Whether you’re a gamer, programmer, or just addicted to the internet, your keyboards and mice have a lifespan. Eventually, you may find yourself noticing certain parts stop working. It’s not unlike a car, and much like cars, you need to decide when it’s time for a replacement. You might even have a sentimental attachment that makes it hard to let go. My volume wheel stopped working, and WASD were down to just WS on the keys. Luckily, KiiBOOM came along to help keep me moving with the KiiBOOM Phantom 81 V2.

First, I came from the world of full-size keyboards, so the Phantom 81 V2’s compact size (330x150x35mm) took a little getting used to – especially the lack of a number pad. However, that wasn’t much of a challenge. The compact size is great for gaming, especially considering its weight. Usually, smaller keyboards have very light chassis, particularly when they offer both wired and wireless modes. KiiBOOM went the other way with the Phantom81 V2, creating the heaviest gaming keyboard I’ve ever reviewed. The acrylic body, polycarbonate parts, and a weight of 1430g give it a substantial feel. The weight doesn’t matter much when it’s on the desk, but it provides a wonderfully comfortable heft when using it wirelessly on a lap or tray – especially since it has a shorter form factor. It feels solid, unlike how many plastic keyboards can feel flimsy.

The acrylic build also serves as a showcase for the keyboard’s inner workings. The transparent body allows for lights around the outside and beneath the keys, with preprogrammed patterns available right out of the box – just like its plug-and-play functionality. Turning over the keyboard gives you a peek at the battery and all the connections running between the keys. I’ve done it multiple times just because of how cool it looks! You’ll want to check the instructions on how to access the different lighting effects, as it comes out of the box blazing like the spaceship at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

When gaming on the PC, there’s lots of room on my desk for a full-size keyboard. However, the more room I have, the easier it is to keep review items, notes for character builds, and my usual clutter within reach. With my broad shoulders and large hands, my body position is most comfortable when my back is properly leaning against the back of my gaming chair. As a result, I easily wrote this review with the Phantom81 V2 before going back to testing it in Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden just to put it through its paces.

One of the biggest concerns about any keyboard, but especially wireless ones, is how much lag there is between input and the PC/laptop. Since I’m a game reviewer, this is crucial, so I played one of my games, BGONE, to see how it handles. The answer is that it handled superbly; when I had to make a quick reflex move to avoid getting cut down by a spirit, the keyboard responded perfectly. The mechanical keys helped me feel the action, as well as hear it with a satisfying click that many gamers prefer. However, if you play games in bed next to your partner, a different keyboard style might be a better fit. The Phantom 81 V2 offers both 5.0 Bluetooth and a 2.4GHz wireless dongle for reliable connectivity.

On the subject of customization, the Phantom 81 V2 includes tools to swap out any of its 82 hot-swappable keys. The instructions are straightforward, and if not, I’m sure there’s a video online. It’s reassuring to know I can replace a key myself should the need arise – that was an issue with my old keyboard. Also, the metal volume knob on the Phantom 81 V2 has a nice, firm seating, unlike the failing plastic one on my old keyboard.

The Phantom 81 V2 by KiiBOOM is both highly effective and enjoyable. It offers top-notch quality and versatility whether wired or wireless. The acrylic frame is eye-catching and the unusual weight keeps it firmly in place – perfect for a lap or a small desk. I wrote this entire review, played Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, and who knows how many more things are to come – all thanks to KiiBOOM.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

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Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with GamingShogun.com for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.