Author Topic: Akko 3108 9009 Retro Edition with Cherry MX Blues Review with exhaustive photos  (Read 672 times)

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Offline funkmon

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Hello. I ordered this thing on during what feels like the Iron Age, and it's finally shipped.

I've been told that this keyboard is very similar to the Ducky One 2. There's some kind of story to that, where Akko was the Ducky distributor in China, but the business fell through, and Akko just essentially took Ducky's stuff. I don't like that kind of behaviour, and, had I known before I ordered it, or indeed before I had received it and started looking stuff up, I don't think I'd be here. That said, here I am and here's the keyboard.

   I own a few dozen keyboards, mostly older, mostly Models M and Alps boards. I have some Models F, a couple Omnikeys, a few Focuses, an Acer, a Bigfoot, and so on. In modern boards, I've only really dabbled in much more budget offerings, rarely paying more than $50 for a keyboard, but I do have some relatively okay ones. I have an old Monoprice with blue switches from 2013, when the monoprice keyboards were actually no **** good, and a Razer keyboard, which, no matter what you think about it, isn't terrible. I also have modern Unicomps and Matias keyboards, but they're not the same. They're basically vintage keyboards made today.

   So, this review is essentially my first interaction with a modern $100-$200 keyboard. While it actually cost less than that on when I bought it forever ago, it's in that range. With that being said, let's move forward. I am writing this review using the keyboard.

   I opened the box, which was pleasant, and was greeted with another box. Okay. That box ripped when I tried to open it. I don't mind too much. I mostly keep my keyboards in a closet in a laundry basket so no big deal to me.

I took it out of the box and was surprised by its heft. There's a metal mounting plate in here, I was sure, and the plastic outer shell is uhh...heavy? No flex at all. Very nice feeling. The case has an Akko logo on the bottom right, and flipped over I was pleasantly surprised to notice two step height adjustment feet. I don't know why those always excite me since I just use the higher one anyway, but there we are.

I also noticed it has a USB-C detachable cable. This must have been somewhere in the spec list, but it was so long ago when I bought it that I must have not noticed. If I was a heathen and didn't use the height adjusters, there are still rubber pads. Very nice. Reminiscent of my vintage Cherry boards, but not most others. Most of my old keyboards just have plastic on the bottom of the feet, and if they have little rubber grippies, it's just on the bottom of the main body of the keyboard. I appreciate that.

   Looking at the Ducky One 2, I will say it looks similar and has similar features, but they are styled a little bit differently. The Akko is blockier, but it has virtually the same dimensions and weight as the One 2. I think the 3108 was very much inspired, from my point of view.

   Something else I noticed are the dimensions. They're tiny. I can't even. One of the reasons I like my Model F XT as opposed to the AT or indeed even the Model M is the slightly reduced size, plus the overall logic of the layout, in my opinion, which I admit is different than most.

   I can't believe, in a space smaller than a Model F XT, my SPACE SAVING keyboard without a navigation cluster, I can put a full sized keyboard with extra macros on the top. That's insane! Very impressive.

Some other things were included in the box. One is the manual, which you can see is completely readable and entirely in English.

We also get some cables and accent keys, so you can choose which type of inauthentic 9009 keycaps you want.

   I say inauthentic for a few reasons. 1. It's literally inauthentic. 2. It's modeled on the GMK 9009, but isn't those either. 3. It's got centered legends and no sublegends and everything's in capital letters. I want to die. Why the hell did I buy this?

   The keycaps appear to be dye sublimated, and made of plastic of some kind. PBT? Relatively thin, but not atrociously so, they are uh...keycaps. I guess. The colours are attractive. I mean, I did definitely want a nice normal looking keyboard instead of the 1982 rainbow vomit coming from the mechanical keyboards subreddit, so there's that. The colourful accents are nice, and I slightly modified it from the classic fake 9009 look that people do.

The accent keys are limited to ANSI enter, top row single unit (escape), spacebars, and numpad enter. There's also a stepped caps lock key but that's **** and I'll tell you why later.

The colours are pink and green just like on the 9009 keyboard, and they feel really nice and look really nice, except for the weird skull kitty logo that Akko has. I actually like the logo, but on a keyboard that's deliberately supposed to be understated in design, I don't know why they require a gamery logo like that.

   At this point in writing the review, I'm going to pause and try some SA profile keycaps and see how that goes. Typically, I find that the SA profile helps the sound and the feel, and by the end of this, I'll have an idea of how.

   The included cable's a reasonably long white USB-C cable with Akko logos on it, and it fits snugly in the, uh...cable...hole. See the photos.

In addition to the keycaps and cable, they have included a keycap puller with a pink paw on the handle. Surprisingly, I think this is great. The paw is cute, I like pink, and the puller works pretty well. A+.

Anyway, the caps lock. I use a stepped caps lock whenever possible because I'm not a blithering idiot, and I was excited to put this one on the keyboard. Except it doesn't fit.

The caps lock mount was places in the center of the cavity, not the center of the key for some stupid reason. It wouldn't go down past the A. Here are the caps lock keys right next to each other.

Okay. Yikes.

   Speaking of popping off some keys, let's talk about the switches and the stabilizers. I don't know all these fancy industry terms, but I like these stabilizers! They are just little posts that stick into the keys. Those are good. I don't like the metal bar ones that are a huge pain in the ass.

   The switches are Cherry MX blues, the best of all the Cherry switches, and, much like being the tallest jockeys, they are perfectly adequate here. A pronounced, albeit blunt, tactility, and a nice quiet plastic ringing (compared to the Models M and F I've been using more of recently) complete the $100 modern clicky keyboard trifecta. But the spacebar sounds different. Kind of like it's hollower. Maybe it's the keycaps, but It's fairly different. It's still a blue under there though.

If you switch the keycaps to something better, like thick doubleshot SA keys, you get a thock as you bottom out and the clicking makes a nice high pitched companion to it. A genuinely nice sound is coming out of these now. Unfortunately, the spacebar still has a hollow sound, like you're rapping on glass with a needle. I'm actually becoming annoyed by it.

It also has N key rollover if you care about that, which you shouldn't.

   So, I think I understand why people are buying these $100-$200 mechanical keyboards like the Ducky, and indeed this one. It's built very well, and its dimensions are incredibly compact for its size. I can hardly believe it. Typing on it feels nice. Unfortunately the Cherry MX Blues feel cheap. That's just how they are. The keyboard feels incredibly premium, but the actual typing experience is butts. For this same price, I could have gotten a brand new in box Model M from Unicomp, and, while the case and chassis wouldn't feel nearly as good, the actual typing experience is miles ahead of this. I feel like the industry needs to move on from these Cherry MX based switches. They're all samey, and they're all mediocre at best, though I do think a keyboard like this is basically the best case scenario. B-.

Offline -bustin-

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Excellent write up! This does look very similar to the Ducky One 2, though the case profile looks lower which is neat. The height adjustable feet are identical, and they're very sturdy. I like the molded channel on the USB C connector/port alot too, eliminates some of the side flex when you use the left or right channels. All in all, very good read. Thank you!

Offline JCraftCables

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Thanks for the detailed sharing! I like how retro this board looks!