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Best 75% mechanical keyboards for gaming and typing

Based on hundreds of hours of testing.

75 percent mechanical keyboards are a popular emerging category, offering nearly as many keys as a tenkeyless (no numpad) keyboard in a much more compact footprint. If you prefer a smaller keyboard, for ergonomics, portability or just aesthetics, but you can't live without the arrow keys and Function row that's necessarily excised on even the best 60 percent and 65 percent size keyboards, then 75 percent could be just right.

In this article, we'll share our absolute favourite 75 percent mechanical keyboards. After hundreds of hours of research, building and testing, we've narrowed down dozens of the best mechanical keyboards to just five recommendations that we're confident will be great choices for gaming, typing, programming and more - including both wired and wireless options that work on Mac and PC.

To check out our selections, click on the keyboard you're interested in the list below or simply scroll on!

Best 75% mechanical keyboards

  1. Glorious GMMK Pro
  2. Keychron K2
  3. Vissles V84 (2.0)
  4. Epomaker AK84S
  5. Niz Plum Micro84

1. Glorious GMMK Pro

A handsome, customisable and impeccably built keyboard

gmmk_pro

The Glorious GMMK Pro is a magnificent keyboard, but one that requires a bit of fitting together. Luckily, the skill required is far more "LEGO" than it is "jet engine" or even "computer" - you'll just need to push in switches into the bare board and then press keycaps onto the switches. Glorious were kind enough to send over a full spread, including keycaps, their impressively tactile 'Panda' switches and a fancy curled USB cable, but you should be able to use pretty much any Cherry MX-style switch in these hot-swappable sockets so you have a great degree of control over how the keyboard feels to use.

Whichever switches and keycaps you choose, the solid aluminium case, clipped and lubed stabilisers, gasket-mounted plate and fancy rotary encoder (aka programmable knob*) make for an outstanding first impression. The keyboard is fully customisable in software, from its RGB back-and-side lighting to its key bindings, which can be done in the Glorious Core software or programs like QMK Toolbox if open-source QMK firmware is installed. Installing this firmware also reduces input latency significantly (RTings measured 10ms vs 26ms), but means that RGB backlighting is disabled, which is a shame. This issue should be solvable in future, either by adding RGB to the QMK firmware or reducing the input latency of the default firmware, but right now it's the only issue with the board worth mentioning - and for what it's worth, I didn't notice any difficulties using the keyboard for gaming.

The GMMK Pro is a tantalising prospect, bringing the nerdy fun of custom mechanical keyboards to a wider audience and delivering an absolutely outstanding typing experience out of the box. If its few firmware issues can be solved, Glorious will have created what for many people is the perfect 75 percent keyboard.

*Coincidentally, also my university nickname.

Buy:

2. Keychron K2 / K3

Compact, cheap, capable

keychronk2

The Keychron K2 sets an incredibly high bar when it comes to value, offering a well-built keyboard with plenty of switch and backlight options at a very attractive price. It comes with Mac and Windows keycaps in the box, including a Mac-style Function row, which makes it almost uniquely Mac-friendly while still working just fine on Windows and Linux computers. The default K2 comes with Gateron Red, Blue or Brown switches, a plastic frame and a white key backlighting, but you can spend a little more to get RGB backlighting or RGB backlighting with an aluminium frame. Even for the most expensive option, you're still getting a great deal.

The ($74) Keychron K3 is also worth mentioning. This keyboard is even lighter and more portable than the K2, swapping out full-height mechanical switches for low profile Gateron or Keychron Optical alternatives. This provides a snappy, laptop-like feel that I really adore. For more on the K3, check out our write-up here - including other great gaming keyboards of all sizes.

Buy:

3. Vissles V84 (2.0)

Quiet, stylish and great value

vissles

The Vissles V84 2.0 sets itself apart thanks to high-end PBT keycaps as standard, a neat white-on-black colour scheme and incredibly quiet VS linear switches - all for an incredibly reasonable price of $89. These soft linear (no click or tactile bump) switches make the board a real pleasure to use for typing and gaming, and almost remind me of the soft feel of Topre electro-capacitive switches which are normally found only on extremely high-end keyboards like the $249 Topre Realforce. The V84's chassis is also hot swappable, so you can throw in your own switches if you prefer a more tactile or clicky keyboard, for example. Tools for removing switches and keycaps are provided, as well as a comfy faux-leather palm rest.

The V84 also has Bluetooth functionality, Mac and Windows keycaps and an simple, functional software suite for rebinding keys, recording macros and setting the RGB lighting. You can also perform these functions on the keyboard itself, but with no secondary legends to indicate these keys, expect to refer back to the user manual for your first few days with the V84 - so the software may be the easier choice for most people.

The entire vibe of this keyboard is tasteful and expensive, yet at $89 it's by far the cheapest 'premium' keyboard I've ever tested. Highly recommended.

Buy:

4. Epomaker AK84S

A chunky, feature-filled unit with some unique add-ons

ak84s

The Epomaker AK84S is available in a few guises, but one particular configuration looks and feels like no keyboard I've tried before. I was sent a model with a pleasantly rounded shell crafted from transparent acrylic and colourful silicone-topped keycaps (below), resulting in an unusually soft key feel and a very interesting look. I've never fielded more questions about a keyboard than when I took this one to a local café post-lockdown!

keycaps

Apart from the depth of its customisation options, the AK84S is in other respects a good, capable keyboard. It's available with Gateron's optical or standard mechanical switches of several varieties, has a Function layer for extra controls, swaps seamlessly between Mac and Windows configurations and can be used wired via USB-C or wireless via Bluetooth 5.1. There's RGB backlighting too, which is controllable on the keyboard itself or in software, and is visible through the acrylic case if you opt for that version (more common plastic and aluminium frames choices are also available). Many of the keyboards in this roundup offer something a little extraordinary, but the AK84S is still able to stand out proudly.

Buy:

5. Niz Plum Micro84

Soft electro-capacitive (Topre-like) switches

micro84

The Niz Micro84 (sometimes called the Plum Micro84) brings something unique to the table: electro-capacitive switches that combine the soft feel of rubber dome keyboards with the accuracy and durability of mechanical keyboards. You may have tried (or heard about) these sorts of switches on boards like the Topre Realforce or Happy Hacking Keyboard (HHKB), which are well known for their soft and pleasant typing feel. Of course, those examples are both incredibly expensive, but the Micro84 is a lot more reasonably priced.

Asides from its unique switches, the Micro84 impresses with its long feature list. This is a Bluetooth keyboard that can also be used wired, it comes with numerous backlighting options from no backlighting to full RGB, and it has an incredible number of functions accessible through the Fn layer. This makes for a slightly busy-looking keyboard, with tons of legends on each keycap, but it means you really don't miss out on anything - there are controls for the mouse, volume, media, backlighting, numpad, Bluetooth connections and much more.

All things considered, the Micro84 is a unique keyboard that's well worth experiencing, especially for typing and programming, even though its unique switches and lack of customisable firmware mean that your options for post-purchase customisation are limited.

Buy:

So there we have it - our top five choices. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and if you think we've missed out a great contender then do get in touch! You can also reach me via Twitter @wsjudd if you prefer.

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry  |  wsjudd

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DealsFoundry.

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