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Geek GK64 Mechanical Keyboard Review + GK64 VS GK61


I've recently reviewed the Geek GK61 60% Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboard and I figured, why not do a review of its brother, the Geek GK64. Like the GK61, the GK64 is also Hot-swappable but in a different way, as it is using standard switch rather than the optical switch that's on the GK61. The GK64 also has a different layout with 64 keys including dedicated arrow keys and a few other differences in between. 

Today, we're going to talk about everything you need to know about this keyboard and why I think this is one of the best budget 60% mechanical keyboard out there. Are you excited? Let's get into it.

geek gk64 mechanical keyboard review

MY EARLY BREAKDOWN

Pros: Affordable, Decent build quality, Hotswappable, Gateron Switch, Has dedicated arrow keys

Cons: Unintuitive software

SPECIFICATIONS

Brand: Geek Customized
Model: GK64
Layout: 64 Key
Connection: Detachable USB Type-C Wired
Backlit: 16.8 Million Full Color RGB Backlight
Switch: Gateron Blue Switch (Replaceable)
Anti-ghost Key: All Keys
Input: DC 5V,  240mA
Cable length: 1.5M
Dimension: 293*103*40mm
Supported Systems: Win XP/7/8/10, For Mac OS
Driver Software Supported Systems: Available for Windows, but not for Mac OS


FEATURES

1. GK64 supports CIY switch, you could remove the original switches and replace them with your favorite switches.
2. 16.8 million RGB backlit with many light effects, and more light modes continuously updated through the driver.
3. Equipped with music-driven motion light mode, the backlit will sync with the music.
4. Anti-ghosting for all keys, carry out your instruction precisely.
5. Built-in a Flash memory to save setting at offline mode.

WHAT'S INSIDE THE PACKAGE

Geek GK64 Mechanical Keyboard, Instruction manual in both English and Chinese, braided USB Type C cable with gold plated connectors and a plastic keycap puller

gk64 vs gk61

FULL REVIEW

Design and Construction

Now let's take a look at the Geek GK64 mechanical keyboard, at first touch this keyboard feels really nice for its price, the design is good and it is pretty lightweight but it doesn't flex that much. It weighs around 442 grams which is currently the lightest keyboard that I've tried. The layout is non-standard but that's because it squeezed in the dedicated arrow keys which I really appreciate.

We have a smaller right shift and a dedicated delete key, the right control and function keys are also smaller, and the left shift key is also smaller than usual. All these adjustments were made to accommodate the dedicated arrow keys.

geek gk64

At the back, we have four rubber feet and the technical information at the center

geek gk64 review

On its side, although there's no adjustable stand, the housing itself is slanted for that ergonomic design. It has a chamfered glossy design at the bottom, and a high profile case design to hide the switches for an overall clean look. This keyboard also uses the standard OEM profile for the keycaps.

geek gk64 keyboard

At the backside of the keyboard, we have the USB Type C port and a better view of the glossy black finish of the bottom part of this keyboard, which is pretty identical to the Geek GK61.

geek gk64 mechanical keyboard

And lastly, here's a look at the front side. Overall, the design of this keyboard is quite decent and I also like the fact that the keycaps are matte black finish instead of the glossy finish of the Geek GK61.

gk64

The only downside of this layout is it's not standard so it is more difficult to get compatible custom keycaps, although I've seen some that are specifically made for this layout.



Geek GK64 VS GK61

Now, moving on, let's check out some key differences between the Geek GK61 and the Geek GK64. As you can see they both have the same 60% form factor and probably the same bottom housing. But the Geek GK64 has dedicated arrow keys, and as I said earlier, for that to be accommodated, the right control and function key are smaller than the regular keys on the geek gk61. We also lose the menu and alt key on the Geek GK64, but we get a dedicated delete key. As you can see, the geek gk61 has the standard shift while the geek gk64 has a smaller one on both sides. Other than that, all the other keys are the same. Personally, I would prefer the layout of the Geek GK64, just for the sake of having dedicated arrow keys. 

gk64 keyboard

Layout and Layers

In terms of the legends and layers, since this is a 60% keyboard, you lose some valuable keys like the function rows up top, as well as dedicated nav cluster which are all located on a different layer. These layers can be toggled by simply pressing FN + the corresponding key.

