The Kinesis TKO Event Gaming Keyboard Overview: A Compact Champion

Kinesis is a pc peripherals producer solely centered on the design and manufacture of ergonomic enter units. They’re one of many first corporations within the discipline, with their first ergonomic merchandise launched almost three many years in the past. That makes Kinesis one of many oldest peripherals producers, with the model establishing a strong variety of followers through the years.

Till lately, Kinesis designed and launched merchandise solely focusing on professionals who work lengthy hours in entrance of a pc. However a couple of years Kinesis took an enormous leap of religion and began a crowdfunding marketing campaign for an ergonomic mechanical gaming keyboard, giving start to the Freestyle Edge, the world’s first ergonomic gaming mechanical keyboard. This was adopted by the discharge of the Freestyle Edge RGB a number of months later. Each keyboards had been well-received, and whereas Kinesis continues to be primarily a professional-focused firm, gaming keyboards have develop into an everyday a part of their product steady.

Extra lately, a couple of weeks in the past Kinesis introduced that their portfolio can be enriched with a wholly sudden product: a regular structure 60%-size mechanical keyboard that’s designed primarily for gaming. This marks the corporate’s first foray into 60% keyboards, by no means thoughts doing so for his or her rising gaming section.

For these unfamiliar with the idea of a 60% keyboard structure, it’s one other one other one of many much less well-known niches within the keyboard market that lately has seen elevated prominence. Designed to be compact – and sometimes moveable as nicely – 60% keyboards slim down a conventional ANSI keyboard design to a naked minimal variety of keys. Solely the core island of the keyboard – containing the letter and quantity keys – is current. The opposite islands with the perform keys, the numpad, the arrow keys, and another keys are left behind, and like with compact laptop computer keyboards, their lacking capabilities are rolled into different keys.

Comparability of Keyboard Layouts (Picture Credit score: Rumudiez, CC BY-SA 3.0)

To make certain, 60% is a structure customary moderately than a literal description, so the keys themselves are nonetheless full-size (or near it), for instance. 60% keyboards are most usually used the place area is a priority and there is not room for a bigger keyboard, although they’ve additionally confirmed widespread with the ergonomic crowd since a smaller keyboard is less complicated to reposition.

And for avid gamers there’s another attainable profit: portability. Which is the place the Kinesis TKO Event keyboard is available in. Trying to faucet into the marketplace for avid gamers who’re after a small keyboard designed for portability and single-hand gaming ergonomics, the corporate has designed a 60% keyboard that’s meant to excel at gaming and to be one thing avid gamers can take with them.


Packaging and Bundle

We obtained the TKO Event mechanical keyboard in a easy, clear cardboard field with minimal paintings on it. The field may be very robust and, mixed with the interior cardboard layers and the keyboard’s case, it makes it subsequent to unimaginable for transport harm to happen.

The keyboard is provided in a high quality arduous carrying case with delicate inner padding, permitting the protected and handy transportation of the keyboard. Kinesis additionally provides a keycap and swap puller, a full-size Area Bar keycap, and a Menu keycap.

The Kinesis TKO Event Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

A fast look on the Kinesis TKO Event means that it isn’t considerably totally different than another 60% mechanical keyboard. By and huge, that’s true, as the corporate didn’t need to stray far-off from a typical structure with such a small design. The highest half of the keyboard is metallic, providing distinctive sturdiness and superior aesthetics. The one vital structure change is that the Area Bar is cut up in three, with Kinesis naming this characteristic “Hyperspace keys”. By default, all three keys function as a Area Bar key. The TKO Event is a completely programmable keyboard that may retailer as much as good profiles onboard, so having three thumb keys as an alternative of 1 ought to be a significant improve for superior avid gamers.

The entire keyboard’s keycaps are double-shot PBT, providing most long-term safety. Each the principle and the secondary key characters are positioned close to the highest facet of the keycap, the place the swap’s LED reveals its most luminosity. There are characters printed on the entrance facet of the keycaps as nicely, that are enabled by urgent both the Fn or the Smartset key.


The Smartset key by default replaces the Menu key however the important thing could be reprogrammed and a regular keycap is included within the bundle. By default, all Smartset keystroke combos additionally embody the Shift key and for good purpose – they will have a everlasting impact on the keyboard’s performance and settings. One Smartset keystroke mixture even triggers a full reset, bringing the keyboard again to its manufacturing facility default mode. One must be cautious with that as a result of every part is saved contained in the keyboard so, except profiles had been manually extracted and saved beforehand, hours of programming totally different layers and lengthy macros could be extinguished right away.

Beneath the small keyboard, we discovered 4 large ft. These can be utilized to both usually tilt the rear facet of the keyboard for a traditional typing expertise, or tilt the keyboard sideways for an ergonomic single-handed gaming expertise. Kinesis advices in opposition to tilting the keyboard sideways after which attempting to make use of it with each arms. For many who choose the keyboard sitting flat on their desk, Kinesis put in 4 lengthy rubber anti-slip strips throughout each fringe of the keyboard.

Beneath the keycaps of the TKO Event mechanical keyboard, we discovered Kailh’s mechanical switches. Our pattern got here with Brown switches of the RGB variant with clear our bodies. It’s usually sudden to search out anything by Cherry’s authentic switches on any keyboard round this value vary. The constructive facet right here is that the switches are simply swappable, permitting the person to easily buy any suitable Kailh swap and substitute or mix-and-match totally different switches on the identical keyboard. This may be notably necessary if a single swap goes unhealthy, as the price of a swap is a tiny fraction of the entire keyboard. Customers nonetheless must be cautious of harm attributable to liquids although, as changing a swap is not going to heal the electronics beneath them. Cherry cross-type helps could be discovered beneath the bigger keys.

The Kinesis TKO Event options full RGB coloration backlighting. The Kailh switches, regardless of their clear our bodies, are considerably brighter in direction of the highest facet of the important thing. Because of the absorbing coating of the highest plate, the lighting is targeted on the keycap’s character solely, with minimal bleeding in direction of the highest facet of every key. There are additionally skinny lighting stripes throughout the sting of the keyboard, subtly illuminating the desk round it.

The elimination of the underside plastic cowl reveals the principle PCB, which is secured on and guarded by the thick metallic prime plate. Every thing is assembled very cleanly, with no imperfections that we may spot. There’s additionally a stamped date, revealing the manufacturing date of the PCB itself.

The guts of the TKO Event is the Atmel AT32UC3B0256 microcontroller with a 32-bit, 60 MHz RISC processor. Kinesis likes this microcontroller loads and is utilizing it incessantly, most likely for its massive 256KB built-in flash reminiscence. A secondary Atmel ATSAMD20 E18A microcontroller can be current, alongside a 3rd Sonix SLED1735JG microcontroller that’s devoted to the management of the RGB LEDs. Total, Kinesis went fairly a bit overboard with the processing energy of the keyboard.


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