The iQunix F97 Coral Reef is a mechanical keyboard that offers a lot of value packed into a 96% size.
The keyboard comes in a nice themed design and have some interesting features such as wireless connectivity and some fun additions.
While it’s not the cheapest option on the market, the typing experience is quite enjoyable and fun.
The Main Takeaways
The iQunix F97 Coral Sea was an amazing option 2 years ago, but is still a great choice? While there is more competition nowadays, the F97 Coral Sea offers an interesting value prop. The keyboard comes in a size that most will find comfortable and it comes with a lot of fun goodies that most keyboards don’t have. Not to mention, the wireless capabilities make connecting the keyboard a breeze and super convenient.
General Usage: For general usage, the iQunix F97 Coral Sea is great. The number pad is included in the size, but it gets rid of a lot of the unneeded extra space. This gives you more room for coffee or a notepad. You won’t struggle at all using this keyboard for everyday tasks or taking it on the go to a coffee shop with your laptop.
Typing: For the purpose of typing, this is where the iQunix F97 shines. Everything down to the switches, keycaps, and stabilizers are made to promote a fun typing experience. While I would’ve like to see new updates to the keyboard, such as screw-in stabs or a gasket mount, the typing experience is still quite enjoyable.
Gaming: Because the keyboard is mechanical, it’s already a great option for gaming. The various switch options allow you to customize your gaming experience. For you Valorant players, the design looks Valorant-themed (which I’m pretty sure was on accident). The polling rate is also 1000 Hz which is plenty fast for an FPS game (for both wired and 2.4 GHz).
Programming: For you programmers out there, you’ll find the layout pretty easy to use. The number pad is closer than normal (if you plan on using it). The keyboard also comes with programmable software so you can run macros or reset key placements for a fully custom experience.
In The Box
Parts In Box:
– Instruction manual
– Dust cover
– Switch puller
– Extra keycaps
– Keycap Puller
– USB-C cable
– Dongle for 2.4 GHz
– Retractable brush
The parts in the box are quite impressive. You get a wide variety of items that all offer nice functionality. The retractable brush is definitely a more rare item in the box, which is nice to clean off any hair that falls onto your keyboard after heavy usage. I also like the bright red switch puller, this thing is sturdy. It’s great if you plan on doing any mods to the keyboard or if you want to swap out the switches. In addition, you also get a dust cover (which I never use), a cable, and a dongle for easy wireless connectivity. Good stuff iQunix. Good stuff.
Typing Angle: 6 degrees
Power Cable: USB-C
The build quality of this keyboard is sturdy. The all-aluminum case makes it strong. If you try to twist or turn the case, it does not bend at all. The design on the back is interesting with keyboard name popping out and you get the round as well. The feet look interesting, but unfortunately they do not offer and other height settings. It would be nice if you could have double kick-up feet instead, but it’s not the end of the world. The power port is on the back left-hand side and fits a USB-C cable, which is standard nowadays.
Layout and Size
Length: 372 mm
Width: 123.5 mm
Thickness: 42 mm
Weight: 1200 g
The layout is in the increasing common 96% size. Back in the day, this was one of the first high-end keyboards in this size but there is an increasing amount of competition nowadays. The numberpad is becoming more of a demand for custom keyboards and the 96% uses it while minimizing other keys effectively. This is a non-exploded layout, which means that the numberpad and arrow keys are smushed against the rest of the keys. It can be tricky to press the right keys because of that (especially if your not looking down at your fingers). But once you get used to the layout, you’ll find it much easier to use.
Keycap Material: PBT
Standard Bottom Row: No
Aftermarket Keycaps: No
The keycaps are really the shining star of this keyboard. They are made from a durable PBT plastic which won’t wear and tear over time. The shape of the keycap profile is Cherry, which means they are slightly lower and have a more aggressive typing angle. Many find this to be more comfortable for typing and gaming. The bottom row is also non-standard, so if you plan on swapping out the keycaps, you need to find a set specifically for this layout. I find the Coral Sea color scheme to be quite aesthetic and fun to use. You get a mix of red, blue, and white with black legends to tie everything together.
Type: Linear, Tactile, Clicky
Options: TTC Ace, Gateron, or Cherry MX
Lifespan: 50-100 Million keystrokes (depending on your choice)
The switches that we got with our keyboard are the TTC Ace switches. They are a linear switch with a nice bottom out, they come prelubed, and feel smooth.
The switches are hot-swappable, so you can swap them out with other options if you don’t like the ones you get with the keyboard.
There are a ton of options to choose from between Cherry MX, Gateron, and TTC.
Cherry MX is the best bet if you want your switches to last the longest. The only downside is they are not prelubed, meaning they will be scratchier than the other options.
When choosing switches, prelubed options will usually result in a better sound and feel.
The stabilizers that come on this keyboard are my biggest gripe. But not because they don’t sound good, no, they actually are stable and sound decent.
The biggest problem with the stabilizers are the fact that they are Costar and not Cherry style stabilizers. Costar stabilizers hook into the keycaps and are difficult to mess with. If you take the keycap off, you will need to spend 10 minutes trying to fiddle with it to get them back on.
The stabilizers are prelubed which make them feel and sound better. They are liberal with the lube application.
It does comes with a downside though. The mix of costar stabs and lubricant make it a struggle to swap out the keycaps.
The RGB on this keyboard is pretty standard. You get per-key RGB with a lot of different modes and color settings.
With the keycaps, however, the RGB doesn’t really add much. The keycaps are not shinethrough, meaning the light does not illuminate the legends.
Instead the RGB pokes out of the sides of the keycaps instead. With this specific keyboard, I found it’s better to go without RGB as the aesthetic of the keycaps is already enough.
But that’s ultimately up to you.
The iQunix F97 comes with software that allows you to set custom RGB settings, change key placements, and more.
It is done with iQunix software. It’s nice to be able to change up the setting and personalize the keyboard, although I would have preferred if they used a publicly sourced software such as VIA or QMK instead.
Port Type: USB-C
Wireless: 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth 5.1
Latency: 1000 Hz (wired and 2.4) or 125 Hz (Bluetooth)
Compatibility: Mac and Windows
Number of Devices: 3
Cable Length: 6 ft
USB Passthrough: No
The connectivity on this keyboard is the holy trinity: 2.4 GHz, wired, and Bluetooth. It’s nice to get all 3 options, especially nowadays when tablets and laptops have less ports than ever.
You can choose whatever one is easiest for you.
If you plan on gaming, it’s hard to beat wired or 2.4 GHz. They have the fast polling rate of 1000 Hz ( 1 ms delay). If you end up using Bluetooth, the polling rate drops to 125 Hz (8 ms). It’s definitely noticable.
Overall, I’m happy with the connectivity options on this keyboard and the speed and convenience of them.