LEOBOG K81 Review (Page 3 of 4)

Page 3 - A Closer Look - Disassembly and Internals

The disassembly process is quite simple. I started by taking off all of the keycaps. While taking off all of them is not completely necessary, it is nice for a closer inspection of the keyboard’s internals. On the top, bottom, and sides of the keyboard are pieces of foam covering the screws. To remove it, I used tweezers to pull them out. Upon unscrewing the screws, I could simply pull the majority of the keyboard apart. Unfortunately, the top casing of the keyboard was quite attached to the plate and PCB, particularly where the knob is placed. For simplicity, I will not be desoldering the knob, as I have access to all parts of the keyboard already. Upon disassembly, you should be left with the view below.

With all components in full view, you can see how we have ten 20mm gaskets all around the plate. The top gasket is about 2mm thick, while the bottom gasket is about 3mm thick. These thicknesses are adequate in providing a softer typing experience. LEOBOG has a good usage of gaskets, but let us take a look at the PCB. Proper gasket usage always involves a daughterboard for wired connection, as it will not impede the gasket performance around where the cable would be plugged in. In the LEOBOG K81, we have one that supports the toggling of 2.4GHz, Bluetooth, and wired, which is an excellent addition. It connects to the battery with a JST cable and the PCB with a ribbon cable.

Under the PCB, you may notice the usage of foam to optimize the sound profile of the K81. Inside, we find the 3000mAh battery. Furthermore, if you remove a switch, you will notice there is also a thin layer of foam between the switches and the PCB. This usage of foam was popularized by the Jelly Epoch keyboard, as it was found to offer a more premium sound to the keyboards that use it. Some people call it a cheat code to premium sound, but if it gets the job done, then I cannot complain. Generally speaking, I am impressed by the amount of detail put into the design of the LEOBOG K81. There are no gimmicks in regard to the build. LEOBOG understands how to use gaskets properly and utilizes foam to the utmost potential. I genuinely have no complaints about the internals. I will say that the white piece of paper did amuse me.

Upon closer inspection of both the Ice Crystal Linear and Ice Soul Tactile switches, I hope to provide you with more detail in the makeup of each switch. Starting with the Ice Crystal Linears, we have a polyoxymethylene, or POM, stem in combination with a polycarbonate top and bottom housing. Polyoxymethylene is known for its high stiffness, low friction, and excellent strength. Specifically, this material has a coefficient of friction of around 0.25 to 0.3, which is low when you consider this is measured on a 0 to 1 scale. As such, you can see why you would want a switch stem to be made out of POM. This stem would be considered a long pole stem, which results in an early bottom. As for the housing, polycarbonate is a very commonly used thermoplastic in mechanical keyboards. It is commonly used for translucent switches, which would be a huge deciding factor given the clear design of the LEOBOG K81. I do find that this material often leads to a higher pitch sound, which may be the reason why the K81 offers a more clacky sound profile. The spring is relatively long at 20mm. This means that the switch will feel snappier as the switch will return much faster.

Moving onto the Ice Soul Tactiles, we have the same makeup of materials for likely the same reason. The stem also uses a long pole design. A notable difference aside from the tactile stem is the dual-stage spring. This gives a more progressive feeling rather than a constant force in a traditional spring. The user faces more resistance when bottoming out the switch in this case. Being a tactile switch with a top bump, this may not be noticeable. The spring length is 22mm, meaning it will also be quite snappy.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. A Closer Look - Disassembly and Internals
4. Conclusion