Much like its RK96 massive brother, the Royal Kludge RK89 is designed to suit a numeric keypad right into a compact design. However the RK89 makes a couple of too many format sacrifices to attain this, making it awkward and uncomfortable to make use of.
From a specs standpoint, the RK89 would possibly sound spectacular: It crams a numeric keypad right into a design that’s simply 14.1 inches broad. However this keypad is simply numbers — it lacks /*-+ operator keys, an Enter key, and a devoted Num Lock key.
If you will get previous the format, the RK89 has snug keys, hot-swappable switches, and a number of other connection choices: USB, Bluetooth, and a 2.4GHz wi-fi dongle that exhibited not one of the issues we noticed within the dongle included with the RK84. In wi-fi mode, the keyboard sports activities a 60-hour battery life (with out lighting); in wired mode, it options two USB 2.0 passthrough ports. The Royal Kludge RK89 is simply $70, however it may’t compete with the greatest funds mechanical keyboards.
Royal Kludge RK89 Specs
|Switches||MX-compatible Brown, hot-swappable|
|Lighting||Ice blue LED backlighting|
|Onboard Storage||Single profile|
|Media Keys||Secondary Fn keys solely|
|Interface||USB-C Wired, Bluetooth, 2.4GHz dongle|
|Cable||70-inch USB-A to USB-C cable|
|Extra Ports||2x USB 2.0 passthrough|
|Keycaps||Doubleshot ABS passthrough|
|Software program||Royal Kludge software program|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||14.1 x 5.1 x 1|
Design of Royal Kludge RK89
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The RK89 is visually engaging, with an total white design and delicate blue lighting that offers it an arctic really feel. Regardless of the white colorway, the keys resisted grime and didn’t appear liable to discoloration in my testing. The RK89 is 14.1 inches broad, 5.1 inches deep, and about one inch excessive (with the dual-position flip-out rear ft retracted) — very small for a keyboard with a numeric keypad.
Properly … half of a numeric keypad. The keypad lacks all the operator keys (/*+-), the Enter key, and the Num Lock key (Fn + 7 on the keypad toggles Num Lock). As a substitute of the lacking operator keys, Royal Kludge selected to cram cursor arrows in on the backside of the keypad, with the ‘up’ arrow sitting between the 0 and the decimal key. The top result’s a keypad that’s not nice for spreadsheet use as a result of lacking operators, and cursor keys which will drive contact typists mad as they try to maneuver the cursor up and sort a 0 as a substitute.
Additionally lacking are web page navigation keys, Insert, Delete, Print Display, Pause, and Scroll Lock. These can be found as embedded Fn + key combos within the middle of the principle alphanumeric portion of the keyboard. Quantity and media controls are additionally managed with Fn + operate key combos. The helpful quantity curler and the snug wrist relaxation discovered on the RK96 are absent on the RK89, and my wrists protested the omission of the latter a few third of the way in which by this overview — the RK89 has a fairly tall entrance edge.
The keyboard comes packaged with a 2.4 GHz wi-fi receiver (which might be stowed below the keyboard), a 70-inch USB-C cable, a keycap and change puller, and 4 additional switches.
My overview mannequin got here with RK-branded Brown switches, that are much like Cherry MX Browns (the RK89 will also be bought with Blue or Purple switches). The switches are plate-mounted three-pin designs, however the PCB additionally helps five-pin switches. All switches are hot-swappable. The keycaps are ABS doubleshot designs with a cross-pattern connector on the underside.
The RK89 comes with two layers of sound-dampening foam pre-installed, and this does an excellent job of decreasing vibration and rattling in comparison with totally hole designs.
The inventory lighting is a horny ice-blue. There’s no RGB assist, however the included software program enables you to create fancy lighting patterns or customized animation sequences. You possibly can modify brightness and change between lighting mild schemes with Fn + key combos.
Connectivity and Battery Lifetime of Royal Kludge RK89
The RK89 comes with a 70-inch USB-C (to USB-A) cable for a wired connection; this can be a beneficiant size that ought to accommodate most setups. I additionally examined it with a 10-foot USB-C to USB-C cable, and each cables supplied a stable reference to no misplaced keypresses.
A bonus of utilizing the RK89 with a wired connection is the keyboard’s two USB 2.0 passthrough ports on the prime proper. I used to be ready to make use of these to attach a USB flash drive, MX Grasp 3 mouse transmitter, and even a recently-resuscitated iPod Photograph with no points. The ports are disabled in wi-fi mode.
In our overview of the Royal Kludge RK84, we famous important points with the two.4 GHz dongle connection, with missed keystrokes except the keyboard was inside a foot or two of the dongle. I didn’t have any comparable points with the RK89’s 2.4 GHz connection and was ready to make use of the RK89 with out lacking any keystrokes at six ft away, with different wi-fi transmitters operating on the identical PC. When it’s not in use, the dongle might be stowed in a magnetic port below the keyboard.
