The custom keyboard that we will test today is the Akko MOD 005, a model available in barebone DIY to build and adjust to our liking.It comes with two types of plates, aluminum and FR4, in a 65% format with anodized aluminum chassis and double padded Gasket mounting.
Optionally we can choose between a large number of custom keycaps and Akkon switches or other brands by having a PCB compatible with 5-pin hot-swap.The keyboard has its own control software for keys, macros and lighting, although it does not support VIA and QMK.We tell you about our assembly and use experience with it. Pom Plastic Cnc Router
We thank Akko for his trust in us for giving us this DIY kit for analysis.
We will decide the number of elements that will be included with the Akko MOD 005, although our kit comes as complete as possible courtesy of the manufacturer.The barebone keyboard itself arrives in a fairly premium hard cardboard box with the system already pre-assembled and perfectly protected by polyfoam panels.In addition, we have included two distributions of keycaps and 5 types of switches to use the ones we like the most.
The contents of the main box will be as follows:
In this case we do not see that work tools are included to manipulate screws or install switches.While every keycaps layout includes a keycap puller.
Akko is a custom keyboard manufacturer that is doing things very well, using top quality materials for its construction and giving the user very good products, both full keyboards and DIY barebones.In addition, the price of his creations is below almost any custom model, so it is fully accessible to anyone's pocket.
This last one will be our case, more specifically we will analyze Akko MOD 005 that is presented in a 65% distribution with 67 keys available in up to 5 colors for its CNC aluminum chassis.It will only be available in the ANSI distribution, but it will be easy to configure and build without much prior knowledge.An assembly manual would not have hurt, but we can find information about it on the official page and download section.
The external chassis of the Akko MOD 005 is made of anodized aluminum through a CNC process that leaves us with excellent exterior finishes.The aesthetic used is not very different from other custom models, as we have flat and simple edges with an inclination of approximately 6o to improve the position of use.
The top edge finish consists of a relatively wide bevel along with curved corners.Instead of being chromed or polished as in other generic cases, these edges are painted in the main color of the chassis, a layer of impeccable quality that also leaves very little footprint and has a very soft touch due to microtexturing.
The keyboard maintains relatively wide frames around the work area, but insufficient to support wrists or the hands themselves.A wooden or padded wrist rest could be a good complement, although in the case of a 65% keyboard we see it as merely optional.
With a height of about 32 mm at the rear without counting the keys, we will have a fairly high unit.Enough to place the USB-C port on the left side (viewed from the front), with a connection recessed enough inwards that will avoid fatal blows on the cable.There will be absolutely nothing else relevant in this area, although Akko has complete models that integrate RGB border as a commercial keyboard.
We got to the base of the Akko MOD 005, which consists of 4 half-pipe-type rubber feet with great grip on the ground, and 8 Allen head screws that we would have to remove to separate both parts of the chassis and access its interior.
One reason we immediately took notice of this manufacturer is because it uses a Gasket mount for its keyboards, which ensures a superior experience in terms of silence and comfort for any type of use.
It is time to access the interior of the Akko MOD 005 to see in detail the type of assembly, and the first thing we find after removing the base is a medium-density polyethylene foam panel about 3 mm thick.This will serve as the first layer of padding and noise isolation for the PCB below.
So the next layer will be precisely the PCB where all the electronics and sockets of the switches are integrated, being a generic 5-pin hot-swap.The SMD 4028 LEDs will be directly integrated into this PCB as is logical, having Per-Key control capacity and generating a great light output.On the back we see the connector for the USB port and a self-created Akko control chip to manage the keyboard.
The PCB will be fixed with multiple Philips head screws on the Plate, with a 3.5mm thick high-density EVA foam padding between the two elements.It will be the one that really absorbs the most noise when typing and gives us a very quiet experience.
Around these elements we have the key to the Gasket type assembly, some double-sided 3 mm Poron pads that reward holding the PCB-Foam-Plate block inside the chassis without the need for screws.There are a lot of them around the system, so the docking will be very stable and the PCB won't move like it does per element on Keychron keyboards.We will see if this greater rigidity causes a more or less sonorous effect.
We end with the plate, a standard variant that is made of solid aluminum where the pressure switches are attached.On this occasion we also have the stabilizers attached to pressure, something that connoisseurs do not usually like as they are less durable or firm than a screw assembly.However, the plate supports mounting by screws if these do not convince us.
