Things that click, can be smashed on and other stuff

MonsGeek M1 review: meet the new budget King!

I have covered various Akko keyboards on this website and have been mostly satisfied with them. Akko offers keyboards in various price ranges and designs. The top of the line products are their DIY models which offer premium materials. There were two things missing from these boards though; a south-facing layout and the compatibility with VIA/QMK software. Akko introduced a south-facing layout in their latest version of the MOD series, the MOD007s V2 (review). Well the last hurdle is finally taken. Meet the MonsGeek M1.

Akko or MonsGeek?

MonsGeek is a new company launched as a sister brand to Akko. MonsGeek intends to provide high quality products at an affordable price. The name is combination of the word Monster and Geek. With the experience and expertise of Akko behind it MonsGeek is able to offer high quality materials and focus more on a select range of products for enthusiasts. My guess is Akko will keep focusing more on its colorful products and collaborations with populair anime shows and themed keycaps whereas MonsGeek will keep things more simple and focus on materials vs price. The MonsGeek M1 is the first of a range of upcoming products.

Inspired by a combination of the sheer power of a Monster and the technological prowess of a Geek; MonsGeek has shaped its own way by connecting our streamlined supply chains, which has allowed us to reduce manufacturing costs and be able to offer quality products at an accessible price for everyone.

Quality peripherals should be accessible to all, not only to a select few…

Monsgeek invests in innovation in order to propel the future of peripherals, while filling a gap in the industry and raising the bar for all.

Letting the Monster out

The Keyboard comes in a nice bog black box which a carton wrapper around it. Inside the Keyboard is covered by protective material and a dustcover while sitting nice and firm in a thick foam package. Next to the keyboard a coiled USB-C to USB-A cable can be found. This Cabe is rubberized and gets the job done. Ofcourse there are nice looking cables around but to be honest one should not expect a premium aviator style cable in this price-range. The keyboard is pre-assembled but cannot be used yet. You will first need to add some stabilizers. The keyboard supports plate mounted as well as screw-in stabilizers, the latter being included. These don’t come pre-assembled because most enthusiasts will want to lube these first. There are also some stabilizer pads and a sheet of painters tape included for optional mods. The board itself is very heavy and sturdy and has some nice details with the gold colored metal bars on both sides.

The Monsgeek M1 comes in a big Box which looks simple but classy
The MonsGeek M1 comes with a matching cable
You will get a hex key, screw in stabilizers and screws, stabilizer pads (you can use these for the stabs but also for a force break mod) and a sheet of painters tape.

Assembling the Monsgeek M1

The first thing I did after taking the board apart was lubing the stabilizers. I used some G205g0 for the housing and Dielectric grease for the wires. I didn’t do a Holee Mod though. I figured I could always do this later if I would experience any serious rattling. I did use the included stabilizer pads. After assembling the stabilizers I decided to use the included foams and let the sheet of painters tape for what it is. This is all personal and you might like to include or discard these parts as you like. I ended up using some of the stabilizer pads near the screw holes of the keyboard to avoid that annoying ping that metal on metal can cause. An optional sheet of transparent plastic material is included which should help avoid any risks of damage by shortcuts. You can see it in the image below. It is already pre-cut so the connection wire will have no issues getting where it needs to go.

Akko includes a pre-cut pcb foam which saves a lot of time and effort.
Here you can see the force break mod I made with the included stabilizer pads.


Akko send me their new custom made Snow Blue Grey switch. This switch is a linear switch with an operating force of 43 grams, a total travel distance of around 4 mm and a pre travel of around 1.9 mm. These switches are made of a POM stem, a PC top and PA bottom. The spring is an 18mm extended spring. These switches feel very nice out of the box but would benefit from lubing. The thing that gives these switches the most appeal is the colorway. They will not be a replacement for my beloved Jelly Black switches though, which feel smoother to me. Switches are very personal though. I can definitely recommend these switches if you are looking for a nice linear switch to complement your themed build. Lubing will get the most of these though.

The Snow Blue Grey switches are a nice visual match with the Monsgeek M1 white and Ocean star keycaps

Putting some keycaps in the Monsgeek M1

What is a keyboard without keycaps? This time I used a set of ABS keycaps. I usually go with double shot PBT keycaps but I wanted to try out some of Akko’s double shot ABS kits for a while. These Ocean Star keycaps look very nice in a white casing. The first thing I noticed was that these ABS keys don’t come in the same premium box with magnets like their more expensive PBT brothers and sisters. But they still come well packed in plastic covers and each layer comes with a protective sheet of foam. The keycaps feel a bit lighter then the PBT caps but not flimsy or cheap. I could not find any faults in the paintjob or shape and the package is really complete. You get all the standard keycaps but the set also comes with various types of spacebar sizes, mac-keys and ofcourse some nice novelty keycaps.

The Ocean star keycaps are made with the SAL profile which is a bit larger then the ASA profile most Akko keycaps have and the standard rows are all flattened out apart from the F and J keys which are slightly curved in to help your fingers find their way. The keycaps felt pleasant and adjusting wasn’t hard for me.

You get a lot of keycaps for your money here


One of the things people complained about with the Akko brand was the lack of VIA/QMK support. Luckily the first keyboard from their sister company MonsGeek comes with VIA support! I downloaded the via software for the board (here) and the board was instantly recognized. While the Akko cloud software was not the worst I have experienced this is definitely a step up. With VIA its incredibly easy to tune the keyboard to your own liking. You can assign keys, macro’s, change to split keyboards and ISO layout and test your keys. You can also tune the RGB settings of your keyboard in VIA and I noticed the RGB looked a bit better then it does on my MOD007 keyboard. The latter seemed to have a bit of a strobing effect sometimes which isn’t present here.