The RK89 additionally has built-in Bluetooth (each 3.0 and 5.0) and might be paired with as much as three Bluetooth units, which you’ll be able to swap between utilizing Fn + Q, Fn + W, and Fn + E. Lengthy-pressing any of these combos places the RK89 in pairing mode. You’ll really see the keyboard listed twice while you pair it, as a result of it helps each Bluetooth 3.0 and Bluetooth 5.0. I had stable connections throughout the units I examined (desktop PC, laptop computer, and an iPad Professional), with correct, lag-free responses even 15 ft away.
The RK89 has a battery life score of 60 hours with the lighting turned off. I used the keyboard over a Bluetooth reference to lighting enabled over the course of every week, and wanted to recharge after about 4 days. You possibly can examine the ability stage on the keyboard by urgent Fn + Enter (the keys on the prime will mild as much as point out what battery share is left).
Typing Expertise on Royal Kludge RK89
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My overview unit got here with tactile-but-quiet RK Brown switches. They’ve a firmer really feel than the RK Reds I used whereas testing the RK96, and gave a bit extra suggestions whereas typing with out being loud. I used to be in a position to touch-type moderately properly, and any points I had have been a results of the odd cursor key placement fairly than key response. Regardless of not being brand-name fashions, the included switches had an excellent really feel and a quiet, unobtrusive sound.
The doubleshot ABS keycaps have a pleasant scooped form and are snug to make use of in each high-speed contact typing and gaming. There was a tiny little bit of wobble within the keys, however this was largely evident in case you have been on the lookout for it, and wasn’t noticeable when typing. In fact, this keyboard has hot-swappable switches so you’ll be able to at all times swap the switches and keycaps in the event that they’re to not your liking.
The RK89 takes a second to get up from sleep in wi-fi mode. It wakes on a keypress, however misses the primary second or two of keystrokes. Efficiency is stable as soon as it’s awake, however you’ll must get used to tapping a key to wake it up in case you’re away for various minutes, after which ready a second or two earlier than you begin typing. You possibly can, although, configure the auto-sleep time for between 5 and half-hour.
The keyboard was extraordinarily responsive and had undetectable latency in wired mode. In 2.4 GHz wi-fi and Bluetooth modes, I didn’t discover any latency points whereas taking part in Halo Infinite and Name of Responsibility Warzone. Aggressive avid gamers would possibly need to go for the wired connection when milliseconds matter, however I couldn’t detect any lag with any of the connections. The RK Brown switches had a agency contact that was much less snug for gaming than the RK Reds, so critical avid gamers would possibly need to go for these linear switches as a substitute.
Software program for Royal Kludge RK89
The RK Keyboard programming app, which might be downloaded from Royal Kludge’s web site, lacks documentation and built-in assist — let’s simply say it positively isn’t going to win any design or usability awards. Nevertheless it’s moderately highly effective as soon as you determine the person interface, and you need to use it to reprogram your entire key assignments and file elaborate macros full with customized delays between key presses and lift actions.
The software program additionally enables you to select amongst about 30 totally different lighting and results modes, and likewise program your personal. You may also create customized backlight units utilizing Fn key sequences on the keyboard with out utilizing the software program in any respect.
You’ll seemingly need to maintain the software program put in, although, as a result of the keyboard shops solely a single customized profile, and also you’ll want to make use of the software program if you wish to swap lighting or key assignments. Additionally, whereas this would possibly not seemingly apply to many individuals, when you’ve got a couple of Royal Kludge keyboard mannequin, word that the software program is particularly custom-made for every mannequin. So that you’ll really must uninstall and reinstall the suitable model in case you swap between keyboards.
Testing the RK89 largely made me respect the design of the RK96 much more. For simply $10 extra and an additional half-inch in width, that keyboard is dramatically extra usable for each common typing and numeric keypad use, plus it has a magnetic wrist relaxation that makes it considerably extra snug to make use of. With the RK89, Royal Kludge has designed a keyboard for somebody who’s extraordinarily restricted in desk house and desires solely the quantity portion of a numeric keypad — I doubt many individuals match that description.
Format apart, the RK89 has some wonderful options, together with hot-swappable switches and a number of connectivity choices. However all of these items are additionally true of the RK96. The strongest competitor the RK89 has is certainly the RK96. One other various in case you’re on the lookout for one thing customizable is the Akko 3098B / N, which gives a extra usable format, RGB coloration, and comparable connectivity choices (albeit, for $40 extra). If you happen to can forgo the numeric keypad, the Keychron K3 is very configurable, snug to kind on, and has an excellent smaller footprint.
The RK89 is hobbled by too many compromises in an in any other case promising design. The quirky format is likely to be doable for some, however most customers ought to think about the superb Royal Kludge RK96 as a substitute.