Akko is an up-and-coming mechanical keyboard manufacturer from Shenzhen that was founded in 2016. In the meantime, Akko has a whole range of different keyboards in its portfolio. With their pop culture-inspired designs, they have already made a name for themselves in the keyboard community. The Akko Black & Gold 3068B Plus is a new keyboard in the 65 percent format, which comes in a somewhat simpler black and gold design. Now it is also available in the ISO-DE layout we are familiar with, which is the “standard” layout of German keyboards, and Akko has provided it to us for this Akko 3068B Plus review.
Design & Workmanship
- 65% layout (ISO-DE)
- Plastic housing
- Double-shot PBT keycaps
- Lubed Stabilizers
The Black & Gold 3068B is a 65% layout keyboard. This layout is the smallest layout that still has arrow keys. Otherwise, a numpad is missing here, as well as the F-row (F1-F12). Depending on personal preference, a small keyboard like the 3068B Plus in 65% format is either an upgrade compared to a full-sized keyboard – according to the motto less is more – or a criterion for exclusion.
The argumentation for a small keyboard is that you don’t use many of the keys of a full-size keyboard at all or use them so rarely that it’s not worth installing these keys extra. The gain in free space on the desk is more useful than the loss of some keys. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that these keys can’t be pressed on a smaller keyboard like the Akko Black & Gold 3068B Plus. With the help of the FN key, most of the functionality can be restored via key combinations. For example, the key combination of FN+1 allows typing the F1 key.
Nevertheless, some users cannot do anything with a smaller keyboard. If you work a lot with Excel every day and type larger amounts of numbers, you don’t want to do without the numpad.
The workmanship of the 3068B Plus can keep up with mainstream brands like Corsair or Logitech – in some respects it can even surpass them. The case of the Black & Gold 3068B Plus is made entirely of dark plastic. The keyboard weighs 640 grams when assembled. This makes it light and very portable, which harmonizes well with the Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz support. Of course, the case cannot keep up with mechanical high-end keyboards from manufacturers like Keychron and the like in terms of quality. You can’t compare the plastic case with a case milled from aluminum – but a Q1 from Keychron also plays in a different price segment.
What I noticed particularly positively about the workmanship in the Akko 3068B Plus test were the built-in stabilizers. Stabilizers are special components in keyboards that are used for keys that are larger than the normal letter or number key. They have separate connectors to the keycap and stabilize the large caps during typing so that they don’t bounce. The two sides of a stabilizer are usually connected with a small metal rod so that they can only move evenly. If a stabilizer is of inferior quality or broken, then the larger keys, such as the space bar, will “rattle” when typing. Unfortunately, this is often the case with keyboards from major gaming peripheral manufacturers. With the Akko Black & Gold 3068B, I’m really positively surprised, because the stabilizers seem to be of good quality on the one hand, and on the other hand, they were already greased during production. This results in a pleasant typing noise without annoying rattling.
Wired, 2.4 GHz & Bluetooth
In addition to the standard features of a keyboard, the Akko 3068B Plus offers a few other conveniences. Chief among these is support for both wired operation and wireless operation via an included 2.4 GHz dongle. However, the 3068B Plus can also be operated wirelessly via Bluetooth. This can be extremely useful especially when used on a desktop PC and occasionally on a laptop.
One feature that is very important to me is that the 3068B Plus is HotSwap capable. This means that the keyswitches, the actual mechanical components of the keyboard, can be replaced without soldering. HotSwap capable keyboards basically have small slots for the contacts of the switches. This means that the switches can simply be removed and others plugged in – without the need for a soldering station. The Akko 3068B Plus is compatible with all 5-pin keyswitches.
So if you want to change switches in the future, for example from tactile to linear switches, all you have to do is order the new keyswitches and you can easily swap them out. Even if you only want to change the typing feel for a day, it’s worth it because the conversion is so quick and easy.
The Akko 3068B Plus has an RGB LED on the PCB behind each keyswitch, which can cover the entire RGB spectrum. In total, there are 20 different RGB modes programmed into the keyboard. These range from “Breath”, “Neon” or “Wave” to “Star” or “Ripple”. Some modes unfortunately have somewhat meaningless names, such as “Effect G” or “Effect H”. The speeds and the intensity of the different RGB effects can be changed via the Akko Cloud Driver.
