There’s been a trend in recent years with even the best gaming keyboards in the mid-range market to be a jack of all trades. Enter the NZXT Function 2 which has lofty ambitions for its price point, but largely scores across the board for furthering what a deck can do without the sky high sticker rate that usually follows for this sort of feature set. 

That’s because the NZXT Function 2’s features a dual-actuation in which you’re able to choose between a light and responsive 1.0mm or a solid and full 1.5mm. This may not sound too extravagant, nor is it the first gaming keyboard to do so, but it can entirely change the sound and feel of the board, which comes in handy when switching between work and play, or loading into a specified game profile. 

It’s solid for sure, but then you have to factor in the 8,000 Hz polling rate, something rarely seen on a gaming keyboard, especially one selling under $150. While we’ve seen the best gaming mice from the likes of NZXT, Razer, and others with this feature, it’s rarely appeared on a deck. That’s many more times as responsive as we usually see from gaming keyboards, they tend to average 1,000 Hz. It’s something I never thought I’d see on a keeb, but it makes more of a difference than you may think. 

Included in the box is not only a keycap removal tool but also a keyswitch removal tool as you’re able to exchange both the cap and its switch. You get a handful of both 35g Yellow Linear and 45g Red Linear optical switches included so you can go for a heavier, louder, feeling gaming keyboard or live on the quieter side if desired. 

Function 2 specs

(Image credit: Future)

Layout: Full-size (MiniTKL available)
Switch type: Optical
Switches: NZXT Swift
Backlighting: Yes
Anti-ghosting: Yes
N-key rollover: Yes
Discrete media keys: Yes
Connection: USB-C
Weight: 910g | 2lb
Price: $140 | £140 

The standard optical switches installed in the board have a 40g actuation force, so you can experiment with lighter or heavier switches under specific keys. It’s also commendable that not only the tools are thrown in, but also a spare set of caps, which many companies would sell for an additional fee. 

Having two sets of switches in the box, weighted at 35g and 45g, means you can quite easily mix and match around the keys you’re going to be using more often. For example, this could be swapping out the WSAD keys for the lightweight 35g yellows as I did, while preferring the rest of the board on the heavier side. It means you can tailor your setup to your own preferences, and it all comes together well. 

The experience is further bolstered by the NZXT CAM software which makes extra modification easy to do. Through CAM, you can change the RGB lighting (which is per key) as well as remap your buttons as desired. More crucially, however, you can switch between the two actuation settings and change the polling rate from 125 Hz all the way up to 8,000 Hz—it sits at 1,000 Hz as standard, so you can dial up as you go. Through the software you can also set macros, as well as disable Windows and FN keys, as well as saving profiles.

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(Image credit: NZXT)

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(Image credit: Future)

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(Image credit: Future)

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(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the RGB lighting, it’s good, but not great. There’s a dedicated button which cycles through four brightness settings but its peak isn’t as decadent as you might hope for; equally far from dim as it is from exciting. It probably won’t matter all too much if you’re playing in a darkened room, but you won’t be dazzled in quite the way a Razer Chroma or Corsair iCue can when properly configured. 

Where the NZXT Function 2 loses some favour with me is where it goes more unconventional. For example, the volume rocker and dedicated media bar is on the left hand side of the deck, and it’s something I’ve struggled to get used to in my weeks of everyday use. I kept reaching towards the top right where I’d be greeted with nothing more than sheet aluminum. On the subject of cons, this keyboard has easily the worst wrist rest I’ve ever used. 

Not only is the wrist rest rubbery and slippery but it also happens to be rock hard. I found myself at more comfort with my hands on top of my wooden desk, and that’s something I’ve not experienced in my years of reviewing gaming keyboards. I can appreciate it’s magnetic and stays in place, I just wish there was a bit of padding or texture that made it actually nice to use, but your mileage may vary. 

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(Image credit: Future)

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(Image credit: NZXT)

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(Image credit: Future)

Buy if…

You want a competitively priced optical mechanical keyboard: the NZXT Function 2 is cheaper than many other optical keyboards from brands such as Razer and Corsair while offering similar functionality. 

You want a hot-swappable gaming keyboard: the NZXT Function 2 has keys and switches that can be changed with different options included in the box.

Don’t buy if…

❌ Comfort is a priority: while it’s commendable that the wrist rest is magnetic, it’s just not very comfortable in everyday use with its rock hard rubber design. 

Strong RGB is a must: although there’s four levels of lighting and various patterns to choose from, the bulbs aren’t too bright even at their max setting. 

Gaming on the NZXT Function 2 is a stellar experience and once you’ve spent a bit of time setting up, it really feels like a cut above other mechanical decks I’ve used. Straight away I noticed that things were instantly more responsive in games such as Far Cry Primal and The Finals, but I noticed that I was also typing faster when working (even as I write this) when compared to my daily driver Razer Huntsman V3 Pro of which the Function 2 shares very similar DNA for a lot less cash. 

Then we get onto the sound dampening which is now double-layered when compared to the original Function. I haven’t used its predecessor, but I can tell you that this board is considerably quieter than my other optical keyboards such as the aforementioned Huntsman V3 Pro and my previous Corsair K70 RGB OPX which is also more expensive than NZXT’s current offering while boasting a similar feature set. 

Overall, the NZXT Function 2 gets a lot right with its 8,000 Hz polling rate, dual actuation, hot-swappable switches, and solid construction especially for its sub-$150 price point. If you’re in the market for a custom keyboard but don’t want to splash out too badly or get into tap modding then this one is an excellent choice for gamers that are okay with its few minor drawbacks.

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