The MonsGeek M1 supports VIA
VIA software is officially supported

Final thoughts

The MonsGeek M1 is a solid debut for the brand. It is build like a tank and borrows a lot of its design from the popular MOD007 series. Small improvements have been made like finetuning the knob and adding some extra’s like screw in stabs, stabilizer pads and a sheet for tape mods. Ofcourse Monsgeek made sure the keyboard has a south-facing layout so compatibility is not an issue with any keycaps. The real game changer here is the inclusion of VIA support which was something people requested for a long time on Akko products. If MonsGeek is able to build forward from this solid entry and keep the price competitive brands like Keychron should be worried. While Keychron makes very nice and solid keyboards MonsGeek has the supply chains from Akko behind it with a lot of choice between keycaps and switches. If MonsGeek wants to really be competitive they would be wise to offer some complete kits as well for a small increase in price as an option.

Pricing and availability

The MonsGeek M1 retails for $99,- or €129,99 in Europe without taxes. Citizens in the U.S. can order from while people in Europe can order from

Get 10% off limited time only

For a limited time only you can get 10% off the Monsgeek M1 on using the coupon HELLOAKKO on checkout or using this link. ships worldwide.

The Best? Sony WH-1000XM5 Review – Enjoy The Sound Of Silence

After having used my wife’s Bose QC45 occasionally I wanted to have my own pair of noise canceling headphones. At first I tried the Sennheiser Momentum 4, but unfortunately they turned out to be not my cup of coffee. Now it is time to see if the Sony WH-1000XM5 can give me enough satisfaction.

Why noise canceling?

I already have a very decent send of cans; the Sennheiser HD660s but these are open style headphones. I really love them as they are very neutral and let me enjoy my music at the fullest when i’m behind my pc. I mainly use these in combination with a Topping DX3 Pro+ dac.

But sometimes I just want to escape the world around me and don’t get distracted by the sounds of outside, the ventilation, the washing machine or whatever. Having a mild form of Autism, an ANC headphone can be a big relief.

Bose and my first Sony

Sony and Bose have been the champs of wireless headphones using ANC for quite some time now. They aren’t the only ones using Adaptive Noise Canceling but they are the brands that give the best results. Personally I didn’t try any of the Sony’s before but I do have experience with the Bose QC45 and QC35 II. The main reason choosing Bose over Sony was comfort; when trying these against former iterations of the Sony headphones at the store the Bose reigned supreme for me. The Bose also had a sound that my wife really likes, namely a rather warm and easy sound signature with just the right amount of bass. Since I didn’t want the exact same as her and both the Sennheiser and Bose 700 didn’t meet my expectations I decided to try my luck with Sony’s XM5’s.

Unlike the Bose QC45 the Sony WH-1000xm5 isn't foldable
The bose QC45 and Sony WH-1000XM5 next to each other

Specs of the Sony WH-1000XM5



Max. 24 hrs (NC ON) , Max. 32 hrs (NC OFF)

Battery Charge Method


Battery Charge Time

Approx. 3.5 hrs

Battery Life (continuous music playback time)

Max. 30 hrs (NC ON), Max. 40 hrs (NC OFF)

Bluetooth® Specification

Bluetooth® version

Bluetooth Specification Version 5.2

Effective Range

32.81 ft


2.4 GHz band (2.4000–2.4835 GHz)



Supported Audio Format(s)


Supported Content Protection


General Features

Cord Length

approx. 3.94 ft

Cord type

Single-sided (detachable)

Driver Unit

1.18 inches / 30mm

Frequency Response

4 Hz–40,000 Hz (JEITA)

Frequency Response (Active Operation)

4 Hz–40,000 Hz

Frequency Response (Bluetooth® Communication)

20 Hz–20,000 Hz (44.1 kHz Sampling) 20 Hz–40,000 Hz (LDAC 96 kHz Sampling 990 kbps)

Headphone Type

Closed, dynamic

Impedance (Ohm)

48 ohm (1 kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on), 16 ohm (1 kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off)


Stereo Mini Jack



Passive Operation



Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini plug

Sensitivities (dB/mW)

102 dB (1 kHz) / mW (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on), 100 dB (1 kHz) / mW (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off)

Volume Control

Touch Sensor

Wearing Style

Over Ear

DSEE Extreme


Ambient Sound Mode


Noise Canceling

Ambient Sound Mode


Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing


Personal NC Optimizer

Auto NC Optimizer

Quick Attention


Size & Weight


Approx. 8.82 oz


The build is mostly made of (recycled) plastic. Which is fine by me to be honest. Headsets like the Airpods pro definitely feel very premium but I’d rather have something more lightweight. The top and ear cushions are made of a (vegan) faux leather material. Thew materials feel nice and soft, though not as comfortable as the Bose QC45 does. The earcups aren’t as deep either but they are sufficient for me. Some people complained about the wear sensor of the previous model sticking out too much which could irritate people’s ears. No such thing here. Adjusting the headphones is easy with a sliding mechanism, it is smooth but doesn’t give that lock and click feeling. One thing you will need to consider is that the XM5’s aren’t foldable like its predecessors. I knew this beforehand so i’m fine with it. I do find it a bit of a downside that when you want to take them off and rest them around your neck, the open part of the cups is always up.

This it the way the cups will face when taking them off

Sound Quality

Sound-wise the Sony is a pleasant headphone with a good soundstage. Compared to my Sennheiser HD660S this is more of a “pleasure” style headphone. Bass is more pronounced but vocals are still nice but not the most natural. The sound out of the box wasn’t exactly what I like myself. Thankfully there is an equalizer to be found in the Sony headphones app. Just don’t expect the sound to get all natural. If you don’t want to trouble yourself with a custom equalizer, you can always choose one of the provided presets. After trying out some different combinations I settled on my own settings. I listen to all kinds of genres and got a pleasant experience overall. DSEE is also provided which should improve the overall quality of digital music.


Despite the earcups not being as deep as the Bose QC45 I really enjoy wearing these cans. The earcups are nice and soft and while not being angular shaped inside they don’t give any discomfort to my ears. The headband is soft as well and clamping force is just right for me. Despite not being to slimmest person out there the Sony’s fit my dome just fine.

The white is more of a greyish white on the headset.

