Cyberboard R2 review: Should you spend $700 on a keyboard?

Cyberboard r2 le smoking placed on its case.

Angry Miao Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking

MSRP $670.00

“If you want a keyboard like no other, the Cyberboard R2 is for you – assuming you can afford it.”

Advantages

  • Mounting gasket provides a sublime typing experience

  • Highly customizable LED grid

  • Bluetooth and wired support

  • Wireless charging

  • Hot-swappable key switches

The inconvenients

  • Extremely expensive

  • Customization takes some effort

  • You will probably need to bring your own switches

Angry Miao released the Cyberboard R2 over a year ago, at least in spirit. Incredibly low yield rates and unprecedented demand forced the Chinese tech fashion brand to cancel the project – but after more than 400 days of waiting, the Cyberboard R2 The Smoker marks a comeback. It’s easily one of the best keyboards you can buy, assuming the sickening price tag of at least $670 doesn’t immediately turn you away.

Redesigned and coming July 10 (8pm PT in case you want to get that F5 key ready), the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is finally getting its heyday, and that’s a good thing. If you missed out on the Wes Anderson-inspired Cyberboard R3, you have another chance to pick up one of the most unique keyboards money can buy. And it’s also a damn good one.

Design

The cyberboard r2 with rgb lighting on.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You might think design is everything for the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking, but the sublime typing experience takes center stage. That doesn’t mean the keyboard isn’t a spectator though. With an aggressive angular design and the signature LED grille on the back, the R2 Le Smoking might be the most unique keyboard you’ve ever seen.

As the name suggests, the R2 Le Smoking is inspired by Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking suit – a similarly angled, nimble-looking suit launched by the brand in 1966. Undoubtedly, the resemblance is there. . Four angled edges give it a retro-futuristic look that somehow manages to feel powerful and small at the same time; just like the costume that inspired it.

Even after almost two weeks of using the Cyberboard R2, I’m still surprised at how high-end it is.

It’s far from a small keyboard, however. It’s probably the heaviest keyboard you’ll ever come across, weighing over seven pounds with a full set of switches and keycaps. The heft comes from a host of extras in the board – both an aluminum body and plate, three separate circuit boards, and an integrated wireless charging connector.

It also comes from the massive 200 LED grid on the back of the keyboard. You can do just about anything with the board – I went with a Tetris animation that was available on the Angry Miao website. This includes custom animations, static colors, and useful information such as the time and battery life, as well as an indicator for the Bluetooth connection you’re using.

The build quality is second to none, which makes traditionally high-end keyboards like the Logitech G915 TKL feel like bargain options by comparison. Even after almost two weeks of using the Cyberboard R2 as my daily driver, I’m still surprised at how high-end it is.

Connectivity and Ports

A usb-c cable coming out of the cyberboard r2.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Cyerboard R2 Le Smoking has two connections: USB-C or Bluetooth. The USB-C connection is the fastest and the one I’ve used throughout testing, despite the fact that Angry Miao doesn’t include a cable in the box. I have to assume that anyone who spends $700 on a keyboard has at least some Spare USB-C cables, but an extra wouldn’t hurt.

Bluetooth works on three devices, which you can easily switch between using Fn+1, 2, Where 3. The LED grid lights up to show which connection you’re using, and you can keep all three devices paired at the same time. Windows is the only supported operating system – there’s no toggle for a macOS layout like on the KeyChron Q1 – but I don’t imagine too many people will be carrying the Cyberboard R2 with an Android tablet .

With a wireless charging mouse pad, you never have to worry about recharging your battery.

While it’s easy to pair Bluetooth devices, it’s not intuitive. Unlike consumer keyboards like the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless, the R2 doesn’t offer a toggle switch. Instead, it automatically switches to Bluetooth when you unplug it. It’s odd when you’re setting up, especially with no “on” switch anywhere around the board.

Battery life is fast with the LEDs blaring – I dropped about 10% in a few hours – but that’s not a big deal. The R2 Le Smoking has a built-in wireless charger at the bottom of the keyboard that kicks in when the battery reaches 85%. With a wireless charging mouse pad, you never have to worry about recharging, and you don’t have to worry about battery drain because the pad shuts off when it’s full.

