Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking sitting on top of its case.

Cyberboard R2 review: Should you spend $700 on a keyboard?

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking on top of his suitcase.

Angry Miao Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking

Recommended retail price $670.00

“If you want a keyboard like no other, the Cyberboard R2 is for you – assuming you can afford it.”

Pros

  • Gasket attachment provides a sublime typing experience

  • Highly customizable LED grid

  • Bluetooth and wired support

  • Wireless charging

  • Hot Swap Key Switches

cons

  • Extremely expensive

  • Customization takes some effort

  • You will probably need to bring your own switches

Angry Miao released the Cyberboard R2 over a year ago, at least in spirit. Incredibly low yield rates and unprecedented demand forced the Chinese tech-fashion brand to cancel the project – but after more than 400 days of waiting, Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking marks a comeback. It’s easily one of the best keyboards you can buy, assuming the sickeningly high price tag of at least $670 doesn’t turn you down right away.

Redesigned and available on July 10 (at 8pm PT in case you want to get that F5 key ready), the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is finally getting its time to shine, which is great. If you missed the Wes Anderson inspired program Cyber ​​board R3, you have another chance to pick up one of the most unique keyboards money can buy. And it’s a damn good one too.

Design

The Cyberboard R2 with RGB lighting turned on.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You would think that design is everything for the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking, but the sublime typing experience is central. That doesn’t mean the keyboard doesn’t look good, though. With an aggressively angular design and the signature LED grid on the back, the R2 Le Smoking may be the most unique keyboard you’ve ever seen.

As the name implies, the R2 Le Smoking is inspired by Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking suit – an equally angular and agile looking suit that the brand debuted in 1966. The resemblance is undoubtedly there. Four bevels give it a retro-futuristic look that somehow manages to feel powerful and petite at the same time; just like the suit that inspired it.

Even after almost two weeks of using the Cyberboard R2, I’m still surprised by how premium it feels.

However, it is far from a small keyboard. This is probably the heaviest keyboard you’ll ever come across, weighing over seven pounds with a full set of switches and keycaps. The weight comes from a whole host of extras in the board – both an aluminum housing and plate, three separate PCBs and a built-in wireless charging connector.

It also comes from the huge 200 LED grid on the back of the keyboard. You can do just about anything with the array – I went for a Tetris animation available on Angry Miao’s website. That includes custom animations, static colors, and useful information like the time and your battery life, as well as an indicator of which Bluetooth connection you’re using.

The build quality is unparalleled, making traditionally premium keyboards such as the Logitech G915 TKL feel like bargain bin options in comparison. Even after using the Cyberboard R2 as my daily driver for nearly two weeks, I’m still surprised by how premium it feels.

Connectivity and ports

A USB-C cable exiting the Cyberboard R2.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Cyerboard R2 Le Smoking has two connections: USB-C or Bluetooth. The USB-C connection is the fastest and I used it during testing, despite the fact that Angry Miao doesn’t have a cable in the box. I have to assume that anyone who spends $700 on a keyboard has at least one spare USB-C cablesbut an extra one won’t hurt.

Bluetooth works on three devices, which you can switch between with ease fn + 1, 2, or 3. The LED grid lights up to show which connection you’re using, and you can keep all three devices paired at once. Windows is the only supported operating system – there is no switch for a MacOS layout like on the KeyChron Q1 – but I can’t imagine too many people carrying the Cyberboard R2 around with an Android tablet.

With a wirelessly rechargeable mouse pad, you never have to worry about charging your battery.

While it is easy to pair Bluetooth devices, it is not intuitive. Unlike regular keyboards like the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless, the R2 doesn’t offer a toggle switch. Instead, it automatically switches to Bluetooth when you disconnect it. It’s strange when you’re setting up, especially when there’s no “on” switch somewhere on the board.

Battery life goes fast with the LEDs blaring – I lost about 10% over the course of a few hours – but it’s not that big of a deal. The R2 Le Smoking has a wireless charging pad built into the bottom of the keyboard that kicks in when the battery reaches 85%. With a mouse pad with wireless charging, you never have to worry about refilling and you don’t have to worry about the battery wearing out because the pad will shut off when it’s full.

