Epomaker NT68 Regular Profile Keyboard Review 12

Epomaker NT68 Regular Profile Keyboard Review


Value and Conclusion

  • The Epomaker NT68 is currently up on Kickstarter for both the regular and low-profile versions, which seemingly cost the same. Prices at the time of review are in the $89–95 range, with the campaign ending on September 14, 2021 and delivery expected in October 2021. The NT68 will no doubt be sold directly through Epomaker once all the Kickstarter backers have been fulfilled.
  • Versatile, usable for different use cases
  • Hybrid wired/wireless connectivity
  • Case doubles as a stand with multiple elevations
  • Integrated magnets allow the NT68 to be used on top of some laptop keyboards
  • Regular and low-profile versions
  • Pre-programmed functions and layers cut down the time to get used to the form factor
  • Lots of switch options to choose from, at least on the regular version
  • Full programmability and software profiles via the driver allow different layouts to be used
  • Different keycap sets to choose from
  • Hot-swappable switches
  • Per-key 16.8 M RGB backlighting with software and onboard controls
  • Good battery life with backlighting off
  • Dual Windows/macOS support
  • Clean looks with no branding on the front or sides
  • Poor user experience with the software drivers
  • Clearly designed for some laptops only
  • The included case can be finicky as a stand
  • Opaque legends mean lighting is purely for aesthetics and not functional
  • Mediocre battery life with backlighting on
I certainly have mixed feelings about the Epomaker NT68, and I went in quite curious about how the keyboard would differentiate itself from other 65% keyboards we have seen thus far, including some from Epomaker itself. I suppose it's a good thing I don't rate any products in the crowdfunding stage, but having compared both the regular and low-profile versions of the keyboard, I can clearly say this is the one of the two to get, if at all.

To be clear, I do not have a MacBook Pro, which clearly seems to have been the designated use case for the NT68. In fact, most of the marketing photos use the macOS layout with keys that are basically a 1:1 reproduction of the MacBook Pro 13 keyboard. The form factor and size of the NT68 also allow it to fit on top of the laptop keyboard, with the integrated magnets holding it in place. The included case doubles up as a stand, and the magnets there once again help secure it under the MacBook for use as a laptop stand—you may end up choking airflow into the laptop, though! There is Windows support as well, but Epomaker would be the first to agree that the NT68 is targeting macOS users.

My main issue is more with the stand that comes with the NT68, which is more user-friendly than the one on the pre-production sample of the NT68 Low Profile covered separately, but still with enough quirks to where many intended use cases don't really feel practical in daily life. Some of the use angles are too steep for anything but the taken photos, and using it as a stand for laptops may choke airflow inlets. This regular version of the NT68 is at least clearly what the case was designed around, fitting it more snugly and even having the support pads for mobile devices the low-profile version is missing. The stock keycaps here are also better in most regards, with the low-profile version only having the benefit of providing a larger typing surface. The relatively flat profile does mean you can better try out different typing layouts, and I do appreciate the keyboard generally taking a more universal approach to the 65% keyboard layout on the right side with the backspace key shifted in to allow four modifier keys. Whether or not you agree with the layout of the bottom row on the NT68, the keycap profile makes it somewhat easier to switch to as well.

The Epomaker NT68 costs more than the average such 65% keyboard from China, including the popular GK68XS which has a similar feature set down to the unfortunately unoptimized software experience. The main reason to get this keyboard is for the carry case/stand and magnets-based versatility, but remember that the included cables are tiny for any wired application outside of using the keyboard on top of a laptop, so account for that before you decide to back it on Kickstarter or not.
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