Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Akko MOD007B-HE PC is a stylish keyboard that offers great-feeling switches with rapid trigger, customizable actuation, and more at a good price. It’s not quite a Wooting, but it's still worth a look.
Great look and sound profile
Relies heavily on software
Software could use refinement
No gamepad emulation (yet)
Why you can trust Tom's Hardware
Thank Wooting: Magnetic switches are all the rage heading into 2024, and Akko isn’t about to miss out on the fun. The brand has refreshed its MOD007B keyboard with a new polycarbonate model complete with hot-swappable Hall Effect magnetic switches. Rapid trigger, adjustable actuation, and multi-action keystrokes are all on the table with this keyboard. It’s not quite to the level of the popular Wooting magnetic keyboards, yet, but offers a superior typing experience that’s well worth considering for both gaming and regular typing.
Akko MOD007B-HE Specs
|Sakura Pink Magnetic
|USB Type-A, Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4GHz
|5-feet, non-braided, coiled
|Akko Cloud Driver
|13.1 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
Design of the Akko MOD007B-HE PC
The Akko MOD007B-HE Santorini is a compact tenkeyless (75%) mechanical keyboard with a unique sense of style. It’s part of the company’s World Tour series that highlights different locations with its color and keycap theme. The Santorini model is styled after the famous Greek isle and is immediately eye-catching.
It comes with a white polycarbonate (PC) case and keycaps that are themed blue and white. There’s something very bright and almost refreshing about it. The colors are meant to evoke the ocean and the architecture of the region. There are also themed modifier keys for Enter, Left and Right Shift, and the Spacebar, depicting scenes from the area with a painterly aesthetic, as well as a light blue Escape key bearing the Santorini crest.
The whole package looks very good, in my opinion, though it’s clearly a pretty overstated keyboard. Even the legends, which are blue-on-white and white-on-blue, have a seafaring serif font that’s unlike anything you'll see on the vast majority of keyboards available today. You’ll either love it or hate it, but it pulls off its theme very well.
The 75-percent layout has become quite popular over the last couple of years as the enthusiast mechanical keyboard community has pushed it into the mainstream. The MOD007B features a full function row (including an F13 key set to Delete), arrow keys, and a column of navigation and editing buttons on the right side, as well as a volume knob in the upper right corner. It’s more compact than a standard tenkeyless keyboard — making it a good choice for gamers who need to reclaim desk space — but it maintains most of the same functionality (albeit with some missing keys, like Scroll Lock and Pause).
The use of polycarbonate for the case is a high point for this keyboard. Compared to ABS plastic, which is what plastic keyboards are usually made of, PC is denser and does a better job of deadening the sound of keystrokes. Paired with its layers of sound dampening foam (under the switches, plate, and PCB), the keyboard sounds remarkably good — better than any other magnetic switch keyboard I’ve used, even those that are much more expensive.
Akko has always made unique and interesting keyboards, but it’s really made a name for itself over the last several years by delivering keyboards and switches that are directly influenced by the enthusiast mechanical keyboard community. The brand incorporates features that would usually be reserved for higher price points into its models, and keeps costs low by producing at scale. Here, we find those layers of sound dampening and acoustic-tuning foam, as well as pre-lubed switches and stabilizers for a deep, rattle-free experience.
Apart from material and layout, the case is pretty uninteresting. There are no additional ports and the only feature worth remarking on around the back is a pair of dual stage tilt feet to dial in your angle. The front height is a bit tall at 0.8 inches, however, so the keyboard works best with a palm rest.
The keycaps are made of dye-sublimated PBT plastic. This is mostly a good thing, as their thick walls and textured surface support deeper typing sounds and enhanced durability. However, the thin lines of the legends look ever so slightly fuzzy. It’s a trade-off for the creativity of the keycap set — ABS plastic or doubleshot molds probably would have made it impossible — and it’s something you’ll notice if you look closely.
There’s also per-key RGB on this keyboard. The legends aren’t backlit, so it’s not very bright in direct lighting, but it’s visible and really shines in the dark.
The MOD007B-HE is part of a growing number of keyboards that are following the trend of Wooting and implementing magnetic switches and sensors into their designs. This particular model uses Kailh Sakura Pink magnetic switches, which are linear and not too far removed from Cherry MX Reds (but they are much better in sound and feel). The keyboard is also available with a magnetic version of Akko’s own Cream Yellow switches, which are excellent.
Magnetic sensing technology has some clear benefits over traditional mechanical connections. Since there are no physical contacts with the keyboard, there is much less wear and tear — allowing these switches to last virtually forever. The sensors also track in analog, accurately measuring the key press from in 0.1mm increments across its entire four millimeters of travel. This allows for customizations that are simply not possible on traditional mechanical keyboards, such as customizable actuation points and the ability to assign multiple commands to different points along a key's travel distance.
