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KiiBoom Moonshadow 81 Mechanical Keyboard – Typing Stories with Matcha Latte – Sapphire – Jacaranda Switches

KiiBoom Moonshadow 81 Mechanical Keyboard – Typing Stories with Matcha Latte – Sapphire – Jacaranda Switches

KiiBoom Moonshadow 81 V2 is a $199 USD keyboard with swappable switches and Keycaps, and all of those are hot swap, with no need to solder or force your way through things, a full aluminum case, and with South Facing RGB Lights. The main reason you’re seeing a keyboard review on our lovely audiophile reviews website is that this website requires a lot of writing to be done, so I have good experience with mechanical keyboards now, having tested a large number of keyboards to find the one I’m most comfortable typing on. 



KiiBoom had a strong entry in the audiophile world, with two good IEMs, the Evoke and the Allure, and in partnership with Epomaker, they decided to specialize on Keyboards. We already reviewed the Phantom 81 V2, and today we have the Moonshadow 81 model, which is also feature-packed, this being a 82-Key Keyboard, designed to take less space on your desk. This one is sold as a Barebone kit, and you’ll need to think of what switches and keycaps you’re getting for it. The PCB works with both 3 and 5 Pin Mechanical switches. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases, and using the purchase links in my reviews helps me maintain this website and Youtube Channel. I’d like to thank KiiBoom for providing the sample for this review, in exchange for my honest opinion. Audiophile-Heaven has no affiliation with KiiBoom beyond this review. 

PROs – Fully Serviceable Without Any Tool, Sturdy Build, Exceptional Looks, Foam Bottom Padding, Silicone Top Padding, Hot-Swap Switches, Beautiful South Facing RGB Lights, No Loose Edges or Ends, No Sharp Edges that you touch, No loose space between the metallic parts, Sounds as if Tempest Mod was already applied, Feels Like a proper premium product every way possible, Perfect angling for typing and gaming. 

Cons – Needs switches and keycaps, being a barebone kit, and those will add around 50 to usd of extra cost, plus 10-20 minutes to assembly.  


Product Link

You can the keyboard from www.amazon.com here – https://amzn.to/4asavnf


Build Quality/Aesthetics

The new Moonshadow 81 is a barebones QMK Kit, so this time around we don’t have any switches, keycaps, or any parts besides the base kit of the keyboard. Still, we have some switches to review from KiiBoom, namely the Matcha Latte, Jacaranda and Sapphire, so we will be using those for today’s review and to explore the Moonshadow 81. Out of respect for this hobby and the keyboard, the entire review will be written on this very keyboard. 

Starting with the base kit, the package includes the keyboard itself, a Type-C cable, one keycap puller and one switch puller. The reason the Moonshadow 81 includes a switch puller is that this is a keyboard with hot swappable switches, allowing you to replace the switches on a whim. Not only this, but the keyboard can be opened up and disassembled without any screwdrivers, you just take the two flaps at the back and pull the metallic top slightly backwards, then you open up the keyboard. With most keyboards such as KeyChron Q6, it was necessary to open it up for adding more damping material, replacing it, and replacing the PCB stabilizers, but Kiibomn is one step ahead, and Moonshadow 81 doesn’t need any of those, as the keyboard itself comes with damping foam, and the top part is made of silicone to further damping the sound of the keycaps and of the switches. 

The metallic part of the case is made of aluminum, and it is tied together using the Mortise – Tenon Technology, basically a way of assembling it at the right angles so that it stays tied together without any screws or moving parts. The layout is 75%, which means that we have shorter two bottom rows of keys, and we have a full number row above, a full F key number, but we don’t have the Printscreen / Screenlock / Pause island. This kind of layout is perfect for those who want the keyboard to be as small as possible, it can be put on your lap, and I never hit it with my mouse, thanks to how small it is. 

