Hexgears Impulse Keyboard Review: A Full-Sized Hot-Swap?!


The Hexgears Impulse is a full-sized mechanical keyboard that has some really interesting features. With RGB lighting fully integrated into every aspect of the keyboard this keyboard is a fun light show to behold.

Let’s take a closer look at all of the different features and make a recommendation.

The Verdict: Great Choice for a Full-Sized Keyboard

  • Hot-swappable switches
  • RGB lighting on each switch
  • RGB side lighting
  • Pudding keycaps
  • PBT keycaps
  • Yellow stabilizers
  • Very bulky keyboard
  • Non-detachable power cable

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Hexgears Impulse is a very exciting specialty keyboard that comes with a host of different unique features. The biggest part that jumps out at you about this keyboard is the lighting. With RGB integrated into each key and additional side-lighting, the Impulse really pops in your desk setup.

The PBT pudding keycaps are also a nice touch to really amp up the RGB game even more. The clear sides to the keycaps let’s the light emanate and creates a nice glow.

There are also tons of additional media keys and commands on the lower layer of your keyboard that you can access easily to change your settings on the fly.

There are only a few downsides to the Hexgears Impulse and that is the overall bulkiness of the keyboard. Personally, I prefer a more compact layout such as 65%, but for those who do a lot of number entry the size is perfect.

To make room for the logo, Hexgears also added a tapered forehead to the keyboard which makes it take up unnecessary space on my desk, I would say this is my biggest gripe with the keyboard.

The power cable is also non-detachable which makes it harder to unplug and take on the go. Not a big deal for most people, but as a keyboard reviewer a non-detachable power cable is quite the hassle. I prefer to use the same cable and swap out the keyboard.

With those few complaints out of the way, this keyboard has some popping RGB along with a host of some helpful features. It’s also one of the few full-sized keyboards on the market with hot-swappable sockets, that alone is pretty amazing.

Overall, if you need a full-sized keyboard with some awesome RGB and hot-swappable switches, you can’t miss out on the Hexgears Impulse. You can find the Impulse on the Kono Store or Amazon for a good deal.


In The Box

Let’s take a look at what’s included in the box, it can be interesting to see all of the different add-ins from each company.

  • Keycap Puller: A wire keycap puller is included to help you easily remove the keycaps without needing to pry them off with your fingers. An excellent addition to make keyboard maintenance easier.
  • Switch Puller: A switch puller is also included. The Impulse is hot-swappable so a switch puller makes it easy to take the switches out and replace them if needed. We recommend doing this.
  • Warranty: There is also some literature explaining the one year warranty associated with the keyboard. The warranty seems like a fantastic add-in and shows that Hexgears has a lot of confidence in the durability of their product. Nothing quite like German precision engineering, huh?

We’re satisfied with what’s included in the both. It has all of the tools required to do basic maintenance on the keyboard and would make it easy to swap out switches and keycaps.

I would have liked to see a sticker though, I really like stickers. Plus Hexgears has a cool logo, so it’s a shame.


Build Quality

The Hexgears Impulse is a full-sized keyboard coming in a floating keycap design with a rounded metal top plate and a plastic bottom to hold everything together nicely.

While I’m not a big fan of floating keycap designs, the keyboard does look have a nice aesthetic. The main downside to floating keycap is the keyboard will typically be on the louder side.

The Impulse feels solid with little flex, which is quite impressive for such a large keyboard. The keyboard is ever-so-slightly angled which does help a bit with ergonomics, but could do with a more aggressive angle. A bit of a nit-pick on my part though.

There are multi-angle kickstand adjustments on the back which will you customize the typing angle and help you view the keyboard better if you like to look at your hands when typing.

Having two adjustment settings is also nice, most keyboards will only have one.

Overall the build quality is quite good and we’re happy with the design of the Impulse thus far.

The Keycaps

The keycaps are definitely part of what makes this keyboard so unique. The doubeshot PBT pudding keycaps allow the RGB to really shine and steal the show.

The design of the keycaps allow lights to shine through the sides of the keyboard better and improve the overall aesthetic. The PBT plastic also prevents the legends from wearing off and the keycaps from getting shiny and slick.

The RGB also shines through the keycaps to illuminate the legends and helps you type easier in the dark.

The keycaps also have a few sub-legends described on them if you need to access media keys or the other preprogrammed layers such as the RGB lighting settings.

The Switches

The switches coming on the Hexgear Impulse are Kailh BOX Browns. Quite an interesting pick that you don’t find on other keyboards. Typically the switch on a pre-built keyboard will either be from Cherry, Gateron, or their own name-branded switch, but Hexgears opted for a Kailh BOX Brown.

