Deck 82 keyboard review
- Highly adjustable LEDs.
- Quality Cherry MX switches and good build quality.
- PCB looks awesome with the backlights on.
- Easy to tinker with and modify even under warranty.
- Unique look and feel.
- PCB-mounted switches don't feel as solid as plate mounted.
- Non-standard keycaps means you can't change to a new set.
Deck 82 Keyboard Feature Overview
- Cherry MX Black Switches
- Blue LED Backlighting
- Sublimated characters on keycaps can’t wear off
- Diamond plate bottom pan
- 75% keyboard form factor
- Easy to modify
Deck 82 Unboxing
The Deck 82 comes in a pretty plain box, which I’m actually a fan of as it’s less hassle to open. The phrase “You’ve got a big Deck” is on the box which I found a bit strange and out of place.
Here’s all the contents of the package – one mechanical keyboard, warranty/purchase information, and a cool skull and crossbones keycap.
This keyboard sits a bit higher than other keyboards, so you may want to adjust your desk or chair just a bit. From the side, you can see the pitch of the rows as well as the texture of the case.
The case is a clear, blue plastic with quite a bit of texture. Overall it’s a very light mechanical keyboard.
From the back, you can see that the USB cable can come out of one hole on either side. You’ll need to unscrew the backplate in order to do so, but it’s not much work.
On the bottom of the keyboard, you can see the diamond plate panel secured by 8 screws, and 4 rubber pads are on the plate to prevent slippage.
Here’s the inside of the keyboard with the bottom pan removed. Here you can see that you can re-thread the USB cable out the opposite side if you wanted to.
Deck 82 Switches and Keys
The Deck 82 comes with Cherry MX Black switches, which are linear like Cherry MX Reds, but with a higher actuation force. I prefer the Cherry MX Blacks in terms of how they feel when compared to Reds. I think the added resistance is nice, but I can type faster on Reds.
The Cherry MX switches are PCB mounted, which means this keyboard will be easier to modify, but it won’t feel as sturdy as plate-mounted mechanical keyboards. The LED’s are top-mounted on the switch.
One cool thing about the keyboard being PCB mounted is you can see the circuit board between the gaps in the keys, which looks really cool with the backlights on!
Something you may notice in these images are that the keys almost look aged or smudges, but that’s actually how they came and part of the aesthetic of the keyboard.
I swapped the Skull keycap for the Windows key, both pictured above.
Finally, here’s a closer shot of the keys from an angle so you can see what I mean about the aged feel to the keycaps.
Deck 82 Backlighting
The Deck 82 keyboard has 8 different levels of brightness to the LEDs, from Off to 7. You can change the brightness setting by pressing the Fn key and the up or down arrows to adjust the setting one step at a time, or you pressing the Fn key and 0-7 to jump immediately to that brightness level
The above image shows off the lights at max brightness. You can also get a good feel for the keyboard layout and key sizes here, as well as the key font.
In these photos I have some artisan keycaps on the right side to give you a feel for how they light up with these top-mounted LED lights.
Here’s a close-up of the keys while backlit. The bursts of white coming from between some of the keys is actually the PCB which illuminates nicely.
The Caps Lock indicator light is built into the Caps Lock key itself, which is a smart way to save space. There’s no Scroll Lock or Num Lock on this keyboard.
Also worth noting, the USB plug has a blue LED built into it.
Deck 82 Layout and Form Factor
The 75% form factor is somewhat rare, so it’s important to take a look at this keyboard’s layout (placement of the keys) as well as the form factor (size of keyboard and how many keys). It really all comes down to personal preference. You’ll notice on this keyboard there is no right Ctrl or Alt, which could be a detriment to some people.
One other thing to note about this keyboard’s form factor, you won’t be able to replace all the keycaps with most keycap sets because there’s so many non-standard key sizes on this keyboard.
Here’s a comparison of the Deck 82 to a WASD 87-Key Custom, which has a tenkeyless form factor. The Deck 82 is just a tiny bit wider, but substantially shorter.
Deck 82 Overall Verdict
The Deck 82 mechanical keyboard is very interesting and unique. Whether or not you should buy this keyboard will come down to your specific needs and desires.
If you want a keyboard you can easily modify, find the 60% keyboard layout to be too limiting, and don’t mind not replacing out all the keys with a new set of keycaps, this is a great mechanical keyboard to pick up.