GK61 Review: Should You Buy This Keyboard In 2021?

Standard keyboards such as those that come with laptops are certainly able to get the job done, but sometimes the lacklustre chiclet keys can leave a lot to be desired.

Superior typing feedback and keycap feel is what most gamers and typists yearn for, and this dream isn't far from reach with a mechanical keyboard - and, if you're searching for a space-saving option, a 60% mechanical keyboard like the HK Gaming GK61 might be just for you!

We even featured this keyboard when we rounded up the best gaming keyboards under $50, check it out!

Don't just take our word for it - take a gander at our GK61 review and see if the keyboard is right for you.

Things To Consider Before Buying A 60% Keyboard

In this GK61 review we give an example of how you can customize your GK61 keyboard.

Source: u/RogerArbogast from r/MechanicalKeyboards
So, as we've said before, the GK61 is a 60% mechanical keyboard - but what does that mean?

A 60% keyboard refers to the size of the keyboard. Simply put, it is 60% the size of a normal full-sized keyboard, and so is missing keys such as the numpad, the navigation cluster, and oftentimes the FN layer and the arrow keys.

This is ideal if you want to save space or carry your keyboard around with you, but if you need as many buttons as you can get your hands on then a 60% keyboard like the GK61 may not quite be for you.

When it comes to choosing a keyboard, there are several things you need to look out for in order to achieve the highest level of comfort and quality for your preferences possible.

These features can include (amongst many other things):

  • The switch type (blue, brown, red, etc.)
  • RGB or no RGB
  • The keycaps
  • Wired vs. wireless
  • The build material
  • The build style and shape

Our Verdict - Our GK61 Review... Is It As Good As They Say?

Entry-Level Mechanical Keyboard
HK Gaming GK61 Mechanical Keyboard

HK Gaming GK61 Mechanical Keyboard

One of the top entry-level keyboards to get you started in the mechanical keyboard game!

For anyone looking into building a proper gaming setup for the first time, the GK61 is an excellent starting point to give your performance that extra boost without it taking a chunk out of your bank account.

This makes it a more attractive option to many people over premium 60% keyboards such as the Ducky One 2 Mini or the Anne Pro 2.

And, as mentioned previously, its compact form factor makes the GK61 the perfect option if you want to game on-the-go, or if you are simply in dire need of as much desk space as you can get.

The GK61's low price point and small size aren't its only attractive features, there's much more to explore. This budget 60% keyboard isn't perfect, but have a look at these pros and cons:

Features & Benefits

Now it's time to get into the meat of this review by delving into every nook and cranny of the GK61's features, from its build to its performance, and everything in between!

Specifications

To start off with, let's talk about the GK61 Mechanical Keyboard's specifications.

This optical mechanical keyboard features:

  • ABS bottom case
  • ABS doubleshot injection keycaps
  • 61 keys (60% keyboard size)
  • Full-colour RGB lighting
  • USB-C cable connection
  • Gateron Optical Switches
  • 0.78kg weight
  • Size of 11.5" x 4.05" x 1.57"
  • Compatible with Windows and mac OS
  • Hot-swappable PCB

Build Quality

The GK61 optical mechanical keyboard features a surprisingly sturdy build, given its lower price - try your best to flex it with your bare hands; bet you can't!

This is because this mechanical keyboard is made up of a thick ABS plastic case, as well as an aluminium plate, upon which the PCB is mounted.

This kind of durability is exactly what you will need if you plan on taking your keyboard around with you wherever you go.

Not only does this keyboard have an excellent, solid build quality, but it also looks fantastic!

Its slim bezel running along its perimeter, the sleek black look, and the glossy keycaps and base all add to the subtle yet stylish aura of this budget 60% keyboard, which is perfect if you want something strong and not-too-flashy to parade around with you on your travels.

The Keycaps

Next up we have the keycaps, and these are arguably one of the most important features of a mechanical keyboard.

The GK61 mechanical keyboard comes with ABS doubleshot injection keycaps, which basically means that the legends on your keycaps will pretty much not ever fade - which is exactly what you need if you're going to be clicking away on them day and night for the next few years.

The keycaps are also OEM-profile, which is a profile that features a 'bow' of sorts to accommodate the natural curve of the fingertip, leading to a more comfortable typing and gaming experience overall.

OEM keycaps also feature slightly different angles and heights depending on which keyboard row they're on, which is an added bonus to their comfort level.

If you're not happy with the standard ABS keycaps, however, then you can always switch things up to a different keycap set (such as PBT ones) thanks to the GK61's standard 60% layout.

The Stabilizers

The GK61 comes with plate-mounted, Cherry-style stabilisers, which come already pre-lubed so you can enjoy effortless, satisfying button presses straight out of the box.

