Tom's Hardware Verdict
The Akko Mod 001 is a very high-quality barebones kit that separates itself from most other kits with its unique design, pre-dampened case and funky colorway.
+ Thick aluminum construction
+ Multiple layers of foam
+ Hot-swappable with 5-pin support
+ Unique look
The neon colorway isn’t exactly neon
Disassembly isn’t recommended
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When you join any hobby for the first time, you might scratch your head and wonder where you’re supposed to start. You might wonder if you should spend more money on higher-quality gear out of the gate or start small with the cheaper stuff. Fortunately, Akko’s Mod 001 gives beginner keyboard enthusiasts a premium skeleton for a pretty decent price.
Mod 001 Barebones Keyboard
|Onboard Storage||3 profiles|
|Media Keys||With FN|
|Cable||6 feet, rubber|
|Software||Akko Wired Manager|
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||375mm x 146.05mm x 31.75mm|
The Akko Mod 001 is a sandwich mount TKL mechanical keyboard barebones kit that comes equipped with all the essentials that we’re used to from most barebones kits, like 5-pin support, RGB and plate-mount stabilizers. The difference with the Mod 001 is that two thick aluminum pieces make up a good portion of the keyboard’s top case and provide a unique design because of their deviating colors.
The model I received was in Akko’s Neon colorway, but there really wasn’t anything bright about it. The product page shows the kit as being purple and pink, but in person, it comes off more like it’s navy blue and crimson red, resembling a tacky ‘90s ski jacket.
Despite the website’s misleading photos, I equipped the kit with the Drop + Marvel Infinity War Keycap set in the Thanos colorway, and that splash of deep purple definitely made the keyboard look much better.
The Mod 001 top case is largely composed of two thick pieces of aluminum, giving the board a heavier than usual feel compared to other tenkeyless options. The Mod 001 weighed in at about four and a half pounds (2kg), doubling the Epomaker GK108S, which is a full-size kit.
The USB-C cable connects on the case’s rear, but the fit was a bit tight for me. Every time I connected the board to my Glorious coiled cable, I wound up having to wiggle it into the socket a bit. That’s something to think about if, like me, you want to use a cable with a thick connector.
You would think that something with the name Mod 001 would allow you to modify the SMD LEDs on a per-key basis, but think again. That isn’t the case here, but you can adjust the RGB using Akko’s software, called Akko Wired Manager. This technically doesn’t have official support for the Mod 001 yet, but you can still make some small unofficial tweaks under another keyboard’s name.
The mounting style Akko uses for the Mod 001 is interesting as it is a sandwich mount. Sandwich mount keyboards are held together by screws that are screwed in from under the case, which is both good and bad. The good part is that by doing this, it provides a uniform sound profile amongst the board, but the tradeoff is that disassembly is a bit convoluted if you want to take the keyboard apart.
When I took the Mod 001 out of the box, I looked around the board for screws to take it apart, but none were to be found and it turns out that they are hidden underneath the rubber bumpers under the case. This requires the bumpers to be ripped off in order to access them, which means you might need to buy replacements if you break them in the process.
Assembly of the Mod 001
Assembling the Mod 001 was very simple. All I had to do was drop my switches and keycaps in and voila, I was good to go. If you’re like me and want the best acoustics possible, though, you will also need to lube the stabilizers, because these come very dry out of the box. But because they are plate-mounted, they’re easy to take out.
At this point in the review, I could usually go on and on about how the kit can be improved or modifications that can be done to better your experience, but there isn’t much to do besides lube the stabilizers because Akko did it all for you. This kit works great as it comes.
Typing Experience on the Mod 001
One of the things that separates the Mod 001 from most other barebones kits is the fact that it comes with sound dampening foam already installed. I think we need to give Akko a round of applause here because the chunky aluminum case just screams case ping, but there wasn’t any present here at all. While the specifics of your experience will depend on which switches and keycaps you install, this kit sets you up for a smooth and quiet experience.
Gaming Experience on the Mod 001
The Mod 001 is a barebones kit, and because of that, it doesn’t need all the fancy features you might find on great gaming keyboards like the Wooting Two HE or the other best gaming keyboards. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be equipped with gamer-y parts, like fast switches. I will say, should you decide to go that route, you will be the coolest member in your platoon because the Mod 001 is a very cool-looking board and the 5-pin support on the PCB allows for any Cherry MX nature switch to work with it.
When it came to testing the Mod 001 in-game, I ended up putting it through the wringer by using it to defeat the Forsaken in the new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War zombies mode. Here, it performed like any gaming keyboard while having more bling than the other grunts in your platoon. Another TKL board I had been using at the time of this review was the Razer Huntsman V2, and while that has more gamer features like an 8,000 Hz polling rate, the Mod 001 didn’t feel inferior in performance at all.
At the time of this review, the Mod 001 doesn’t officially have it’s own software. However, the SMD RGB LEDs can be adjusted using Akko Wired Manager. When connected to the software, the Mod 001 will show up as the Akko 5108, which is a full-size keyboard. Even though the keys cannot be remapped, the RGB can be adjusted, just not on a per-key basis.
Akko did not tell us when official software support would be coming.
The Akko Mod 001 is fantastic, especially for the price of $130, because despite being so cheap, you still get a funky colorway, a thick aluminum chassis that is well-dampened and 5-pin switch support. While I’m not a fan of how Akko displays the color of the board on their website, I can look past that because at the end of the day, this kit is fantastic for the price and with the right keycaps, like the ones I used, you can have a really special board. The software needs to be fixed, but otherwise, using this kit is smooth. I would really like to see Akko continue to bring more barebones kits like these to the market because this kit is generous and simple and I can easily recommend it, especially to beginners who can’t quite nail down the right quality to price ratio.
Myles Goldman is a freelance writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews keyboards and cases.
Have a look at the TM680 - hotswappable, rotary encoder, and mostly easy to disassemble.* Only $60 for the wired version.Reply
* Check youtube on how to disassemble the wireless version to avoid damaging the wireless switch.
Very few PC have a USB-C port built-in! $103 is not an entry level price for a keyboard either!Reply
You don't need USB-C built in to your motherboard. It's usually just for the keyboard, which goes USB-C to USB-A (Keyboard USB-C, Motherboard or case USB-A)Harry_Wild said:Very few PC have a USB-C port built-in! $103 is not an entry level price for a keyboard either!