The original plan for my first Building a Keyboard article was to cover six Gateron switches. However, I found it quite hard to get a hold of two specific Gateron switches for that series. Epomaker offered an easy enough solution—just review full-size keyboards using them! The Akko 3084 World Tour Tokyo was a fascinating look at a Chinese brand attempting to relate Japanese cultural elements through keyboards, so I was intrigued to see what else the brand had cooking up for full keyboards. Today, we take a look at the first Akko keyboard with one of the two "missing" switches. In a departure from all the various smaller form factor keyboards reviewed lately here, we go back to a full-size keyboard. Thanks again to Epomaker, and Akko, for sending a review sample to TechPowerUp.
The keyboard name once again tells us a lot about the design. Akko keyboards include the form factor in the name, with this being a 108-key full-size keyboard as indicated by the "3108." Matcha Red Bean refers to the color scheme and keycaps, with inspiration this time taken from the fairly popular East Asian snack. I found myself loving red bean desserts during my time in Taiwan. Regardless, the white, green, and red color scheme is fairly novel, and underneath the keycaps lie Gateron switches that might as well be just as rare. We'll go through everything on board this interesting-looking keyboard in this review which begins with a look at the specifications in the table below.
|Akko 3108DS Matcha Red Bean Keyboard|
|Layout:||108-key form factor in a US ANSI layout|
|Material:||ABS plastic case, PBT plastic keycaps, and steel plate|
|Weight:||1.2 kg/2.64 lbs.|
|Anti-ghosting:||Full N-key rollover USB|
|Media Keys:||Dedicated volume control|
|Dimensions:||140 (L) x 440 (W) x 41 (H) mm|
|Cable Length:||6 ft/1.8 m|
|Switch Type:||Choice of Gateron Pink or Orange mechanical switch|
Packaging and Accessories
Themed keyboards, especially if part of a whole series, usually have matching packaging. This holds true for the Akko 3108 Matcha Red Bean with its two-piece packaging that comes inside a plastic wrap to begin with. The outer sleeve is where we see most of the colors, with the base green for the Matcha. The company logo and product name are alongside a large render of the keyboard on front, and there is a simplified render on the back with technical specifications next to it. The sides are in a reddish brown to go with the Red Bean of the keyboard. Here, a sticker also notes the switches for the sample inside. There are no seals here, with the inner box simply sliding off the outer sleeve.
The inner box, also made out of cardboard, has a simpler design with a mostly black color scheme. The Akko logo in a radiant purple greets us on the front, and two double flaps on the side keep the contents inside in place during transit. Opening the box, we see the keyboard inside two layers. The top layer is a molded plastic cover that can be used as a dust cover as well, and then there is a soft foam wrap all around the keyboard for further protection in transit. This is complemented by cardboard on all sides, also as a barrier to keep the accessories neatly tucked away. A QC sticker and a manual are underneath the keyboard. Not only more detailed but also supporting multiple languages out of the box, including English, the manual is better this time around. The other accessories are actually inside two separate cardboard boxes, not just underneath folded cardboard as with most keyboards.
Akko includes a nice metal-wire keycap puller with their logo on the handle and wires long and thick enough to easily remove keycaps for replacement and/or cleaning without the risk of scratching the sides as with the cheaper plastic-ring pullers most others include. We also see a detachable Type-A to Type-C USB cable in green to match the keyboard, which points towards the use of Type-C connectivity on the keyboard. It should not surprise you anymore, but there are more Akko logos on the cable connector housings. With notches which are presumably used as guides for the physical connection on the keyboard, the Type-C housing is also shaped differently.
Given the Akko 3108 is a full-size keyboard, we do not get a lot of room for novelty keycaps. However, this has not deterred Akko from including a whopping twenty replacement keycaps in the Red Bean color scheme. These are thick PBT keycaps (average wall thickness 1.34 mm) with doubleshot injected designs, as is implied by the "DS" in the name. Backlighting is really not a thing here—this keyboard does not support any backlighting, and the focus is instead on the novel color with these keycaps, also as the stock keycaps are in white and green.
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