Two trends have been growing in the world of gaming keyboards. The 60% form factor has grown more popular as gamers realize that they’d rather have more space on their desk and more room to swing their mouse, while ergonomics are becoming more and more relevant as gamer’s are realizing the benefits of good posture that quality gear can provide. But what if one keyboard had both?
The Kinesis TKO Tournament Keyboard is designed to be both comfortable and compact, giving gamers a keyboard that’s different from anything else on the market. We loved their Freestyle Edge RGB Keyboard in our review, so we were ecstatic when they sent one to High Ground Gaming so that we could give a fair and unbiased review. Here’s what we found.
Zoom In: Specs
- 60% form factor
- Wired USB Type-C
- Ergonomic tenting
- Modular spacebar
- Kailh Box Switches: brown (tactile), red (linear), white (clicky)
- Doubleshot PBT keycaps
- Dual-Zone RGB lighting
- SmartSet App 3.0 software
- Price: $115.00
Prefer video format? Here’s the review video from our YouTube channel.
There a lot of great features built into the Kinesis TKO, but the one that probably stands out the most is the configuration of the feet. There are four feet on the bottom of the keyboard that can each be opened to two different levels of elevation. The feat towards the back of the TKO can be used like any other keyboard, adding a vertically elevated incline. Using just the two on the right or left side, however, creates a horizontal incline. This isn’t recommended for normal productivity or typing, but it angles the keyboard so the wrist may rest at a much more natural angle while gaming.
The rest of the keyboard’s build quality is just as impressive. It has a metallic black body with matte black, double-shot PBT keycaps, giving the TKO an attractive yet understated appearance. An RGB strip travels along the front and sides to give it some flair. It has a modular spacebar, splitting the key into three for ease of use while gaming, though it also comes with a solid spacebar for those who prefer a more classic design. It comes with a six-foot braided USB Type-C cable, and even includes a hard-shell travel case.
Kailh Box Switches
Th unit that Kinesis sent us came with white (clicky) Kailh Box Switches, although users may also choose to opt for brown (tactile) or red (linear) switches. We’ve never tested Kailh brand switches before, so I didn’t really know what to expect from them. I’m happy to report that I have nothing but good things to say about the experience. They have a good balance of tension, and the whites we tested have a satisfying click without being too noisy. We would say that they rank among the best mechanical switches for gaming.
The Kailh Box white switches have a 3.6mm travel distance and a 50g actuation force. They are removable, however, in case you feel like swapping them out down the line.
Ergonomics and Gaming Performance
Using the Kinesis TKO Keyboard while gaming is a treat. The USB Type-C wired connection keeps the latency to an absolute minimum, making reactions feel instantaneous. I played some Halo: Infinite with it and found that it was responsive and comfortable, having better key-spacing than many 60% keyboards.
The ergonomic tenting isn’t as dramatic as you might expect, but there is a noticeable lessening of tension in the wrist when you use it. This feature could potentially help reduce joint discomfort during long gaming sessions.
SmartSet App 3.0 Software and RGB
The SmartSet App is the most disappointing thing about the TKO. It requires the user to use a series of commands to ready the keyboard for interfacing with the software by making it appear on the users PC as a drive. Then there are more commands for displaying and recording settings into its onboard memory. That would be a relatively minor annoyance, but I encountered several bugs during testing. Attempting to save a profile to the keyboard would frequently eject it from the program, and it sometimes didn’t recognize the keyboard until it was unplugged and reconnected. The software also needed to be reinstalled anytime I shut down my PC.
There are fourteen lighting effects for the keys and ten for controlling the edge lighting. The RGB Wave is nice, but many of the other effects are fairly simplistic. The software offers color, direction, and speed control in select modes, but not all of them. This doesn’t seem like the kind of software for users who like to constantly tinker with their keyboard’s effects. It’s more tolerable for those who prefer a “set it and forget it” approach.
Is the Kinesis TKO worth the money?
There are plenty of more affordable 60% mechanical gaming keyboards than the Kinesis TKO. Some of them even have wireless capabilities, like the Cooler Master SK622 and the Anne Pro 2. There are two features potential buyers should consider when deciding if the TKO is the best option for them. The first is the TKO’s superior build quality. It’s the best we’ve tested in this form factor, narrowly edging out the HyperX Alloy Origins 60. The second is the ergonomic tenting design. A gamer suffering from hand and wrist pain might find that the bump in price is worth it.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The Kinesis TKO Tournament Keyboard is exceptionally well built and features ergonomic tenting feet, which are unique in this form factor. The Kailh Box Switches are excellent and the keyboard functions perfectly. The only downsides are the sub-par software and the price.
- Premium Kailh Box switches
- Ergonomic tenting for comfort while gaming
- Top tier build quality
- More expensive than other 60% mechanical gaming keyboard
- SmartSet App 3.0 is buggy and requires onboard profile saving
- Limited RGB options