Call quality

Call quality has been amazing for me so far. I can clearly hear other persons and I have had nothing but positive feedback so far. People said my voice sounded natural and when I tried the Sony XM5’s in a coffee bar the person on the other end of the conversation said he could still hear me very well. The Sony was also very good at blocking out wind and car noise during my call walking outside next to a busy road.


Now this is the main thing for me. I have my open back headphones for when I want to listen to music in a natural way. But when I want to escape in a world without distraction I need a pair of ANC headphones. Up until now the Bose QC45 has been my favorite pair of headphones giving me absolute quiet when I need it. But Sony is even better. I wouldn’t say the ANC is that much better on itself though, they are quite evenly matched. It’s the passive isolation that is better with the Sony wh-1000XM5 for me. I also like the fact I am able to switch it off entirely while the Bose only gives me the option of ANC or Hearthrough.

Touch controls

When I tried to Sennheiser Momentum 4 I was immediately frustrated about the touch controls. They just didn’t work well. I said to my wife I would just buy another pair of Bose headphones for myself. I did want to give Sony a try thought because there must be a reason they still use touch controls on their XM series, right? Well turns out touch controls can work decently on a wireless headset. Weather its the double tap to pause or play, or holding my fingers or hand on the right cup for hearthrough, it just works! Same goes for swiping up and down for volume or left and right for back and forward! The only thing that worries me is how this will work when the weather outside will get colder or when rain starts to come down. For me personally this is not the biggest issue as I use earbuds outside.

Holding the right cup doesn’t do anything. When holding the left, hearthrough mode gets activated

Sony App

The Sony app has a lot of options, a bit too much if you ask me. There are things that are very welcome like the equalizer, presets, ANC and wear detection. But do we really need things like 3D sound where you need to connect to third party apps to even use it? To me this feels like more of a gimmick. A lot of people also complain about the Auto-ANC and the lack of customising this yourself. I get where people come from but I must say I didn’t have a very bad experience with it. I would like to see Sony shave a bit off its options like the 3D sound and keep the good stuff. There is still hope though as it seems Sony keeps updating the software.

Should you buy the Sony WH-1000XM5?

For me personally the Sony WH-1000XM5 is a fantastic headset. Whenever I want some peace and quiet I tend to grab them. Weather it’s some ambience music for relaxing, an audiobook, some loud rock music or easy pop songs, the Sony delivers. I even use them at night in my bed. They feel very comfortable and reliable to me. For me they have been worth the price I paid, I did get them during a sale though. Normally the Bose QC45 was around €130,- cheaper and to me they aren’t €130,- better. for the price difference of about €70,- they were worth it for me. I do recommend picking up the white/grey version though because the black one shows all your skin oils.

The Jabra Elite Active 4 could be your new best friend.

Recently I switched to a new phone, the Pixel 6A. Beautiful device, love it so far, but it doesn’t have a 3,5mm jack. So here begins a new quest for me; finding a wireless headset that is good for me. After looking around the internet, my eyes fell on the Jabra Elite Active 4.

Bought out of necessity?

Late last week I replaced my Pixel 4a 5G with a Pixel 6a. My biggest doubt when purchasing the new Pixel variant was the lack of a 3.5mm connection. At home, I often use my Sennheiser HD660S headset in the evening to listen to music. In the end I took the plunge because the design of the Pixel 6a really appealed to me. I thought, fine then I’ll just use a usb-c to 3.5mm converter if I really have to at home. And my wife has a Bose QC45 which I was sure I could use whenever I wanted. Well… Turns out I do miss the convenience of just plugging in my wired Sennheiser buds I always carry in my jacket with me. And my wife has paired the QC45 with her phone as well, so now whenever she decides to listen to an audiobook my music goes away or vice versa. I decided I needed some wireless earbuds.

Welcome to the jungle

No i’m not talking about that fantastic song; Im talking about the jungle of wireless earbuds. I didn’t really know where to start but I made a small list of demands:

  • Somewhere around €100,-
  • Multipoint
  • Not an Apple product, since I use windows and Android
  • Not the shape of the airpods
  • USB-C

Turns out there are so many shapes of earbuds, marketing terms, brands. Looking around the internet, reading reviews, scrolling to reddit, watching youtube… It didn’t make things a lot easier for me.

Jabra Elite Active 4

Then I stumbled on a pair of Jabra headsets after seeing an advertisement on a website. I used a Jabra headset in the past which served me well so I decided to take a closer look. The Jabra active 4 was on a discount and caught my eye. The things that appealed to me where:

  • Nice design
  • Water, sweat and dirt resistant
  • Multi point (more on this later)
  • ANC + hear through
  • Good looking App (sleek, no fuss)
  • USB C
  • Around budget (recommended price €110,-)
  • Reputable brand

Specifications of the Jabra Elite Active 4


  • Bluetooth 5.2


  • ANC
  • Adjustable HearThrough
  • Sound-insulating design
  • SBC and Qualcomm® aptX™
  • Adjustable EQ
  • 4-microphone technology

Ease of use

  • Mono mode
  • Rechargeable battery (Up to 7 hours of battery life in the earbuds, and 21 hours in the charging case)
  • Fast Charging
  • Instant access to apps Play with Spotify Tap* (Android only)
  • Google Fast Pair
  • Voice assistant support Alexa built-in (Android only), Siri® and Google Assistant

Design and comfort

  • Compact design


  • 3 Pairs of Round Silicone EarGels (S, M, L)
  • Charging case
  • USB-A to USB-C cable


  • IP57 Waterproof and made of high quality, durable materials
  • 2 year warranty against dust and water (after registration in App)


  • Jabra Sound+

Unboxing the Jabra Elite Active 4

The Jabra set came in a nice little carton box made from recycled material.
Inside you will find the case containing the earbuds, some reading material, and a blister with two extra pairs of ear-tips; an S and an L next to the standard M size that are already on the buds.
In the supplied documentation, Jabra refers to the Jabra Sound+ app to get the most out of the earbuds. Unfortunately, the buds and the box were empty so I first had to give them some juice.

