The Kono Discord TKL mechanical keyboard is a great option for those that want a custom Discord keycap set. For everyone else, there are probably better options on the market. It’s a hot-swappable keyboard that’s really nice to type on, though, so don’t discount it completely, and if Discord really is your jam or you’re a content creator or similar, it could be worth a look.
- Brand: Kono x Discord
- Wireless: Yes
- Backlight: Yes
- Media Controls: Via function key
- Battery: 2,000 mAh
- Num Pad: No
- Switch Type: Hot-swappable; Gateron Brown, Gateron Red, & Kailh BOX White retail options
- Replaceable Keys: Yes
- Number of Keys: 87
- Wired operation: Yes
- Dimensions: 35cm x 13.2cm x 2.7cm
- Weight : 972g
- Keycaps comfortable, well designed
- Custom Discord keycaps nice bonus
- Comfortable for typing
- Hot-swappable switches
- Lacking customization options
If you love mechanical keyboards and use Discord, what could be better than something that combines the two? Kono’s Discord TKL mechanical keyboard does just that, complete with custom Discord keycaps, hot-swappable switches, your choice of either Gateron or Kailh red or brown switches, and of course, Discord’s official “blurple” colorway.
Is the idea of a Discord keyboard the dream for every gamer? Or should you spend your hard-earned pennies on a different mechanical keyboard altogether?
Kono Discord TKL Style and Construction
Kono has opted for a tenkeyless design, cutting down the keyboard profile and size by removing the Numpad and associated keys. A tenkeyless board is often seen as a perfect middle ground for keyboard users, and it’s a size I personally like.
Height and Weight
The keyboard is 35.5 cm (14 inches) wide, 13.2cm (5.2 inches) deep, and 2.7cm (1.06 inches) high at its rear, rising to 4.2cm (1.65 inches) when using the integrated feet. I’m not sure about the specific pitch angle of the keyboard, but the integrated feet work well and feel solid enough. They’re plastic with rubber feet, but unless you’re smashing your fingers into the keyboard, they’re going to remain robust.
Talking plastic, there’s a lot of it. The whole construction is plastic, from top to bottom. It’s good plastic, for sure, but you’re not talking about machined CNC here for the same price as other manufacturers are offering, such as Keychron. The underside of the keyboard is rigid and well-made, and overall, it’s not an issue, but you may expect (or demand) more when you drop close to $200 on a keeb.
It weighs in at a decent 972g (34.3oz), indicating a solid build quality but still light enough that you’d consider taking it with you on a trip or throwing it in your bag in the included hard shell travel case. Inside the Kono Discord TKL is a solid steel plate to add strength and quality to the build, and there is also a sound-absorbing foam layer to help dull the inevitable click-clacking of mechanical switches.
Discord-Branded Travel Case
The travel case is a nice touch that gives the Kono Discord TKL a little flourish. It feels well made, and it’ll withstand some bashing and crashing when you travel around, which could promote the Kono Discord TKL to a keyboard you use not only at home, but also if you head to the office, library, LAN party, or otherwise. It’s finished with a Discord logo stitched to the top. One thing I noted (and have seen others note) is that the Discord logo arrived… dirty. It’s easy enough to clean, but it’s not a good look.
Inside the travel box, on first opening, you’ll find the set of custom Discord keycaps that you can use to customize the Kono Discord TKL. There’s also a handy keycap and switch puller, too.
Kono Discord TKL Battery and Connectivity
The Kono Discord TKL comes with both wired and wireless connectivity. Wired comes through the included USB-C to USB-A cable (matching the color scheme, naturally).
Wireless comes through Bluetooth 5.0, and the keyboard can remember up three previous devices, which is plenty enough for most users. I found pairing the Kono Discord TKL simple enough, and it picked up the Bluetooth connection quickly after being switched off and on again. You’ll find the wired/wireless switch underneath the board.
The 2,000mAh battery is also decent but not exceptional. I’m a sedentary desk keyboard user, so battery life doesn’t affect me, but if you take it out and about, packing that USB-C charging cable is a must.
Kono Discord TKL Keycaps and Switches
One thing that is a plus side for the Kono Discord TKL is the hot-swappable switches. We were sent a model with Gateron Brown switches, which deliver a nice, tactile typing experience. It’d also been a while since I’d used brown switches, so it was a nice change of pace coming from a set of Gateron Red linear switches.
But being a hot-swappable keyboard, you can easily swap your switches out for something different if you desire. The switches are very easy to remove and replace. Just remember to be careful with the pins on the switches when you’re replacing them, as bent switches are extremely frustrating.
The Kono Discord TKL comes with three mechanical switch options:
- Gateron Brown (Tactile)
- Gateron Red (Linear)
- Kailh BOX White (Clicky)
When you purchase the board, you can make your selection. However, the Kono Discord TKL is compatible with other MX-style switches, so you have a wide range of options.
The Tai-Hao double-shot ABS keycaps are also a nice standout feature. We have the dark set, which works well with the dark plastic construction of the keyboard housing. Discord’s blurple branding certainly looks good, creating a really distinct aesthetic and one that many people will enjoy. There is a slight texture to the keycaps, too, which makes for a nice typing experience and should keep the keys feeling pristine for that bit longer.
Custom Discord Keycaps
In the box are a set of custom Discord keycaps that you can use to replace the default options. For example, there is a Discord logo that will work well as an ESC or Function key, a left shift replacement key, and a few other options with icons like a play button, microphone, headset, and so on.
These custom keycaps are a nice little addition to the Kono Discord TKL, and the bonus is that they’ll also fit onto other boards that also use MX-style switches. Whether or not they justify the price of the board is down to you… but I’m not so sure.
Kono Discord TKL RGB and Customization
Now, here’s the rub. Those keycaps are cool and bring the visual side of the keyboard together. You certainly know that you’re using a Discord-sponsored keyboard when you add them on.
But outside of the keycaps existing as a physical object, there is no desktop software or otherwise that turns those buttons into actual functioning commands for Discord. It would have been great to see a little effort put into making those Discord buttons function in a specific manner when placed on a specific Function button.
As far as I can tell, the integrated functions of the Kono Discord TKL are set in stone. It would have been really cool for them to use QMK or similar to enable users to fully customize the key controls and turn those custom keycaps into Discord-focused features and shortcuts.
As is, you can use the integrated functions to change the RGB modes through various backlight colors, animations, speeds, and so on, and there are also media control options. But overall, it seems like Kono and Discord missed a trick here.
Should You Buy the Kono Discord TKL Mechanical Keyboard?
The Kono Discord TKL mechanical keyboard is an interesting but somewhat difficult sell. At $190, the Kono Discord TKL is pushed into a very competitive mechanical keyboard marketplace where you’ll find other options with fully customizable firmware, aluminum shells, and other extras.
Unfortunately, the Kono Discord TKL feels like a cheaper keyboard with some extra dollars added to the fee because of the Discord branding. And while the custom Discord keycaps are cool, they’re not $90 cool, especially when, despite the cool design, there is no other massive standout feature on this keyboard.
It’s a shame, as I like the feel of the keys, and the typing experience is good, especially with the hot-swappable switches. So, yes, this is a decent mechanical keyboard, but it’s too expensive for what it is. If you really want this particular keycap set, go for it, because the Discord colors on these keys are definitely one of the best bits.
Source: Make Use Of