The NuPhy Air75 is a solid low profile wireless mechanical keyboard. Its funky aesthetic sets it apart from the competition, but it offers a bit of an odd look that’s also marred by quite a cheap feeling construction and a mixed typing performance. Though the connectivity on offer is decent, with good battery life too.
- Decent build quality
- Excellent connectivity options
- Functional software
- Odd design
- Inconsistent switches
- Awkward software compatibility
- 75% layoutThe Air75, as the name suggests, is a smaller keyboard with a 75% layout that gives features basic alphanumeric keys, as well as arrow keys and a small set of functions
- Low profile Gateron Brown switchesIt also comes with low profile Brown switches, offering the benefit of a shorter travel and a soft tactile keypress.
- Solid battery life:NuPhy also rates the Air75 to last for up to 48 hours on a charge.
If you’re looking for a manufacturer and keyboard combo who has burst onto the mechanical scene in the last couple of years to great fanfare, look no further than NuPhy, and especially their Air75.
Priced at $109.95, it represents an solid choice for those wanting a functional low profile wireless mechanical keyboard with a funky design, although arguably not as weird as their Field75.
Whether this on paper is good enough to make it one of the best keyboards we’ve tested remains to be seen, though – let’s find out.
- Lightweight construction
- Slightly childish and funky colour scheme
- Thoughtful I/O
Upon immediate inspection, the Air75 carries with it quite a funky look. It offers the combo of a sleek metal chassis, complete with multi-coloured keycaps that certainly make it pop compared to similarly priced keyboards that can carry a much more muted aesthetic.
The Air75 is comprised of a blend of plastic on the reverse as well as the metal chassis in a similar vein to the Asus ROG Azoth. With this, it offers a premium finish that’s also sturdy, to a degree. The chassis is lightweight at 523g, although carries a moderate amount of flex when under pressure.
In line with being more of an enthusiast-targeted keyboard, it’s nice to see NuPhy utilising PBT keycaps on the Air75. This helps it to justify its price point more, given that PBT is a much more durable plastic than the more standard-issue ABS, and a generally higher quality material. While I applaud its use here, I can’t help but feel that the typeface that NuPhy has opted to use here is a little childish, with its rounded characters, and disproportionately small lettering on the function and modifier keys.
The Air75 has opted to use a space saving 75% layout, as the keyboard’s name suggests. This provides most of the functionality afforded by a more traditional TKL layout, although with a slightly squished up nav cluster in the name of saving space. Here, it’s also apparent that there isn’t a separate space for those keys, and they occupy a singular column of keys on the far right hand side.
Computing Editor Adam Speight has had the chance to check out the even smaller Air60 model too, which, as the name suggests, is a 60% keyboard and ditches the function row you’ll find on the Air75. The Air75 already offers quite the portable build but, for a similar experience with added bag-carrying chops, the Air60 is a valid pick too.
Round the back, the Air75’s interface is kept clean and functional, with some turquoise accents to mark out the USB-C charging port, as well as a pair of switches to allow you to choose between both wired and wireless modes, as well as between whether you’re using the keyboard on Windows or Mac.
- Tactility of Gateron Browns is hit and miss
- Dual means of connectivity is convenient and reliable
- Solid battery life
Inside, the Air75 sample I was provided feature some Gateron Brown switches similar to Logitech’s MX Mechanical Mini. As low profile switches, they offer the benefit of a shorter key travel alongside the light and soft tactile keypress associated with Brown switches in a general sense.
The ones here get half of that right. They offer a smooth and light typing experience and having low profile keys makes typing a breeze. However, the switches seem a little hit and miss in terms of their tactility, certainly on some keys where it feels like there’s barely a bump at all, and on others where it feels just right.
If the Browns inside the Air75 aren’t your jam though, then you can swap them out with some other low profile switches, as this is a hotswappable keyboard. The only thing you’ll have to be wary of is that there isn’t much in the way of choice for low profile switches specifically, as opposed to their full size counterparts.
The Air75 also offers connectivity via both Bluetooth 5.0 and the bundled 2.4GHz receiver, giving you the option to connect to up to four devices wirelessly – that’s three on Bluetooth channels and one with the receiver. Pairing is nice and simple, with the Fn + 1/2/3/4 number key combo corresponding to a certain device. It doesn’t take long for the host device to recognise the Air75, and then you’re away. You can also use the Air75 in wired config too, with the bundled USB-C cable, and there is a dedicated wired mode that can be toggled with a switch on the keyboard’s rear.
As for battery life, the Air75 is rated to last for up to 48 hours on a single charge with its 2500mAH capacity cell. This is enough for it to last for a working week before you’ll need to reach for the charging cable, and that proved to be the case in my testing too, although turning up the RGB lighting did eat through the charge a bit quicker.
Software and Lighting
- Sharp RGB underglow lighting
- Functional software, but with limited compatibility
RGB fans will be pleased to know that the Air75 comes caters to them, although it isn’t exactly the most visible. It provides a solid underglow effect in all colours of the rainbow, although that’s about it. Personally, in instances like this, a white backlight would have more than sufficed, although the little touches of light on either side of the keyboard are pleasant additions.
The addition of NuPhy Console offers some decent functionality too, allowing you to customise this RGB lighting with a variety of preset profiles. As well as this, you can also program macros and remap keys, too. What seems a little odd is that the software only works on Windows, when the Air75 is both Mac-compatible, and by default comes with Mac-specific keycaps. At least with its three onboard profiles that you can save to, you can keep the configurations you made in NuPhy Console saved and use the Air75 on other platforms without any need for the software.
Should you buy it?
You want a snappy typing experience
The Air75’s low profile tactile switches offer a snappy and smooth experience, and you get a choice of switch types to suit different feelings.
You want a smart design
The design choices NuPhy have gone for are a little out there, though, so if you want more of a restrained aesthetic, you may want to look elsewhere than the Air75.
So, is the hype of the Air75 justified and is it worth your spending your hard-earned cash on? Well, to a degree. It’s a solid-feeling keyboard with some intriguing looks and one that’s easily portable (NuPhy even sells a separate carry case), complete with decent battery life and software to boot. In short, it offers all the fun of a low profile wireless keyboard for a semi-reasonable price point.
The big sticking point here are the switches though. You have the choice of swapping them out, but most people are likely to stick with the ones the Air75 ships with, and the Browns in my sample were inconsistent in switch feeling. This wasn’t the case on the Logitech MX Mechanical Mini for instance, which at the time of writing, can be had for a roughly similar price. It may not offer the hotswappable keyswitches, or RGB lighting, but it provides a more functional experience for people who may not need the accoutrements NuPhy has bundled here.
Still though, the Air75 is a decent low profile keyboard that offers a solid blend of mainstream and enthusiast level features that plenty of people can get behind.
How we test
We use every keyboard we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres, including FPS, strategy and MOBAs.
We also check each keyboard’s software to see how easy it is to customise and set up.
Spent at least a week testing
Tested the performance on a variety of games
Compared the build quality with similar priced keyboards.
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This depends on the switches you’ve got inside. The Gateron Low Profile Browns inside our sample was quiet, although the Blue switches with their audible click that you can also get are likely to be a lot louder.
The Air75’s switches offer a short travel distance of 2.75mm.