Build quality and comfort

The earbuds look neat and feel solid. under the logo is a push button which is easy, but not too easy to press. Unlike some of the other earbuds from Jabra such as Elite 3 or Elite 7 pro, the push buttons are not visible here, but have a protective layer to guarantee water and dirt resistance. There is also a filter around the microphone. The silicone plugs are not easy to pull off so will not quickly become loose or lost. On the other hand, they are easy to get back on. I’ve had a lot more trouble with this with other earplugs.

The Jabra Elite Active 4 earbuds have an attractive design

The case is neat but simple with a magnetic closure. Don’t expect high-end design or wireless charging here. It gets the job done, no more, no less. It does fit in the small pocket of a pair of jeans, very handy!

The earplugs themselves go well in my ears with the standard plugs and immediately stay in place surprisingly well. Shaking my head hard didn’t let them fall out. The shape is also well adapted to the ear, nice that the claims of Jabra seem to be correct. The Sennheiser ear plugs were immediately painful around the ear for me. However, especially in the beginning, I always had the feeling in my right ear that the earplug was in danger of coming loose. However, this has not been the case. This may be because the plug is firmly in the ear, but the housing around it is not secured by means of a wing or the like. After a while I no longer had this feeling.

The case of the Jabra Elite Active 4 is nice and compact but lacks wireless charging

Sound+ app

As suggested by the instructions I downloaded the Jabra app. I was then able to pair the earbuds with this and provide them with the latest firmware update. The app looks user-friendly and clear. It is possible to choose what to see and in which order. If the earbuds are not connected, you can request the last known location, provided you have given permission for this. For getting a full two year covery of warranty against dust and water damage you need to register the headset through the app. Personally I prefer apps which don’t require any registration.

Once connected to the earbuds, after downloading the latest update, an individual battery status of both earbuds as well as the case can be seen. I personally like this very much, especially because I sometimes only use a single earplug. There are also various sound presets, but you can also adjust the equalizer to taste. Personally I like the smooth preset. There is just enough bass for my personal taste without giving to much high pitches in the treble to which my ears can be a bit sensitive. For example, the strength of the Noise Cancellation as well as the sound of your own voice during a call can be adjusted, but it is also possible to set whether or not to play music after activating the hear through mode. I personally find the Sound+ app very pleasant and of added value, I have experienced this differently.


In my opinion, the Jabras give a very pleasant sound when playing various types of music. Nowhere do I have the feeling that an angel has taken up residence in my ears and sings its tunes to me, but it sounds “just right”. No shrill sound, no crackling, just good music. Whether I play Dire Straights or Metallica, it all sounds great. Of course not on the same level as my HD660S in combination with a Topping DX3 Pro+ DAC, but a lot better than my daughter’s Huawei buds, for example.

ANC and HearThrough on the Jabra Elite Active 4

Speaking of the ANC, I found it to work fine, though not class leading. When I enabled the ANC mode annoying sounds in my house like that of the cat fountain or robot vacuum where inaudible, Some higher pitched sounds were still able to come through though. All in all it is acceptable for me, I wasn’t expecting the same performance as a Bose headset after all.

You can adjust the level of noise suppression

HearTrough works perfectly fine. I was able to hear everything around me in a perfect and natural way without any distracting metallic sound signature. It is possible in the app the choose whether music should stop, or continue to play while enabling HearThrough mode.

No multipoint

While I initially thought this model had multipoint support, it turns out that this option is not available. I can understand the absence of wear-detection, but not having multipoint is kind of a deal breaker for me personally in this price class. Jabra added the option later in the Pro 7 model so it seems like something that could still be added, from what I have read online though, Jabra has no plans to include it in this model.


I am very satisfied with the Jabra Elite 4 active earbuds. They are very comfortable for me, although in the beginning had a kind of phantom feeling that one of the ear plugs would come loose. Sound is really fine, although they will not be classified as audiophile material. AAC and Aptx support is present. The absence of multipoint is something I personally find an odd choice in this price-class.

Overall I am very pleased with these earplugs! If you don’t have a huge need for multipoint, then the Elite active 4 earplugs are highly recommended in my opinion!


  • Decent ANC
  • HearThrough works great
  • Good Battery life
  • Nice app
  • Water and dust proof


  • No Multipoint
  • No Aptx support


I bought this set with my own money, Jabra had nu influence on my opinions. This article was first published by me at in Dutch.

It’s here! Akko’s first south-facing keyboard: MOD 007S v2 review

Akko makes a lot of different keyboards. I have covered some of these different boards on this website. Most keyboards Akko sells have a polycarbonate housing and come complete with keycaps and switches. But the company also has a DIY line-up. These boards are made with customization in mind and come without keycaps or switches. The MOD 007 and its Improved brother, the MOD 007 v2 have been among the bestsellers in this line-up. Now Akko has introduced the MOD 007S v2 which is Akko’s first keyboard with a south-facing switch layout.

North vs South

Up until now Akko has produced all of it’s keyboards with a north facing switch layout. This means the LED’s in the switch sockets are on the upper side. Some people like prefer this because this way the leds don’t shine in your face. But many enthusiasts are specifically looking for keyboards with a south facing layout. The main reason for this is that the populair Cherry-style layout of keycaps can interfere with a north facing layout. Akko answered the call and made an updated version of the popular MOD 007 v2.

Youtuber Romsicle made a very informative about the differences between North- and South facing boards. You can check it out here.

Specifications of the Akko MOD 007S v2

The specs according to Akko’s website:

  • Plate: aluminum and polycarbonate plates;
  • Gasket Mount: the aluminum plate comes with silicon gasket (to avoid misplacement) by default with spare poron gaskets for users to pick;
  • The MOD007v2 will not come as pre-assembled (screws provided), making it easier for users to mod;
  • Comes with both poron plate foam and bottom case foam, specifically the case foam is pre-cut against the hot-swappable sockets to reduce unnecessary space for improved sound profile;
  • Poron switch pads added to the kit;
  • Reduced PCBa thickness to 1.2mm to increase the softness, and be compatible with more screw-in stabilizers;
  • Black Coiled Cable.



