The Royal Kludge RK61 is an affordable, top-rated 60% keyboard that packs a lot of great features and quality into its compact form.
Today we are going to take a look at what makes this keyboard so outstanding at its price point.
This keyboard was also included in our best 60% keyboard roundup, so make sure to check that out!
The Royal Kludge RK61 may be the best budget 60% keyboard on the market. With its size and abilities, the RK61 would be a great gaming keyboard. It would also be a great entry keyboard for someone new to mechanical keyboards; the RK61 has many coveted features at a low price.
If you want a keyboard that will light up with 8 colors at once, this RK61 is not for you. The blue LED backlight on this keyboard looks professional and there are different modes to create a more amusing look. However, the absence of RGB lighting might be a setback for some.
While the keycaps are made of ABS plastic (as opposed to higher quality PBT keycaps), the stabilizers are a little rattly, and the Royal Kludge branded switches aren’t as great as Cherry MX, these shortfalls are all accounted for in the price of the Royal Kludge RK61.
The multi-device Bluetooth capabilities of the Royal Kludge RK61 are truly the shining feature – great for those who prefer using their keyboard wireless or want to use the RK61 with a variety of devices.
You can even connect the RK61 to your phone or tablet. The Royal Kludge RK61 is praised for its compatibility with Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android.
If you think the Royal Kludge RK61 might be a good fit for you, check it out on Amazon here for a good price.
In The Box
As a budget option, the Royal Kludge RK61 doesn’t include a bunch of fancy add-ins, but you will definitely have the essentials to get started right away. The items included are:
- Rubber USB-C power cable: The RK61 comes with a simple rubber USB-C cable. Since we have the white keyboard colorway, the cable is white. The black keyboard comes with a black cable.
- Keycap puller: A wire keycap puller is included with the keyboard, allowing you to switch out keycaps when needed. Wire keycap pullers are better than plastic variations because the keycaps don’t get damaged during removal.
The Royal Kludge RK61 has a sturdy build, which is surprising given its price point. It is hard to come by affordable keyboards that are well-built and inflexible.
The 60% layout looks compact and polished sitting on the desktop. The keyboard has some weight to it, but it is still easy to transport and pack up.
There are two color options: black and white.
The colorways, while simple and straightforward, allow the lighting effects of the keyboard to stand out.
I have the RK61 in the white colorway with a blue LED backlight. The lighting color can’t be changed, but there are 17 different modes that allow you to switch things up.
There are variations of the Royal Kludge RK61 that include RGB lighting, but the price point is a little higher. They have 18 RGB backlit modes and 8 monochrome modes, so you have tons of options to get the look you desire.
The RK61 comes with a USB-C power cable that matches the color of the keyboard. The USB-C port is located in the center of the keyboard.
Sitting at a slight angle, the Royal Kludge RK61 is designed for a comfortable typing experience. There are no kickstands on the back of the keyboard, which may be a caveat for those who prefer to adjust the height/angle.
The keycaps on the Royal Kludge RK61 are made of doubleshot ABS plastic. While I prefer higher quality PBT keycaps, the RK61 must sacrifice quality in some areas to achieve its affordable price point.
The ABS keycaps are certainly functional and get the job done, but they don’t last as long or sustain use as well as keycaps made with PBT plastic. You may find that the ABS keycaps become shiny over time.
Since the keycaps are doubleshot, you won’t experience any wear or fading of the legends. Doubleshot keycaps are made by molding two layers of plastic together rather than just printing the legends on. This process ensures the legends remain clear with use.
The legends on the keycaps have a pleasing font that is easy to read. When the lighting effects are in full swing, the legends are illuminated nicely. The lower layer is printed on the surface of the keycaps as well, which are also clear to read.
The Royal Kludge RK61 is in OEM profile, which means the keycaps have different heights and are angled to create a comfortable typing and gaming experience.
The 60% format, exchanging keys for compactness, often leaves out the arrow keys. On the Royal Kludge RK61, the arrow keys are easily accessible on the lower layer.
Considering the price of the Royal Kludge RK61, the stabilizers are pretty good.
They are a little rattly, most noticeable when using the spacebar. I wouldn’t expect at this price point the stabilizers to be perfect, so I am satisfied with the ones included on the RK61.
The slight unstableness/rattling of the stabilizers does not take much away from the merit of the RK61.
It’s unlikely to find a budget keyboard with perfect stabilizers.
The switches on the Royal Kludge RK61 are the Royal Kludge branded switches. The switches are kind of rattly, but they generally work well. They seem to be modeled off of Cherry MX design (but not as good of quality), so the colors signify similar functions.
The switch options for the Royal Kludge RK61 are:
Red: The Royal Kludge Red switches are linear, which means they are smooth and will be pretty quiet.
Blue: The RK blue switches are clicky and loud, which may annoy the people around you.
Brown: RK brown switches have a large tactile bump and aren’t too loud when pressed.
One of the greatest features of the Royal Kludge RK61 is its Bluetooth capabilities. You can connect up to three devices to the keyboard and cycle between them quickly.
The RK61 is compatible with Windows and Mac, and can even connect via Bluetooth to phones or tablets. The ability to connect a laptop, tablet, and phone all to one keyboard is extremely helpful and saves a lot of time.
Different Options Available
While I highly recommend the RK61 I have, the subject of this review, the features it “lacks” can be found in other variations of the Royal Kludge RK61 at higher (yet still affordable) price points.
Don’t like how there is only one backlit color option and don’t need Bluetooth capabilities? Check out this RK61 that has RGB lighting and is fully programmable. This keyboard does not work for wireless/Bluetooth use.
Do you want Bluetooth, full programmability, and RGB lighting?
This variation of the Royal Kludge RK61 is slightly more expensive but has all the bells and whistles.
This keyboard has the steadfast features of the one in this review but with additional programming and RGB lighting capacity. Check it out here.
At its price point, The Royal Kludge RK61 stands out from the competition with its coveted features and performance. Most notably, the Bluetooth capabilities of the RK61 are outstanding and will work with a variety of devices.
The Royal Kludge RK61 has a solid build and feels like it should be pricier. While the keycaps, stabilizers, and switches aren’t of the highest quality, they are still functional and would work well for everyday use.
The RK61 doesn’t have RGB lighting (at least this variant doesn’t) which may deter some, but I think the blue backlighting and the available effects are appealing enough. If you don’t care much about the effects and don’t need the variety that RGB lighting offers, the RK61 would be a good choice for you.
Sitting at an angle already, the Royal Kludge RK61 does not have kickstands. This may be a drawback to those who prefer to type at a higher angle, but I’ve found the RK61 to be comfortable and haven’t had any problems with the height in use.
If you are new to mechanical keyboards and want to try out a high quality 60% keyboard, the Royal Kludge RK61 is a great accessible option. Its portability, Bluetooth connectivity, and reliable build make it a great choice for gamers.