These stabilisers minimise key wobble significantly, which matters the most in larger keys such as the space bar or enter key

It's also incredibly easy to lube the stabilisers yourself if you want, thanks to the GK61's hot-swappable PCB.

The Switches

Luckily for all of you out there reading this, the GK61 can come with a wide range of optical switch options - all of which are Gateron Optical Switches.

These include:

  • Gateron Black Switches
  • Gateron Brown Switches
  • Gateron Red Switches
  • Gateron Blue Switches
  • Gateron Silver Switches
  • Gateron Yellow Switches

The advantage of Gateron switches is that they are rather smooth and light to type on (sometimes more so than the popular Cherry MX switches), offering you a comfortable experience that is perfect for fast-paced gaming, as well as pretty much any other task you throw at this keyboard.

The fact that this keyboard comes with so many different types of key switches is perfect, as you will easily be able to pick the perfect feel for you.

For instance, the Gateron Optical Reds offer a quiet button press with a linear feel, which appeals to a broad audience - so if you're unsure on which switch type is the one for you, then the optical red switch may be the safest option!

Additional Features

The GK61 comes with a myriad of additional features, too, which are sure to add to your experience with this optical mechanical keyboard!

Possibly one of the most attractive features of this keyboard is that it is hot-swappable, meaning you can switch out your optical switches with no de-soldering and no added hassle.

In addition to this, though this keyboard lacks arrow keys (amongst other keys such as the Function keys), this is made up for through using the Function key in combination with other keys.

These combinations can also be used to manipulate other features, such as RGB lighting and macro recording.

What Comes in the Box?

The keyboard comes with more than just its main body and software - the box also includes:

  • A keycap puller
  • A switch puller
  • A braided USB-C cable

The keycap puller and switch puller are both essential if you want to customise your keyboard and take it further than the standard, so be sure not to lose these!

Software

One of the most convenient aspects of the GK61 is the fact that it comes with its own software, which allows you to customise pretty much every part of this keyboard.

For instance, the RGB lighting is highly customisable, allowing you to choose from up to 16.8 million different colours and several different lighting effects, including:

  • Pulse
  • Static
  • Wave

The software also allows you to set custom macros on all of your keys and modify shortcuts for a truly customisable experience.

You also have the option to either save your settings on the software, or on the keyboard itself - it depends entirely on your preference, but it's always good to have the option!

Social Proof

The GK61 is one of the best budget mechanical keyboards out there, and after a little bit of hunting on the internet, we have found plenty of customer reviews to back this claim up!

Here are a couple of examples:

Alternatives

Despite how great of a budget keyboard the GK61 is, however, maybe it isn't quite up to speed for you, and doesn't quite match your preferences.

If this is the case, don't worry - we have several alternatives lined up for you!

Epomaker SK61

60% keyboards are great if you need to save space, but this compact size obviously means that some keys need to be sacrificed - such as the arrow keys.

If this is too difficult of a loss for you to go with the GK61, then no worries, because the Epomaker SK61 has you covered, featuring the same compact design without needing to say goodbye to the arrow keys. Go ahead and see for yourself!

  • Dedicated arrow keys
  • PBT keycaps
  • Hot-swappable
  • Optical switches

DIERYA DK61 Pro

You might love the hot-swappable PCB of the GK61, but might not love the fact that is has no wireless functionality - in which case, the DIERYA DK61 Pro may be the keyboard for you.

This keyboard features both of these qualities, making it the perfect keyboard if you want something customisable as well as something you can easily use while out and about.

If this sounds like the perfect 60% keyboard for you, be surewwwww to check it out for yourself!

  • Hot-swappable
  • Wireless Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity
  • Compact 60% design

We did a full review on this keyboard, you can check it out here.

Keychron K6

You may love the idea of a compact keyboard to carry around with you wherever you go, but you might find that a 60% keyboard is just a tad bit too small for you.

This is where the Keychron K6 might excel - being a 65% keyboard, it's just a little bit larger than a 60% keyboard (thanks to the fact they always possess arrow keys), while still being compact enough to be easily portable.

If you want arrow keys and find 60% keyboards to be too lacking (or even find that 60% keyboards with dedicated arrow keys such as the Epomaker SK61 are still too small), then take a look at the Keychron K6!

  • Slightly larger 65% design
  • Features arrow keys
  • Option for strong aluminium case

Conclusion - Is It Worth Getting The GK61?

It's been said several times throughout this keyboard review, but it must be said again - the HK Gaming GK61 is one of the best budget 60% mechanical keyboards out there.

Coming with hot-swappable optical switches, as well as featuring a sturdy build and a conveniently compact 60% design, this keyboard is truly a great starting point for any gaming set up.

If this keyboard sounds like your ideal starter budget keyboard (or, heck, even your ideal keyboard!), then be sure to click here to check it out for yourself - we highly recommend this keyboard!

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