Packaging and Accessories
Epomaker has partnered with Skyloong, a local factory to them, for the production of the GK96S. As such, the first round of keyboards produced for sampling use the Skyloong name on the packaging (and then some). That said, retail units at launch will ship in a keyboard box with the Epomaker GK96S logo. Indeed, only the sticker on the side shows that a GK96S is inside, with the box out of fairly standard-duty cardboard with a double flap in the middle and two side flaps to keep the contents in place during transit.
Opening the box, we immediately have the keyboard in front of us inside a plastic wrap and surrounded by more cardboard on all sides for protection. The accessories are underneath and in another compartment to the top, which ensures no scratches or damage to the keyboard itself. These include a manual, again with the Skyloong logo, which is extremely useful but also lacking at the same time. It opens up offering English and Mandarin support on either side, with each page covering the different layouts under the GK96S family with photos of the different keycaps, as well as the L-series (my sample) with the different key configuration. As such, the extremely useful parts are left to 1.5 pages, which describe the special function keys and pre-programmed layer functions. There is also a reminder to use their software driver for further customization, but more on that later.
Update: Epomaker has uploaded an extended manual here), which addresses a lot of my concerns.
Epomaker includes a nice wire-style keycap and switch puller combination, which is indicative of the hot-swappable switch feature aboard the GK96S keyboards that is becoming a common trend with the smaller brands in 2021. To emphasize the switch-replacement feature, the company also includes several different singular switches of some of the very many switch options you can grab the GK96S in. They have gone with Gateron for the switches, and choices are far too many to list individually. Generally, you can choose between purely mechanical or optical mechanical versions of the Gateron switches, with linear, tactile, or clicky feedback and different force-travel characteristics. All are RGB switches, and the sampler kit includes some as seen above.
Following up, there are some Windows-specific replacement keycaps, which has me believe the keyboard will have some macOS keycaps out of the box. These are thick PBT keycaps without backlighting compatibility and thermally sublimed legends for good longevity. Lastly, we see the included cable, which is a nice braided cable that goes from male USB Type-A to male USB Type-C for the Type-C connectivity on the keyboard itself.