Sometimes, great things come in small packages. When I first built my PC, I was rolling with a Redragon K552 that I customized to high heaven. However, after switching back to the world of a full-sized keyboard, I swore I wouldn’t go back to these miniature keyboards. That is until the Nerdytec CYKEY keyboard showed up on my doorstep.
Small Package, Big Ambitions
The Nerdytec CYKEY is a 75% scale keyboard, meaning that it’s done away with things such as the 10 keys on the side and only contains what players need the most. However, even for typing, it feels glorious to use, thanks to the Gateron G Pro 3.0 Yellow Switches that reside within the board. After removing the CYKEY from its box, the first thing I noticed was how hefty and weighty it was, especially for a keyboard this size. Most 70% to 75% keyboards that I’ve used in the past feel almost comically lightweight, but the CYKEY has a very nice feel and overall build quality to it.
Using transparent plastic across the top, the RGB is given a chance to shine, giving this keyboard a unique look and feel compared to most that I have used in the past. Alongside a set of keycaps that almost have a soft-touch feel to them, it’s just an absolute pleasure to use. However, while I may not be using this keyboard as my primary working keyboard, it has more than proved its worth on the gaming battlefield.
Alongside dual-step keyboard feet that allowed me to set it to the perfect height for typing or gaming, I found it incredibly comfortable to use, even for the longest gaming or writing sessions that I was partaking in. One thing that I was generally appreciative of was the fact that this keyboard comes with alternative keycaps that replace the general Windows function keys with Mac OS function keys, allowing players on that side of the gaming sphere the perfect chance to get a mechanical keyboard that works how it should on their OS.
While I no longer own a Mac, this feature in itself is almost worth the price of entry. While learning which keys do what in Mac mode is rather simple, there would be times that my mind would instantly revert to Windows shortcuts, so the included keys are a nice touch, especially now that Apple is pushing the gaming capabilities of their newest generation of computers. Not only is the CYKEY just as stylish, it’s extremely functional on both brands.
Another aspect of this keyboard that helps it stand out above plenty of others is the metal casted volume knob, alongside the removable Type-C cord that comes out from the bottom. While it may be awkward for folks with bigger fingers to reach into there fully to plug it in, it’s held in place securely to ensure that it won’t come flying out. Even the small notches to hold the cord in place are expertly milled out of the plastic. The volume knob feels great in action, and there is even a spare included in the box if something happens, or you just want to swap it out for a different one.
Barebones Software Sometimes Works Nicer Than Expected
While I can sing the praises of the hardware aspect of the CYKEY, I have to give a small nod toward the software side of things. By downloading their specialty software, I found that I was able to update the firmware of the keyboard (what an age we live in, right?), mess around with different lighting aspects, and even remap keys to give it the exact key layout that you need. If you’re someone who is trained to type in Workman or even Colemak, you can customize every aspect of it and save it to the internal memory.
While it’s not the most feature-packed software I’ve ever encountered, it’s quick, simple, and gets the job done. The best part, however, is that it doesn’t interfere with any of the other lighting software I have on my PC, so I can essentially plug it in and get to work customizing it to my heart’s content.
This also means that power users aren’t going to get the opportunity to make this keyboard into an amalgamation of their greatest desires. While the CYKEY is an excellent board, the lack of macro keys is felt here, so there will be no hotbar keys available to those who are hoping to make their next FFXIV raid easier than ever or set a particular key to be a specific action. You could technically make one of the F keys on the top work as a Macro, but you’ll need to remember to swap it back when you return to your normal day-to-day activities.
What I Wouldn’t Do For My 10-Key Back
So, as you can tell, I loved almost everything about my time with this particular keyboard, but I do have a few qualms that keep it from being the best that I’ve ever used. To be fair, compared to most 75% keyboards that I have used, it’s easily my favorite. However, the things I would do for a full-sized version with this same build quality are indescribable. Daily, I use my 10-key for a variety of things, especially for work. That has delegated the CYKEY to my primary gaming keyboard for use on my Xbox Series X and PS5 since I have a genuine need for these particular buttons.
However, if you’re not using a 10-Key regularly, it’s hard to beat this particular keyboard, except for on price. Some other keyboards offer a similar experience to this for under $100, and the CYKEY starts at $129.99. If you’ve got the extra budget, I can absolutely recommend dropping the extra coin, as the upgraded switches, keycaps, and extras make up for it. However, if you’re on a budget and need to get the best bang for your buck, there may be other options that are better suited for you overall.
But, what are the main issues with this particular keyboard? It’s honestly hard to point any out. The build quality feels fantastic, and the keys and switches used in this board are great, it’s an exceptional entry into the keyboard market for Nerdytec. However, there are a few things that just bugged me enough to keep it from reaching perfection.
The entry slot for the Type C cable, as mentioned above, is rather small and tight. The volume knob, even after reseating it, sometimes didn’t register the turns, and as trivial as this sounds, the positioning of the arrow keys feels off. They’re slightly down from the rest of the keys on the board, which looks slightly out of place and awkward on an otherwise fantastic piece of equipment.
If this keyboard was priced in the sub-$100 range, we’d have a new king on the market. With it being placed in the mid-range of keyboards, it’s an easy recommendation to fans of both custom builds and prebuilt keyboards. While I may not be using this as my daily driver, due to the lack of 10-Keys on the side, it has easily earned its spot as my go-to gaming keyboard. I would be so daring as to say I’ll unplug my work keyboard to give this one the extra time of day.
If you’ve got the spare cash and want to try something new, the Nerdytech CYKEY keyboard is an excellent board worth the time and attention. While it isn’t 100% perfect, it’s so close that I can taste it. Just please, I’m begging you, make a full-sized keyboard in the future and I’ll be all over that. If you’d like to add this keyboard to your collection, follow this link to visit the Nerdytec store.
Nerdytec CYKEY Keyboard
With it being placed in the mid-range of keyboards, it's an easy recommendation to fans of both custom builds and prebuilt keyboards. While I may not be using this as my daily driver, due to the lack of 10-Keys on the side, it has easily earned its spot as my go-to gaming keyboard. I would be so daring as to say I'll unplug my work keyboard to give this one the extra time of day.
- Feels incredibly well built
- Customization Software is on point
- Premium feeling for a mid-range price
- Detachable USB-C Cable
- Slightly more expensive than other 75% Keyboards on the market
- Tight entry port for the Type-C Cable
- Personal gripe, but arrow keys are slightly lowered on the board itself
This keyboard was provided by Nerdytec for review. Reviewed on PC, Xbox Series X & PS5