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NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed May 17, 2023 at 11:58 am
Latest change: Writing modified May 17, 2023 at 11:58 am
NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Picture
8.8
Gaming
6.8
Mobile/Tablet
8.2
Office
8.5
Programming
6.6
Entertainment / HTPC

The NuPhy Halo96 is a compact (96%) wireless mechanical keyboard in NuPhy's Halo series. These keyboards have a high-profile design with a strip of RGB lighting that wraps around the case. On their product pages, NuPhy emphasizes these keyboards' typing quality and acoustics. There are multiple layers of silicone-dampening material inside the case and what NuPhy calls a GhostBar, a spacebar fitted with polycarbonate and silicone pieces to help dampen the loud hollow sound spacebars often make. You can buy these keyboards in a range of tactile or linear switches, and they have hot-swappable PCBs, so you can easily change the switches for those you prefer.

We bought and tested the NuPhy Halo96, the largest size variant in this keyboard lineup. Smaller versions are also available, including the NupHy Halo75 and NuPhy Halo65. See our Differences Between Sizes and Variants section below for more details about these models.

Our Verdict

8.8 Gaming

The NuPhy Halo series keyboards are amazing for gaming. They have excellent build quality and low latency, delivering a responsive-feeling experience in any genre. They also have full RGB backlighting, and they're available with your choice of various linear or tactile switch options. These high-profile keyboards are most comfortable to use with a wrist rest. We bought and tested the Halo96 with a wrist rest which NuPhy sells separately.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Impressive latency.
Cons
  • Stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so you can't read legends in a darker room.
6.8 Mobile/Tablet

While not designed for this use, the NuPhy Halo keyboards are okay for mobile and tablet use. They connect wirelessly and can pair with up to three devices simultaneously. We tested the Halo96, which is a bit smaller than most full-size keyboards but still much bigger and heavier than most keyboards designed specifically for mobile and tablet use. If you want to use one of these keyboards for mobile or tablet use, the smaller Halo75 or Halo65 are more appropriate.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Multi-device pairing with up to three devices simultaneously.
  • Connects wirelessly via USB receiver or Bluetooth.
Cons
  • No dedicated media keys.
  • Fairly bulky and heavy compared to dedicated keyboards designed for mobile use.
8.2 Office

These keyboards are great for office work. They have excellent build quality and layers of silicone inside the case and spacebar, contributing to a quiet and premium-feeling typing experience. We tested the Halo96 with linear Baby Raccoon switches that are very quiet and unlikely to bother anyone around you. They're also available in a range of other linear and tactile switches and have hot-swappable PCBs, so you can change the stock switches with other switches of your choice. These high-profile keyboards are most comfortable to use with a wrist rest. We bought and tested the Halo96 with a wrist rest which NuPhy sells separately.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Multi-device pairing with up to three devices simultaneously.
Cons
  • Stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so you can't read legends in a darker room.
8.5 Programming

These keyboards are excellent for programming. They feel very well-built and have full RGB backlighting. They also include layers of silicone inside the case and spacebar, producing a very quiet and premium-feeling typing experience. While these keyboards lack dedicated macro keys, you can use the software to record macros to any key.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
Cons
  • Stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so you can't read legends in a darker room.
  • No dedicated macro keys.
6.6 Entertainment / HTPC

These keyboards are only adequate for home theater setups. They connect wirelessly via USB receiver or Bluetooth but aren't designed with this use in mind as they're quite bulky and heavy. They also lack dedicated media keys, and while they have full RGB backlighting, the stock keycaps aren't shine-through, so you can't see the legends in a darker room.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Connects wirelessly via USB receiver or Bluetooth.
Cons
  • No dedicated media keys.
  • Stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so you can't read legends in a darker room.
  • 8.8 Gaming
  • 6.8 Mobile/Tablet
  • 8.2 Office
  • 8.5 Programming
  • 6.6 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated May 17, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated May 09, 2023: Early access published.

