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Nixeus Moda v2 Keyboard Review: Simplicity In The Extreme

Product Tour

If you're into killer lighting, extra keys, extensive macro capabilities and so on, this keyboard is not for you. It's the opposite; I would describe the Nixeus Moda v2 as austere, in fact. There isn't even a bowl design of any kind. Instead, the switches are mounted on a flat backplate, with "floating" keys. It's a plastic top, but the sparkled gray finish looks high-end, and it resists fingerprints exceptionally well. 

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There are exactly three LEDs on the Nixeus Moda v2. Two of them indicate when the Caps Lock and Scroll Lock are engaged, and the other sits underneath the Windows key. When the key is locked (Fn+Win), the LED is engaged. This is the only key that is not opaque (in other words, it's backlit), but as you can see from the images, the LED is positioned at the top of the switch, and it creates kind of an odd, uneven glow on the keyboard.

So compact is the Nixeus Moda v2 that there's almost no bezel at all, so no part of your hand touches any part of this keyboard except for your fingertips. If you're used to a larger keyboard, this may feel funny at first, but I got used to it quickly.

Nixeus added media controls to the F keys when you press Fn—from L to R, those include rewind, play/pause, fast forward, stop, mute, volume down and volume up—and there are dedicated print screen, scroll lock and pause break keys at the upper right corner. There's just one Fn key, located to the right of the spacebar; to the left is the lone Windows key. You also get insert, delete, home, end, page up, page down and arrow keys.

This is not a particularly heavy keyboard at just two pounds, but the rubber feet on the bottom—four slim rectangles—do a fine job of keeping the thing from slipping on a wooden, metal or glass surface. There are two feet under the keyboard that flip out to give you a steeper typing angle, and Nixeus wisely covered them in rubber for a non-slip grip.


Where many keyboards these days have a braided cable, Nixeus went with a smooth rubber sheathing for the Moda v2. Some people chafe at braided cables, complaining that they catch and snag sometimes, so in that regard this is a welcome design. However, even this smooth rubber will catch on sharp edges at times, and when it does, you can get ugly scrapes and gashes in the rubber; it's not a particularly tough sheath (we presume the softer rubber is better for flexibility as opposed to a stiffer material).

There is one small design detail that’s easy to overlook, but Nixeus smartly created a trough for the cable such that you can route it from the upper center of the keyboard to the upper right or left. This gives you some flexibility in where the cable will be on your desktop. It’s a nice touch -- 10 points for Nixeus.

There are no additional ports on the Moda v2 beyond the single USB plug.

Switches

The Moda v2 comes with Kailh Red, Blue or Brown switches. We had all three versions on hand and spent time with them all. In terms of performance, they all performed as you would expect any red, blue or brown switches would. The reds are linear and fluid-feeling, the blues are clicky and loud, and the browns are an average of the two, with a bit of tactility without the noise of the blue switches.

Blindfolded, I couldn't tell you whether these were Cherry or Kailh switches. However, I did notice a couple of slight oddities. The brown switches felt slightly stiff, although I either got used to it quickly or they loosened up with use, because I didn't have the same sensation after a day's worth of typing.

I did feel as though something was a little off with the blue switches. After many hours of use, I felt a tiny bit of extra resistance and noise—what I can only describe as shearing, as if the switches were grinding in their mounts. Further, the spacebar seems to squeak.

These are all minute issues, so much so that I don't think the audio recording of the switches will evince what I'm describing, but after extended use, it's something that started to bug me somewhat.

Key Caps

The key caps  are made of ABS plastic, and the lettering is laser-etched with color injection. However, I observed that the opacity of the lettering was inconsistent in spots. (Read on for more on this issue in the Teardown section below.)

  • lun471k
    Really great review and teardown. Good job Mr. Colaner.
    Reply
  • Onus
    Despite a good teardown, you lost me at:
    It is still, however, a "budget" keyboard, ranging from $70 to $87 at online retailers ...
    and
    ...should attract gamers looking for something inexpensive.
    makes absolutely no sense.
    "Budget" and "inexpensive" I would expect to find in the $20-$40 range.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    17530590 said:
    Really great review and teardown. Good job Mr. Colaner.

    Well, shucks. Thanks. ;)
    Reply
  • jessterman21
    Sooo, wait for the v3?

    I'd love one of these in the red flavor for gaming.
    Reply
  • Douglas_2
    Despite a good teardown, you lost me at:
    It is still, however, a "budget" keyboard, ranging from $70 to $87 at online retailers ...
    and
    ...should attract gamers looking for something inexpensive.
    makes absolutely no sense.
    "Budget" and "inexpensive" I would expect to find in the $20-$40 range.

    It is a budget mechanical keyboard, maybe not a budget keyboard compared to your average keyboard but, gamers and typists can reap the benefits of a mechanical keyboard at a low competitive price.
    Reply
  • alidan
    Despite a good teardown, you lost me at:
    It is still, however, a "budget" keyboard, ranging from $70 to $87 at online retailers ...
    and
    ...should attract gamers looking for something inexpensive.
    makes absolutely no sense.
    "Budget" and "inexpensive" I would expect to find in the $20-$40 range.

    mechanical keyboards start at around 1$ per key, and top off somewhere around 300$ before going into specialty custom built keyboards.
    Reply
  • falchard
    There are a few things I like in this keyboard. I like there are no USB or Audio ports on it. I don't like how they make the cable thick when added. I like how it doesn't have a bezel so its easier to clean. I also like how they changed the way it tells the consumer scrollLock or capsLock is on. I wish they positioned these indicators with the keys. I also wish they had a num pad since I use it quite often. Illuminated would be nice too.
    Reply
  • sillynilly
    It looks like a shoddy Chinese knock off to be honest. With the standard issues you find with quickie products made over there - inconsistent key color, random screws, nibs from the plastic breaks, etc. all read cheap and not well built. I agree with the reviewer - many of the explanations sound like complete crap and make me say no thanks to this cheap offering.
    Reply
  • synphul
    I suppose it's not bad for a mechanical tkl. For the price there are other mechanical boards with tenkey and custom backlighting using kailh switches. Considering it lacks these features I'd expect it to be closer to the $60-ish range.
    Reply
  • the1pro
    fyi, I have the Noppoo Lolita Spyder, and it's absolutely the same keyboard, sans the "nixeus" logo
    Reply