A second plate built in FR4 is included, a material based on glass and epoxy laminate, generally used for PCBs, in this case with a double-sided copper layer insulated with another material.This variant offers a little more flexibility and a slightly more muffled sound on the clicks compared to the aluminum one.
As it is a barebone, it will be the user who chooses which keycaps to install on the Akko MOD 005. In our case, it has come to us with an Akkon Black & Bronze model, considered to be of very high quality within its bulky list.It will be a 158-piece set housed in an excellently presented rigid plastic case at a cost of $60.
These keys use an ASA type profile that generates a remarkable concavity when joining the 4 main rows, being made of double injection or Dual Shot PBT plastic.The design adopted for the domes of the keys is very striking, since they have a slight convex curvature and more rounded corners the closer we get to the surface.This gives a very personal and original style to the keyboard.
The contact area with the fingers will have a concave style starting from the 4 edges, which means that the 12 x 12 mm surface is that of an inverted sphere to best fit the fingers.These edges have perfect finishes and a soft touch when using a micro-rough finish.
When buying a distribution we must bear in mind that not all of them are transparent, and as is the case, our keycaps will not let the backlight pass through, and the characters will not light up.Typography that is large in size, with a thin line style that is easily visible and readable.The dark keys will have a silkscreen in gold, while the gold ones will have it in black.Its color corresponds to the second internal injection layer as seen in the images.
Akkon brings his personal stamp by including a series of keys with special screen printing with Emojis to place them where we want, giving the whole an original touch.In the same way, we will have variants with different sizes and heights of special keys for full keyboard layouts, Tenkeyless or 65% like this one.Up to three types of space bar, arrow keys, number pad, or Ctrl, Alt, Windows, Shift and FN keys of two sizes.
Additionally, we have been provided with a 155-key ASA Clear Keycap layout with the same type of profile but transparent construction.These will let the RGB light through in their dome, with a typography of the same style and in a golden color.In this case, they have been made of polycarbonate with a completely smooth finish, providing an experience that is less peculiar, apparently a “toy keyboard”.The screen printing of the characters is done on the dome, so it will be more sensitive to wear.
Akko has no less than 29 variants of switches, we have some of the most common in the following table, being those that we consider mid-range not lubricated as standard.However, there are already lubricated variants -it will be mentioned in the specification as "Lubed"- as is the case of the Akko CS Matcha Green that are included in our Pack.Obviously we have full Anti-ghosting and N-Key Rollover, with a 1000 Hz polling rate for perfect use in gaming.
Along with these 50gf linear Greens we were also provided with the 53gf linear Radiant Red, 35gf linear Vintage White, 36gf Ocean Blue and 43gf Silver.There are variants with a simple cross-shaped stem and with a cross + box, as well as other TTC models with LED integrated into the switch itself.
We will carry out the analysis and test of the keyboard with the latter for having a cross-type stem with a box that provides more stability and less play to the keys.It is a 43gf medium force switch and linear travel with 1mm operating travel and 3mm total travel, so it is among the good switches for gaming as it is very fast.The operating point and reset point coincide.
Its manufacture consists of a POM (Polyoxymethylene) stem, a copper alloy contact, a PA (Nylon Polyamide) base and a Polycarbonate upper shell.For models lubricated as standard, such as Matcha Green, Krytox GPL105 and Krytox GPL205 G0 compounds are used, considered to be of excellent quality.
The user experience will be excellent, and Akko shows that they have done a great job making their own switches.The stems are extremely stable on all models tested, especially the box one, using good quality materials.While experience tells us that stock hand lubes will be a better option as they have a slightly smoother ride, it could be even better.We have disassembled one of the Greens and the lubrication is rather poor in the stem, however we are quite satisfied with the smoothness in use.
As for the stabilizers, they will also be self-made, with a double cross stem and anchored to the plate without screws.In this case, they will come lubricated from the factory, with enough compound in the mobility sections.We haven't seen looseness problems or poor grip in the short time we've been using it, but we don't know how they will behave after a lot of use.A screw system would be more reliable in this regard, so the plate is also compatible with this system.
The end result is a fairly quiet Akko MOD 005, not the best, but much better than any commercial keyboard.The padding system with the aluminum plate works very well, with no ping effect in powerful pulsations, with a dry sound that is quickly eliminated by the Gasket assembly.Adding some sheets of foam to the edges of the plate, or a slightly denser layer of foam under the base, would eliminate even more noise.That will already be the user's decision if he wants to experiment with it, which is why it is custom.