The switches are indeed hot swappable, you can easily replace each switch using the puller, and they have a socket they go in. There is a thick silicone pad that the switches must penetrate through to be seated inside of the keyboard, and that feels just right with the Moonshadow 81, as the switches are stable, don’t wobble inside of the sockets. The keyboard accepts both 3 and 5 Pin switches, and has QMK and VIA support for programmable features and layout changes. Since this is a barebone kit, it can be paired with any switches and keycaps in the whole world. The LED lights are south facing, and they are customisable, plus there is a Type-C USB connector at the back. 

I personally still feel more comfortable with a traditional 100% keyboard, which offers the best overall experience for me, but Moonshadow 81 is one of the most practical keyboards I have tested to date, allowing me to easily type and program with no issues. Somehow, I grew used to it quicker than with the Phantom 81 from Kiiboom, and it feels right at home in my hands. There is even NKRO Anti-Ghosting, and the whole barebone kit feels premium. 

Since we’re talking about typing and KiiBoom is a company selling keyboards and switches now, we have to appreciate that they actually proofread their own articles, so the text of each product page actually makes a lot of sense, allowing you to get a pretty good idea of what you’ll get when ordering their products. 


KiiBoom Matcha Latte Switches

This has been the main switch type that I have used with the MoonShadow 81. KiiBoom designed a linear travel switch, with a silky smooth touch type, and although it is smooth, it does have a 55 gf actuation force, and a 62gf bottom out force, which basically means that you will press quite hard on the Matcha Latte switches and never miss press a key. Although I typically use EverGlide Aqua King V3 Switches, I find myself having a higher consistency when typing on the Matcha Latte Switches, even if I use them on KeyChron Q6 MAX, the quality of the Matcha Latte being better. 

The total travel of the Matcha Latte is a bit shorter than the standard 4mm of both the Gateron Oil King and the EverGlide Aqua King V3, but I don’t find that to be an issue, and if anything, it speeds up my writing. The wobbliness of the switch is lower than both Oil King and Aqua King, and Matcha Latte is one of the most solid switches I have ever tested. The color is a light green color, and it allows for light to shine through, which looks beautiful in person. 

KiiBoom does market those as a self-lubricating option, since the stem is made of POM, a material which in theory self lubricates with each key press. I found that after a couple of days of usage of those switches, the typing experience gets more consistent, they become smoother, and the POM material does seem to become more comfortable to type on over time. The housing material is made of Nylon and PC, and the sound of the switch is a 80% mix of thocc and 20% clank, sound low-ptiched and deep while typing. While the switch does not come pre-lubed 


KiiBoom Sapphire Switches

The Sapphire Switches are a short travel Linear Switch, with a standard 5-Pin connector, and an actuation force of 54gf and a Bottom Force of 58gf. This means that the switch feels hard to press at first, but once you put enough force into the pressing of the key, it bottoms out almost instantly. Since the pre-Travel is 2.2mm and the total travel is 3.2 mm, the switch feels shorter in travel than the pre-travel of some other standard switches. 

Despite the somewhat high actuation force of 54gf, the switch feels soft and resembles the typing experience of tactile switches more than that of Linear Switches, in my experience being more like a Gateron Jupiter Banana than like a Gateron PRO RED. I would say that the way KiiBoom describes the sound of the Sapphire Switches is about right, they sound resonant and somewhat loud if bottomed out, being in the clacky part of the sound spectrum. 

I get a good hit rate when typing with the Sapphire Switches, because they are rather hard to press and I never miss a key, plus the visual effect of light shining through the transparent – light blue housings is quite beautiful. The typing experience is very smooth, comparable to Gateron Oil King and EverGlide Aqua King V3, but with a hint of texture towards the bottom of the switch. It works well for typing and gaming, and the shorter travel sure is welcome when you’re mashing keys in a competitive game. 

