Whirlwind FX Atom is a 60% keyboard with some fashionable RGB pranks on its sleeve to remind you how pure fun these small keyboards can bring. Currently, for only $59, this is one of the cheapest 60% motherboards on the market, and you may doubt its overall quality. Don’t worry, in addition to some trivial things here and there, it is also an inexpensive gaming keyboard.
For starters, 60% of keyboards are keyboards without a numeric keypad, arrow keys, home key, and function row. This means that you need to use some combination of Fn keys to access all these functions. For Atom, the arrow keys are next to the IJKL keys, and the function keys are used together with the number keys. If you are looking for a bigger keyboard in the market, then our guide to the best gaming keyboards has helped you.
Whilwind FX Atom specifications
change: Gatron Brown
keycap: ABS dual camera
Additional ports: not any
Connection Type: USB Type-C
cable: 1.8 m (6 ft) cable
Price: 59.99 USD
Atom is built on a plastic chassis and has a beautiful textured finish. The motherboard is sturdy and lightweight, not cheap, but I am more confident in HyperX Alloy Origins Core 60, thanks to its heavy and sturdy aerospace-grade metal chassis. The design is very small, with a detachable USB Type-C braided cable that supports a 3,000Hz polling rate. There are two feet on the base that can be adjusted in height, although one of my feet swayed frustratingly.
The keycaps are double shot ABS with a matte finish, which is perfect for gripping. They are also interchangeable, and a keycap puller is included in the box. The keycaps themselves are obviously unstable, more unstable than many other mechanical keyboards I have used so far. This gives me a strange sense of uncertainty when typing, a bit like walking on floating objects.
It is not clear whether the bottle cap just needs a better stabilizer or the Whirlwind FX needs better quality control. Fortunately, Gateron Brown Switches make up for this unpleasantness, because they are my personal favorite. They are great for typing, but still fast enough for twitch games. I like Browns’ heavier driving force because it reduces accidental key presses. They are also very quiet, making them ideal for shared work spaces.
However, I do have some problems with some of the design choices on the Atoms key. The first is the rather unique font design used for key legends. At first, I thought it was just a badly printed @ sign key, where something was blocked and the sign was not completed correctly. But when I looked around, I noticed similar strikethrough patterns on several other keys. It doesn’t look good, and if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder for details, it will keep triggering you.
The other thing is that the caps lock key does not have any kind of indicator to let you know that it is active-it remains the same color as the rest of the board, which is confusing. Also, unlike other small boards, pressing the Fn key does not isolate the function keys and shield the rest-this helps simplify navigation.
Atom’s RGB lighting effect is largely attributed to the white bottom plate of the motherboard, which helps to highlight the illuminating light. Atom uses Whirlwind FX’s proprietary SignalRGB software to control RGB lighting and any other RGB peripherals you may have connected in the settings. We have seen something similar to the Razer Chroma ecosystem, but SignalRGB is not limited to single-brand products.
I tested this in a setup that includes a HyperX Quadcast S microphone, Roccat Kone Air mouse, ASUS Zephyrus S17 laptop, and ASUS ROG Swift PG35V monitor. The software does a good job of recognizing RGB Quadcast and mouse, but not surprisingly, it cannot recognize laptops or monitors. Nevertheless, the other three parts managed to synchronize.
In addition, the software has a large number of game integration functions that can automatically control the lighting of Atom and connected peripherals. It supports CoD: Warzone, Valorant, Destiny 2 and other well-known games, and more content can transform your settings into interactive disco. You need to pay $2.99 a month for a Pro subscription to access these, but unless you have a large number of mismatched peripherals and you absolutely want to sync, the free version is more than enough.
Now, although the software is working well, I did encounter a strange error that prevented the lighting effects from scaling properly on smaller keyboards because they appeared in the SignalRGB software. It is obviously designed for a full-size keyboard, and will not be reduced to a smaller 60% form factor due to the lack of partial light display. There is nothing that a software update cannot solve.
In other words, Whirlwind FX Atom is a cute little keyboard. The build quality may be better, but considering its $59 price, it’s hard to make mistakes. It has an excellent Gateron switch, excellent portability and good performance, making this product a simple recommendation for small keyboard lovers on a budget.