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8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard (Fami Edition)

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$179.00
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The item is brand new and in-stock in a Mighty Ape warehouse. The item will ship within the timeframe shown.

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  • 3-10 May using International Courier

Customer reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars Based on 4 Customer Ratings

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"A Great Keyboard with Several Caveats"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

I'm primarily writing this review to correct the misinformation being spread by Jack's review, but decided to write my own comprehensive (i.e. Very long) review as well. If you just want the corrections, jump to the end.

From the get-go, the keyboard presentation is great, with a solid, foam-lined box, and the gorgeous Famicom-inspired look (with an NES-inspired version also being available). The manual isn't great, with many languages, all in a tiny font size, and is just a large fold-out sheet instead of a nice booklet.

The keyboard is built well with pre-lubed (plate-mounted) stabilisers and MX-style switches. The chassis is plastic but feels good and weighty (due to metal weights added in the bottom of the case). It is a TKL (ten-keyless) form factor, so if you require a numpad, this isn't the keyboard for you. Due to the extra buttons and knobs, the case is deeper than most TKLs, as they usually stop at the function row, not exceed it.

The switches are Kailh Box White V2s, which are loud and clicky but have a small clickbar and a fairly light actuation force of 45g (the same as Cherry MX Reds). My daily driver uses Kailh Box Navies, which are a lot louder (due to the thicker click bar) and heavier, so this keyboard feels easy to type upon. The switches are all hot-swappable, so if you'd like, you can swap them out for other switches (I recommend Gateron Yellow G Pro V3s for a linear but similarly retro experience).

Similarly, the keycaps can easily be swapped with others, but the stock caps are very nice. They're dye-sub PBT, which is divisive, but I personally really like them. The font is rather pleasing to the eye, with legends that are very clean for dye-sub caps. The hiragana sub-legends are equally as clean.

The keycap profile is described as 8BitDo as “MDA-like height”, though they appear to be somewhere between OEM and SA from what I can tell, with the function row sculpted similar to SA, and with a generally nice sculpt overall.

There are, of course, no LEDs outside of the operational ones (pair, fast map, profile, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, power). Personally, I prefer this to the gaudy look of RGB, but it also means you don't get a backlit keyboard, for better or worse. This definitely makes the keyboard more affordable, so I personally welcome the lack of lighting, but if you live for RGB, this won't suit you. The power LED is very noticeable and always active unless the board is turned off and not plugged in. This may be distracting to some people although I don't find it too bad as it's just a regular (i.e. Not bright) red LED.

The keyboard has some foam inserts for sound dampening, including under the space bar, but it's still fairly loud. You can add some more dampening if you want, but opening the keyboard is unfortunately a pain – you have to remove the four rubber feet to access the screws, then use a spudger around the sides to unclip the two halves of the chassis. As someone who likes to build and customise keyboards, I don't think it's worthwhile doing extra work to this one, but that's your choice.

You have the option of Bluetooth, 2.4GHz Wireless, and USB modes. The USB connection is via a USB-C port (cable included, though it may not be long enough depending on how you have your computer set up), used for both the wired connection and for charging. Despite being labelled officially as compatible with only Windows 10+ and Android 8+, this keyboard should work on any major operating system (and older versions of them too).

The 2.4GHz dongle slots neatly into the keyboard magnetically for storage. The 2.4GHz connection does interfere with my mouse intermittently, likely due to the lack of shielding as I'm using a custom paracord cable – this probably won't affect most people. This isn't an issue with Bluetooth nor wired connections.

The software is unfortunately closed-source and limited to Windows, whereas the older Ultimate Software (not compatible with this keyboard) is also compatible with iOS and Android (with none being natively compatible with macOS nor Linux). It would have been nice to see QMK/Via/Vial support but you're instead stuck with 8BitDo's Ultimate Software. Confusingly, this keyboard uses a different version to most of the 8BitDo controllers, called Ultimate Software V2, despite the version number currently being V1.02 – Ultimate Software V1 has the opposite problem where its current version is v2.14.

Functionally, you can remap every single key outside of the special buttons and knobs along the top of the keyboard. The software UI is fairly simple and clean, similar to Vial. Macros are simple to make – you record them, then can edit the timing and key presses, set repeat intervals with an infinite or finite repetition, and assign the macros to any remappable key. The volume knob works fairly well, and its step amount can be changed in the software. If you move it back and forth too quickly, Windows can fail to register some of the inputs, but this is mostly a Windows problem. I have yet to try it with macOS and Linux.

