Sat. May 18th, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Gem80 Mechanical Keyboard offers luxurious feel with Mint switches and high-quality keycaps.
  • Configuring the keyboard may require enthusiasm but delivers impressive action and sound.
  • Consider the Gem80 for a wireless gaming keyboard with customizable options, despite the steep starting price.


I had no intention of ditching my Apple Magic Keyboard, but after spending some time with the Nuphy Gem80, I had more trouble than I expected pulling myself away from its clacky sounds and ultra-smooth response.


This Mechanical Keyboard Still Requires Some Work

Side view of the Nuphy Gem80
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Nuphy has been slowly easing its way into the more “serious” and higher-end mechanical keyboards for a little bit now. (It tried to go in this direction with its Field75 “gaming keyboard,” but to me, the board felt kind of cheap and I wasn’t impressed with its layout.)


The new Gem80 series feels like a more serious attempt at converting dedicated keyboard enthusiasts over to its side with impressive specs—like a 1,000Hz polling rate over 2.4GHz and wired. But it also gives newcomers a tempting entry into the world of custom switches and keycaps.

When I got the Gem80 in, I was a little surprised to see that it wasn’t assembled. I missed the lines on the company’s website that said each color variant was barebones, no matter if all the parts were ordered all together.

Bottom of the Nuphy Gem80 in blue
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

So, I got to work installing mint switches under the black high-profile double-shot PBT keycaps. On first impression, I was struck by the premium feel in all aspects. Not just the weight, but even the blue finish of the Mystic Indigo color was stunning. I found the Gem80 to look much more generic and lower-end in pictures than in person.


While there are lots of lighting options on the Gem80, from backlit keys to a glowing logo, they’re all preset. You can cycle through colors, patterns, and brightness, but not do too much else. The lit up homing keys is a neat feature, but I personally didn’t find myself caring about them much in practice. I did like that the keyboard is programmable using the VIA software. It’s widely supported across different manufucaturers which means a lot of people should be familiar with it.

A Glorious Feel

Metal frame of Nuphy Gem80
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Make no mistake, the Gem80 isn’t a low-profile board. It’s big and probably requires the use of a wrist rest to get the proper angle with its six-degrees of tilt. But if that’s what you’re looking for, the Gem80 should be a fantastic option. I almost felt like I was able to play it like a piano, gliding around the keys with effortless ease.


I’ve rarely been accused of talking just to hear my own voice, but with these switches, keycaps, and board, I’ve found myself typing away just to feel them under my fingers. There’s a soft resistance with the Mint switches and a very thick, clocky sound when typing.

I loved the deep, firm sound I got with this specific setup. I did have a learning curve early on where I was hitting too many keys, but that subsided as I became more familiar with the 37gf linear Mint switches.

I found myself really thrilled with the rigid and nearly 2.5-pound weighted metal frame. It always stayed planted, but it also didn’t feel so dense that I couldn’t move it or shift it around if needed. A perfect blend of practical and luxury, if you ask me. I often forgot the bottom was plastic until I needed to turn it over to look for the switch controlling power or the port for charging it.


Is the Nuphy Gem80 Worth Spending Money On?

Close up view of the Nuphy Gem80 keys
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

If you’re searching for your first mechanical keyboard, the Nuphy Gem80 could work. It could be your new obsession. I liked that everything needed can be ordered at once and arrived together. It’s not difficult to configure, but it does still require a level of enthusiasm to get it done the first time. Experienced keyboarders should enjoy the project.

It is a bit of a bummer that the keyboard starts at $149.95 for the wired version with no switches or keycaps. Thankfully, to get a wireless model with all the needed pieces, the price only jumps about $50. If you’re new to mechanical keyboards and are on the fence, you might want to glance at the Nuphy Halo75 V2 pre-order. It might hit the sweet spot for an already assembled board with future customization.

Nuphy Gem80

Nuphy Gem80

Wireless
2.4GHz

Battery
Between 24 and 330 hours (all lights on and all lights off)

Num Pad
No

Switch Type
Multiple options

Replaceable Keys
Yes

Number of Keys
88

Wired operation
Yes

Dimensions
5.56 x 14.10 x 1.44in

Material
Aluminum case

Keycaps
high-profile double-shot PBT keycap

Polling rate
1,000Hz (wired and 2.4GHz)

Other
VIA compatible

Pros

  • Excellent action and sound with Mint switches
  • Plenty of software customization available with VIA
  • Great weight and metal frame
Cons

  • Sold in barebones configuration
  • Price goes up quickly buying all the pieces together
  • No compact or number pad options



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By John P.

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