The first thing I noticed, this box was a lot heavier then the previous ones I had on my desk from Akko. Akko’s headphone wearing alien-cat (or whatever it is) is once again up front next to the companies name. The exterior looks like there is a reason to celebrate with all the colored dots. So I decided to find out and remove the wrapper.

Under the wrapper is a chique and sturdy box with Akko Designer Studio printed in silver. I cannot read the symbols above, I presume they say the same.

Taking a look inside the MOD 007S v2

Inside the box the top of the keyboard is bundled with the metal plate, plate foam and the silicon gaskets attached to it. , bags which include the knob, the optional poron gaskets, screws and manual can all be found here. Diving deeper inside we find the polycarbonate plate and the bottom housing with the optional lower case foam and switch pad.

Assembling the MOD 007S v2

Plate, foam and tape

I chose to build the board with the polycarbonate plate as this is my preference when it comes to sound and feel. The first thing I did was adding some screw in stabs, also from Akko. These are of very good build quality and come with sound dampening stickers as well. I lubed the housings gently with some g205g0 and the wires with dielectric grease.

Next up I added the switch pad material and plate foam. I went with three layers of painters tape on the back of the pcb and went without the lower case foam. I added pieces of bandaid on the lower part of the case next to the screw holes to avoid any pinging sounds.

Switches and Keycaps

The Jelly black switches (review) were my choice for this build. They compliment the screw in stabs from Akko very well as they both have a dark-smoke housing. For the keycaps I chose the Akko Black and Cyan kit. Personally I find this a very stylish combination. Please take a look at the pictures I made and judge for yourself.

Using the MOD 007S v2


The board feels and looks premium from every angle. And as far as build quality goes, there is really nothing to complain about, it is built like a tank.

I really liked the feel of the Jelly blacks (which also come as a pre-lubed option) in this board and paired with the I was very satisfied. Eventually I did remove the layers of tape and instead added the included case foam and changed the rubber gaskets for the porron versions. This was for me a more satisfying typing experience. All this is very personal ofcourse and that is what the MOD series is all about. I was thinking of getting the Macaw keycaps as an upgrade myself.


Akko is still using its own software; Akko cloud. While this works fine for the most part, I still hope they will add VIA support to their boards in the future, especially for the MOD series. For the most part Akko cloud is easy to use and intuitive but I wished for total control of customization. The knob can be used to adjust the level of lightning on the board and after pressing it once, it will control the volume of your pc. I would have liked to adjust it for other purposes like zooming or scrolling.

South facing LED’s

Ok, VIA support isn’t here yet, but another highly requested feature finally is! Akko has implemented a south facing layout in this board which ensures perfect compatibility with Cherry-style keycaps. The LEDs themselves are of great quality and shine bright and vivid when needed. At first I was a bit worried of having a burst of light shining in my eyes, but fortunately this was not the case. I don’t have any cherry-style keycaps myself so I never had the problem of incompatibility but it is sure nice to know this won’t be of any issue in the future. All the usual lightning settings can be found on the board.


The MOD 007S v2 is a very nice board which can compete with boards like the Keychron Q1 and GMK. While I personally would choose the MOD007S v2 over the GMK, the Keychron Q1 is a tougher nut to crack. Its biggest pro is the VIA and QMK support which Akko doesn’t have. Akko does win with the build quality though as the MOD series do seem to have a nicer finish with their aluminium. I have also read numerous reports of not so great after sales from Keychron which do concern me. It is up unto the end-user to decide which of these things are the most important of course.

I do wish Akko they included screw in stabs as a standard, the included ones are not that bad and come pre-lubed. I still prefer the screw in version though. I am very curious to see if the board will come available in other colors, but trust me, the product pictures don’t do the board justice, it’s even more beautiful in real-life! Overall I am very impressed by the MOD 007S v2. You can order the keyboard directly from

unfortunately the Akko MOD 007S v2 isn't wireless
My Chromebook loves the board too…. If only it was wireless 🙂


This product was send to me by the Akko. Opinions are my own. This review may contain referral links. By using these links you support this website and allow us to get products in for review and testing.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex5 review: My first Chromebook

If you asked me a couple of years back if I would ever buy a Chromebook, I would have kept laughing. I was of the opinion these were wannabe laptops for kids.

Recently I did buy one in an impulse though. I thought: let ‘s see if i can use this to write some stuff on the go or give it to the kid for watching some YouTube.

What is a Chromebook?

A Chromebook is an alternative to the classic laptop running Chrome OS. Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system which sits somewhere between that of a classic laptop and that of a Tablet. At first they were presented mainly as a cost-effective device for schools. They can be used with Google ‘s office alternatives, watch movies on YouTube or browse the internet. Unlike windows laptops in the same price range Chromebooks are responsive, fast and don’t need an anti-virus program running in the background.

A little history


Back in the day I worked as a salesman at an electronic store. Apart from household appliances, fridges, tv’s and all kinds of other electronics we sold computers and laptops. These mostly consisted of consumer brands like HP, Acer, Packard Bell and Asus. Most of these brands started to come with so called Netbooks around 2007. The Netbook’s purpose was to give consumers a cost-effective way to access online content. Back then we didn’t have big mobile phones with large internet contracts.


Netbooks were not known for being fast. They usually had a Celeron or Atom processor, coupled with 1 or 2GB of RAM, and a maximum of 32gb of storage space. Usually they were shipped with windows Xp and later windows 7 starter. Screen sizes typically ranged from 7 to 10″. Netbooks typically had a price between €179,- to €279,-.

A Netbook

Use cases

Me and my colleagues usually presented them as portable devices to watch some movies, or to make notes on. There really wasn’t that much else to do with them to be honest. The things were slow and the build quality usually wasn’t that fantastic either. I noticed most people buying these mini-laptops were parents, wanting to give the kids a “my first Sony” laptop.

