The shortened Hator Skyfall TKL mechanical keyboard is based on the same components as the Skyfall HEX we reviewed earlier. However, if HEX was a very original and successful device for our region, then Skyfall TKL runs the risk of remaining unclaimed among many identical models of this format. On the other hand, it still has two rare “tricks up its sleeve” that can attract the public – namely: support for sockets for removable key switches and the ability to work via Bluetooth. Well, we briefly described the main advantages of the keyboard, now let’s move on to less significant details.
|Model||Hator Skyfall TKL|
|Product page||Skyfall TKL|
|Connection||Wired / Wireless (BT 5.0)|
|Polling frequency, Hz||1000|
|Number of keys||87|
|Keystroke resource, mln.||50|
|Switch type||Gateron Clear|
|Changing the angle of the body||+|
|Built-in memory||+ (1 profile)|
|Ability to record macros||+|
|Backlight||+ (16.8 million colors)|
|USB cable length, m||1,8|
|Braid material||Nylon braid|
|Removable palm rest||–|
|External interfaces||1 х USB 2.0|
|Dimensions (L x W x H), mm||134 x 362 x 35|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 7 / Windows 10|
|Peculiarities||Detachable switches, Detachable USB Type-C cable, Bluetooth connectivity with up to three separate devices, Built-in 2000 mAh battery, Volume/backlight control dial, USB 2.0 pass-through with blue backlight|
|Retail value||2399 hryvnias|
Contents of delivery
The keyboard is sold in a black and yellow package, consisting of the box itself and an overlay on it, behind which is a list of technical specifications indicated in Ukrainian, Russian and English.
Protection against damage in transit is minimal. The keyboard is wrapped in a soft case and padded with a pair of cardboard inserts.
The package includes instructions for use in three languages, a detachable USB Type-C cable, a plastic key for key caps and a metal key for dismantling the switches.
The design of the Hator Skyfall TKL looks pretty ordinary. This is a standard 87-key frame keyboard made of plastic, with rounded corners, without decorative frills and with a fairly strong, but squeaky case under lateral load. The frame of the top panel is painted gray, although the keycaps themselves are black. The manufacturer’s logo is printed on the front edge on the right, under the arrow buttons.
The layout of the printed block of keys exactly corresponds to the ANSI standard. The F1 button is located exactly above the number “2”, the Enter and Shift keys are elongated and single-row. Latin is laser engraved in the upper left corner of the buttons, Cyrillic is shifted to the right and lower. The Fn button takes the place of the right Win key. To the right of Esc, there is a dot indicator Caps Lock (blue) and a red LED indicating battery charging. Both bulbs shine unobtrusively from any angle. The surface of the keys is poorly resistant to dirt.
There is no numeric keypad. Arrow buttons are in place. Above them there is a switch for blocking the “game” mode and a button that changes the mode of operation of the plastic scroll wheel on the right to control the volume of the sound or the brightness of the backlight. The wheel itself is not a button and rotates with a noticeable crackle and resistance. Whether it is really needed here also remains in question, because all its functions are duplicated by other key combinations with Fn. By the way, both round additional buttons have blue LEDs under them, informing the user about the current mode of operation with their light. Editorial and service buttons are located slightly crowded in the upper right corner.
The keyboard uses very light, linear and quiet Gateron MX Clear mechanical switches with 35 grams of actuation force, 2mm travel to actuation and 4mm full travel. These are very decent Cherry clones, differing from them only in a more wobbly central stem. The hidden-type stabilizers are well lubricated and do a great job of keeping long keys horizontal. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic, painted on the outside.
All switches are removable and can be easily removed with the included metal base plate wrench. They should take hold of the recesses at the top and bottom of the mechanism case, near the base plate, squeeze the tabs and pull up. Most Cherry-like buttons fit here, with a short central plastic stem and two diagonal pins below it. The backlight LED is soldered in the circuit board itself, in the upper part of the socket, without a focusing lens. By the way, the top frame is screwed here, unlike the HEX, where it was held only by plastic latches.
The minimum profile height of the keyboard on the back row of keys with legs folded is 35mm. With the legs unfolded, the height increases to 46 mm. The buttons practically do not have an inclination relative to each other.
To connect the cable in the back of the keyboard, between the F4 and F5 buttons, there is a USB Type-C connector. It will accept any standard cable of the appropriate type, provided it fits into the recessed rectangular socket.
