Mode Keycap Analysis & Review

Hey there, I’m Alex! today ill be doing something that I normally do not do, which is really dive deep into keycaps. I was excited to check out mode’s latest double shot caps and they are crispy.

these are my thoughts about the mode keycaps

2023
Based in Toronto, Canada
twitchyoutubetwitter

keycaps by: Mode Designs
Photos taken in House by alex

Top down shot of the Mode Obscura keycaps // Fuji X-HS2

Intro

I like ABS keycaps. To me, they have a warm, bright sound. So when Mode told me they were making keycaps out of a PBT/ABS blend, I was hesitant. Would they have inconsistent, fuzzy-looking legends? Would I be able to embrace the deeper and often characterless sound of PBT?

Mode did not pay for this review nor do they get to read this before it releases. These are my honest and truthful thoughts. Also there are links in here that are affiliate links and provide me with a kickback that helps me support my channel.

Other Notes

Mode collaborated with veteran designer Tim Van Damme (MVKB) for the legends of these keycaps. The sets come in three themes: Obscura, Anthracite, and Tomorrow. The kits cover a wide variety of layouts: Full-size (104/108 key), 1800, TKL, 75%, 65%, 60%, HHKB, Tsangan/WKL, Alice, GK64, 40s, and Terminal ISO. They even offer macOS modifier keys. Nice!

Mode’s packaging is also fantastic. They are presented in plastic trays within beautifully designed boxes and they bring a very fun sense of joy opening them. The trays and the boxes feel reusable and like they wont fall apart unlike GMK’s trays where they feel like they are falling apart as you open them.

Mode Tomorrow Keycaps // Fuji X-HS2

Mode Tomorrow pictured on an Envoy

Close up of the quality of the legends of the Mode Keycaps

Anthracite pictured on a lavender Vertex Angle

Comparison of the GMK keycap (top) vs Mode Keycap (bottom)

Close up of Mode Anthracite

Example of a comparison of Mode Anthracite vs Modo Light

A Look, a Touch, a Listen

One aspect of these keycaps you’ll notice right away is the font used for the legends. It’s derived from the Neue Haas Grotesk typeface and is larger than many competitors. The legends on the modifiers are sharp, uniform, and crisp. And, thanks to the larger size, the alphas are well-defined and even. I did notice some hazing (see pic) on some modifiers, but I really only noticed that with my macro lens. I don’t think you’ll see it in day-to-day use. Another typical mark on these keycaps you won’t notice: the sprue marks. Mode designed these so you wouldn’t see them as you would on a typical GMK keycaps set. Mode’s keycaps have the sprue mark on the bottom so the keycaps look polished from any direction. Some folks out there might miss seeing the sprue marks, but I won’t.

Comparison of the Mode Obscura keycaps vs GMK White On Black

Comparison of the Mode Tomorrow keycaps vs other GMK keycaps

Color-wise, I found these keycaps to simply be fun. Obscura is a bit lighter than GMK’s White on Black, Anthracite is a bit cooler and darker than Modo Light. Anthracite’s eggshell-colored alphas are really nice. But the Tomorrow keycaps stole the show for me. They present as a gray and dark gray set, but in reality the modifiers have a slight hue of brown to them that may be hard to notice in the photos with daylight lighting (5700k and white balanced camera) In warmer lighting, the brown hue really becomes the forward displaying of the colors and it goes great with a green keyboard.

Instead of relying on pure PBT, Mode used a PBT/ABS compound. That makes the keycaps a little rougher than sets from GMK, but it’s another aspect you’re unlikely to notice. Even so, I added a couple of macro shots to see how they differ.

Mode’s keycaps, because of how they are made, grabbed some sound from both materials and I found them to be the best of both worlds. The alpha keycaps retain some of that beautiful sharpness of ABS without being bland, like some PBT keycaps. It’s a pleasant sound signature. That said, I like the sound of GMK’s spacebars over Mode’s. That’s likely because of GMK’s all-ABS material compared to Mode’s mixture.

Mode Anthracite on the Angle 

Demo of no sprue marks on the Mode keycaps

Bottom Line With Some Thoughts

Yep, I like these. They feel good, they look good, and they sound good. And that price point is hard to beat. If Mode keeps making more sets like these, we all win. And if you wanted to support me so I can keep creating articles like this, please consider using my affiliate link. It adds no extra cost to you and helps support my content! Thank you so much.

Obscura on Sonnet

Close up look of the Mode Obscura keycap legends