Death of the Netbook

Netbooks slowly died out as fewer people wanted a small and sluggish device when the normal laptops became less bulky and cheaper. Smartphones with bigger screens started to come out and people had more access to WIFI and mobile data.

The final nail in the coffin was the Tablet-rage which was started by Apples Ipad and followed by Samsung, Asus and many others.

Introduction of the first Chromebooks

A year or so after the release of the Ipad, Chromebooks started to come out. They were marketed as cheap, safe and fast alternatives for laptops in the classroom. Students did not need to rely on expensive software and there were no risks of viruses. Brands like Samsung and Acer were among the first ones to launch these devices. Unlike the Ipad a Chromebook came in a laptop design which means a keyboard was attached to the device.

An earlier Chromebook model

The Google play store on your Chromebook

Everyone who owns an Android device is familiar with the google play store. When Google announced that Chromebooks would support apps from its play store they instantly became a lot more interesting for most people. Not all apps are optimized to be used on a Chromebook though so sometimes you wil have to manually make the screen for it larger. Most of the time though there are no issues.

The Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 Chromebook

A challenging quest

I was looking for a portable device to be able to write some articles on the go. At first I thought of just using my wife’s windows laptop. But after taking it with me to the local library there were two major issues I had with it. It was big and bulky, and it had terrible battery life. I started to look at some smaller laptops and set myself a budget of €500,-. Of course I soon discovered there are a lot of compromises to make in this price-range. Screens are usually not that great, storage is small, keyboards are rubbish or or the build quality is just awful. Most of the time a couple of these negatives were fused together in one package.

Stumbling upon a deal that would change my mind

When browsing through some forums, websites and looking at some buying guides I stumbled upon the Lenove Flex 5 Chromebook. For €399,- it had a pretty impressive list of specifications, ill list the most important ones here:

  • 13.3 inch full-HD OLED touch screen
  • 100% DCPI
  • touchscreen
  • 8GB of LPDDR4X ram
  • Core I3-1115G4 processor
  • 256GB M.2 SSD
  • WIFI 802.11AX
  • two USB C 3.2 Gen1 ports
  • one USB A 3.2
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • foldable screen (you can use it as a tablet or put it in tent mode for example)

As you can see this is a pretty impressive package for just €399,-. So i thought, lets do it. At worst case scenario I’ll just use it as a tablet replacement.

The Lenovo Chromebook in real life

The laptop, or Chromebook in this case makes a solid impression. The Chromebook is mostly made of sturdy polycarbonate material with an aluminum lid. I like the dark grayish color and compact design. On the left you can find on the of the USB-C ports, an USB-A, the headphone jack and a microSD port. on the right there is a second USB-C port and a kensington slot.

The Oled panel

This particular model comes with a Samsung Oled panel. This ensures the screen is vivid and has beautiful blacks. Watching movies on this device is a treat. There is a risk of burn in with an Oled panel, but personally I’m not that concerned as I never use any static images on my screen for prolonged periods. The screen is touch sensitive so when folding it around it can be used like a tablet.

The Oled panel delivers beautiful blacks

Tablet and tent mode

Like I said, the Lenovo Chromebook can be folded flat. This way the keyboard sits on the back and is automatically disabled. You can use the Chromebook in tablet mode this way which can be handy when you are using some of the apps or streaming services on the couch. I ordered myself a Lenovo USI-pen which this device supports so I can use the pen for drawing or making notes in tablet mode. Another option is to set it in “tent” mode. I use this mode in the kitchen sometimes when I want to look at a recipe for example while cooking.

The tent mode can be useful
Yeah I’m no artist…


Lenovo has gotten much praise over the years for their excellent keyboards in their ThinkPad laptops. This Chromebook doesn’t have that same keyboard, but it is still among the better ones I have used on a keyboard. The keyboard has a nice travel and feel to it. There is little flex, unless you press real hard down the middle. The letters are easy to see thanks to the white print on the grey/silver keycaps. I love the fact the keyboard comes with a back-light as well. If you still want to use a separate keyboard though you could check out the Akko 3084B Plus for example. This is the wireless version of the 3084S which I have reviewed on this site.

The keyboard is nice to type on

Audio and connectivity

Audio is ok, nothing that will wow you. For casually watching a show or online conversations it will do just fine. But realistically I think most people pair their portable devices with (wireless) earphones these days. Speaking of wireless, the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 has wifi 6AX and Bluetooth 5.1 which are both not the absolute latest and greatest but still very modern. Good luck finding a portable computer for this price with WIFI 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 though.

Color saturation fix

I did find one issue though which had me concerned I had a defective panel. When watching movies on streaming services or YouTube I sometimes experienced some weird color changes. My screen would give a sudden red or green flickering, at first I thought it had something to do with my settings or the apps I used. Fortunately I found that this is a problem with the automatic display settings in Chrome that does something weird. The color saturation randomly keeps shifting. Until Google finds a fix with a software update there is a way to resolve this manually.

  • type in your browser: chrome://flags
  • Go to force color profile
  • set this to one of the other settings that work for you instead of automatic (for me the best one was SRGB)
You can set the color profile to a fixed value for you Chromebook if necessary.
Change the color profile if your screen has the color saturation bug

Chrome OS

Chrome OS on one hand looks a lot like what you find on most tablets. There are some differences though. Chrome OS is more of a desktop oriented interface which relies on Google’s services, mostly the Chrome browser. In the Chrome browser you can, unlike the mobile version on android tablets, use plugins. Another benefit is the life expectancy. My unit will get software updates for Chrome OS until at least June 2029. With most Android tablets you can feel lucky when you get just 1 update.

One downside is the reliance on internet connectivity. When you don’t have this you can still use your downloaded files or type your text in google’s own alternatives to office but you won’t be able to acces things like Microsoft office which can only be used as an web based version on a Chromebook. This however has been no issue to me so far.

Phone Hub

One of the updates Chrome OS received is the Phone Hub which serves as an extension for your android device. This lets you quickly switch to sites recently visited on your phone, receive notifications and quickly look at the latest shot photos.

