The intimidating thing about PC gaming is how many options exist. One of the most common questions is which headset is best, so just imagine having to consider different keyboards and even keycaps can be. Among the many fun options out there is HyperX Double Shot PBT Keycaps, which are meant to give your keyboard a bit of flare. Having used them a bit, are they worth upgrading to or is it a niche option some fans might be interested in?
Unless you’re genuinely interested in keyboards, the name of this product has absolutely no meaning outside of it being a HyperX product. Double Shot refers to a process where, instead of printing letters or information on the key caps themselves, a second layer of plastic is used. The advantage is they will never chip or fade, due to the icon being part of the key cap itself. As far as Polybutylene terephthalate, better known as PBT, goes, it refers to the type of plastic used. Most keyboards use acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is generally a softer plastic more prone to shine, but has a smoother feel and offers more design options. The advantage to PBT tends to be longevity and shrine resistant (my HyperX keyboard already has shrine with the included key caps), at the core of design options and a more coarse feeling. For anyone wondering what this means for gaming, well, honestly, very little.
Outside of construction and actual look, they should perform relatively the same way. What you’ll likely notice is the aforementioned texture. Odds are you’re use to ABS and will find smooth texture more natural. While PBT feels a bit more coarse, it’s like a bunch of little ridges, not unlikely feeling smooth wood, that takes some getting used to. Having used both a fair bit, it took me about an hour to get used to the HyperX Double Shot PBT Keycaps and actually refer the texture, though this is something you should consider before changing from ABS to PBT.
Now that you actually know what these terms actually mean, we can see if this is a product that will appeal to you. The packaging is relatively straightforward and highlights the main appeal to this specific set, maximizing RGB though the “pudding” design (bottom is translucent with a black or white top). The kit comes with 104 keycaps, which if you’re wondering, is enough for a full (has the dedicated numberpad to the side) keyboard, paper guide and a keycap remover. Depending on how you do it, the guide is invaluable, as it shows you the key arrangement of a QWERTY keyboard, meaning you can easily remove every key, clean the keyboard and then replace all the caps without worrying.
Speaking for myself, the process of removing keycaps wasn’t too bad and it took about 30 minutes to remove every one. Longer keys, such as the spacebar or return key, can be a bit tricky, so be more careful removing them. Once you’re done, you should notice your keyboard is a lot more vibrant.
In my case, I noticed the spacebar looks a bit underwhelming, largely due to there only being one LED that was originally meant to illuminate the HyperX logo, so I actually swapped out that one cap. The rest look pretty good and simply stunning in a dark room or just as a contrast to the previous look.
Whether more durable keys that highlight the keyboards lights is worth an investment of roughly $25 will vary but if you plan on keeping the keyboard for a long time I would suggest looking into some kind of PBT keycaps. If nothing else, it will make it look a lot nicer and cost you very little in the grand scheme of things.
[Editor’s Note: HyperX Double Shot PBT Keycaps were not provided for review purposes and the writer bought at their own expense.]