The standard “Black & Gold” keycaps are mainly gray or black and do not contain a translucent area, which is why the RGB backlight only shines out on the sides between the keycaps. For people who like it a bit more plain, this is optimal. However, if you want to get more out of the RGB effect, it is still recommended to invest in keycaps with translucent material.
An item that can almost be considered a standard feature these days is n-key rollover. N-key rollover describes the possibility to theoretically press all keys of the keyboard simultaneously without the signals of some keys not being transmitted to the PC. The “n” in n-Key Rollover stands for any number – so you can press as many keys as you like at the same time. For example, on a keyboard with 5-key rollover, you could only press five keys at a time before signals are lost.
Useful can be the n-key rollover, for example, for players or players of MMORPGs, where in combat many skills and thus many keys must be pressed in quick succession.
- Windows & Mac support
- Key sensitivity
- Key mapping
Via the so-called Akko Cloud Driver, a small program that can communicate with the keyboard via the USB-C cable, it is possible to easily change the lighting effects, calibrate the sensitivity of the switches and program macros to the keyboard. These macros can later be used on other devices without any problems, even without the Cloud Driver installed, since the bottom line is that they are executed on the keyboard itself.
This can be useful for creating certain symbols via keyboard shortcuts, as well as in some video games to break down complex sequences to a macro.
In addition, the key assignment of the 3068B Plus can be changed via the Cloud Driver. So if a key is missing that you need very often on the default layout, it’s no problem to substitute another key for it. I like to use this in combination with a macro to have special symbols available on the keyboard.
- Cherry profile
- Height adjustable (3 heights)
The Black & Gold 3068B Plus is not a keyboard that is particularly focused on ergonomics. Nevertheless, this aspect has not been completely neglected. The different heights and shapes of the keycaps, depending on their row on the keyboard, make the interaction between hand and keyboard more comfortable than if all caps were identical.
To avoid hand fatigue, the feet of the 3068B Plus can be adjusted to three different heights, depending on what is personally most comfortable. Especially when the keyboard is elevated by the feet, the ergonomics benefit from the mentioned differences of the keycaps.
However, if one is specifically looking for an ergonomic keyboard, I would choose other keyboards, such as the ACR Pro Alice Plus – also from Akko. Compared to other keyboards with a normal layout, however, the 3068B Plus doesn’t need to hide. The only accessory I would recommend for the 3068B is a palm rest. Since the keyboard is not particularly flat, a palm rest helps enormously to relieve the wrist.
- Cherry profile
- Double-shot PBT
- Black, Gray, Yellow
The keycaps of the Black & Gold 3068B Plus were manufactured using the Double-Shot PBT process. This is basically the method of production of keycaps recognized as the highest quality. The caps of the letters and numbers are in a lighter gray. The lettering is made of a bright yellow. For the modifier keys, such as Alt, CTRL, etc., the gray is slightly darker, but the lettering is the same. Special keys like Escape or the arrow keys have an inverted color scheme. Here, the key itself is bright yellow and the label is black.
The shape of the keycaps follows the well-known Cherry profile. This means that the keys are inclined slightly differently depending on the row to offer a pleasant typing feel. The caps for the top two rows (R1) are the highest with a height of 9.81 mm. The caps for the fourth row from the top (R3) have the lowest profile with a height of 7.22 mm.
Akko has included a few more keycaps with the keyboard, which can be changed as desired. Among other things, there is a yellow space bar and a few keys with special symbols like the Akko logo.
You can use these to equip the escape key, for example. This is how you give your keyboard a little personal touch.
- Akko CS Jelly Pink (linear)
- Akko CS Jelly Purple (tactile)
In the own store of Akko you can choose between the Akko CS Jelly Pink and the Akko CS Jelly Purple Switches when buying the Akko Black & Gold 3068B Plus. The CS Jelly Pinks are linear switches – the CS Jelly Purples are tactile keyswitches. For this Akko 3068B Plus review, I was provided with the variant with the tactile CS Jelly Purple Switches. In addition, Akko sent me another set of the CS Jelly Blacks, which have already been treated with lubricant in production for an even smoother typing experience.