This keyboard also supports Rapid Trigger, which dynamically adjusts the reset point of the switch to match exactly how far it’s being pressed. A traditional switch has two key points along its travel: The actuation point, which is where the switch is activated and sends a command, and the reset point, which is hit on the upstroke and must be passed before the switch can be activated again. These points are normally locked and cannot be changed.
The MOD007B-HE’s magnetic sensors allow both of these points to be changed and, in the case of Rapid Trigger, to match. This means that the second you move your key up, it’s able to be pressed again. This makes magnetic switches physically faster than mechanical switches and makes the keyboard feel more responsive when gaming.
Interestingly, the MOD007B-HE also supports 3-pin mechanical switches. Unplugging one of the magnetic switches reveals hotswap sockets beneath — a fact I first found confusing because mechanical switches don’t use pins at all. But, if you decide you’d rather go back to traditional mechanical switches, for every key or just a few, all you need to do is press the new switches into place and hit the Calibrate button in the Akko Cloud Driver software.
The keyboard also supports wireless connectivity, which you can activate using a switch under the Caps Lock key. With an Fn command you can swap between wired mode, Bluetooth 5.0, and 2.4GHz via an included dongle. Switching modes is relatively fast, at only a second or two to establish a connection, and the responsiveness of each is very good. You’ll want to stick to 2.4GHz for the best connectivity while gaming (for the 1,000Hz (1ms) polling rate), but for productivity, Bluetooth is stable and lag-free.
Battery life is about average: roughly 40 hours per charge over Bluetooth; less using the dongle and with full RGB turned on. With only a 3,600 mAh battery, you can expect to recharge about once a week (depending on usage).
Typing Experience of the Akko MOD007B-HE PC
The Akko MOD007B-HE offers one of the best typing experiences I’ve ever had on a magnetic switch keyboard. Its magnetic switches are impeccably smooth and have a poppy sound signature without the slightest hint of spring ping. Magnetic keyboards tend to struggle with acoustics, but Akko has clearly put a lot of effort into tuning the typing sound into something that’s satisfying enough that I wanted to come back and keep typing on it.
The sample I was sent came with Kailh Sakura Pink magnetic switches. They're pre-lubed linear switches with an actuation force of 50g — only five grams heavier than Cherry MX Reds, and they're easy to adapt to as a result. The keyboard is also available with Akko Cream Yellow magnetic switches, which have the same specs on paper, so it’s likely that the biggest difference between the two is the sound resulting from different plastics — but that's just a guess.
Like all magnetic keyboards, the typing experience is firm. There’s a little movement when you press down but you won’t experience any when typing normally. This is because the magnetic sensors are precisely calibrated to the highest and lowest points on the switch and are sensitive to changes down to 0.1 mm. Too much flex introduces the opportunity to throw off their calibration, resulting in missed keystrokes.
The biggest high point in the typing experience comes from the keyboard's customizable actuation point. You’ll need to use the software for anything more than rapid trigger mode and resetting to a standard 2mm actuation point, but with the software you’re able to set your own trigger point anything from 0.2 to 3.8mm and store this directly to the keyboard. Once it’s saved, you’ll have access to on-the-fly actuation points of 0.5mm, 0.5mm with rapid trigger, 2mm, and whatever you choose for your own.
If you’re a heavy-handed typist like I am, a lower actuation point can be very helpful for warding off typos — especially on lightweight linear switches like the Sakura Pinks. Setting an actuation point of 3.5mm meant I had to bottom out, but it also meant my accuracy rate improved, as did my real-world productivity. Across a series of typing tests on MonkeyType, I was able to maintain my average speed of about 110 WPM but my accuracy increased from 97% to 99%. In real world terms, that means fewer backspaces and higher maintained typing speeds.
Gaming Experience on the Akko MOD007B-HE PC
Gaming on the MOD007B is excellent. The versatility of the magnetic switches really does enhance the gameplay experience. Being able to swap between ultra-sensitive keys and standard or even extra low actuation points made me feel more nimble and reactive to what I needed moment to moment. Shooters, for example, benefited from sensitive keys but while I played through Resident Evil: Village, I found heavier key presses were helpful in preventing accidental movement. It’s all personal taste, of course, but the keyboard is able to cater to said taste in a way most traditional mechanical gaming keyboards cannot.
Rapid Trigger (RT) is most closely associated with Osu, but you don’t need to be a dedicated player to find the benefits in it. Rapid Trigger allows you to flutter the keys, making them feel more reactive. You don’t need to release the key to a set distance to press them again, which made movement feel more nimble in just about every game I tried. Shooters like Valorant were a high point. Pair RT with Nvidia Boost and you have the perfect recipe for a game that feels incredibly responsive.
