With the exception of the Raptor K40 and a few HTPC options, all of the keyboard reviews we've posted this year are advanced to top-tier mechanical keyboards. Today we are going to look at something fundamentally different: a budget mechanical keyboard. Nixeus supplied us with a sample of the MODA, a tenkeyless USB keyboard that has been designed with simplicity and economy in mind. Even though the notion of calling a $70 keyboard a "budget" product appears rather controversial, the Nixeus MODA is one of the cheapest mechanical keyboards that money can buy. What kind of a mechanical keyboard can $70 get you? Read on to find out.

Packaging and Bundle

We received the Nixeus MODA in a typical cardboard box with a fair aesthetic design. The company clearly indicates that the Brown switches of the keyboard are supplied by Kailh. Such honesty is rare and refreshing, as most companies that are not using Cherry MX switches either try to conceal the fact or go as far as rebranding the switches as their own design.

Only a few extra keycaps and an extraction tool are supplied with the Nixeus. Of course, nothing more is really necessary for a typical keyboard. The eight extra "gaming" keycaps are for the arrow keys and the WASD keys. These keycaps have the same ergonomic shape as the originals, with the only real difference being that they are bright blue and the character is engraved on them. The engraved characters are very difficult to discern, but more importantly as we've mentioned in numerous of articles before, it is very rare for a gamer to actually swap keycaps prior to gaming, which is why several companies started to skip including extra keycaps in their keyboard bundles.

The Nixeus MODA Mechanical Keyboard

The Nixeus MODA is a relatively simple looking, compact tenkeyless keyboard. In order to reduce the width of the keyboard to just 40cm (about 15.7in), the company customized the layout a bit. There is no gap between the arrow/special command keys and the main board, while the presence of the five extra media keys forced Nixeus to remove all gaps between the ESC/F-keys row as well. The five extra keys can be used to control the volume of the system (up, down, and mute), bring up the home page in your browser, and launch your e-mail application. No software is required for any recent OS for these keys to work.

The MODA has an all-plastic chassis with a non-removable short wrist rest. Decorative faux screws and basic geometric shapes can be seen, hinting that the company tried to give the MODA a more aggressive look. Aesthetics are a subjective matter but we think that these did more harm than good, as a plain design would look much better than weird-looking plastic screw heads, especially for office/business use. Beneath the keyboard, there are two typical tilt adjustment legs and anti-skid rubber pads. Nixeus uses a typical thin USB wire with a gold-plated connector, which is understandable for a product that has been designed with value in mind.

Nixeus MODA Mechanical Keyboard : A Closer Look & Conclusion
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  • Sleepingforest - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    You may be interested in the Poker II. Incredibly compact (only 61 keys!), has room for DIY backlighting, top quality constructions, replaceable miniUSB connection cable, plus a customizable Pn layers (you can program macros to any key you want, and then you use PN+$KEY to access that macro).

    Here's an overview:
  • Mickatroid - Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - link

    Looks like it might fit in my Amiga 1000's keyboard garage. I wonder if it can be busted back to PS2 for use with a converter.
  • Laststop311 - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    no official cherry mx switches no purchase
  • fawazh - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    This looks very similar to my Zalman ZM-K500.
  • faster - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    I do believe that a lot of gamers DO like to switch out the WASD keys. The author's comment that "but more importantly as we've mentioned in numerous of articles before, it is very rare for a gamer to actually swap keycaps prior to gaming" is detrimental to the consumer as "several companies started to skip including extra keycaps in their keyboard bundles".

    As a consumer that likes these key replacements, this active lobbying against them by the staff at AnandTech is somewhat disturbing. I am a fan of the site, but you should refrain from influencing the decisions of manufacturers to the detriment of your readers. Perhaps you should run a new pole as to how many people like the option of replacement key caps?

    I will probably buy this keyboard and Kudos to Nixeus for including the gaming key caps!
  • piiman - Saturday, October 18, 2014 - link

    On top of that I think must people either install them and leave them or just don't use them.
    to think gamers would actually switch them every time they want to play a game is silly.
  • HardwareDufus - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    It's a solution looking for a problem.
  • gurok - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    Is tenkey just a term for the numeric keypad? I've always called it a numeric keypad. When and why is each term preferred?
  • meacupla - Thursday, October 16, 2014 - link

    tenkey, numpad, lots of names for it, but I guess the official term for a tenkey-less would be an 87key keyboard, where as a full keyboard is 104keys.

    And then one smaller is a 67key keyboard.
  • schadenfreude000 - Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - link

    If anything you can get a basic Cherry MX Blue keyboard for ~ $59 through monoprice:

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