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8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard

The retro kings at 8Bitdo have finally sent over their sleek, mechanical NES keyboard and we're thrilled to say the least.

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There honestly aren't many feelings that beat quality nostalgia. You know, when memory just shoots you back into an instant time machine and you're sitting there again, on the hardwood floor in 1987 playing Kid Icarus. Moviebox, Commando (heavily censored) on VHS, V on TV, Dallas, Whitesnake, Refreshers... Those were the days. I loved the 80s. I'm a product of that decade and I love the NES too, a wonderful old machine that required a hefty blow to make many of its cartridges function at the best of times.

8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard
I would say that right now you can't find a cooler keyboard.

8Bitdo makes gaming accessories with a distinctly 80s feel, and while they've released some flawed stuff over the years (that 8-bit mouse with NES buttons wasn't great, even if it had a bizarrely cool aesthetic), they've also churned out some pretty nice stuff. When the NES-inspired Retro Keyboard was announced, I rejoiced. I wrote a couple of gushy blog posts at the beginning of last autumn about how much I loved the look of it, and after having put it to the test for over three weeks now, I'm ready to hand out a rating.

8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard
The switches come from Kailh and are brilliant.
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So, how good is it? Is it just a fancy gimmicky thing like that NES mouse? No, it's not. The 8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard is actually surprisingly good. As far a gaming-orientated mechanical keyboard goes, I'd go so far as to call it brilliant. It communicates with your PC via Bluetooth but can also be connected with the supplied cable, it has perfectly crisp switches, and the key travel is just the right length for my taste. The ergonomics are brilliant, the design phenomenal, and the battery life jaw-dropping (over 200 hours per charge). There are volume knobs and special buttons on its top and you also get two giant push buttons in a separate box that you can easily set to handle macros or special commands, which doesn't even require you to use 8Bitdo's otherwise brilliant software. I set these up to quickly and easily send middle-finger smileys to my colleague Marcus Persson via Skype, which was very useful, as always.

8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard
The large, external A/B buttons can be programmed to do anything you want.

It would have been helpful for me if this keyboard had a Nordic key layout, as there is no Å, Ä and Ö. As it is, it's pointless to use the 8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard for typing in Swedish, but for dropping into some Warzone or Fortnite, it is, as I said, a brilliant keyboard and the huge buttons that come with it are more fun than I had first thought. The fact that you get all this for £90, I consider it something of a bargain, and for my own part I will have this keyboard 'on display' as a gorgeous ornament on my office shelf when I'm not actually using it.

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09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score


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