This Akko MOD 005 barebone will already come configured from the factory, although the selection in Spanish will change the real and digital location of some punctuation marks and special characters such as parentheses.
In the user manual we will find the preconfigured keyboard shortcuts, being available for both Mac and Windows in their respective modes.The combinations for Windows will be perfectly explained in the following images:
We see the usual functions of F for the numeric row, while in other "random" keys we find other functions such as print screen or Insert.All of them can be modified in the software that we will see below.The second image is quite important in telling us how to enter Mac or Windows mode, return to factory settings, or lock the Windows key.
The versatility is not as wide as we have seen in VIA or QMK compatible keyboards, being a bit more personal on the part of the manufacturer.We will quickly notice this because it has its own management software, and, at least for now, it is not compatible with the aforementioned open source applications.
Akko Cloud 2.0 will be the application that we must install on our computer, which will automatically detect the keyboard as soon as it is connected to a USB port on the computer.Port preferably on the board, since with those of an expansion card sometimes the Akko MOD 005 has not detected us correctly.
The interface is certainly very VIA-like, with a keyboard representation over the main area and a series of tabs to the left.The first of them will be the customization of key functions, where we see that Esc, Win, Right Alt and Fn will have their addressing blocked.
By clicking on a key we will have a wide list of functions, keys, mouse, macros or multimedia to apply.If we enter custom mode, the unlocked keys will be represented with colors to be able to remap them.The third section is an extension of this one exclusively to create macros in a fairly simple and graphic way.Later we can assign them as if it were one more function.
The next section is dedicated to lighting control, which unlike the Keychron with VIA, this one does work.We will have a long list of predefined effects, allowing us to configure speed, brightness, color and sometimes optional factors.The user mode allows individual addressing for each key, being able to assign a solid color, but in no case animations or multiple layers.
Finally, in the support section we will have access to updates for the software or firmware of the keyboard itself.
If we value the barebone individually, we are facing a premium level manufacturing as required of a custom model, with an anodized chassis of impeccable construction and minimalist aesthetics.The 65% format is not the one we like the most due to its limitation of keys, but if the TKL are as good as this one, we are facing a highly recommended manufacturer.
The Gasket system gives us a very quiet and comfortable typing experience, with two types of plates included, double layer of padding and precision spacers to isolate everything from the chassis.However, it still has room for improvement, with a stronger layer of foam or better insulated edges, but being custom, the user has great freedom to add modifiable elements that improve it even more.
About the tested PBT keycap kit, we find it simply excellent despite not illuminating the characters.Its build quality, comfort in the contact area and key configuration is excellent for work or play.Akko has a long list of versions, solid, transparent like the second polycarbonate one we have seen, as well as an infinite number of colors, valid for complete TKL or 65% distributions.
Take a look at our Guide to the best keyboards on the market
As for the switches, they also have a long list of almost 30 variants, placing them in the mid-range as far as custom keyboards are concerned, at least the ones we've tried.The construction is very good, with very stable switches, cross or box type, lubricated or non-lubricated.Being hot-swappable we can put those of other brands such as Gateron compatible with 5-pin socket.
It has its own software, so we make sure everything works perfectly, key mapping or Per-Key lighting, although a VIA or QMK control would add even more possibilities for foodies.You could not miss a USB-C port with a removable cable that gives us freedom.Cable that also seemed very good to us as it is light in weight and has good flexibility.
10% DISCOUNT CODE IF YOU USE OUR CODE ON THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF AKKO GERMANY: PROFESIONALREVIEW
This Akko MOD 005 barebone kit is available on the official store for €119.99, which in combination with €14.99 lubricated Akko switches and a €52.99 keycaps will add up to around €210 without adding possible shipping costs .For a custom barebone it's an attractive number for those looking for a higher level experience with DIY freedom.We are delighted with this manufacturer, although a TKL distribution like MOD 001 would be our preference.Another positive detail is that at Amazon we have a large number of keyboards from this manufacturer.
We leave you the links of other products reviewed during the analysis:
The Professional Review team awards him the platinum medal:
The Akko MOD 005 is a 65% barebone with padded gasket mounting, easy DIY, hot-swappable PCB to mount the perfect custom keyboard at the best price
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