HiGround Opal Base 65 Keyboard Review: More Hype Than Substance

What impressed me, though, is the Base 65’s RGB lighting—between the clear case, white silicone dampening, transparent switches and keycaps, and the reflective aluminum plate, the RGB absolutely shines, making this keyboard a bright centerpiece on any desk. Sadly, programming the RGB is a bit of a chore, and most of the factory presets have incredibly limited customization.

Paying for Looks

The saving grace is HiGround’s pop culture collaborations. You can get a keyboard made in collaboration with Minecraft, and previously there have been tie-ins with game and anime series, including Naruto, Pokémon, Attack on Titan, Gundam, and Yu-Gi-Oh. However, this usually comes with a tradeoff: Would you rather have a high-quality keyboard or one designed after your favorite media franchise? This keyboard is flashy, colorful, and a statement piece. But besides visuals, the Base 65 keyboard doesn’t do anything new, or anything that justifies the price.

Closeup views of two computer keyboards one with rainbow illuminated keys on the top and one with black keys on the bottom

Photograph: Henri Robbins

I also want to note the “all sales are final” line in most of the company’s product descriptions. Combine this with massive brand tie-ins and an emphasis on “limited” drops, and I’m reminded of the collab-based hypebeast sneaker culture of the 2010s; a marketing strategy that emphasizes exclusivity and makes people jump at “rare” (i.e., artificially scarce) products and assume they’re more valuable/higher-quality than they are. I know this is a lot of advertising rhetoric that sits outside the quality of the end product, but I think it’s important to consider why the keyboards are the way they are, and why they sell well despite some of the issues they may have. (As a side note, multiple keyboard collaborations from HiGround are currently being scalped on StockX.)

I also found some frustration when trying to review this keyboard because, when HiGround had a release coming up, every single page on its website would redirect to a password-protected countdown. This meant that the keyboard’s documentation, drivers, and even basic product information were unavailable for the entire time while waiting on a limited release (in this case, the Minecraft keyboard collection).

Ultimately, it’s hard for me to recommend HiGround’s keyboards unless you really want a branded keyboard for a certain media franchise and are OK with the sacrifices to the build quality and typing experience.

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