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Ionic White - 65% Halo65
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Ionic White - 75% Halo75
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Ionic White - 96% Halo96
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Matte Black - 65% Halo65
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Matte Black - 75% Halo75
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Matte Black - 96% Halo96
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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

NuPhy's Halo series keyboards are available in various sizes, in two colorways, and with different stock switch options. We bought and tested the NuPhy Halo96 in Matte Black with Gateron Baby Raccoon switches. You can see the label of our unit here.
We also bought NuPhy's acrylic two-tone black wrist rest, which is sold separately.

You can see details for other variants and configurations below. We expect our test results to apply to all models.

Name Size Wireless Color Options Switch Options Hot-swappable Maximum Advertised Battery Life (backlighting off) Optional Wrist Rest
NuPhy Halo96 Compact (96%) Yes Matte Black, Ionic White NuPhy Rose Glacier, NuPhy Night Breeze, Gateron Baby Raccoon, Gateron G Pro Red 2.0, Gateron G Pro Brown 2.0 Yes 205 Hours Matte Black, Ionic White
NuPhy Halo75 Compact (75%) Yes Matte Black, Ionic White NuPhy Rose Glacier, NuPhy Night Breeze, Gateron Baby Raccoon, Gateron G Pro Red 2.0, Gateron G Pro Brown 2.0 Yes 260 Hours Matte Black, Ionic White
NuPhy Halo65 Compact (65%) Yes Matte Black, Ionic White NuPhy Rose Glacier, NuPhy Night Breeze, Gateron Baby Raccoon, Gateron G Pro Red 2.0, Gateron G Pro Brown 2.0 Yes 320 Hours Matte Black, Ionic White

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Halo96 is a compact (96%) wireless mechanical keyboard in NuPhy 's Halo lineup. These keyboards have a high-profile design rather than a low-profile design of the NuPhy Air75 and other keyboards in NuPhy 's Air lineup. With the Halo lineup, NuPhy has emphasized typing quality and acoustics by including multiple layers of sound-dampening silicone in the case and adding a silicone and polycarbonate fitting in the spacebar. Like other NuPhy models and similar keyboards produced by Keychron, these keyboards emphasize full compatibility between Windows and macOS systems with a toggle switch on the back and extra included keycaps for both operating systems.

If you're interested in more options, check out our picks for the best mechanical keyboards, the best keyboards for typing, or the best wireless keyboards.

NuPhy Air75

The NuPhy Air75 and NuPhy Halo96 are wireless mechanical keyboards in different lineups from the same manufacturer. Both are available in 65%, 75%, and 96% form factors. The main difference in the lineups is design; the Air75 and the other keyboards in the Air lineup are low-profile. On the other hand, the Halo96 and the rest of the keyboards in the Halo lineup are high-profile. The Halo keyboards also feature silicone-dampening materials inside the case and spacebar, and they have an RGB light strip surrounding the case.

Keychron Q Pro Series [Q1 Pro, Q2 Pro, etc.]

Keychron Q Pro Series and the NuPhy Halo96 are wireless mechanical keyboards in various sizes and with premium acoustics and typing quality. The Keychrons have a gasket-mounted design and a slightly more premium-feeling all-aluminum case. On the other hand, the NuPhy Halo boards have a plastic bottom case and an aluminum frame. They also have multiple layers of silicone-dampening material in the case and spacebar and an RGB light strip around the outside edge of the keyboard.

Epomaker TH80 Pro

The NuPhy Halo75 and the Epomaker TH80 Pro are wireless mechanical keyboards with a compact (75%) form factor. The NuPhy is quieter thanks to several layers of silicone-dampening material inside the case. On the other hand, the Epomaker is available for purchase in two keycap themes and has a control knob, which the Nuphy lacks.

GLORIOUS GMMK 2

The GLORIOUS GMMK 2 and the NuPhy Halo96 are mechanical keyboards. The GMMK 2 is a wired-only model with a 96% compact form factor. It also has lower latency, making it a better choice for competitive gaming. On the other hand, the NuPhy Halo96 is a wireless model with a 96% compact form factor but is also available in smaller-size variants. The NuPhy Halo keyboards also feature layers of sound-dampening silicone and have an RGB lighting strip around the outside edge of the keyboard.