The complete cable has a length of 1.8 meters. It has medium flexibility and is encased in a soft nylon braid. There is a Velcro to adjust the length.
When you connect the cable, regardless of whether the wired or wireless mode is enabled, the built-in battery starts charging. Near the left corner of the rear edge there is also a pass-through USB port with blue lighting (which, fortunately, can be turned off).
The plastic back of the keyboard has four rubber feet at the corners. The wireless power switch slider can be found to the left of the serial number, on the center sticker.
The folding legs have decent rubber pads that provide good grip on the surface.
The backlighting in this keyboard as a whole looks good – both Latin and Cyrillic characters are clearly visible. But it lacks a margin of brightness, causing colors to fade in bright ambient light. Yes, and white color traditionally goes into the blue part of the spectrum. You can customize the backlight for all keys individually, as well as set different lighting effects. Additional keys are highlighted in a soft blue color, the Caps Lock LED and the charging indicator are blue and red, respectively. The USB port has a solid or flashing blue backlight option. Or you can turn it off completely.
The Hator Skyfall TKL keyboard is highly customizable with Fn key combinations and no software installation. Below is a list of all the commands that we managed to reproduce.
|Fn+F1||Calling the player application|
|Fn+Pr Scr||Reset keyboard to default settings (hold for more than 3 seconds)|
|Fn+Pause||Switching the backlight of the USB port – off, constant glow, pulsation|
|Fn+~||Recording backlight scheme for three modes CM1, CM2, CM3|
|Fn+1||CM1 backlight mode recording|
|Fn+2||CM2 backlight mode recording|
|Fn+3||CM3 backlight mode recording|
|Fn+–||Decrease backlight effect playback speed|
|Fn++||Increase the playback speed of the lighting effect|
|Fn+Tab||Switching between wired and wireless keyboard operation|
|Fn+Q/W/E||Switching between three Bluetooth devices (wireless)|
|Fn+P||Put the keyboard into Bluetooth pairing mode (hold for 3-5 seconds)|
|Fn+A||Toggle the Win button as Win|
|Fn+S||Toggle Win button as Alt and Alt as Win|
|Fn+Win||Win Key Lock (Game Mode)|
|Fn+Insert||M1 backlight effect set|
|Fn+Home||M2 backlight effect set|
|Fn+PGUP||M3 lighting effects set|
|Fn+PGDN||M6 lighting effects set|
|Fn+Del||M4 backlight effect set|
|Fn+End||M5 backlight effect set|
|Fn+↑||Increasing the brightness of the backlight effect|
|Fn+↓||Decreasing the brightness of the backlight effect|
|Fn+→||Change the color of the highlight effect|
|Fn+←||Changing the direction of the highlight effect|
|Fn+Enter||Recording macros on the T/Y/U/I/O keys|
Press the combination Fn + Enter to start recording. The T/Y/U/I/O buttons will glow white, the rest will go out. Click on any of them to select a memory slot, then type a sequence of 16 arbitrary keys or their combinations (the blue indicator will blink). Recording will end automatically when the character limit is exhausted, or after pressing Fn + Enter. To play a macro, press the selected record slot key.
Recording backlight modes
Press one of the three Fn+1/2/3 shortcuts to select a slot for backlight recording. Press Fn+~ to enter color recording mode, the blue indicator will blink. Press the buttons you want to illuminate. Repeated pressing of any key sequentially changes its color (red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, purple, white, no backlight). Press Fn+~ again to save the backlight scheme.
Move the switch on the back of the keyboard to the On position. Switch the keyboard to wireless mode by pressing Fn+Tab (buttons will blink several times). Press Fn+Q/W/E to select the device connection slot. Hold Fn+P for 3 to 5 seconds to enter Bluetooth pairing mode. The P key will blink to indicate that the keyboard is available for connection and will turn off when the connection process is complete.
Scroll wheel and additional buttons
If the additional button with the image of the speaker is not lit, scrolling adjusts the volume in steps of 2%. If lit, the brightness is adjusted.
The button with the image of the lock duplicates the Fn + Win Lock function and activates the game mode, blocking the corresponding key combinations. When activated, glows blue.
