In my quest for the clickiest mechanical keyboard I could find online, I came across 8BitDo, an electronics company that designs and manufactures high quality retro bluetooth game controllers. These controllers are widely available on Amazon Singapore, but the keyboard is a new product that is launching this week on Amazon US.
There are two colour combinations available: the “Fami Edition”, which has the colour stylings of the Famicom from the early 1980s; and then there’s the “N Edition”, which takes after the original NES, and this is the keyboard I have on hand now for review.
Above: The box packaging for the 8bitdo retro mechanical keyboard.
Above: Inside the box, there’s the keyboard, USB-C cable, dual super buttons, instruction sheet, and a bunch of stickers.
The retro styling of the keyboard is beautifully on point; the colours are indeed reminiscent of the NES, down to the iconic red “A” and “B” buttons — these are programmable with Windows and Android systems.
Above: The red “A” and “B” keys that are programmable in Windows and Android.
Everything feels mechanical, including the knobs — one for connectivity (Wireless 2.4G or Bluetooth) and the other for Volume.
Above: The layout of the knobs and buttons are intuitive, well placed and out of the way.
What also makes this keyboard extra special are the Dual Super Buttons included in the set. You can connect up to four of these dual buttons and programme them individually. This is all done through 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software V2 that’s releasing soon this month.
Above: Assigning Mapping and Macros to the Dual Super buttons (Photo from 8bitdo’s WEBSITE).
Above: The Dual Super Buttons are huge and very satisfying to press. They can be customised with the stickers included in the box, or you could of course make your own.
Above: There are 4 ports to connect up to 4 dual super buttons. There’s also a magnetic adapter compartment with an included wireless bluetooth USB adapter.
Other special features include Kailh Box White Switches V2, a hot-swappable PCB, and gorgeous dye-sublimation PBT keycaps with MDA-like height.
One big question that I keep seeing on forums when I search for this keyboard is whether it’s compatible with Macs. The short answer is, yes. I’m in fact using it right now with my Mac Studio as I type out this article. It connects and charges with the included USB-C cable, and when unplugged, I can use it with Bluetooth. I can even customise keys using the free Karabiner Elements app; this includes assigning various roles to the Function Keys (eg. launching Mission Control or Spotlight), and even disabling unnecessary keys that get in the way while gaming.
The Ultimate Software V2 app hasn’t been launched at the time of writing this review, but on 8BitDo’s website, any mention of mapping and programming buttons point to only Windows and Android compatibility. But I followed the “Fast Mapping Quick Start Guide” included in the box, and yes! The Dual Super Buttons can be programmed for a Mac! This was such a joyous discovery, and the 8BitDo is now my new favourite keyboard. Best of all, typing on this is a joy; it is fast, accurate and bouncy. But it’s really the sound it makes that will put a smile on your face:
The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard has a pre-order price of USD99.99, and is available for order on AMAZON.COM.