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The Nuphy Air60 Keyboard is a tiny mechanical keyboard perfect for pairing with an iPad mini on the go or for use as an alternative to your MacBook keyboard.

As mechanical keyboards become more mainstream, manufacturers are trying to be more clever in their presentation and feature set. The Nuphy Air60 may be built for portability, but it is a fully-featured mechanical keyboard without compromise.

Keyboards run the gamut from the four-pound Keychron Q1 to the ultra-thin Magic Keyboard, and Nuphy seems to have combined the best of both worlds. You get the improved key travel and comfort of a mechanical keyboard while fitting it in a case that can slip into your backpack on the way to the cafe.

Nuphy Air60 design

There is more to the Nuphy keyboard design than what can be perceived at first glance. It is built to be both a great MacBook companion and iPad keyboard all in one layout.

The keyboard has a sloped frame from 22mm to 17mm and tiny rubber feet in the four corners on the bottom. Small magnets are hidden in the body to keep the case, called the NuFolio, from sliding when in use.

The feet are placed so that the Nuphy keyboard can sit directly on top of a MacBook keyboard without activating the keys. We tested this on the 14-inch MacBook Pro and it does fit even with the redesigned key layout.

The Nuphy Air60 fits on top of the MacBook Pro keyboard

The Nuphy Air60 fits on top of the MacBook Pro keyboard

While few people would consider using a separate keyboard on top of the MacBook keyboard, this is an interesting design choice and may be useful for those dealing with sticky or broken keys on their older MacBooks.

The keyboard itself is very thin and light. It is hard to believe that there are mechanical switches below those keycaps, let alone hot-swappable ones.

The RGB backlights are made so they glow around the key evenly. There are also LED indicators on either side of the keyboard that show things like caps lock, power level, and other system functions.

Nuphy says the keycaps are the world's first ultra-thin keycaps measuring only 4.6 mm thin. The keys are smooth, pleasant to type on, and don't feel cheap or wobbly.

The plastic base could pose durability issues down the line

The plastic base could pose durability issues down the line

The frame is made from aluminum, but the bottom is plastic. Since this is targeted as a portable keyboard, there is some concern that this material may crack if dropped or placed in an overly tight bag for too long. But, the material also aids in keeping the keyboard light, so it is an understandable tradeoff.

NuFolio case

Add in the NuFolio V2 case and the Nuphy Air60 becomes a workstation suited for your iPad or iPhone. The case unfolds into a stand, and the clasp holds it in place.

We're not overly excited by the color choice and wish that Nuphy had a neutral option. The orange exterior with the large brand patch is a bit flashy, but the soft gray interior is much easier on the eyes once unfolded.

The NuFolio Case is a bright orange color

The NuFolio Case is a bright orange color

The material is grippy, so the case won't slide on whatever surface you're working on. And the magnets holding the keyboard in place make everything feel more sturdy overall.

The snap that closes the case and secures the iPad stand isn't ideal. We'd have preferred a magnetic clasp or some other mechanism, but it isn't a deal-breaker.

The NuFolio Case becomes a small tablet stand

The NuFolio Case becomes a small tablet stand

However, the iPad or iPhone sits in the fold of the stand, and nothing is keeping it in place. We wouldn't recommend trying to use this keyboard/case combination in your lap, though it technically works.

The keyboard is small but still wider than a 12.9-inch iPad Pro held in landscape. That means any iPad can sit comfortably in portrait or landscape in the NuFolio case without overlap.

We've tested the case with an iPad mini and iPhone side by side and used the fast switching feature to type on both devices with ease. The Nuphy keyboard combined with the case would make a great coffee shop companion.

Customization

The Air60 has hot-swappable switches

The Air60 has hot-swappable switches

While mechanical keyboard enthusiasts buy these devices for switch actuation, acoustics, and comfort, they also crave customization options. Despite being half the size and weight of other mechanical keyboards, the Nuphy Air60 is as customizable and fully featured.

The ultra-thin keycaps pop off using a standard tool and can be replaced with other keycaps that use the "+" shaped connector found on Cherry-style switches. Luckily Nuphy uses a standard layout, and none of the keys are shaped awkwardly, so you can throw on a set of third-party keycaps without issue.

However, the keys on this keyboard are designed to be flat and thin to be compatible with the NuFolio case, so keep that in mind if you switch to taller keys.

Customize the Nuphy Air60 with new keycaps

Customize the Nuphy Air60 with new keycaps

Below the keycaps are a set of mechanical switches. Nuphy sells the Air60 keyboard with brown, red, or blue low-profile Gateron switches. The switches are hot-swappable, so users can trade out these switches without soldering.

The RGB backlight and side lights are also customizable. Users can change the pattern, speed, color, and brightness using the Function key and the arrow keys.

Using the Nuphy Air60 keyboard

Anyone coming from an Apple Magic Keyboard should feel at home on the Nuphy Air60. It has a short actuation distance and not-too-loud sound depending on the switches. The brown switches in this review unit don't require much force and make a pleasant noise overall.

A combination of two keycap sets from Nuphy

A combination of two keycap sets from Nuphy

The keyboard comes with two USB cables, a 1.5m USB-C to USB-A cable and a 0.2 USB-C to USB-C cable. The shorter cable is intended to be used when the keyboard is on top of a MacBook.

The battery life is expected to be around 48 hours on a single charge. We haven't run into any issue keeping the battery charged, and it is more of an afterthought.

It can be paired with up to four devices simultaneously — three Bluetooth and one via a 2.4Ghz dongle. The dongle is USB-A and would likely come in handy for desktop use when low latency is a priority, and quick switching is still desired.

Toggle between Windows and macOS layouts with a switch

Toggle between Windows and macOS layouts with a switch

There are two switches on the back of the keyboard. One toggles the keyboard between off, wired, and wireless, while the other is a Mac/Windows switch.

We've enjoyed using the Nuphy Air60 and find its tiny size is great for storing in many locations. It stays on a side table by the couch for note-taking on the iPad mini when at home. When traveling, it slips into even the smallest sling bag while in the NuFolio case.

Should you buy the Nuphy Air60?

Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts shouldn't pass this keyboard up, especially if they want the best companion for their iPad mini or iPad Air. Apple doesn't offer a Magic Keyboard Case or Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini, so we think this is a good alternative.

This is also a great first mechanical keyboard for someone looking to get into the ever-more popular hobby. Its small size and range of functionality make this a great travel keyboard or one that fits on a small table in your home.

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Great for mechanical keyboard newcomers
  • Portability without sacrifice to functionality
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Durability and longevity in question thanks to plastic base
  • No neutral NuFolio option
  • NuFolio snap isn't ideal versus alternative

Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Where to buy

You can purchase the Nuphy Air60 on the Nuphy website for $109.95. Choose between red, blue, or brown Gateron switches and add the NuFolio case for $20.