| DIY Barebone Kit | Alice 65% | Hot-Swappable | Gasket-mounted | South-facing |
MonsGeek M6, the newest QMK barebones DIY kit from MonsGeek.
The MonsGeek M6 is created to fulfill the needs of keyboard enthusiasts looking for a quality DIY custom keyboard to build up with premium components but who want a different approach to the classic keyboard layout.
The MonsGeek M6 is available in 3 different colors:
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ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING
The kit comes inside a large box with a good amount of protective foam inside.
Bundled with the kit you will get:
• Half coiled USB-C cable
• Dampening layers and accessories
• Akko screw-in stabilizers (4*2u+1*6.25u)
• Keyboard cover
• Allen key
• Keycap remover
The MonsGeek M6 follows the design style of the brand with a clean and minimalistic aesthetic.
The kit has a 65%, alice-style layout with a full aluminum CNC case and gasket mount design. The case uses a nice metallic finish with a slight pearled texture while on each lateral edge of the case you will find a silver-colored metal accent – this is actually a full independent piece that can be removed if you disassemble the case and which will be available to customize and replace with upcoming accessories and designs from the brand.
If you are into flashy keyboards with all sort of knobs, sliders, lights and displays, this is not the right model for you. Instead, the M6 has a more premium and almost business-alike feel. Of course, this will greatly depend on the type of keycaps that you decide to use for the kit. With the AKKO BOW keycaps that we used to assembled it, the MonsGeek ends up looking sleek, elegant and smoothly harmonic to the eyes – in fact, the premium quality of these PBT keycaps and the black on white design by the AKKO BOW looks born to marry with the M6; also this keycaps kit offer all the special keys size/design to fit an Alice keyboard.
The specific dimension of the kit is: 36.7 x 3.7 x 14.5 cm with a weight of just over 2 kg.
From our assembly decision you will notice that next to R-Alt we placed a R-Ctrl but from factory that should be assembled as Fn. This was a personal decision for the type of use that we make.
The MonsGeek M6 is an alice-style kit, therefore the ergonomics and layout is not like a standard keyboard.
In theory, the alice-layout is better optimized regarding ergonomics and the natural position of the hands and, to be honest, the layout might look intimidating to new users to this type of keyboards but on real life use, the placement, orientation and design of the keys where naturally intuitive from the very beginning requiring very little muscle memory adjustment and for just a couple of specific keys – for example, the new position for the WIN key and also we found slightly more demanding to reach the “Y” key but this was completely compensated when matching it with a wrist pad (a tilting feet design could had also got the job done, but the M6 has fixed-height feet)
The kit has a 65% 68-key layout but the general footprint of the case is more inline with a 75% keyboard, which is in part due to the alice design that needs a larger space than a traditional keyboard for the special orientation of the keys.
CONSTRUCTION & BUILD
This MonsGeek kit is a truly solid piece of hardware due to the full-aluminum case build with not a single piece made of plastic nor any flimsy materials.
As soon as you disassemble the unit, you will notice right away the generous thickness used for the case and will understand where the 2 kg come from.
Besides the rugged case, the kit has a Kailh hot-swappable design for 3 and 5 pin switches.
The premium quality extends also over the dampening and insulation layers and variety offered that includes:
• Polycarbonate plate
• Poron plate foam
• Switch pad
• Poron case foam
• 2nd case foam
• VHB insulation layer
• PET insulation layer
• Tape for tape-mod
• Teflon pads
From a connectivity point of view, you will not be getting any multi-connection system nor wireless options.
The MonsGeek M6 is a fully wired DIY kit that uses a removable USB-C cable connection. The unit comes bundled with a thick coiled cable with a rubberized and flexible construction.
CUSTOMIZATION & REPROGRAMMING
The board of the M6 has a hot-swappable design (both 3 and 5-pin switches) so you can build the kit with any compatible switch among the thousands of varieties available on the market.
The PCB uses screw-in stabilizers which are included already with the unit – the specific stabs bundled with the M6 are from Akko (nylon housings and not pre-lubed).