For finer tuning of the Hator Skyfall TKL keyboard, it has its own software that needs to be downloaded from the official website and installed before launch. Unfortunately, Windows recognizes it as malicious and will require additional user permission to start. And for stable operation, the application itself must be launched with system administrator rights. After a forced start, the driver remains permanently active in the system. Its first tab is responsible for reassigning keys (any, except for Fn, scroll wheel or two additional buttons). You can assign a default command, keyboard press, mouse button and scroll, macro, keyboard shortcut, program launch, multimedia command, Windows interface command, or disable the button entirely. In the upper left corner there is a list of profiles where the schemes of remapped buttons on the PC are saved. Only one profile is stored in the keyboard memory.
In the backlight control, you can turn it on or off completely, select one of 20 lighting effects, color, direction, playback speed and brightness for them.
You can also customize the color for each key individually.
In game mode, you can choose whether it is on or off and which combinations are blocked. In particular, you can disable Alt + Tab, Alt + F4 and the Win button in the game.
In the macro editor, you can record keyboard commands with or without timing, repetition, and delay. Mouse clicks and scroll directions are added separately later. Each macro can be given an individual name.
In the driver settings, you can select the color of the user interface, the language among English, Ukrainian and Russian, and reset the keyboard to default settings.
Ergonomics and testing
Being a typical TKL keyboard, the Hator Skyfall TKL doesn’t bring anything particularly new to this genre. The case is moderately ergonomic and allows you to use it without a palm rest, although it will be more convenient with it. The standard layout requires almost no time to adapt. However, the wider-than-usual keycaps mean that it will take several days before the user stops touching two buttons at once. In addition, the coating of these buttons tends to get dirty quickly. Here, the stabilizers of long keys are quite well made. The body of the device may creak when rearranged, but at least when printing it does not make unnecessary sounds and does not bend due to the metal plate inside. Rubber feet hold firmly to the surface and do not slip. Moderately soft cable does not interfere with the device. Using the power switch on the back of the keyboard is still inconvenient. The sound with the scroll wheel is adjusted normally, although it is difficult to call it tactilely pleasant. You can get into the pass-through USB connector without problems, especially considering that it can be highlighted.
Gateron Clear (White) switches are in many ways similar to Cherry Red linear switches, but differ from them in an even lower required actuation force – 35 versus 45 grams. Because of this, they feel very light and can even accidentally work under the weight of a finger. Fortunately, the mechanisms are easily removable, and the user can replace them with any other suitable, to your taste. Or even do a combination. Especially since Hator sells sets of other Gateron varieties at retail.
In wireless mode, the keyboard works stably. After turning the power switch to the On position, cable communication remains and you can select wired or wireless operation using the Fn + Tab combination. In fact, touching the switch on the back is required only when the keyboard is not connected via cable to activate the power from the built-in battery. Connecting with Bluetooth devices is seamless. Communication is quickly restored in case of disconnection, up to three manually switched connections are supported. In the event of idle time, the backlight goes out after 5 minutes, and the connection is completely disconnected after 30 minutes. To resume the connection, just press any key, and the keyboard “wakes up” with a delay of a couple of seconds. The pressing itself is not registered in the system. The manufacturer promises up to 10 hours of operation from a built-in 2000 mAh battery or up to two months in standby mode. This time I did not check the declared autonomy, since this work scenario is not the main one for the device.
The backlight here looks much better than in the Hator Skyfall HEX, but it lacks a margin of brightness, so it is hard to see on a bright day. The driver here is done very well and is intuitive.
Hator Skyfall TKL supports full-fledged NKRO anti-ghosting, which allows you to activate all buttons at the same time and in any combination.
Hator Skyfall TKL is the most common 87-button keyboard, standard in layout and dimensions. Among the main advantages compared to analogues, one can note the ability to easily replace mechanical switches thanks to special connectors without soldering, support for Bluetooth connection with three devices and a built-in battery for autonomous operation without a cable. Of the pleasant things, there is a scroll wheel with which you can adjust the sound volume or brightness, a backlit USB 2.0 pass-through port, decent long-key stabilizers, and a detachable USB Type-C cable.
The disadvantages include switches with a low activation force, installed here by default, easy-to-stain ABS plastic keycaps, a slightly creaking case, and a small range of backlight brightness.
All in all, the Hator Skyfall TKL is not a perfect keyboard, but it’s okay. And this is one of the most affordable offers with sockets for replacing mechanical switches from what is officially supplied to our country.