Overall impression of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex5 Chromebook

So far I have been very satisfied with the Chromebook. For me it’s a perfect device to use on the couch, take it with me to the library or just do some casual gaming. The screen is very nice, typing on it is excellent, it’s fast, quiet and doesn’t annoy me with notifications or having to restart with every little change.

The battery life is OK, but I have seen better and occasionally I can hear the fan spin briefly. The build quality is decent enough for me but I managed to get a small dent in the aluminium top which annoys me a bit. I also wished there was a convenient way to store the optional USI pen.

Personally I am very satisfied with the Chromebook and will keep this as my portable device next to my desktop.

Sennheiser HD 599 SE review : diamond in the rough?

Just like with mechanical keyboards, the world of headphones can be quite the rabbit hole. Today we will be taking a look at a headphone that is regularly on sale on Amazon. Is it any good, should you grab one on sale, or is it even worth getting at its MSRP? Let’s take a look at the Sennheiser HD 599 SE.

The Sennheiser HD 599 was originally launched in 2016. It was introduced as a successor to the popular HD 598. The sound on the HD 599 SE has been tuned, improvements have been made to the build and there is a bit more bass.

First up

I am no audiofile, so don ‘t expect any professional measurements or things like that. I am just an audio lover, enthusiastic, or whatever you want to name it. I love listening to music on the headphones I own and want to share my personal experience. If you want professional measurements I can highly recommend Audiosciencereview. There are also a lot of different YouTube videos to be found about headphones, but my personal advice is to always listen to a headphone and see if YOU like the sound.

Sennheiser, what’s in a name?

Chances are small you have never heard of the name Sennheiser. But where does it come from? The name Sennheiser comes from its founders last name; Fritz Sennheiser. Fritz Sennheiser founded the company, then named Laboratory Wennebostel, or simply ‘Labor W’ in 1945. After making equipment for another well known German company: Siemens, Sennheiser soon started making their own products.

Decades after Fritz Sennheiser started the company in a farmhouse, Sennheiser is still in the hands of the family.

You read the entire history of Sennheiser at their website.

The HD 500 series of headphones

The HD 500 series of headphones are a mid-range series from Sennheiser. These headphones provide a healthy mix of great quality sound with affordable prices. They aren’t known for providing great bass though. The series consists of several models with each having slight differences in sound-profile, price and comfort. Most of the models are so-called open back headphones. Open back headphones generally give a wider soundstage but do tend to leak sound. Therefore they are better suited to private listening sessions and not meant for commuting for example.

What’s in the box

The Sennheiser HD 599 comes with two cables, a 1.2 meter cable that ends in 3,5mm and a 3 meter cable which ends in 3,5mm. Sennheiser also includes a 3,5mm to 2,5mm adapter. Both cables end in a 2,5mm plug which locks into the headphone.

Specifications of the Sennheiser HD 599 SE

Impedance50 Ω
Frequency response12- 38,500 Hz
Sound pressure level (SPL)106dBSPL (1kHz/1Vrms)
THD, total harmonic distortion<0.1% (1kHz, 100dBSPL)
Weight250 g

Feel and comfort

The HD 599 SE is very comfortable to wear. There is nice padding and the velour ear cups feel very soft, they sit around the ears. There is very little pressure and the headphones can be worn for hours without feeling heavy or uncomfortable. When on a hot summer day though the headphone can become a bit uncomfortable to wear. But personally I find this to be true on most headphones. The cables aren’t my favorite; they do tend to make sound when moving them against my shirt for example.

The sound of the Sennheiser HD599 SE

The HD 599 is a very pleasant headphone for listening to almost any genre. Music sounds lively, voices are clear and natural and the soundstage is good. Being an open back headphone, bass isn’t its strongest card but it is still there.

Gaming is also very nice with the HD 599. The headphones give a good sense of the environment while playing online shooters and they are great at positioning all kinds of sounds.

Should you buy the Sennheiser HD599 SE?

The HD 599 SE can regularly be found for around €100,- on Amazon. If you are looking for a comfortable open back headphone to listen to your favorite music I think it is money well spend. These headphones are also very well suited for playing (online) games.

Being very easy to drive at 50 Ohm the headset is very versatile and doesn’t need a headphone amp. It is also great for listening to you favorite playlist on your smartphone.

If you want to analyze every song and hear every crack in a song, these aren’t your headphones. Take a look at the HD 560S instead.

Akko 3084S Shine Through review: colorful keyboard

This is the third keyboard from Akko I will be covering. I started with the 3098B Black and Gold edition and later got my hands on the Alice Plus Black. This time I will be looking at a more compact keyboard in white; the Akko 3084S Shine Through.



SwitchAkko CS Jelly Pink/Akko CS Jelly Purple 
InterfaceUSB Type-C
MacroAkko Macro V1.0
N-key rolloverSupports
Disable WinlockSupports
BacklightRGB backlight
Interchangeable during operationYes


WeightApproximately 0.74 kg
MaterialPBT material
Printing technologyDouble shot shine through
Printed on the sideN / A

Accessories that come with the 3084S Shine Through

The keyboard comes in the familiar black Akko box with a wrapper around it showcasing the keyboard. Inside there is a user manual and another thing we have come to expect from Akko. This of course is the a box with extra keycaps. With these extra keycaps it is possible to use the keycaps in a full size keyboard for example. Extra’s like media keys and even keycaps for an ISO layout are included! No different colors this time though, they are all of the same white shine through sort. BUt you can check out other models with different kinds of keycaps here. Akko also included a keycap puller and switch puller. The latter being something Akko didn’t always provide in the past with other models.

Included are a USB-C cable, a keycap puller and switch puller

A closer look

Taking a closer look at the keyboard itself we can see the board is quite simple in design. There are no logo’s to be found and the bezels are small. On the top left a USB-c connection can be found. The cable has a cover around its USB-c connector making it look like its part of the chassis when connected. Personally I like this approach, because it makes for a clean look. On the back a pair of rubberized feet can be found which have two stages of height adjustment. Apart from this a large sticker with the keyboards model number and other information like the serial number can be found. On the upper right side are some small LED status indicators.