The most controversial aspect to me are the A and B keys. These are designed to be dedicated macro keys, but I find them to be rather pointless. I would prefer either separate macro keys down one side of the keyboard, or a lack of dedicated macro keys in general. You CAN map these keys to normal things such as AltGr or Fn, but the keycaps obviously won't reflect that. To this end, I really wish 8BitDo had included some optional keycaps for standard modifier keys. This could have also given us different super options over just the standard “Win” key for Windows. Ironically, despite not being a default key, Fn has default mapping, so if you map it to the keyboard, you can use common shortcuts such as media keys and volume control via Fn + the function row (often seen on laptops and Macs). You do need to press the Profile button to enable this after mapping Fn, however.

Not to be forgotten, this keyboard includes Dual Super Buttons. Frankly, I don't know why these are included outside of a nod to the NES and Famicom controllers that inspired the two decos for this keyboard. The Super Buttons have a heavy chassis, with a metal base and plastic top. They also use hot-swappable MX-style switches, and are easy to remove (the switches will usually pop out when removing the buttons). Reassembling needs a good press on each button to make sure they're fully in-place. The cable for the Super Buttons is a decent length, connecting directly to a 3.5mm jack on the back of the keyboard (which can't be used for audio, to be clear). There are four ports though, so you could theoretically connect up to four sets of buttons, but I haven't ever seen these sold separately, so this seems rather pointless. The Super Buttons work well, but are ultimately an unnecessary addition that I would expect most people will just keep in the box. I think 8BitDo might have been better off reducing the cost of this board or using the extra money for something else such as optional keycaps.

Software updates are done through the Ultimate Software V2 and are fairly straight-forward. It can update both the 2.4GHz adapter and the keyboard itself. I did have one update get stuck but you can just force close the software and start again. To be clear, there is no installation of the software, as it runs from

This brings me to Jack's review. First of all, what he describes is far from “bricking” his PC, and it's extremely unlikely to the point of being improbable, almost impossible, that the Ultimate Software could ever truly brick a PC. As I mentioned, if the updater crashes, you can just restart it – it's really not a big deal, just a bit of a pain, and clearly a bug that needs ironing out. If it's crashing the entire PC, it could be a driver problem, and yes, this could be related to the adapter, but it's unlikely. What he describes next sounds like the normal Windows recovery procedure that it enters when the operating system crashes, and can't be blamed on the keyboard. Windows just forces you into this menu even if it's unnecessary, and can usually just be restarted from there.

One of the most basic troubleshooting steps would be to remove (new) hardware to see if that fixes the problem, and it seems it took him some time to try that. Ultimately, without logs from the Event Viewer or Windows dumps, it's impossible to say exactly what the issue was, but if the PC wasn't booting at all with the dongle plugged in, it would likely point to a different issue such as a faulty or ungrounded USB port. Frankly, given the level of computer literacy displayed by many Mighty Ape consoles (just look at the “reviews” on all of Mighty Ape's garbage pre-builts), I would be weary of taking this criticism at face value. Windows itself is an unstable, buggy mess, and more often than not breaks itself without any help.

The complaint about Chrome trying to block the download is naive, as Chrome will do this for any executable (.exe) file, because it considers executable files to be dangerous. Some other file types such as MSI might also be blocked for the same reason. You can turn off this functionality, and I personally think it's fear-mongering more than it is helpful. Other browsers do this too, though you shouldn't be using Chrome anyway because it's bloated spyware trash – use something like Brave or Waterfox instead.

However, the current 8BitDo Ultimate Software V2 is in a zip file, as it's effectively portable software (it doesn't install), so Chrome shouldn't block this at all. Just to be certain, I ran the software through VirusTotal, which only returned one issue, and this appears to be a false positive, possibly based on macro capabilities or sending keyboard singles through the dongle, thus acting like a keylogger (but it isn't a keylogger – it should be perfectly safe). Just in case, I've reported this one detection to 8BitDo, but I wouldn't worry about it.

As for Jack's complaints about the software, I have used the SteelSeries software extensively, and the current SteelSeries GG software is frankly terrible. It's filled with bloat, useless features such as screen recording (just use OBS), audio stuff that will only cause more problems with Windows than not (if you want driver issues, this is a good way to get them), and ultimately doesn't have a ton of keyboard-oriented features that 8BitDo's software doesn't offer. To say it doesn't even have a fraction of the capabilities is a bold-faced lie.

