OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro Review: Typing, elevated

The OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro is for enthusiasts who want to have a field day every time they type something on a keyboard
OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro Review: Mechnical Keyboard, Keychorn, Light Weight And More
OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro Review: Mechnical Keyboard, Keychorn, Light Weight And More

OnePlus makes impressive smartphones and equally impressive accessories from time to time, but when the time came for it to make a mechanical keyboard, it leaned on Keychron, one of the biggest names in the mechanical keyboard space. And so, we have the Keyboard 81 Pro, a 75 per cent (81-key) keyboard that manages to stand out and impress.

As you take it out of the box, the first thing you notice is how heavy the keyboard is – at nearly 1.9 kg, it’s par for the course for anyone familiar with Keychron products but shockingly heavy to others. With its sandblasted aluminum chassis, it’s meant to sit planted on a desk and not really move around (or be taken in a bag in a pinch) and is height adjustable via a thick kickstand to suit your typing position. Toggles towards the rear let you switch between Windows and Mac keyboard layouts and between wired/wireless modes, with a distinctively OnePlus-red braided cable included in the box for good measure.

OnePlus sells two versions of this keyboard – one with red, tactile switches and the other with blue, linear switches (which I tested), and both have individual key RGB lighting which don’t really shine through the opaque key caps and only serve to illuminate the whole setup. Keyboard enthusiasts can of course swap out the keycaps (and the switches), but it would have been a nice touch to have it out of the box. You do get a tweezer in the box for pulling out keycaps and switches, plus Windows and Alt keys if you’re not Mac-inclined.

Combined with keycaps made of the Marble-mallow material and linear switches sitting underneath, the keyboard has an impressively soft yet not as noisy typing experience. The double gasket design cushions the keys so they don’t directly hit the metal body yet have sufficient travel and feedback that rival the best mechanical keyboards. The keys themselves are well spaced out - the 75 per cent layout saves space by dropping the numpad and Insert/End keys – and the volume knob is large and accessible. It has to be said, with the muted gray vibe going on and only the Enter and the Esc keys in the OnePlus red colour, the clear plastic volume knob feels a little out of place.

As is evident, this is a power user keyboard, and it reflects in the price. The Keyboard 81 Pro comes at a premium, even as wireless mechanical keyboards go, but that solid block of aluminum and the exceptional typing experience go a fair distance to justify the price.

Rating: 8/10

Price: INR 17,999 (tactile), INR 19,999 (linear)

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