The provided keycaps are made of a double shot PBT material. Unlike other keycaps from Akko which have a secondary solid color injected in the keycaps these caps can let light through. Unlike some cheap third party keycaps, here only the symbols and letters let light through so the rest of the caps keep their solid base color. The caps feel nice and sturdy, though they seem a bit less thick than my other ASA keycaps from Akko. The ASA profile is used in many of Akko’s keycaps. The have the spherical shape of SA keycaps and their height is similar to that of OEM keycaps. and their height is similar to the OEM profile. If you don’t want shine through keycaps, there are plenty of beautiful sets you can buy from Akko that can match the white frame of this board like the Los Angeles keycap set.


The stabilizers are a nice upgrade from the ones found in the older 3084 models. These are the purple ones that are also present in my 3098B. These come pre-lubed and are very stable out of the box. Of course manual lubing and giving these a band-aid mod can improve them even more. The 3084S Shine Through does not support screw-in stabs.

Inside the 3084S Shine Through

Taking apart the keyboard is not something I would recommend with this model. The frame itself is not the easiest to open up. I was able to open it using my triangular prying tools, which came in my iFixit essentials kit. The frame is even thinner and feels more fragile than on the 3098B black and gold I reviewed though. After removing the frame and removing the keycaps I had to remove some screws from the top plate. This was easy enough as there are no cables inside the board due to the lack of software support and wireless connectivity. The boards sibling, the 3084B does have wireless capabilities if that is what you want. The 3084S Shine Through has sound dampening foam on the bottom of the housing with precisely made cutouts so it fits the back of the PCB perfectly. This helps to reduce any hollow sounds quite significantly.

Jelly Pink Switches

The switches I chose for the keyboard are the Jelly Pink switches. Just like the Jelly Purple and Jelly black I have these have a dust-proof stem made of POM material. The Dust proof stem design also helps against wobbling. Jelly Pink’s housing is made of a translucent polycarbonate with a pink dye. An extra long spring of 22 mm can be found inside. The Jelly Pink switches are a very smooth switch straight out of the box. I did lube them with Krytox G502g0 for even more smoothness. But like the rest of this board the straight out of the box experience is already very good. You can check out my article about lubing switches if you have no experience with it.

The true colors of the Akko 3084S Shine Through

Like most keyboards the Akko 3084S Shine through has RGB lightning. The keyboard doesn’t have any software, so you will need to use some key combinations to set it up. The effects themselves are very nice on this board. This is mainly thanks to the shine through keycaps but the white plate helps with this as well.


The 3084S Shine Through is a nice compact keyboard. It is a keyboard that is perfect for someone who wants their first mechanical keyboard with the option of using different switches. It provides a solid base with good quality keycaps, switches and stabilizers. If a person doesn’t feel comfortable with modding this can be a good board as well. There is sound dampening material included, the Jelly Pink switches are very good out of the box and the lubrication of the stabilizers is pretty decent as well. The board is sturdy and doesn’t squeak. If you prefer a tactile switch you can choose the Jelly Purple switch. I made a review of these as well.

An issue for some people can be the lack of wireless connectivity. If you want this board with bluetooth and 2,4Ghz support you will have to go for the regulair 3084B. This version doesn’t come with shine through keycaps but instead has normal ones. You can always buy a pack of shine through keycaps with it ofcourse. Another thing that people should be aware of is that this, however possible isn’t my recommendation for a user who wants to mod the keyboard in all possible manners. The frame is a bit hard to open and quite thin so could easily break when opening.

All in all this is another solid board from Akko. This can be a perfect starting point to the hobby of mechanical keyboards or just a solid hassle free small form factor board. The board is available in both black and white. I personally prefer the white version as it can be matches easily with almost any set of keycaps. A very nice match could be the new Provence set for example. of course matching the board with one of the beautiful limited edition world tour series keycaps is a great option as well!

Looking for a full size wireless keyboard with a unique look? Check out the Akko Kuromi 5108B plus!

Akko is one of the most popular brands in the custom keyboard scene. They make beautiful keycaps, great switches and very nice keyboards. A few of these products have been tested and reviewed here but there are a lot more nice products for sale on their website. One of these unique keyboard designs is the new Akko Kuromi 5108B plus keyboard.

Specs of the Akko Kuromi 5108B plus

  • 5108B Plus with Beken Plus Multi-modes Chip that Supports BT5.0/2.4Ghz/Type-C (3000 mAh Battery );
  • 5-Pin Hot-swappable;
  • Comes with Both Plate Foam and Case Foam;
  • RGB Backlit;
  • Programmable with Akko cloud
  • Dye-Sub PBT JDA Profile Keycaps.

About the keyboard

The Akko 5108B Kuromi is a full-sized mechanical keyboard with triple connection modes. It supports high-speed Wireless 2.4GHz, Wireless Bluetooth 5.0, and Wired USB Type-C connections supporting a variety of devices straight out of the box. The keyboard uses premium JDA profile, PBT material keycaps. They are not only durable but also have a rich finish to them. The keyboard has a combination of three colors for the theme, elegant white, sweet purple, and lovely pink. Akko has featured Kuromi design elements on both the keyboard chassis and the keycaps.

Hot swappable sockets

The Akko 5108B uses a 5-pin hot swappable socket which also supports 3-pin switches. This ensures most aftermarket switches will fit on the board. Of course Akko also sells many great switches like the tactile V3 Cream Blue Pro and the light and beautiful Crystal switches.

The Akko Kuromi 5108B is not afraid to show its true colors

The board comes with built-in RGB which is easily configurable with the Akko clous software. If you want to change keys around or use macros, you can do this with the software as well. But if you are one of the people who prefers to do without software, no problem! It is possible to change the RGB lightning modes on the keyboard itself as well.

Want to take a closer look at the specs or order the board right away? Check it out on Akko’s official website for Europe here.(worldwide shipping)