Higround OPAL Base 65 Keyboard: Two-minute review
There’s a lot to like about the Higround OPAL Base 65 keyboard. It’s affordable, hot-swappable, and there’s plenty of functionality available through the company’s app. Beyond all that, the RGB is as brilliant as I’ve seen on a keyboard.
But, the Higround OPAL Base 65 is one of those niche models that’s not for everyone. After all, this is geared towards modders who consider the best keyboards to only be of the mechanical variety. It’s not geared toward esports gamers and you’ll probably never see it rank among the best gaming keyboards, at least not in its stock form.
Yet, if you don’t need a 1.0mm actuation with an 8000Hz polling rate, but just want a solid and customizable keeb with some of the best RGB lighting out there, this might be one of the best mechanical keyboards for you. And, since it is customizable, you can always install switches with a faster actuation point.
As far as the way Higround designed this keyboard, the company made sure that it’s pretty striking out of the box. Its shiny, clear keycaps with “Ninja” style lettering – basically, all the characters are printed on the side of the keycap instead of on top – make for a very clean, brilliant look and that’s without any RGB on. The only real issue here is that having the characters on the side makes looking for a certain key tough if you don’t have the 65% layout memorized.
Keyboard modders will be happy to note that Higround used a durable aluminum plate here along with dampening foam for sturdy and relatively silent usage. And, the switches used here is the Silent Glacier Switch, which only adds to the quiet operation.
Though there are no adjustable feet to lift the Higround OPAL Base 65 up at an angle, that’s not too much of an omission as it’s already angled in the case. And, since it’s not low profile, I didn’t feel like it was shallow or inconvenient in any way. There are, however, rubber feet to keep the keyboard from sliding around.
Since this is a wired keyboard, there’s not much to report in terms of ports. Just a single USB-C port sits centered on the back of the case.
When it comes to the performance here, there are two things to consider and that is how it does with games and its typing experience. As the pre-lubed Silent Glacier Switches that come stock have a 2.0mm actuation point with a total travel of 3.5mm, I didn’t find this keyboard particularly satisfying for gaming.
Its 39 gram actuation force did mean that I didn’t have to press too hard. However, presses didn’t feel immediate. For games like Starfield, Control, and the like, the Higround OPAL Base 65 was more than adequate, but for faster-paced games, it was not.
On the flip side, typing on it is a pleasure. Presses are as smooth as butter and its operation is about as quiet as I’ve seen on a mechanical keyboard, making it great for typing up an article or long emails (that is, unless you’re in love with the loud clack of some mechanical models).
There is one other facet to consider that has less to do with how it feels during use that I think is critical to appreciating the Higround OPAL Base 65 and that’s how it looks. While the Silent Glacier Switches are a bit slow, they do have what Higround calls a “special light guide” to enhance RGB lighting.
I couldn’t tell you if that does anything. However, the keycaps are completely clear and the RGB lighting on hand can only be described as brilliant and vibrant. In fact, it can almost be too much. But, if you’re a fan of RGB lighting, this might be your Mount Everest.
When it comes to the RGB lighting, there’s a lot of customization to be had in the Higround app. There are quite a number of presets, all with at least two or three ways to finetune, along with the ability to customize individual keys. The only RGB feature missing here that I’ve seen with a few other keyboards is the ability for the RGB to either reflect what’s onscreen or the audio being heard.
The app also allows for remapping and Macro recording, which is more than I would expect from such a niche company. Having such a robust app, even if it seems on the surface to be more lightweight than something from, say, Razer or Cooler Master, is quite the addition.
Higround OPAL Base 65 Keyboard: Price & availability
How much does it cost? Starting at $135 (about £112 / AU$215)
When is it available? Available now
Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia
If you’re into keyboard modding, or just a collector and want an affordable mechanical keyboard, the Higround OPAL Base 65 keyboard is an ideal option. With a price tag of $135 (about £112 / AU$215), it’s on the lower end of the mid-range market. While the company only puts its pricing in dollars, this keyboard is available in just about all of Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania.
Since this is a hot-swappable keyboard, if you want to drop in one of Higround’s other switches, they range from $25 (about £25 / AU$40) to $36 (about £30 / AU$58) in price. Even if you include an extra set of switches, this keyboard is pretty affordable.
Consider the fact that the Drop ALT, also a 65% wired mechanical model, goes for $180 - $200 / £157.43 - £180.74 (around AU$260 - AU$290) and you see how affordable the Higround is in comparison. Performance-wise, you may not find an appreciable difference – neither model is one of those keyboards targeting competitive gamers.
You’re probably saving a little bit based on the form factor as fuller-sized alternatives like the KiiBOOM Phantom 81 with its $159 / £128 / AU$233.18 price tag and the Wombat Pine Professional, which retails for $159.99 (about £130 / AU$240), are not all that much more. That said, I actually do prefer the 65% foot print so am happy to save the $30.
Price: 4.5 / 5
Higround OPAL Base 65 Keyboard: Specs
Should you buy the Higround OPAL Base 65 Keyboard?
Buy it if...
You want brilliant RGB
The brilliance of the RGB on this keyboard can’t be overstated. It’s literally almost blinding on some settings. If you like RGB, you’ll like this model from Higround.
You like to mod your keyboards
If you want a good looking keyboard where you can hot-swap the keycaps and switches to your heart’s content, the OPAL Base 65 might be for you, especially considering its accessible price tag.
Don't buy it if...
You game competitively
With a 2.0mm actuation point, the Higround OPAL Base 65 is fairly slow and won’t be able to keep up with your gaming needs if you play any competitive or esports titles.
You want wireless connectivity
If you want the most versatile keyboard out there that you can use wirelessly and connect to multiple devices, then you should look elsewhere.
Higround OPAL Base 65 Keyboard: Also consider
How I tested the Higround OPAL Base 65 Keyboard
Used regularly for a couple weeks
Tested with typing as well as gaming
Tested all included features
I used the Higround OPAL Base 65 regularly for a week, typing numerous articles on it as well as using it for gaming. Specifically, I tried fast-paced gaming like Battlefield 2042 and Rocket League as well as less-speed competitive games like Starfied and Control.
I looked at other aspects beyond performance, of course. I played with its programmable features, whether it’s remapping or adjusting RGB, and also looked at how easy it was to remove and replace parts of the keyboard.
I’ve tested a lot of tech gear over the years from laptops to keyboards and mice, and so have been able to use my expertise towards giving an honest and fair opinion, not to mention a critical eye, to any product I test.
First reviewed November 2023