The BOX switches have a different design where the stem is much wider and boxy to help improve stability and reduce wobble when typing. Personally, I find the BOX Browns to be quite scratchy and not the best by any means.

Instead, I would have liked to see one of the clicky Kailh BOX switches, as they bring some really cool stuff to the table. The Kailh BOX clicky switches have a click bar design that allow for a click noise in both the up and down direction.

Instead of BOX Browns, a BOX White or BOX Navy switch would be a much better option. Just my two cents.

Anyways, the switch type doesn’t matter too much because the keyboard is hot-swappable. It would be super easy to swap out all of the switches on the keyboard if you don’t like them.

The Stabilizers

The stabilizers on the Hexgears Impulse are the classic Cherry style, which means they are compatible with almost all keycaps. They feel very nice and have little rattle or wobble.

I was surprised to see the stabilizers be so high-quality on a pre-built keyboard. Usually they are neglected by most manufacturers but Hexgears really stepped their game up on this one.

To examine the stabilizers a little closer, I removed the keycap on the spacebar and to my surprise I realized the stabilizers were colored yellow! I think it is a really nice touch to add a little color to the stabilizers, these small details really sets the keyboard apart from others.

The Impulse is also hot-swappable, so it would be really easy to mod the stabilizers without needing to desolder anything. You can pull out the switches on the larger keys with the switch puller and then band-aid, clip, and lube the stabilizers.

Overall, I’m super impressed with the stabilizers on this keyboard.

Portability

Portability is where this keyboard really lacks. For some, portability may not matter at all, in which case there is almost no reason for you not to get this keyboard.

But for those who have multiple keyboards or like to take their keyboards with them to the coffee shop or school, you run into some issues with the Impulse.

First of all, the keyboard is full-sized which makes it the largest size option. The number pad takes up a ton of extra desk space and many don’t use it anyways. So if you like to take notes at your desk or set your coffee cup down, you’ll have less room to work with.

The keyboard also has a forehead which adds an extra inch to the width. The forehead doesn’t really serve any purpose except to hold the Hexgears branding, so if it were up to me, I would just chop it off and put the logo elsewhere.

The power cable is non-detachable which means you need to unplug it from your computer instead of your keyboard. This makes it tough if you have multiple keyboards you like to change between or if you like to move your keyboard around a lot.

The Hexgears Impulse is not a very nimble keyboard. It is great for those who want to set it on their desk and never move it again.

Some Awesome Features

Now that we’ve gone over all of the different factors of this keyboard, let’s highlight some of the features and areas where this keyboard really excels.

  • Hot-swappable switches: It is really rare to find a hot-swappable full-sized keyboard. This may seem like a strange feature to get excited about but I’m sure there is a small audience of customers who would be very excited to learn that.
  • Lots of RGB lighting: So much. RGB on the switches. RGB on the sides. Pudding keycaps to make RGB brighter. If you love RGB, you’re going to miss out if you don’t check this keyboard out.
  • Easy to access lower layers: There are a ton of different commands on the lower layers which make it really easy top customize stuff like the RGB lighting or access the media keys to easily change songs while gaming.
  • PBT keycaps: The keycaps are durable and quite stylish. Not to mention the pudding aspect which makes your lights look even better.
  • Multi-adjustable kickstand: Try out different typing angles to find what suits you the best. I’m a sucker for typing on a flat surface, but it’s always a nice feature to have.

Conclusion

Product Photo

  • Hot-swappable switches
  • RGB lighting on each switch
  • RGB side lighting
  • Pudding keycaps
  • PBT keycaps
  • Yellow stabilizers
  • Very bulky keyboard
  • Non-detachable power cable

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Hexgears Impulse is a great option if you’re looking for a full-sized hot-swappable keyboard, whether that be for gaming, typing, or even programming.

The hot-swappable PCB allows you to try out new switches easily and do lots of cool mods without worrying about desoldering.

The RGB on this keyboard is insane and can be customized to look good with almost any desk setup.

The Impulse is not the most portable as the non-detachable power cable and bulky size make it difficult to move, but for some that is not an issue in the slightest.

I would highly recommend this keyboard to anyone although I would make sure you have enough desk space and aren’t planning on moving it anytime soon.

There are just so many great features packed into this keyboard that it would be hard to pass up on.

You can find the Impulse on the Kono Store or Amazon for a good deal.


Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards work and show the world all of the cool aspects of the mechanical keyboard hobby.

Recent Content