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qwertykeys neo80 review

keyboard by: qwertkeys
Photos taken in House by alex

Intro

QwertyKeys has been on a roll lately. With their Neo65 and Neo70 boards seeing success, I was excited to see what was next on the horizon for them.

Well, they came out with a TKL called the Neo80.  It’s the latest from QwertyKeys and, in my opinion, one of the prettiest boards they have released in the Neo lineup! It has a classic design, with thin side bezels and a simple yet elegant side profile. The board starts at $110 USD for the plateless variant and can max out at $190 if you get all the bells and whistles. The price is killer, but is the board any good? For reference, the unit I received to take a look was a $140 version.

What the board has going on for it is what really matters here. It features a wild amount of mounting styles, a catch ball enclosure and the magnetic daughter board (no cables, woo!) Oh and as I mentioned, it’s a classy design! Let’s dive deeper into all these points.

Quick disclaimer, this written review is not sponsored and this article has no affiliate codes. If you’d like to support review like this, visit my discord and say hi or check out my wallpaper pack here!

neo80 keyboard

Corner shot of the Neo80 // Fuji GFX 100s

neo80 keyboard

Neo80 of a desk // Fuji GFX100s

The Board

The Neo80 design is minimal and soft. Reading into their notes, their goals seemed to be to not make these boards overly bulky, which is a welcomed direction. It sports an 18mm front height, softer edges and an elegant side profile. They do have a small circular LED portion on the top, to give it some character. I wasn’t too into this and I did personally think the LED wasn’t very bright. 

To note, I couldn’t seem to adjust its brightness on my unit. The bottom of the board is simple and features a wide variety of different ways to bring some flare to the board depending on what you buy. The copper weight I got in was very well done and I was very happy with it. The same goes with the anodization on my board, it was great and I can imagine the other coatings to also be very good.

Internals, My Thoughts

The board also has a catch ball enclosure instead of more traditional screws to close up the case. This makes accessing the interenals a breeze and paired with their magnetic daughter board, this is one of the easiest boards I’ve ever assembled and disassembled. To dive deeper on the catch ball system, this one was actually customized to be smaller to fit in the Neo80 which I thought was pretty neat. 

The magnetic daughter board essentially eliminates the JST cable usually found in cases that feature a daughterboard. I was really wowed with this feature on the Neo65 and it worked great, but after using the keyboard for the last few days and taking it apart a few more times, I did notice the connector to be a bit finicky this time around. Since it floats you have to sometimes jostle the case to get it to sit right. During my time using it, it did come undone one time while I moved the board, but otherwise worked as intended during normal use. Take this with a grain of salt as I am unsure if this is a me problem, but it’s something to note regardless.

PCB choices were great for this release, too! We have solderable 1.6mm and hotswap variants as well as a wireless choice! 

The board also brings an insane amount of ways to build it to the table. Want it plateless? No problem, you can do that. Gaskets? It’s got two different ones to use. It even has an oring build and brass post mount, which resembles a top mount style build.

There was one oddity though. Limited to what seems to be just the oring mount, the bottom row with no foam seems to be finicky on placement and also quite empty sounding. The other mounts all sound way better. I noticed that the PCB sits very close to the edge of the case and I wonder if after all the pieces are put together if this is causing that odd noise. I experimented with adding some tape to break that contact but I couldn’t get it to sound perfect. Just like the Neo65, the weakest mounting style on this board seems to be the oring, while the newest addition of mounting (brass posts) is really lovely. However the typing experience on the oring mount is great! Keep in mind this is all subjective.

neo80 keyboard magnetic connector
catch ball system for keyboard

Catch ball system.

neo80 keyboard

Top down of the Neo80 internals

Catch Ball System // Fuji GFX100s

Let's Sum It Up

They absolutely nailed the internals, creating this insanely smooth synergy. What blows my mind is the total lack of permanence – you can swap out practically everything (except for the plateless setup) effortlessly. It’s a godsend for those who are still feeling out their preferences, easily one of the most tinkerable boards that’s crossed my path. The board’s aesthetic is just universally likable, rocking a plush 18mm front height and a typing angle of 6.5 degrees that’s pure perfection.

But, let’s talk about the oring mount one more time – it’s a bit of a bummer and feels like a last-minute addition. I’m itching to see a design that really lets that oring mount shine! 

Despite that, considering the bang for your buck, there’s a whole lot to adore about this board. There is also a crazy amount of ways you can customize the visual appearance of the keyboard as well. They have a healthy amount of colour choices, as well as plenty of weight, PCB and plate choices. It’s seriously great.

Bottom Line

My verdict: The Neo lineup seems to boast a slightly deeper sound profile, which might just hit that ‘thocky’ sweet spot for you. If that’s your vibe, prepare to be absolutely thrilled with the Neo80. But the market is currently packed with some solidly priced TKLs. If you’re willing to stretch your budget a bit more, the more premium-looking KBDfans 8x MKIII or the livelier (and clackier) sounding Luminkey80 could be enticing options. However, none of them quite match the Neo80’s package deal – at least until the potential release of the Cycle8. So, let’s keep our eyes peeled for that.

If you wanted to grab your own Neo80, check out there official website here. Happy typing!

neo80 keyboard weight

Neo80

neo80 keyboard
neo80 keyboard