Akko CS Jelly Purple
- Boxed MX style switch
The Akko CS Jelly Purple Switches are tactile keyswitches with a purple translucent case. The stem, which the keycap will later sit on, has a slightly different purple color and is made in a boxed MX style. This means that it supports all keycaps with an MX-style connector and keycap wobble is reduced thanks to a thickening on the side of the stem.
|Trigger force||40 gf ± 5 gf|
|Complete path||4.0 mm ± 0.5 mm|
|Path to activation||2.0 mm ± 0.3 mm|
|Position of the pressure point||0.5 mm ± 0.3 mm|
|Force of the pressure point||56 gf ± 5 gf|
I couldn’t find anything to complain about in the workmanship of the CS Jelly Purple. The case feels high quality and the spring inside does not make any unwanted noise while typing. The feel during typing is also comparatively soft, although I’m used to lubricated switches.
Still, I don’t like the CS Jelly Purple Switches that much. However, that’s not necessarily because of the switches themselves. I am personally a fan of linear switches, i.e. keyswitches without a tactile pressure point. Therefore, tactile and clicky switches are generally less appealing to me. In addition, the pressure point of the CS Jelly Purples feels too “soft” for my taste. So there is no satisfying “click” feeling when typing, which I expect from tactile switches when I already use some.
Therefore, after the Akko 3068B Plus review, I would personally opt more for the CS Jelly Pink Switches if I were to purchase one, although I have not tested them myself. However, I believe that a linear switch with the same finish as the CS Jelly Purples, would suit me just fine.
Akko CS Jelly Black (Lubed)
- Boxed MX style switch
- High release force
Nice of Akko to send me the CS Jelly Black switches along with the Black & Gold 3068B Plus upon request. These are Cherry MX Blacks inspired keyswitches that are even lubricated out of the box. Whether switches are lubricated or not can make a big difference. The treatment can drastically improve typing feel by eliminating slightly scratchy interactions between the trunk and case. Likewise, the sound can improve tremendously. Black switches are very well known and popular for their high required release force and deep sound.
|Trigger force||50 gf ± 5 gf|
|Complete path||4.0 mm ± 0.3 mm|
|Path to activation||1.9 mm ± 0.3 mm|
The build quality of the CS Jelly Blacks is just as good as that of the CS Jelly Purples. Again, the case is translucent and the trunk is made in boxed MX style. Due to the already lubricated switches, the typing feel is very soft and pleasant. There are no unpleasant noises – neither from the spring nor from the stem. The high release force is very pleasant when typing and gives each stroke a certain “relevance”. However, it can exhaust some hands after a while. In the end, however, it comes down to habituation here. For gaming, I would therefore recommend the CS Jelly Blacks rather less, because fast reactions are required here and a switch with a high release force is not so well suited for this. Otherwise, the CS Jelly Blacks are so far among my absolute favorites.
- Inexpensive entry-level keyboard with good build quality
- Code “basic-tutorials” for 10% discount
With a price of €113.04, the Akko Black & Gold 3068B Plus belongs to the entry-level segment of mechanical keyboards. Especially the quality of the stabilizers stands out positively in terms of value for money. Many keyboards twice as expensive have lower quality stabilizers, since they are often saved on.
Otherwise, the build quality and the offered features fit well into the chosen price level. In Akko’s own store, you also get a coiled cable for free in the keyboard bundle. Such a cable can cost around 30 € if you buy it separately from a retailer and completes the look on the desk together with the keyboard.
If you still want to exchange the standard switches of the 3068B Plus for the CS Jelly Blacks (Lubed) that I tested, it costs 20.22 € per 45 pieces, or 40.44 € for the entire keyboard, since two sets are needed. This brings the price to around 45 cents per switch – a price level that also includes many unlubed switches from other manufacturers.
Akko has also provided us with a discount code for our readers. This can only be redeemed at the official Akko store. Use the code “basic-tutorials” to get a 10% discount on your entire order, starting at a total merchandise value of €99.00. It is valid from now on and can be redeemed by the first 20 customers. Here I have linked you the Akko Black & Gold 3068B Plus, as well as the CS Jelly Black Switches:
The discount code is also valid for the rest of Akko’s range, in case you are interested in something else.
In the Akko 3068B Plus review, the keyboard turned out to be an affordable entry into the world of mechanical keyboards. The 3068B Plus has all the features that you can basically expect from a mechanical keyboard. Thanks to the low weight and support for wireless operation, it is also well suited for on the go. The workmanship and switches are of reasonable quality. The switches can also be changed quickly due to HotSwap.
On the whole, the Akko 3068B Plus is thus an excellent choice for those new to mechanical keyboards who don’t want to spend a fortune on a keyboard and also want to enjoy a satisfying typing experience without a lot of tinkering.