For testing the Motospeed CK61 I spent two weeks using it full time than have been using it on my test bench on the side while testing other boards. This gave me a good chance to test it in a few situations and get a feel for it overall. I will say that in general a 60% keyboard, as much as I love them, isn’t my preferred size when doing work. But I do love them for taking to LANs because of their size and weight and they have proven to be very helpful for when I’m running a test bench or testing another PC at my desk. That is because I can have a dedicated keyboard for a second or even third computer on my desk without them taking up all of the space. I need that space for all of the other random junk I have on my desk and things I’m testing. So in that way, right away the CK61 did a great job of giving me more space. The mostly traditional layout was also nice because it made switching keyboards a little quicker. Though I am used to my Pok3r’s and Poker II more so there was some learning on how the function layers worked.
Function layers as a whole are always a pain, but normally you can pick 3 or 4 keys that you need often and learn those and get by. Specifically for me, I need to have quick access to delete for example. I also like to have the direction pad and the tilde key. That one you would think would rarely come up, but it just so happens that in some games to get into the console you need to use it. In my case, when using the CK61 on the test bench I needed to get into the console when benchmarking in TF2. Well, the CK61 doesn’t have a tilde key that I could find, maybe I’ve missed it but even just not having it labeled would be a shame.
That actually brings me to I think the biggest issue I had in my testing. Normally a function layer works where you press the Fn key and then the key you need, for the CK61 you have to switch to a specific layer, one of four, and then you are locked into that until you hit the key combo again. For me needing to use delete I had to press Fn-2 then the comma key for delete then Fn-2 to get back to the main layer. For rarely used keys this is more than fine but for delete, it was a bit of a pain when writing. Of course, not everyone will even ever need that key or the tilde key so your mileage will vary.
So am I saying I hated using the CK61? Heck no, as it turns out it was a lot nicer to type on than I ever expected. Specifically, the white Kailh box switches were really nice, smooth, and stable. I’m not a fan of loud clicky switches like Cherry Blues but these were a lot quieter and with that a little easier to type on. You still get a click but you are a little less likely to have your roommate or coworker plotting to toss the keyboard out the window. I was also surprised that the tiny feet that I complained about when I first looked at the board held on to my desk well. I don’t know how they did it, but with no weight holding it down and basically four nipples holding it all to my desk I thought it would slide right out of my hands if I started to type hard or game.
I know when researching the CK61 that some people complained that the stabilizers were noisy but I didn’t find that to be the case on our sample. Shaking the board didn’t offer much more than a slight soft rattle and they didn’t make any noise when typing. Hopefully, it is an indication that things have improved, not that I was lucky, but there is no way to know for sure.
As for lighting, you do get full RGB lighting and by definition, it is individually controlled where each key can light up a different color as the one next to it. You have to use the M keys down on the bottom right with the function key. You can flip between a surprising amount of effects, change their speed, direction, brightness, and color. There are a total of four brightness settings. As for the colors, that was my main complaint about the lighting. I love that you can flip through different color profiles in the effects, but when it came to individual lighting you are left wanting. You can flip through the predefined colors but that is about it. The included RGB instructions allude to being able to program in gaming mode but I couldn’t figure it out. The lighting that you get is bright and more than enough to make the legends readable and it doesn’t bleed out around the keys because of the tall bezel design so I like that.
Apparently there is a driver download available and after you update the CK61’s firmware you can actually reprogram any and all keys and function layers if you want. So there is an optional way to regain that key or even to move things around to your preferred layout. I didn’t spend to much time with it, but thought it would be irresponsible of me to mention it without taking a look. I downloaded it from the Motospeed website and it was a zip file with the software and then another zip with a firmware update tool. Updating was quick and they included basic instructions in a word file. They didn’t mention in English at least that you would need to unplug and replug in the keyboard, but I did have to do that,
Once I did that here is the software that they profile. It is really basic but that is perfectly fine with me. You can create macros and also edit three different profiles. So you could create a profile with the tilde key for example. That said I haven’t figured out where and how you switch to these profiles yet either, this was obviously late in my testing (as I write this actually) so I will try to figure it out. There is also an option to pick lighting. You can pick from the effects already available, set their speed and brightness and in most cases pick a color. Without being able to switch profiles I haven’t been able to play more with it though. Right now I can adjust profile 1 and be able to see the changes and use the key changes, I just haven’t found profiles 2 and 3. The color picking tool does give you a lot more options with RGB numbers and a full color profile to point and click so that is a big improvement over the built-in color options. The game master profile is really the only one that will let you program individual colors but even that is locked to two colors. The one profile that I thought would be a single color always on profile called “fixed-on” was actually rotating between preselected colors with no color select option lol. Hopefully they add some more control, at least over the basics like being able to set the whole keyboard to any color that you want and to be able to set each key to a different color if you want. Basically the two main things people might want to do with their RGB lighting.