March 2, 2024

8BitDo’s first mechanical keyboard is a love letter to the NES

Nintendo doesn’t make keyboards, but 8BitDo’s Retro Mechanical Keyboard might be the next best thing. The $99.99 device comes in two color schemes: an “N Edition,” which has the same gray color scheme the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) had in the West, and a red and white “Fami Edition” that draws obvious inspiration from the Japanese Famicom. Preorders open today, and the keyboard is expected to ship on August 10th.

The keyboard comes with a pair of “Super Buttons” — giant red versions of the buttons found on the original NES controller. They’re programmable and come equipped with clicky Gateron Green switches that should make them feel suitably chunky to press. The Super Buttons connect to the keyboard via a 3.5mm cable, and there are additional ports on the keyboard for connecting up to three more pairs of buttons, available for $19.99 per pair. 

The keyboard itself appears to use a fairly standard tenkeyless layout, which omits the numpad but otherwise uses standard-size keys. Its Kailh Box White V2 switches are hot-swappable in case you want to replace them with something less loud and clicky. There’s a volume dial on the top left of the keyboard, next to a selector that changes the keyboard between its two wireless connection modes — Bluetooth and 2.4GHz via a dongle. The keyboard can also be used wired over USB.

8BitDo’s press release advertises that the keyboard’s battery offers 200 hours of usage per four hours of charge, or roughly five weeks if you’re using it five days a week for eight hours a day. I’ll be interested to see how that claim holds up in practice given 8BitDo’s 2,000mAh battery is half the size of what you’ll find in the Keychron Q1 Pro, which offers up to 300 hours of usage with its RGB turned off. There’s no sign of RGB in 8BitDo’s keyboard, though we’ve followed up for confirmation. 

You’re unlikely to be surprised to hear that this isn’t the first time someone’s made a Nintendo-themed keyboard. There’s this Megalodon Console 64 that’s designed to look like a Nintendo Switch, and the Durgod Fusion keyboard is available in a black, red, and gray NES-style color scheme. Rival gaming accessory manufacturer Hyperkin also produced a mechanical keyboard with a Nintendo color scheme, although it was purple like the US’s SNES variant.

If you’re looking for a mouse to pair with the keyboard, then 8BitDo has you covered with its NES-themed mouse from 2019.

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