case and matte black sides. You can also buy it with a psychedelic rainbow finish. The mix of high gloss and matte and all of those bursts of color from the screen and individual keys is absolutely striking. 

But take the aesthetics out: this is a high-end, premium-built custom keyboard with an over-the-top attention to detail and list of features. It starts with the case, which is seven pounds of solid aluminum. It’s a meme to say at this point, but you could kill a man with this keyboard. That weight lends it a premium feel and ensures it won’t move on the desk.

Flip it over and you’ll see something even more interesting: a charging coil. That’s because this keyboard is wireless and has two 5000mAh batteries inside its case. Put it on a charging pad and it will automatically top itself off when it falls below 85% and stop charging when it’s full to protect the battery. It can seamlessly hop between wired and Bluetooth connections. When it does, it automatically syncs up the built-in clock with your PC or mobile device (though it’s currently an hour behind on PC, which Angry Miao confirmed should be fixed in the next update). 

Inside the case, it features all of the latest design trends from the mechanical keyboard community. The retail version comes with your choice of aluminum, brushed brass, golden black FR4, and polycarbonate plates, each slit with flex cuts for a softer typing experience. There’s foam beneath the plate, and then two layers of case foam beneath the PCB to reduce any hollowness inside the case. Of course, you have south-facing LEDs and the stabilizers are screw-ins. Angry Miao was born from the enthusiast community and knows what matters to its customer base. 

Disassembling it, it’s incredibly clear just how meticulous the team was in designing and delivering on its concept. The aesthetics have obviously been designed with exceptional care, but it’s not just looks. It’s everything. Even the screws in the back of the case are finished with the same rainbow, chroma treatment as the rainbow version of the board. 

Inside, the inner chamber has been precisely milled, even providing slots to easily remove the PCB assembly. There are no simply JST connectors to connect the screen and battery. They’re full ribbon cables and are exceptionally easy to plug and unplug without fear of damaging the wire or connector. The ribbon even snaps into place against the case so it’s not in the way of the foam. 

Every part of the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is extra, including the keycaps. Angry Miao could have used existing molds and made transparent keycaps, but instead, they spent a huge amount of money to create brand new molds, just for these keycaps. This allows them to have a frosted interior and glossy exterior to deliver the ice cube effect. They even went so far as to design around avoiding the thimble marks that occur on the other keycaps during the molding process. It’s above and beyond, and we love it. 

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking - What’s It Like to Use?

The screen is the hallmark of the Cyberboard, so let’s start there. It’s awesome. Impractical, mostly, but awesome. The ability to display animations is very cool, and when I’m in the mood for RGB (which is most of the time), I have a full rainbow wave shine across the back. Since you can easily see it from a normal sitting position, it’s a bit of flair that you can actually enjoy when used normally. When I’m not in the mood for RGB, I have it display the time. In time, I hope Angry Miao releases other options, like a WPM counter.

The actual typing experience is very nice. Despite being gasket mounted, there isn’t much flex to the board. This implementation is more about isolation than movement, and it does that well. Typing sounds are more muted and light (clacky). I enjoy this sound, but you can customize it by removing some of the foam from the back of the case, which deepens the sound and improves flex. 

The Glacier keycaps absolutely add to the sound profile. Like ABS and PBT have different sound profiles, the same is true of acrylic, and is a large part of that clacky sound. The smooth finish feels unique and nice under the fingertips. Super well done. 

But a fingerprint magnet, all of it. The glossy top surface and the keycaps themselves each attract fingerprints immediately after unboxing. I took to keeping a soft cloth nearby to wipe it down. It’s not practical, but then very little about the Cyberboard is. So, you’ll learn not to touch the top case or you’ll learn to live with a few smudges.

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking - Typing Demonstration (with Different Foam Configurations)

Below, I’ve built and rebuilt the keyboard with aluminum and polycarbonate plates. I swapped out the case foams so you can hear the difference each makes to the sound. 

Here’s how the keyboard looks and sounds in action: 

Final Thoughts

The Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is an over the top keyboard in every way. It’s not a keyboard you get if you want to be practical. This is the board you choose when you want the most showy, artwork-like keyboard you can place on your desk. As such, you’ll pay a pretty penny to pick one up for yourself. The base kit retails for $670 and includes the case (with screen, of course), an aluminum plate, three PCBs with hot-swap, USB, and LED options, the carrying case, a tool kit and user manual. You provide the switches and keycaps. The pre-built bundle includes all of that, as well as the Glacier keycaps ($105), Gateron Ink Stabilizers (~$28), and Gateron Box Ink Black switches (~$69) for $826 — about $50 less than if you bought all of that yourself.

Clearly, this isn’t a kit for everybody, but if you’re deep into the keyboard hobby and want what may just be the most standout mechanical keyboard ever made, the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is it. 

The keyboard will officially go on sale tomorrow, August 3rd, at 8PM PDT. Click here to visit the product page and find out more

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

8.5Great
Pros
  • Nothing else like it exists today
  • Unique and eye-catching aesthetic
  • Over the top attention to detail
  • Built to an enthusiast’s high standard
  • That screen!
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Not the most practical, but then… that’s kind of the the point


GameByNight

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


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