Switches

Turn on the cyberboard r2 le smoking.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can completely disassemble the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking and swap out the switches and keycaps, but the basic keyboard kit doesn’t come with either; you must bring your own. The bundle, which is about $150 more at $823, comes with Gateron Ink Black linear switches and Angry Miao Glacier keycaps, and it’s a winning combination.

Ink Black switches are heavy, requiring 60 grams of force versus 45 grams on a traditional red linear switch. This makes them super smooth for typing, especially if you like slamming your keys like me. The sound is sweet and hollow in the highs, and I found myself typing random phrases into my search bar just to hear the keyboard in action a bit more.

Joint support makes it feel like you’re hammering on a cloud.

While you can swap out all the switches you want, it’s not the seamless process you’ll find on a consumer keyboard like the Asus ROG Strix Flare II. And for good reason. Unlike most cheaper keyboards which use a top mount where the switch plate is directly above the rest of the frame, the R2 Le Smoking uses a gasket mount.

The difference is that a small piece of material sits between the switch plate and the rest of the frame, and that makes all the difference in typing. You’ll never feel the plate move, but the microscopic back and forth it offers when typing makes it feel like you’re hammering on a cloud. Therefore, this also means that you will have to disassemble the keyboard to swap out the switches. This compromise is worth it.

Gaming and typing

Cyberboard r2 le smoking sitting on black background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you are looking for the best gaming keyboard, the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking right – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s too bulky to move around in a comfortable position, the supplied switches are too heavy for jolt reactions, and the keys don’t fit on your fingers due to their glossy acrylic finish. I’m glad that’s the case, though.

The typing experience is too good, especially with the Ink Black switches. Of all the keyboards I have reviewed and used, this is the first time already that I brought some friends into my office and said “you have to try this”.

Much of your experience will depend on the switches and keys you use, but the Cyberboard R2 sets you up for success with its joint support. Unfortunately, different switches don’t solve gaming issues. Moving the keyboard around is a hassle due to its weight, and slamming your thumb against the frame with a rapid mouse movement is a quick way to get a bruise.

I like to use it for keyboard games only like Binding of Issac, however, and i tried to make it work in my beloved Destiny 2 just because of the feel of the keyboard. Still, if you’re primarily a gamer, skip the hassle (and money) and get something like the Razer Huntsman Mini. This is a typing keyboard, despite its retro-futuristic aesthetic.

Software

Lighting software for the cyberboard r2.

The software must power the hardware, which is not the case for the Cyberboard R2. Instead of a dedicated lighting and macro program like you have with the Corsair K70 RGB Pro, you need to design your effects on the Angry Miao website, download a file, and then load it into the keyboard. You cannot see real-time updates and you must log in to download community files.

It’s a bad system, especially when the Angry Miao website is prone to slowdowns and crashes. You have plenty of options – three layers of lighting on the LED grid, including animation support, automatic image translation in the grid, and endless remapping layers – but trial and error of operate the website will undermine your desire for experience.

Angry Miao has the right idea with community effects – I spotted a Gengar image I liked in a minute – but the effects install system is holding back all community efforts.

The good news is that Angry Miao has increased the number of custom lighting slots to three from the original design, and the editor is powerful enough to offer unique and dynamic animations. I just wish it was a little easier to explore.

Our point of view

Should you spend $700 on a keyboard? No, there is no reason to do so. The Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is beyond the point of diminishing returns, and you can get something just as cool for less money (especially if you build your own keyboard). What you can’t get is the stunning design, exceptional build quality, and attention to detail that has gone into the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking, and for die-hard keyboard enthusiasts, that’s a big deal. money well spent.

Are there alternatives?

There are counterfeit Cyberboard models floating around the internet, but nothing matches the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking’s unique look and build.

How long will it last?

As a custom keyboard that you build yourself, the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is just a foundation that you can continue to customize and improve over time. It will last as long as you want.

Should I buy it?

Yes, but only if you are deeply into the world of custom mechanical keyboards. Customization is not for the faint of heart and the price is incredibly high compared to mainstream options. In short, you don’t need this keyboard. It’s just a matter of if you want to this.

Editors’ Recommendations






Source link

Related Posts

error: Content is protected !!