Dynamic Key Strokes (DKS) were another high point, albeit situational. This feature allows you to assign up to four actions to a single keystroke. Each triggers at different depths. The classic example is readying a grenade with a light press and throwing it with a full press. For the first-person shooters I play, I found it much more useful to tie different movements, such as running/sprinting and crouching/going prone to single keys.
The software also makes it fairly simple to remap keys and to record and assign macros — though it’s not completely remappable, which is disappointing. All of the default keybinds for things like lighting and connectivity modes are locked, which means half the number row and the full navigation column on the right side aren’t available for key bindings. There’s also only a single layer available, so you can’t create profiles for individual games, which is a bit of a bummer.
Software for the Akko MOD007B-HE PC
The MOD007B-HE relies on the Akko Cloud Driver for all of its remapping, macros, and magnetic functions. This software isn’t as polished as the suites from bigger companies, like Logitech or Corsair, but has all of the necessary features to complete everything you would need to take advantage of the keyboard’s full suite of features.
Key remapping is fairly simple thanks to the graphical layout. For simple remaps, you simply click a key and type the character you would like there instead. Using four boxes on the bottom, you can map key combinations, record macros, add media controls, and even add mouse inputs. I especially liked that it allowed you to map a second Fn button, which isn’t always the case with keyboard software.
Moving onto the Fn layer, you’ll see that many keys are blocked out to house default commands, and can’t be changed. A second, completely remappable Fn layer is available (accessed via tapping Fn+Alt to swap between the two). This allows you to have a complete, fresh key set to remap for individual games and apps.
The software also allows you to set the keyboard’s lighting. Again, there aren’t as many options as offered by bigger companies, but you do get around two dozen preset lighting effects and the ability to set a static per-key lighting scheme. If your goal is to make your keyboard look good in the dark, this gets the job done.
Much more interesting are the magnetic options. The Dynamic Keystroke screen is where you can assign actions for four different points on the keystroke. It’s similar to the remapping screen in that you can type in the key you would like to send, a combination of keys, or even macros for each of those points. By default these are set to the very top of the press (0.7mm) and the very bottom (3.5mm) on both the upstroke and the downstroke. You can also set whether you would like your action to be held or sent repeatedly when the key is pressed at that depth.
The custom actuation tab is perhaps the most interesting section of all. Here, you can set the trigger point for individual keys or the entire keyboard. You can even set individual actuation points for the base layer and when the Fn button is held. To help you gauge how deep the key press is, there’s a simulation option that will show you exactly how far you’re pressing a key in real time. It’s easy, useful, and reliable.
Another important feature offered by the software is the ability to calibrate the keyboard. Over time — and especially if you travel with your keyboard — it’s possible that the keyboard might need to be recalibrated to account for switch movement. This will also need to be done if you add any mechanical switches to your keyboard. Calibration is accomplished with a single button press on the same page as the calibration settings and only takes about three seconds.
The Akko MOD007B-HE PC Santorini is a surprising keyboard for several reasons. I personally found it to be very stylish. The blue and white theme with the artwork keycaps easily adds some brightness to your desk. The keyboard's typing sound and feel is truly impressive, overcoming the light, almost rattly quality that plagues many magnetic-switch keyboards. And its magnetic features, such as custom actuation points and dynamic keystrokes, are merely icing on an already very good cake.
The keyboard's ostentatious look isn’t going to be for everyone, nor is its compact layout. If you’re looking for something simultaneously bolder (read: full-size) and more minimalist, the Wooting Two HE may be right up your alley. Akko also makes a pink and white, Tokyo-themed version of this keyboard, if you prefer cherry blossoms over Greek isles.
The biggest thing the MOD007B-HE lacks is gamepad emulation, which is where Wooting still holds the advantage. For now, anyway — Akko has shown a willingness to add features to its keyboards over time, so this could be in a future firmware update. But even without gamepad emulation, the Akko MOD007B-HE is still a great keyboard with a unique sense of style that punches above its class in multiple ways.
Chris is a regular contributor for Tom’s Hardware, covering mechanical keyboards, peripherals, and content creation gear.
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What is up with the keycap art style? Old lady cape code chic? Estate sale special? Thrift store random?Reply
Sometimes reading the article will answer the question:parkerthon said:What is up with the keycap art style? Old lady cape code chic? Estate sale special? Thrift store random?
It’s part of the company’s World Tour series that highlights different locations with its color and keycap theme. The Santorini model is styled after the famous Greek isle...
Why is a software with an account needed to drive this keyboard. Has anyone done a security review of what this software is doing?Reply
You don't need actually need an account. You can create one, but it's not required.Garden-Gnome said:Why is a software with an account needed to drive this keyboard. Has anyone done a security review of what this software is doing?