In terms of the other legends, we have the keys for adjusting lighting effects on the upper right, and then we have the tab that doubles as a mode switch key, we also have the windows lock key, and the legends on W, E and R for the different profiles that you can use which we're going to discuss later. 

gk64 software

Lighting Effects

With regards to the lighting modes, you can press FN + Backspace to turn the illumination on an off, and to adjust the brightness, you simply press FN + P and FN + open bracket, up until the led blinks indicating that it is the maximum setting. You can also press FN + semicolon and FN + apostrophe to adjust the animation speed.

Now for the lighting modes, we have two separate groups, one is the logic lights with basic animations and then the other group is called code lights with reactive animations that trigger when you press the keys. This includes the audio visualizer that takes advantage of the built-in microphone under the spacebar like what the Geek GK61 has. Aside from that you also have the basic functions like FN + windows key to prevent start menu from popping, and that's pretty much it with the lighting effects.


gk64 review

The LEDs on the Geek GK64 are SMD LEDs or surface mounted LEDs, which features true RGB lighting or the ability to produce colors up to 16.8m. With that, the transition of the colors is pretty smooth, even the ones outside the primary colors. 

Now, since this keyboard is hot-swappable, make sure that the switches you are going to use or replace this with are compatible with this type of LED implementation, or in short, transparent key switches like what we have here.

geek gk64 vs gk61



Hot-swappable Feature

What I like about this keyboard is that it is a hot-swappable board, which means you can easily swap out switches whenever you like. For example, if you want to try different switch or if ever some switch becomes faulty at some point. This means, as long as the board itself is intact, you will be able to use this keyboard for a very long time.

geek gk61 vs gk64

The Geek GK64 uses standard mechanical switches so it does have pins on it, and these pins are actually pretty fragile so make sure to slot it back in as careful as possible. 

geek gk64 unboxing

gk64 unboxing

Now let's discuss some key differences of the Geek GK64 and the GK61 in terms of the switches. Both boards are hot-swappable but accommodate different types of switch. The Geek GK64 uses standard switch while the Gk61 uses an optical switch. 

geek gk64 gateron blue

The GK64 has slots for the pins of the switches while the GK61 has an I.R and Photoresistor sensor for the optical switch. Both boards have SMD LEDs or surface mounted LEDs for illumination.

gk64 gateron blue

Looking closer on the switches, we have the normal Gateron switch of the GK64 on the left and the optical Gateron switch of the GK61 on the right. They look pretty much the same except that the optical Gateron switch has a magnifying glass on top for the light to pass through and that the bottom part of the two switches is different, the optical switch doesn't have pins like the standard switch. So if you're planning to grab a hot-swappable keyboard, make sure you choose the right one for your preferred type of switch.

If you want to learn more about the optical switch, click here for my review of the Geek GK61. 

gk64 hot swappable

Now, let's turn our focus on the switches on the Geek GK64, like I said it uses standard Gateron switch and what we have here is the blue version which is clicky and tactile. As with any other Gateron switch, this one is very smooth and satisfying to type with. Gateron blue switch requires the same 55g of actuation force as the original Cherry MX blue. 

I've already discussed the differences between Gateron blue, Cherry MX blue and RK blue on my review of the Royal Kludge RK71 which you can check out here

hot swappable 60 keyboard

Keycaps

Now in terms of the keycaps, although the fonts used is pretty good, the keycap itself is not so much. It is UV coated ABS plastic with laser etched fonts but unfortunately, it is not double-shot and super thin at around 1mm. In comparison, the keycap on the Geek GK61 is double-shot with a thickness of around 1.4mm which is way better than the ones on the GK64. 

geek gk64 64

Stabilizers

With regards to the stabilizers, it is quite decent without much annoying rattling sound, It also comes with some factory lube which is always a good sign. The board itself is from Jikedingzhi.com, I checked them out and there are actually a lot of interesting info there including different brands that they are supporting. 

geek gk64 64 key



Performance

Now, finally, let's discuss the overall performance of the Geek Gk64,

As with most keyboards, the Geek GK64 also has NKRO or Nkey rollover feature that allows you to press as many keys as you want at the same time without conflicts. As per my testing, it worked flawlessly as I was able to press up to 10 keys at the same time and they were all registered. 

geek gk64 typing test

Typing experience

Now in terms of the typing experience, this being a keyboard with blue switch, it is one of its strong points especially for typist that likes clicky and tactile feedback. I personally don't like loud and clicky switches but the Gateron blues are undeniably satisfying to type with, especially with its smooth travel. The 55g of actuation force is also at just the right amount for me for typing comfortably for a prolonged period of time.  

geek gk64 vs geek gk61

Gaming Performance

When it comes to gaming, as I've mentioned on my previous reviews, most gamers prefer linear switches rather than clicky ones, as they are going to bottom out the keys anyways and the click and tactile feedback are really not necessary. But then again, it will still boil down to personal preference and there's really no definite answer for what switch is good for gaming. 

geek gk64 banggood

With that being said, just to give you an idea if you're new to this, generally speaking, linear switch is good for gaming as it's also silent and doesn't take away from the in-game sounds, while clicky and tactile switch is good for typing so that you feel every key press and give you an idea that a particular letter has been activated. Some users, including myself, prefer the middle ground which is the brown switch that only has tactile feedback. 