Switches

Turns on the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can completely disassemble the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking and swap out the switches and keycaps, but the basic keyboard kit isn’t included either; you must bring your own. The bundle, which is about $150 more expensive at $823, comes with Gateron Ink Black linear switches and Angry Miao’s Glacier keys, and it’s a winning combination.

Ink Black switches are heavy and require 60 grams of force compared to 45 grams on a traditional red linear switch. That makes them ultra-smooth to type, especially if you like hitting your keys like I do. The sound is smooth and on the high end of hollow, and I found myself randomly typing phrases into my search bar to hear the keyboard in action a bit more.

The gasket attachment makes it feel like you’re hammering on a cloud.

While you can flip any switch you want, it’s not the seamless process you’d find on a standard keyboard like the Asus ROG Strix Flare II† And for good reason. Unlike most cheaper keyboards that use a top mount where the switch plate sits directly on top of the rest of the frame, the R2 Le Smoking uses a gasket mount.

The difference is that there is a little bit of material between the link plate and the rest of the frame, and it makes a world of difference to type. You’ll never really feel the record move, but the microscopic give and take as you type makes it feel like you’re hammering on a cloud. Therefore, it also means that you have to disassemble the keyboard to exchange switches. That consideration is more than worth it.

Gaming and typing

Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking sitting on a black background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you are looking for the best gaming keyboard, the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is not – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s too bulky to move in a comfortable position, the bundled switches are too heavy for twitch responses, and the keycaps won’t grab your fingers due to their glossy acrylic finish. However, I’m glad that’s the case.

The typing experience is too good, especially with the Ink Black switches. Out of all the keyboards I’ve tested and used, this is the first time ever that I took friends to my office and said, “You must try this.”

Much of your experience comes down to the switches and keycaps you use, but the Cyberboard R2 sets you up for success with its gasket mounting. Unfortunately, different switches do not solve the gaming problems. Moving the keyboard is a hassle due to its weight, and hitting the frame with your thumb with a flick of the mouse will quickly bruise you.

I like to use it for keyboard only games like The binding of Isaac, though, and I tried to get it to work in my lover Lot 2 simply because of how great the keyboard feels. But if you’re a gamer first and foremost, save yourself the trouble (and money) and buy something like the Razer Huntsman Mini† This is a typing keyboard, despite its retro-futuristic aesthetic.

Software

Lighting software for the Cyberboard R2.

Software has to power hardware, and that’s not the case for the Cyberboard R2. Instead of a special light and macro program like you have with the Corsair K70 RGB Pro, you need to design your effects on Angry Miao’s website, download a file and then load it into the keyboard. You cannot see updates in real time and you must log in to download community files.

This is a bad system, especially when Angry Miao’s website is prone to slowdowns and crashes. You get a lot of options – three lighting layers on the LED grid including animation support, automatic translation of images in the grid, and endless remapping layers – but the trial and error of even getting the website to work will kill you. desire to experiment.

Angry Miao has the right idea with community-driven effects – I saw an image of Gengar that I loved in under a minute – but the system for installing the effects is holding back all the community’s efforts.

The good news is that Angry Miao has increased the number of custom lighting slots to three from the original design, and the editor is powerful enough to provide unique, vibrant animations. I wish it was a little easier to explore.

Our opinion

Should You Spend $700 for a Keyboard? No, there’s no reason to. The Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is past the point of diminishing returns, and you can get something just as nice for less (especially if you build your own keyboard† What you can’t get is the remarkable design, exceptional build quality and obvious attention to detail that has gone into the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking, and for loyal keyboard enthusiasts, it’s money well spent.

Are there alternatives?

There are fake Cyberboard models floating around the internet, but nothing that matches the unique look and build of the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking.

How long will it stay that way?

Like a custom keyboard that you build yourself, the Cyberboard R2 Le Smoking is just a foundation that you can continue to tweak and improve over time. It lasts as long as you want.

Should you buy it?

Yes, but only if you are deeply entrenched in the world of custom mechanical keyboards. Customizing is not for the faint of heart, and the price is obscenely high compared to regular options. In short, you do not need this keyboard. It’s just a matter of whether you want the.

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