As more people become obsessed with their gaming setups, a new style of PC keyboard has arisen. 87-key keyboards — sometimes called 65 percent keyboards — are smaller than a standard keyboard but still offer all the functionality you need to play PC games effectively.
EasySMX makes some excellent gaming accessories, including the EasySMX Gaming chair and the EasySMX V07W Wireless Gaming Headset and these peripherals have something in common with the GK82; They are all great products for the price.
Bottom line: EasySMX makes good gaming peripherals at great prices, and the GK82 is no exception. The keys are a joy to use, and the clickity-clack is soothing.
- Responsive switches
- N-key rollover
- Good battery life
- Compact, industrial design
- Grey-on-black keys are hard to read without the LEDs
Responsiveness is key
EasySMX GK82: What I like
I'll admit, when I first started using the GK82, I was a little hesitant about the lack of Numpad. After all, I use it every day at work — the Alt code for an em dash is 0151 if you were wondering — but this keyboard is not necessarily designed for a full-time journalist. When playing video games on your PC, you don't really need the Numpad. Most of the needed controls are featured on the mainboard, so I'll concentrate on its performance there.
|Switch||Outemu red/blue switches|
|Keycaps||Double-shot injection moulded|
|Life span (keystrokes)||50 million|
|Backlight||Cool blue / Bright white|
|Lighting||Per-key LED lighting with 6 preset styles|
|Connection||USB-C to USB-A|
|Battery life||3 days with LED, 500 hours without LED|
|OS||Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Xbox|
|Cable||Type Detachable, Braided|
|Cable length||1.8 m|
While RGB is all the rage for streamers when you are using a keyboard wirelessly, having RGB can be a serious drain. The LEDs on the GK82 work are a simple cool blue and have 6 different preset motions. I'm partial to the light-under-keypress system as the little flash is far less distracting than the other, more flashy light modes. When using the LED, battery life is a decent, but only decent, three days. Without the LEDs lit, it's rated to last up to 500 hours. I haven't got that much out of my battery, but with the lights out, it'll go for a long time.
Response time is excellent, even in 2.4ghz wireless mode. It does feel a little snappier with the USB-C to USB-A cord connected, and the blue mechanical switches are a joy to use. I am very partial to the sound of a mechanical keyboard — in my mind, the sound is linked to productivity — and these switches are an acoustic dream. The keycaps are well rounded, and I rarely catch the wrong key as my finger move across the board, though I have accidentally hit the tab key more than once when in the heat of a battle in Final Fantasy 14. The keys can be delicate, but that is a sign of their response, and perhaps my ham fists.
The keyboard itself weighs 712 grams and is made of a shiny ABS plastic and nickel-coated metal plate. The metal plate helps keep the switches and keys in place and adds to the feeling of rigidity I get when I type on the EasySMX GK82. There is no give as I type this, and the keyboard feels like it could type forever, which it likely could as each switch has a 50 million keystroke lifespan. When playing games, no matter how exuberant I got with the keys, they took everything I could dish out and still worked perfectly.
One last thing that I didn't get on my review unit is the amazing pink version of GK82. If you are looking for something a little less standard, then the pink keyboard might be right for you. The GK82 also comes with removable keycaps and switches, so if you decide to change things up, you can do so easily. You might want to as well, as the keycaps are my least favorite thing about the EasySMX.
Little issues, easily overlooked
EasySMX GK82: What I don't like
I'm sure there are people out there who love a dark grey letter on a black keycap, but I'm not one of them. I said earlier in my review that without the LED, the battery lasts a long time. That is irrelevant when you need the lights to see the keys in anything but the best conditions. When the sun goes down without the LED backlight, playing games is impossible for me. Most of the time, I have the lights on and the power cord plugged in.
While the keycaps are made of a double shot plastic — double shot means that the lettering is a part of the key rather than just printed on top — the keycaps themselves are already starting to show wear after a little more than a month. The space bar especially shows the mark of hundreds of thumb hits, mostly jumping, which has caused the plastic to lose its textured feeling and revert to shiny ABS.
EasySMX GK82: The competition
Razer's Huntsman Mini is the perfect option if you are already into the Razer ecosystem and want a few more options, including an all-white colorway and official optional Razer keycaps. There is a choice of linear (quiet) or mechanical (clicky) switches, but it lacks the arrow keys you might need.
The Huntsman is a truly mini keyboard, and while it takes up less room and has fancy RGB lights, the cost is almost double that of the GK82. That's where this keyboard really shines; in the budget gamer niche.
For more ideas, see our best mechanical keyboards roundup for other competitors.
EasySMX GK82: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You love a minimal design with no Numpad
- Like a good clicky blue switch
- Want a wireless experience for your gaming
- Need an n-key keyboard
You should not buy this if ...
- You find grey-on-black to be too dark
- You spend more of your time typing than playing
I've really enjoyed my time with the EasySMX GK82. When I'm playing games, the keyboard is hyper-fast and comfortable to use, and when I'm typing, the clacking keyboard feels solid and capable. Is it the most flashy keyboard? No. The nickel-plated metal does set it apart from many black slabs, but it isn't going to be using an app to make custom RGB lights shine at you. The EasySMX GK82 helped me play the best game I can every time. What it does, it does brilliantly, and that's all you can ask from an input device.
If you are looking for a gaming keyboard, one that uses the smaller 65 percent design, and want to keep your keyboard free from clutter and ugliness, the GK82 is a brilliant place to start. If you really want to make it striking, get the pink one. It looks fantastic.
James built his first PC when he was 13 and has never looked back. He can be found on Windows Central, usually in the corner where all the 3D printers are, or huddled around the Xbox playing the latest games.