Being a QMK keyboard, the MonsGeek M6 has full access to programmability and customization through VIA and with it’s on-board memory you will be able to have all customizations saved on the unit itself.
The M6 has full per-key reprogrammability, per-key macro and access to 6 different layers.
Also, the kit comes pre-configured with a large option of hot-keys that can be accessed with the combination of the Fn key (same applies for the F number use).
PERFORMANCE & USE
Whether you are into Alice keyboards or not, the MonsGeek M6 still offers a remarkable typing experience that is achieved by the well-implemented Arisu design combined with an efficient multi-layer dampening system that grants a phenomenal key press experience along the whole keyboard and a refined sound profile to enhance the enjoyable typing feel.
Despite lacking special features that some gamers like, the MonsGeek M6 has characteristics that can make it a serious contender for gamers who want premium keyboard quality.
The alice layout gives a more ergonomic-friendly and less-fatiguing position of the hands but some gamers will need a bit of time to reprogram their muscle memory.
Among gaming-capable specs you get:
• Full NKRO and anti-ghosting
The typing and ergonomic experience with the MonsGeek M6 is almost unique and unreachable by a standard pre-assembled, non-alice keyboard.
As a result this will add a whole new level of comfort and boost in productivity but the 65% 68-key layout might limit the workflow as you are not getting the full section of a TKL nor the F number row.
On the other hand you get:
• Hot-swappable board
• Reprogram per key
The massive amount and variety of dampening layers and materials of the M6 can make it a neat choice for general office work as long as you are not planning to carry it around.
The smoothness of each key press, the superb sound profile and the business-premium aesthetics add up to it’s office capabilities.
As a programmer you will have some heavy typing and long hours of use, the wired connection will ensure no missed inputs nor delays of a sleeping keyboard while the refined sound and dampening system will be a superb companion for your never-ending coding lines.
At the beginning of the review we mentioned that the M6 has no flashy lights but this does not mean that it is not equipped with backlighting.
In fact, the device has a south-facing LED board with full RGB backlighting that comes with 18 lighting presets to choose from. All the presets offered a significant light design difference between them, the MonsGeek M6 provides a way more varied option of backlighting than many other custom keyboards on the market.
We assembled the MonsGeek M6 with AKKO V3 PRO Cream Black Pro switches; the V3 PRO series of switches are one the best and most popular from AKKO.
This specific model are linear switches with no tactile nor clicky feedback that has an operating force of 55 gf, pre travel of 2mm and total travel of 3.3mm; which come pre-lubed and have POM stems (with extension spring), PC housing and PC bottom.
It is fair to highlight that although you are not necessarily obliged to apply all the dampening options included with the M6, we did assemble our unit with every dampening material; from all foams and layers, up to the tape mod and Teflon pads.
The keyboard offers a confident sound with a clacky/thocky clean profile. You can expect a deep sound with very good control of both resonance and pinging.
If properly lubricated and with a quality lube like Krytox 205, the bundled stabs provided an outstandingly rattle-free sound and the same premium level of overall sound performance and profile seen on the rest of the keys.
If you are a heavy hitting typer you will note the distinctive sound characteristics of a well done tape-mod. In fact, the AKKO V3 Cream Black Pro also combine very well with this special gratifying sound from the tape-mod as the switches’ stronger operating force results in a harder hitting per key than lighter switches.
On top of that, the vast variety of dampening systems bundled with the M6 also allows users to decide how much of them they want to use and decide the balance/level of dampening:flex ratio.
Overall, the MonsGeek M6 does not only feels and looks premium, it also sounds like an upper-tier level – even more if you assemble it with high-quality switches like the AKKO V3 PRO Black.
The M6 is a QMK kit, thus it can be customized through VIA software or on the cloud with VIA.
MonsGeek M6 Technical Specifications
M6 (international QMK/VIA ver)
Mac & Windows & Linux
Y (not pre-installed)
Akko Screw-in Stabilizer (pre-clipped, but not pre-installed, 4*2u+1*6.25u)
Force Break Mod Stripes
Teflon Pads (not pre-installed)
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