free webpage hit counter

Cyberboard R2 Review: Should You Spend $ 700 on a Keyboard?

Cyberboard R2 Review: Should You Spend $ 700 on a Keyboard?

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking sits on top of the case.

Angry Miao Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking

MSRP $ 670.00

“If you want a keyboard unlike any other, Cyberboard R2 is for you – provided you can afford it.”

Benefits

  • Packing attachment provides a sublime writing experience

  • Highly adaptable LED network

  • Bluetooth and wired support

  • Wireless charging

  • Hot-swappable key switches

Cons

  • Extremely expensive

  • Customization requires some effort

  • You will probably need to bring your own switches

Angry Miao released Cyberboard R2 over a year ago, at least in spirit. Incredibly low rates of return and outstanding demand forced the Chinese tech fashion brand to cancel the project – but after more than 400 days of waiting, Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking marks a comeback. It’s easily one of the best keyboards you can buy, provided that the nauseatingly high price tag of at least $ 670 does not immediately reject you.

Newly designed and coming July 10 (at 20.00 PT in case you want the F5 key ready), Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking finally gets time to shine, and that’s a great thing. If you missed the Wes Anderson-inspired Cyberboard R3, you have another chance to pick up one of the most unique keyboards you can buy for money. And it’s also a damn good one.

Design

Cyberboard R2 with RGB lighting turned on.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You would think design is everything for Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking, but the sublime writing experience is central. However, this does not mean that the keyboard is not an appearance. With an aggressively angular design and signature LED grid on the back, the R2 Le Smoking may be the most unique keyboard you’ve ever seen.

As the name suggests, R2 Le Smoking is inspired by the Le Smoking suit from Saint Laurent – a similar angled and supple look that the brand debuted in 1966. Without a doubt, the resemblance is there. Four angled edges give it a retro-futuristic look that somehow manages to feel strengthened and petite at the same time; just like the suit that inspired it.

Even after almost two weeks of using the Cyberboard R2, I’m still amazed at how premium it feels.

However, it is far from a small keyboard. This is probably the heaviest keyboard you will ever come across, weighing over seven pounds with a complete set of switches and keyboards. The scale comes from a host of accessories in the board – both an aluminum housing and plate, three separate PCBs and a built-in wireless charging socket.

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

The build quality is unsurpassed, which makes traditional first-class keyboards such as the Logitech G915 TKL feel like good alternatives for comparison. Even after almost two weeks of using the Cyberboard R2 as my daily driver, I’m still amazed at how premium it feels.

Connection and ports

A USB-C cable comes out of the Cyberboard R2.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Cyerboard R2 Le Smoking has two connections – USB-C or Bluetooth. The USB-C connection is the fastest and the one I used during the testing, despite the fact that Angry Miao does not include a cable in the box. I have to assume that anyone who spends $ 700 on a keyboard has at least a few extra USB-C cables, but an extra would not hurt.

Bluetooth works on three devices, which you can easily switch between Fn + 1, 2, or 3. The LED is lit to indicate which connection you are using, and you can keep all three devices connected at the same time. Windows is the only operating system supported – there is no switch for a MacOS setup like on KeyChron Q1 – but I can not imagine that too many people will carry Cyberboard R2 around with an Android tablet.

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

Although pairing Bluetooth devices is easy, it is not very intuitive. Unlike standard keyboards such as the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless, the R2 has no toggle switch. Instead, it automatically switches to Bluetooth when you disconnect it. It’s weird when you start setting up, especially without the “on” switch anywhere around the board.

Battery life goes fast with the LEDs rumbling – I dropped about 10% in a couple of hours – but it’s not such a big problem. R2 Le Smoking has a wireless charging pad built into the bottom of the keyboard that will turn on when the battery reaches 85%. With a wireless charging mat, you never have to worry about recharging, and you do not have to worry about wearing out the battery, since the pad switches off when it is full.

Switches

Turns on Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can completely disassemble the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking and replace switches and keyboards, but the base keyboard set is not included either; you must bring your own. The package, which is about $ 150 more expensive at $ 823, comes with Gateron Ink Black linear switches and Angry Miao’s Glacier keys, and it’s a winning combination.

Ink black switches are heavy, and require 60 grams of power compared to 45 grams on a traditional red linear switch. It makes them extremely slippery for typing, especially if you like throwing keys like I do. The sound is steady and on the high end of the hole, and I found myself typing sentences randomly into the search box to hear the keyboard in action a little more.

The gasket holder makes it feel as if you are hammering loose on a cloud.

Although you can replace all the switches you want, it is not the seamless process you find on a regular keyboard like the Asus ROG Strix Flare II. And with good reason. Unlike most cheaper keyboards that use a top mount where the switch plate is directly on top of the rest of the frame, 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 it makes a world of difference for writing. In fact, you will never feel the disc move, but the microscopic give and take it offers as you type makes you feel like you are hammering away on a cloud. Consequently, it also means that you have to disassemble the keyboard to replace switches. That trade-off is well worth it.

Playing and writing

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking sits on a black background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you’re looking for the best gaming keyboard, Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is not – and I would not want it any other way. It is too bulky to move into a comfortable position, the included switches are too heavy for jerking reactions, and the keys do not grip the fingers due to the shiny acrylic finish. I’m glad that’s the case.

The writing experience is too good, especially with the Ink Black switches. Of all the keyboards I have rated and used, this is the first time ever that I have brought friends into my office and said “this you must try.”

Much of your experience will come down to the switches and keys you use, but Cyberboard R2 gets you ready for success with the gasket mount. Unfortunately, different switches do not solve the problems of gaming. Moving around on the keyboard is a problem because of how heavy it is, and hitting your thumb against the frame with a quick mouse click is a quick way to bruise.

I like to use it for keyboard-only games The Binding of Issac, though, and I was trying to make it work in my beloved Fate 2 just because of how great the keyboard feels. Still, if you’re primarily a gamer, save yourself the hassle (and money) and get yourself something like the Razer Huntsman Mini. This is a keyboard, despite its retro-futuristic aesthetics.

Software

Lighting software for Cyberboard R2.

Software must run hardware, and this is not the case for Cyberboard R2. Instead of a dedicated lighting and macro application that 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 on your keyboard. You can not see real-time updates, and you must log in to download community files.

This is a bad system, especially when Angry Miao’s site is prone to crashes and crashes. You get many options – three lighting layers on the LED network, including support for animation, automatic translation of images to the grid and endless remapping layers – but trial and error in making the site work will lose your desire to experiment.

Angry Miao has the right idea for community-driven effects – I discovered a picture of Gengar that I loved in a minute – but the system for installing the effects holds back all community efforts.

The good news is that Angry Miao increased the number of custom light tracks to three compared to the original design, and the editor is powerful enough to offer unique, lively animations. I just wish it was a little easier to explore.

Our opinion

Should you spend $ 700 on a keyboard? No, there is no reason for that. Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is beyond the point of reducing returns, and you can get something just as nice for less money (especially if you build your own keyboard). What you can not get is the remarkable design, the exceptional build quality and the clear attention to detail that went into the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking, and for loyal keyboard enthusiasts it is money well spent.

Are there any alternatives?

There are fake Cyberboard models floating around on the internet, but nothing that matches the unique look and construction of the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking.

How long will it last?

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

Should you buy it?

Yes, but only if you are deeply immersed in a world of custom mechanical keyboards. Customization is not for the faint of heart, and the price is obscenely high compared to regular options. In short, you do not need this keyboard. It’s just a matter of you wishes it.

Editors’ recommendations




See also  Surface Review: Apple TV Plus' new thriller is packed with mysteries

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.