There is very little Switch wobble and Sapphire is more solid than both Aqua Kings and Oil Kings, which have a looser stem and result in a much looser and wobblier keycap. The Sapphire does not come lubed from the factory, and the whole type experience can be improved if you want to take the time, but the improvements would be minimal, and KiiBoom has a better build quality, size error and higher material quality than most of the mainstream switches that don’t come lubed from the factory, which tend to feel rather grainy and like typing on a sandy stone without lube. 


KiiBoom Jacaranda Switches

I have started to use Linear Switches almost a year ago now, but the whole experience has changed the way I feel about typing, improving my speed, lowering my fatigue from writing and increasing my work ability greatly. The Jacaranda Switches are different from the others, as they have a much shorter pre-travel, of 1.6mm, and a low actuation force of 45 gf, plus a bottom force of 55gf, feeling very light to type on and press. The Jacaranda has 5-Pin configuration, and it feels stable, but the typing experience is very unique. 

The sound of the Jacaranda is the most pleasing of all the KiiBoom switches, it sounds muted, low-pitched and relaxing, very similar to Everglide’s Aqua King V3, but with a bit of bottom-out punch, while Aqua King sounds a bit like typing on a velvet surface. I would purchase the Jacaranda for typing, the feel is a bit too light for gaming for me, and I also have a slightly higher miss rate when typing with them, as I am used to typing on Aqua King V3 with 67 gf, so having a switch with a 45gf is a bit light for my hands. This being said, I do a lot of gym, photos and transport heavy products, so I don’t get a good precision usually with light switches. 

KiiBoom lubes the Jacaranda out of the factory, and you can both hear and feel the lube, they feel very similar in travel to Gateron Oil Kings, but are a bit quieter, also they have less wobble, and the switch itself feels better made, while Oil Kings are looser. The longer spring installed is supposed to help with the travel distance, but that pre-travel is still fairly low compared to standard, and can take a while to get used to. This being said, the Jacaranda are pleasing to type on and needs no extra lubing or anything else, while the Sapphire can be improved with a bit of lubing. 


Typing Quality & Sound

The typing quality will depend on the switches installed, but overall the keyboard base kit is able to provide one of the most comfortable typing experiences in the whole world. I even purchased the KeyChron Q6 Max, the best version KeyChron has, but they decided to make the base of the keyboard sharp and uncomfortable, and also angle it wrongly, too shallow, while KiiBoom made the base edge that your hand touches more rounded, more comfortable, and the angle of the Moonshadow 81 just perfect. 

KiiBoom also has that silicone layer that offers both sonic and feeling damping, they also have better stabilizers than KeyChron, having one of the best barebones kit for a keyboard I have ever tested and played with. The foam behind the PCB is also useful, it offers perfect sonic damping and the whole keyboard sounds crisp and thocc when assembled with a good pair of switches like the Matcha Latte. The sound can be a bit more on the clacky side rather than thocc, if you’re using KiiBoom Crystal Keycaps, but it becomes better if using any MOA profile switches, and Kiiboom themselves is now introducing those in their shop. 

While I generally avoid keyboards which are lower in size than 100%, I think that KiiBoom Moonshadow 81 may finally be able to convert me to using a full sized keyboard, I just love the feel and typing experience, how stable, and how well angled the Moonshadow 81 is for typing. To give you some idea of how poor my experience with my main keyboard is, I have glued 4 pencil erases to the back of the KeyChron Q6 Max to actually angle it properly and how I need it to be, while I am typing with a 99% confidence and below 1% error rate on the Moonshadow 81, which is better than I have on any other keyboard. 

For this one in particular, comparisons are not really useful, as KiiBoom is selling the Moonshadow 81 as a barebone kit, so any comparison would be with another barebone kit, and even there, the choice of keycaps and switches will be more important, and will affect the typing experience and sound far more than the Barebone kit. The best part about purchasing such a solid barebone kit like the MoonShadow 81 is that you’re literally open to any switch and keycap combo, including my current favorites, Gateron Oil King and Everglide Aqua King

To sum up the KiiBoom Switches as well, I like typing on the Matcha Latte the most, the sound, typing profile and smoothest is the best overall, it feels most natural and the whole keyboard feels complete with them. I got the Crystal Transparent keycaps for this review too, but I found that the profile is a bit tall for me, so I would recommend a MOA profile instead, which has rounded edges, including KiiBoom’s own Ice Cream Dream, Meow Meow Squad, Purrfect Paws and the Cat Paradise Keycaps. Moonshadow 81 will also slightly amplify switch noise a bit, similar to Tempest Mod, so you will get a slightly louder switch sound than if you installed the same switches on a KeyChron Q6 for example. 