The biggest advantage to SteelSeries GG is that it works on both Windows and macOS (but still has no Linux version as far as I'm aware). Also, it can sync profiles across devices using your SteelSeries account, but this isn't necessary (most SteelSeries devices store profiles on-board), nor is it necessary for the 8BitDo keyboard (it too stores profiles on-board, and the config is easy to copy to another device, or can even be left in a cloud folder such as Dropbox, Google Cloud, or OneDrive).

I typed this review on the keyboard and can attest to its quality. Whilst I have my criticisms of 8BitDo, I think most people (provided you don't jump to conclusions which make no sense) will thoroughly enjoy this, especially if you're used to a cheap rubber membrane keyboard. It might take some time to get used to a mechanical keyboard, but I assure you that it's worth it.

At the end of the day, I can confidently recommend this keyboard. For $199, it's a great price for a keyboard that's not quite enthusiast grade but far better built than any of the garbage churned out by companies like SteelSeries, Razer, and Logitech. It's genuinely great value for what you get. However, it's often found cheaper on Amazon (yes, even Amazon Australia) or even 8BitDo's website (or official AliExpress store), so if you don't mind waiting longer for delivery, you might be able to save some money by buying it elsewhere (like with a lot of products on Mighty Ape, frankly).

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
"Do not install the software for this keybaoard"
1 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

Key board is built well, feels nice and is great to type on.

However the software for remapping keys and setting profiles is really bad. I am used to steel series and it does not have a fraction of the capabilities. BUT much much worse than that the software bricked my PC. It tried updating the firmware on the 2.4 dongle and crashed. After that My PC would not boot, and I had to use system recovery tools. I wasn't sure that it was the dongle at first but as, it was not until I unplugged it that my PC finally booted again. Chrome tries to block the download for this software, with good reason it would seem.

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Description

Meet the 8BitDo Mechanical Keyboard. Packed with programmable keys and an intuitive control panel. Compatible with Windows and Android.

Ultra-compatibility
Connect via Bluetooth, 2.4G wireless, or wired. With its PBT dye-sublimation keycaps and a consistent feel from a top-mount structure, it combines durability with a seamless typing experience.

Simplicity at its best

  • Independent Control Panel – Like the 8BitDo Arcade Stick, our keyboard features an independent control panel. Say goodbye to complex shortcuts. Enjoy effortless operations with just a turn and a click.

Designed with love
Iconic directional keys and programmable A and B keys.

Game changer

  • Dual Super Buttons – The specially designed 8BitDo Dual Super Buttons offer large, programmable keys. Set macros to the Super Buttons, or map anything to them instantly without using software. Connect up to 4 sets (1 set included).

8BitDo Ultimate Software V2 on PC
Our Ultimate Software V2 lets you effortlessly configure your programmable keys. Switch key mappings on the fly and take advantage of powerful macro functions for a personalized performance.

Features:

  • 87 keys
  • Kailh Box White Switches V2
  • Hot-swappable PCB
  • Support n-key rollover
  • Support 8BitDo Ultimate Software V2
  • Dye-sublimation PBT keycaps with MDA-like height
  • Programmable buttons
  • Fast-mapping on programmable buttons (no software needed)
  • Top mount style
  • Magnetic adapter compartment
  • Classic power status LED

Compatibility

  • Windows 10(1903) and above
  • Android 9.0 and above

Connectivity

  • Wireless 2.4G
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Wired USB

Dimension / Weight

  • Keyboard: 376.6169.646.8mm / 1050g
  • Dual Super Buttons: 160.274.632.3mm / 270g

Battery Type / Battery Life

  • 2000mAh Li-on battery, rechargeable
  • 200 use hours with 4 hours charging time

Includes

  • 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard x 1
  • 8BitDo Dual Super Buttons x 1
  • USB cable x 1
  • 2.4G adapter x 1
  • Instruction manual x 1
  • 8BitDo Fun Stickers x 2
Release date Australia
December 7th, 2023
Game Platform
  • PC Games
Game Edition
Standard Edition
Brand
Developer
Publisher
Box Dimensions (mm)
410x90x210
UPC
6922621504283
Product ID
37917969

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