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Royal Kludge RK96 Review Hot-swap Switch Keyboard with Magnetic Wrist Rest And Volume Wheel

 
The new Royal Kludge RK96 is a hotswap keyboard with 90% layout, cross platform compatibility (iOS, Android, Windows and Mac) and triple mode connection - wired, 2.4GHz wireless and bluetooth 5.1. 


The RK96 keyboard comes with Royal Kludge's own switches (RK 3-pin switches) so, you can easily interchange the switches with other Royal Kludge hotswappable keyboards (e.g. RK89 and RK68), as well as 5-pin switches and different switch manufacturers. The RK96 double shot ABS keycaps can also be replaced with different profile keycaps such as cherry profile keycaps.
 

In terms of design and features, the Royal Kludge RK96 keyboard is no different to the RK84 keyboard. The main difference between the two is the detachable magnetic wrist rest you get with the RK96. The magnetic wrist rest is made entirely of hard plastic so, it has no padding cushion to provide a soft support. 
 
While not as comfortable as a gel or foam padded wrist rest, the RK96 wrist rest does help keep the wrists straight and won't get worn out as easily. Also, because the wrist rest is made of hard plastic it is easy to keep clean from sweaty odors. The RK96 wrist rest has rubber feet on the bottom to prevent it sliding around when typing on the keyboard. 


The RK96 keyboard RK switches are north facing leds, which means the leds shine towards the top (north) of the keyboard. This is worth knowing since some backlit illuminated mechanical keyboards come with south facing leds. The RK96 dummy switch stabilizers have been pre-lubed from factory so, there is hardly no rattling noise. 
 
The RK96 is a blue color backlit illuminated keyboard and has on-board controls for changing the blue backlighting dynamic (19 effects) and solid blue. You can also increase/decrease brightness, turn off the backlighting, change backlighting speed and create (and save) your own backlighting pattern via the custom backlight mode.


The RK96 keyboard features two USB-A passthrough ports for charging external devices (e.g. smartphone). The USB-A ports are bus-powered, meaning they only work when the RK96 keyboard is wired to a computer USB port. Next to the USB-A passthrough ports, there is a USB-C port for charging the keyboard. The charging time of the RK96 battery (3750mAh) is approximately 6.5 hours. 
 
As far as battery life, you can get up to 10 days in 2.4Ghz wireless (without lights) and 7 days with lights on. In bluetooth mode, the runtime is 5 days (lights off) and 13 hours hours with lights on.
The bluetooth signal can be manually turned off via the on/off switch underneath the keyboard, which is always useful for extending standby time. On the bottom of the RK96 keyboard, there are also rubberized dual feet risers for height adjustment and another small switch for toggling between 2.4Ghz wireless and bluetooth mode. 


The RK96 keyboard has a battery level indicator built-in, which lets you find out the battery percentage in 10% increments from 10% all the way to 100%. To activate the battery level indicator, simply press and hold Fn+Enter. The corresponding top row number keys will light up to indicate the battery level of the RK96 keyboard. For example, if battery level is 40% the top row number keys #1 and #4 will light up. If battery level is 50%, the top row number keys #1 and #5 will light up. So on and so forth.
 
The RK96 Bluetooth chip supports multipoint connectivity for up to 3 devices so, you can connect the RK96 keyboard to 3 different devices (e.g. laptop, desktop computer, tablet) at the same time. On the top right corner of the keyboard, there is a volume wheel (volume up and volume down) and separate mute button. The volume wheel is made of aluminum and has a ridged texture for grippiness.
The RK96 keyboard has virtual functions built-in that you can access via the Fn key command (see included user guide).  
 
When using a Windows computer (Win 7 and above) you have access to 21 virtual function keys. You only get 15 function keys with a Mac computer (MacOS X 10.6 and above). Virtual function keys include volume, play/pause, Home, PgUp/PgDn and PrtSc. 
 
The dimensions of the RK96 keyboard are 37.5cm long and 12cm wide. The height of top row is 4cm high and the bottom row height is 3cm high. The shortest feet riser elevate the top row to 4.5cm high, while the taller feet riser elevate the front row to 5cm. The RK96 keyboard weighs 938 grams, while the detachable magnetic wrist pad weighs 164 grams and measures 37cm long and 6cm deep. The wrist rest has a slope design so, the front end is higher (2cm) than the bottom end (0.5cm).


Other neat features you get with the RK96 keyboard is noise dampening material. The metal top PCB plate has a silencer sheet pad underneath it, which is made of high density EVA foam. The hollow part of the case of the keyboard has also been dampened with high density EVA foam to suppresses any metallic pinging.


The RK96 keyboard comes with a 1.4 meters long rubber cable, metal puller, velcro strap, four spare switches and, it is available in white color frame only. You can choose from RK blue switches, RK red switches or brown RK switches. You can buy the RK96 hot-swappable keyboard from amazon. Check out the review of the RK Sink87G RGB keyboard

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