Software

Now, when it comes to the software, this uses pretty much the same software as the Geek GK61, but now I have a better understanding of how to fully take advantage of this to enhance your workflow especially with the 60% form factor. It's still not very intuitive but it's actually quite powerful once you're able to figure it out.

So basically we have two main settings, the driver mode and the onboard settings that you can toggle using FN + Q. The onboard settings are the one you should customize if you want to use this keyboard without the software, like for example if you frequently move between workstations or if you bring this keyboard along with you elsewhere. All the settings will be saved on the onboard memory of the keyboard. 

The driver mode, on the other hand, has the most customization options available for you since it's going to be supported by the software. You can pretty much do anything you want, you can change any key to a different function like other keys, numpad, media keys, mouse functions, system and networking and you can also opt to disable some keys.

We also have the lighting tab, which gives you a ton of lighting modes more than what you already have with the onboard settings, including some special lighting modes like the music volume, which will allow you to sync the lighting effects depending on the music you are playing. This is different by the way to the audio visualizer using the built-in microphone, that one will pick up all the sounds including background noise and everything you do around the keyboard. Aside from the presets, you can also opt to make your own custom lighting using the DIY static light option. 

Now, aside from the functions and lighting modes, we also have the macro list, and you can also set up lighting effects per key, but most importantly, you also have the shortcut feature wherein you can pretty much launch anything like videos, programs and other files just by pressing a single key. 

gk64 banggood

Now when it comes to the onboard settings, you still have a lot of customization options but you will lose some of the cool ones, such as some lighting modes and the music sync mode as well as the shortcut feature. What you have here instead are the 3 available layers that you can take advantage for your workflow. You can toggle these layers by pressing FN + W, E, and R. 

gk64 rgb

And lastly, we also have the layer switch feature which I think is the most important tool that you need for this keyboard.

Here's how it works, so the first layer is for the arrow keys, and then the layer 2 is for the function keys using the numbers row, and then the layer 3 is the nav cluster. For the nav cluster, you can easily toggle them since the function button is right below them, but the problem is with the function rows up top, you're going to need two hands just to activate the function rows. What I did is I used the caps lock button as the trigger for the layer 2, so instead of using the function key, I can easily toggle the function rows by pressing capslock momentarily to activate the functions keys.

So now I just need one hand to activate keys like F2 for renaming things as well as frequently used key combinations like alt + F4. And I always say that the layer implementation for me will make or break a 60% keyboard, that's why I really like the Anne Pro 2 because of it's magic FN feature that works basically the same as the one I did. The only problem is we lose the functionality of the capslock, which is not a big deal for me since I don't use the capslock key anyways.

And that's pretty much it with regards to the software, I suggest you take your time to learn this if ever you decide to get this keyboard as it is quite useful.

gk64 software

VERDICT

Speaking of deciding, let me give you my final thoughts. Well, I think the Geek Gk64 is a really good contender for the best budget 60% mechanical keyboard, especially at its price point. It's no way an Anne Pro 2 killer since it lacks the wireless functionality and has significantly lower quality materials, but for what it's worth, it also has a lot of advantage that it brings into the table. It features hot-swappable board that accommodates standard switch and arguably a better layout than the Geek GK61 with its dedicated arrow keys. This is good for those who are looking to step down in size without compromising the efficiency of their workflow. It also has a very powerful, albeit, unintuitive software that you can take advantage to completely customize the keyboard to your own personal preference. Overall, as with most budget keyboards, it is not perfect, but it's definitely worth checking out.




Thanks to Banggood for making this review possible, you can get this keyboard from their official website, link below.

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WHERE TO BUY:

BANGGOOD: 

Geek GK64 Mechanical Keyboard
GET 10% OFF USING MY CODE: MARVIN5 

  • You can also buy through Philippines COD
  • Price may vary depending on existing promos
  • The views and opinions on this review are solely based on my own personal experience, your results may vary
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