IQUNIX F97

The IQUNIX F97 and the NuPhy Halo96 are wireless mechanical keyboards. While the IQUNIX F97 is only available in a 96% form factor, the NuPhy Halo line is available in 65%, 75%, or 96% sizes. The NuPhy boards also have layers of silicone sound-dampening material inside the case, an RGB strip around the exterior edge of the keyboard, and multiple incline settings. On the other hand, the IQUNIX only has a fixed incline angle, but it's available in a much wider range of expressive colorways.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Compact (96%)
Height
1.6" (4.1 cm)
Width 14.8" (37.7 cm)
Depth
5.3" (13.5 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
8.5" (21.5 cm)
Weight
3.14 lbs (1.424 kg)

These keyboards are available in various sizes. We bought and tested the NuPhy Halo96, which has a compact (96%) form factor, but a smaller compact (75%) Halo75 and a compact 65% Halo65 are also available. You can see the listed dimensions of these other size variants on NuPhy's website.

The NuPhy96 has nearly all the keys on a typical full-size keyboard but in a more compact package. This keyboard has conventional spacing between keys, so typing doesn't feel cramped. However, it doesn't have space between key zones, like the navigation cluster, arrow keys, or the Numpad. While this keyboard is smaller than most full-size options, it's also quite heavy and not very portable.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

These keyboards have excellent build quality. The bottom part of the case is plastic, and the frame around the keyboard is aluminum. Altogether they feel very sturdy and don't flex. The keycaps are made of high-quality doubleshot PBT. NuPhy has included multiple layers of silicone inside the keyboard case and introduces what they're calling a GhostBar, a sound-suppressing keycap that's fitted with polycarbonate and silicone-dampening materials to eliminate the hollow sound many other spacebars make.

We've included photos of the underside of the spacebar and of the silicone dampening pieces underneath.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
5.5°
Medium Incline
8.5°
Maximum Incline
12°
Wrist Rest Detachable

These keyboards have a high profile. There are flip-out plastic feet that provide two additional incline options. NuPhy has acrylic wrist rests available for separate purchase. We bought and tested one for our review and found that it wasn't quite as comfortable as a plush wrist rest, but it provides good support for your wrists and diffuses some of the backlighting from the RGB strip surrounding the keyboard case. We recommend using these keyboards with a wrist rest for the most comfortable experience.

9.7
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Ok
Effects
Yes
Programmable
Yes

These keyboards have full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys. You can use the companion software or hotkeys to customize the lighting effects, colors, and brightness. Although each key is individually lit, the stock PBT keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so you can't read them in the dark. NuPhy does offer shine-through keycaps available as a separate purchase. NuPhy also sells acrylic wrist rests for a separate purchase which diffuses some of the lighting from the RGB strip that wraps around the keyboard case.

For reference, we've taken a photo of the NuPhy Halo96 with the W, A, S, and D keys replaced with shine-through keycaps taken from another keyboard that you can see here.

Design
Cable & Connector
Connectivity Wireless
Detachable
Yes (Wired Mode and Charge)
Length 5.1 ft (1.5 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
USB type-C

These keyboards come with a detachable charging cable. It's braided and retains some kinks from the packaging.

10
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Yes
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
3
Proprietary Receiver
Yes
Battery Type
Rechargeable

The NuPhy Halo96 has a 4000mAh battery. NuPhy advertises this keyboard has a battery life of 5-10 hours with all backlighting on and up to 205 hours with backlighting off.

Other models in the NuPhy Halo lineup have the same sized battery but different advertised battery lives depending on their size. NuPhy advertises the NuPhy Halo75 can last up to 260 hours with backlighting off, while the NuPhy Halo65 has an advertised maximum of 320 hours with backlighting off.

8.9
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
Yes
Stabilizer Fixation
Plate-Mounted
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
6.25u
Size Of Right Mod Keys
1.25u
Hot-Swappable Switches
Yes
Switch Stem Shape
Cherry MX Style
Switch PCB Socket
5-pin
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
Yes

These keyboards offer excellent hardware customizability.

