A good mechanical keyboard doesn’t come cheap. Pair it in wireless mode, and the price escalates further. I had the chance to review Velocifire TKL71WS. Not only does it come with wireless mode, but it is also small enough for you to bring it on the go. The best thing is, it is highly affordable and doesn’t break the bank. So how does it perform? Let’s find out.
Velocifire is a company that produces good, affordable mechanical keyboards, and their latest product, TKL71WS, ticks all the boxes that you will be looking for in a mechanical keyboard. Weighing 629g and at a length of 13 inches, it is small and lightweight enough that you can simply throw it into your bag and forget about it.
The TKL71WS can be connected wirelessly via a USB dongle. I am glad that it is paired using a USB dongle rather than Bluetooth. I have bad experiences with Bluetooth mechanical keyboards, with some of them not even working on Linux desktop. This USB dongle can work with any operating system, and it works right after you plug it in. No further pairing and configuration is required.
When unused, the USB dongle can be kept at the back of the keyboard. There is a magnet in the latch, and the dongle can easily snap into place when you hold it near the latch. It can also operate in a wired mode with the provided USB-C cable. Simply attach the cable to the keyboard and your PC, and you can type on it and charge it at the same time.
Unlike other mechanical keyboards that come with fanciful backlighting, the TKL71WS only comes with an icy-blue backlight. Personally, I do like it, as I find it illuminating but not distracting. I can’t stand those colorful RGB lights glowing across the keyboard whenever I type. On each of the two sides there is a row of RGB lights. It looks cool but is essentially useless and a waste of battery life.
As you can see, this is a tenkeyless keyboard (i.e, it doesn’t come with the numpad). To keep it small, some of the keys (like Insert, Delete, Home and End) are positioned vertically at the side. There is also no dedicated F1 through F12 keys. You have to use FN + Number key to access them. This unconventional layout proved hard for me to get used to, even after using it for a week.
Th TKL71WS is using a brown switch which makes the keys easy to type on. Do note that this “brown” switch is not using the popular Cherry MX switches but the CONTENT switches made by Chinese manufacturers. I do find the keys to be closer to each other, which translates to more typing mistakes. It did take a while for me to get used to it.
I do find the battery life to be mediocre. The battery life of TKL71WS can last through about 24 hours of continuous usage, and it will take about four hours to fully charge an empty battery. I am used to seeing at least 45 hours of continuous usage on my personal mechanical keyboard, so this actually falls short of my standard. During charging, the space bar will light up so you know that it is charging.
One thing I am glad to see is the inclusion of a USB C port. This means one less micro USB cable to bring around in the bag.
A simple accessory that comes boxed with the TKL71WS is a pair of magnetic keyboard stands. They can be snapped to the bottom of the keyboard to raise its height and typing angle. While the design is great, it doesn’t make sense for portability. I would prefer a foldable stand that is attached to the keyboard, as then I don’t have to worry about losing it.
TKL71WS comes with support for three macro keys, which allows you to record up to 32 key presses. Pressing the Fn + Tab key will activate macro mode.
If you are looking for a portable, well-built mechanical keyboard, then Velocifire TKL71WS is a good choice. Other than the keyboard layout, which can take some time to get used to, the keyboard is lightweight enough to bring around and a joy to type on. The ability for it to work in wireless and wired mode is also a plus, so you don’t have to worry about it running out of battery in the middle of your work.