KiiBoom Sapphire combined with the Moonshadow 81 has the hardest typing experience, you feel each key press the most, the switches are not lubed, but they feel smooth, to the point I can’t say that Aqua King is any smoother, but Sapphire sure has that non lubed switch sound, and Sapphire also has a high actuation force, which has a low bottom out force, giving the most precision while typing. 

KiiBoom Matcha Latte combined with the Moonshadow 81 has a dampened sound, and feels / sounds similar to a KeyChron Q6 MAX with EverGlide Aqua King V3, if using the same keycaps, with the mention that Moonshadow has better angling, better build quality, and is a more solid keyboard base kit than Q6 Max. Matcha Latte would be my favorite typing experience, as it feels a bit smoother and quieter than the Sapphire and Jacaranda, but it also has that light green shell which I personally like a lot. 

KiiBoom Jacaranda combined with the MoonShadow 81 feels the most traditional, it feels, sounds like a high-end keyboard with properly lubed switches, offering a very standard typing, gaming and overall experience. If you loved Gateron PRO RED, the Jacaranda feels like a much better version, but offers a similar experience. 

I also want to take a moment to appreciate how KiiBoom packages their switches, each individually in a cardboard box, despite them not costing more than what the market average for a switch set is. 35 Switches will be about 15.9 USD from KiiBoom, which is about in line with everything else on the market, but Everglide sends their switches in a plastic bag, and that means a few of them will come with bent pins, while that does not happen with KiiBoom switches at all. 


Value and Conclusion

KiiBoom products usually have high value, but Moonshadow 81 is priced higher than both the Phantom 81 V2 and about at the same price as a KeyChron Q6, both of which come with keycaps and switches, so the value of Moonshadow 81 lies in its solid build quality, high quality foam included in the package, and silicone padding, along with the toolless assembly, but given that it is priced quite a bit higher than the current market, including other KiiBoom products, it is a premium product. All those kilograms of aluminum sure cost to make, and it is understandable why it is priced as such, but if you don’t need the premium build, you can go for the KiiBoom Phantom 81 which has a lower price, no issues, but has transparent casing instead of a metallic one.  

A lot of the value in the Moonshadow 81 comes from how well it all fits together though, and with KeyChron Q6, I had to use electronic tape all around the part where the top and bottom metal frames come together, because there was half a millimeter of space between them and they would always click together in one of the most dreadful, annoying sounds possible. KiiBoom has no such issue, and the error margin is much lower, so the whole keyboard feels more solid and is put together with better quality, so although Moonshadow 81 has a premium pricing, it does offer a more premium build and experience than the market does at the same price point. The angling part is also perfect with KiiBoom, while KeyChron for example has a laughable angling for their keyboards, making me hold the keyboard with rubber pencil erasers glued to it for usage, as the angle is too low, while KiiBoom understands exactly what angle a keyboard should have to type on comfortably. 

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a barebones kit which comes with a high-end design, excellent build quality, and with the option for you to tweak without any kind of tools, just swap in and swap out those switches, the KiiBoom MoonShadow 81 is a fully recommended keyboard, and with just a bit more, you can have your dream keyboard and still have enough space on your desk for a proper audio setup. 


Product Link

You can the keyboard from www.amazon.com here – https://amzn.to/4asavnf

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Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  I recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music! The playlists are different for Spotify, Tidal and Youtube, and based on the songs I enjoy and are available on each!




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