4.0
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count 0
Onboard Macro Programming
No
Macro Programming With Software
Yes

These keyboards don't have dedicated macro keys, but all keys are macro-programmable using the customization software.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Non-Dedicated
Trackpad / Trackball No
Scroll Wheel
No
Control Knob
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator Caps Lock

These keyboards have two switches on the top of the keyboard; the first allows you to change between Windows or Mac modes, and the second toggles between off/wired/and wireless connectivity modes.

Media hotkeys are labeled, and additional FN key combinations are listed in the user documentation, including commands to switch between paired devices, change backlighting colors and effects, check the battery level, enter sleep mode, and reset the keyboard to factory setting.

Design
In The Box

  • NuPhy Halo96
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • USB-A wireless receiver
  • Keycap puller/switch puller
  • 18 extra keycaps in various colors
  • 7x extra switch samples
  • Adhesive pads for wrist rest
  • User documentation that doubles a poster
  • Stickers

Sold Separately

  • Acrylic Wrist Rest

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Gateron Baby Raccoon
Mechanical
Yes
Feel
Linear
Operating Force
45 gf
Actuation Force
48 gf
Pre-Travel
2.1 mm
Total Travel
3.6 mm

These keyboards are available in various NuPhy or Gateron linear and tactile switches and will perform differently depending on your choice. The NuPhy Halo96 we bought and tested has Gateron Baby Raccoon switches. These linear switches have a short pre-travel distance and a slightly shortened total travel distance, producing an earlier bottom-out feeling.

The Operating Force of these switches is significantly lower than the advertised values of 55±8gf. We found this behavior was consistent across the eight switches we tested. This didn't negatively impact their performance or feel during our testing but only indicates that the keystrokes are noticeably lighter than advertised.

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

These keyboards offer an excellent typing experience that sounds and feels very satisfying. There are multiple layers of silicone material inside the keyboard that softens the impact of typing and dampens the sound. The keys are also very stable and have good spacing between them.

The NuPhy Halo96 we bought and tested has Gateron Baby Raccoon switches which are very light to press and have a shortened total travel distance. You can purchase these keyboards with other NuPhy and Gateron linear or tactile stock switch options.

The keycaps on these keyboards are made of high-quality PBT plastic and have a KOP profile with a slightly flatter top and more rounded edges than typical OEM profile keycaps.

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Average Loudness
48.1 dBA
High Pitch Clicks
No

These keyboards have layers of silicone sound-dampening material inside the keyboard, contributing to an impressively quiet typing noise. We tested the NuPhy Halo96 with Gateron Baby Raccoon switches, which are very quiet and unlikely to bother those around you. You can also get these keyboards in various stock linear and tactile switch options, which we expect to produce similar typing noise.

8.0
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
6.2 ms
Latency Receiver
11.7 ms
Latency Bluetooth
21.1 ms

The wired latency of these keyboards is great and delivers a responsive-feeling experience for all gaming genres. The wireless latency is perfectly suitable for casual gaming and everyday tasks, but we don't recommend playing fast-paced or competitive games using a wireless receiver or Bluetooth connection.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
Software Name NuPhy Console
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No
Onboard Memory
Yes
Profiles
6+

These keyboards use the NuPhy Console companion software. The software is well laid out and simple, allowing you to adjust backlighting, record macros, and remap keys. By default, you can create up to three profiles. However, you can add more and save both your macro and backlighting settings to the keyboard's onboard memory and use them on a computer that doesn't have the software.

10
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Fully Compatible
macOS
Fully Compatible
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Windows, MacOS & Linux

These keyboards are fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. However, the software is only available on Windows. On macOS, all keys work as intended, but if you're not using a Mac screen, the F1 and F2 keys, which typically control brightness, don't work. On Linux, the F3 and F4 keys do nothing.

10
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Fully Compatible
iOS
Fully Compatible
iPadOS
Fully Compatible
Media Key Compatibility
Android, iPhone & iPad

These keyboards are fully compatible with Android, iOS, and iPadOS. However, there's no customization software available, and the F3 and F4 keys don't work.