Nuphy Air60 keyboard review: Mechanical, portable, adorable


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The Nuphy Air60 Keyboard is a small mechanical keyboard perfect for pairing with an iPad mini on the go or for use as an alternative to your MacBook keyboard.

As mechanical keyboards become more common, manufacturers are trying to be smarter in their layout and functionality. The Nuphy Air60 may be designed for portability, but it’s a full-featured mechanical keyboard without compromise.

Keyboards run the gamut, from the four-pound Keychron Q1 to the ultra-thin Magic Keyboard, and Nuphy seems to have combined the best of both worlds. You get the improved key travel and comfort of a mechanical keyboard while packing it into a case that can slip into your backpack on the way to coffee.

Nuphy Air60 design

There’s more to the Nuphy keyboard design than meets the eye. It’s designed to be both a great MacBook companion and an iPad keyboard, all in one layout.

The keyboard has a 22mm to 17mm angled bezel and tiny rubber feet at the bottom four corners. Small magnets are hidden in the body to prevent the case, called NuFolio, from slipping when in use.

The feet are placed so that the Nuphy keyboard can sit directly on a MacBook keyboard without activating the keys. We tested it on the 14-inch MacBook Pro and it even matches the redesigned key layout.

The Nuphy Air60 fits on top of the MacBook Pro keyboard

While few people would consider using a separate keyboard on the MacBook keyboard, it’s an interesting design choice and can be useful for those who have sticky or broken keys on their older MacBooks.

The keyboard itself is very thin and light. It’s hard to believe there are any mechanical switches under these keys, let alone hot-swappable switches.

RGB backlights are designed to glow evenly around the key. There are also LED indicators on either side of the keyboard that display things like caps lock, power level, and other system functions.

Nuphy says the keycaps are the world’s first ultra-thin keycaps measuring just 4.6mm thick. The keys are smooth, pleasant to type on and don’t feel cheap or wonky.

Plastic base could pose durability issues down the line

Plastic base could pose durability issues down the line

The frame is aluminum, but the bottom is plastic. Since this is a portable keyboard, there is a concern that this material will crack if dropped or placed in a tight bag for too long. But, the material also helps keep the keyboard light, so it’s an understandable trade-off.

NuFolio Case

Add the NuFolio V2 case and the Nuphy Air60 becomes a suitable workstation for your iPad or iPhone. The case unfolds into a stand and the clasp keeps it in place.

We’re not too excited about the color choice and wish Nuphy had a neutral option. The orange exterior with the large branded patch is a bit flashy, but the soft gray interior is much easier on the eyes when unfolded.

The NuFolio case is bright orange in color

The NuFolio case is bright orange in color

The material is grippy, so the case won’t slip on the surface you’re working on. And the magnets that hold the keyboard in place make everything stronger overall.

The snap that closes the case and secures the iPad holder isn’t ideal. We would have preferred a magnetic clasp or some other mechanism, but that’s not a deciding factor.

The NuFolio Case becomes a small tablet holder

The NuFolio Case becomes a small tablet holder

However, the iPad or iPhone sits in the crease of the stand and there is nothing holding it in place. We don’t recommend trying to use this keyboard/case combo on your lap, even though it technically works.

The keyboard is small but still wider than a 12.9-inch iPad Pro held in landscape. This means that any iPad can sit comfortably in portrait or landscape mode in the NuFolio case without overlap.

We tested the case with an iPad mini and iPhone side-by-side and used the Quick Switch feature to easily type on both devices. The Nuphy keyboard combined with the case would make a great coffee companion.

Personalization

The Air60 has hot-swappable switches

The Air60 has hot-swappable switches

While mechanical keyboard enthusiasts buy these devices for switch actuation, acoustics, and comfort, they also look for customization options. Despite being half the size and weight of other mechanical keyboards, the Nuphy Air60 is just as customizable and fully featured.

Ultra-thin keycaps snap off with a standard tool and can be replaced with other keycaps that use the “+” shaped connector found on Cherry-style switches . Luckily, Nuphy uses a standard layout and none of the keys are awkwardly shaped, so you can use a set of third-party keys with no problem.

However, the keys on this keyboard are designed to be flat and thin to be compatible with the NuFolio case, so keep that in mind if you’re upgrading to taller keys.

Customize the Nuphy Air60 with new keycaps

Customize the Nuphy Air60 with new keycaps

Below the keys are a set of mechanical switches. Nuphy sells the Air60 keyboard with Gateron low-profile brown, red, or blue switches. The switches are hot-swappable, so users can swap out these switches without soldering.

RGB backlighting and side lights are also customizable. Users can change the pattern, speed, color and brightness using the function key and arrow keys.

Using the Nuphy Air60 Keyboard

Anyone coming from an Apple Magic Keyboard should feel at home on the Nuphy Air60. It has a short actuation distance and not too loud sound depending on the switches. The brown switches on this review unit don’t require much force and make a pleasant noise overall.

A combination of two sets of keys from Nuphy

A combination of two sets of keys from Nuphy

The keyboard comes with two USB cables, a 1.5m USB-C to USB-A cable and a 0.2m USB-C to USB-C cable. The shorter cable is intended for use when the keyboard is above a MacBook.

Battery life should be around 48 hours on a single charge. We didn’t experience any issues keeping the battery charged, and that’s more of an afterthought.

It can be paired with up to four devices simultaneously – three Bluetooth and one via a 2.4Ghz dongle. The dongle is USB-A and would likely be useful for desktop use where low latency is a priority and fast switching is still desired.

Switch between Windows and macOS layouts with a switch

Switch between Windows and macOS layouts with a switch

There are two switches on the back of the keyboard. One toggles the keyboard between off, wired, and wireless, while the other is a Mac/Windows switch.

We enjoyed using the Nuphy Air60 and found its small size to be ideal for storage in many places. He stays on a side table by the sofa to take notes on the iPad mini at home. When traveling, it even fits in the smallest shoulder bag in the NuFolio case.

Should you buy the Nuphy Air60?

Mechanical keyboard lovers shouldn’t pass up this keyboard, especially if they want the best companion for their iPad mini or iPad Air. Apple doesn’t offer a Magic Keyboard Case or Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini, so we think that’s a good alternative.

It’s also a great first mechanical keyboard for someone looking to get into this increasingly popular hobby. Its small size and range of features make it a great keyboard for travel or to fit on a small table in your home.

Benefits

  • Thin and light
  • Ideal for mechanical keyboard beginners
  • Portability without sacrificing functionality
  • Long battery life

The inconvenients

  • Durability and longevity in question thanks to the plastic base
  • No neutral NuFolio option
  • NuFolio snap isn’t ideal compared to the alternative

Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Or buy

You can buy the Nuphy Air60 from the Nuphy website for $109.95. Choose between Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown Switches and add the NuFolio case for $20.

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