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NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3
Reviewed May 17, 2023 at 11:58 am
Latest change: Writing modified Sep 06, 2023 at 10:40 am
NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Picture
N/A
Gaming
N/A
Office
N/A
Mobile/Tablet
N/A
Programming
N/A
Entertainment / HTPC
N/A
Raw Performance

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

N/A Gaming

The NuPhy Halo series keyboards are good for casual 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.
N/A Office

These keyboards are good 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.
N/A 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.
N/A 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
  • No dedicated macro keys.
  • Stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so you can't read legends in a darker room.
N/A 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.
N/A Raw Performance

These keyboards offer good overall raw performance. Overall, they have good single-key and multi-key latency, but latency performance is also somewhat variable, especially while pressing and maintaining multiple keys. Its effective polling rate of 250Hz also acts as a bottleneck for its wireless USB polling rate of 500Hz. You can improve this somewhat by using the keyboard wired, although performance is still bottlenecked with an effective update rate of 333Hz for its wired polling rate of 1000Hz.

  • N/A Gaming
  • N/A Office
  • N/A Mobile/Tablet
  • N/A Programming
  • N/A Entertainment / HTPC
  • N/A Raw Performance
  1. Updated Sep 06, 2023: We've added a link to the newly-reviewed NuPhy Field75 to the Latency section of this review.
  2. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've added text to this review for the new tests added in TBU 1.3.
  3. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.3, which overhauls how key input is evaluated. We've added new tests for Single Key Latency, Multi Key Latency, Data Transmission, and Chord Split. We've also introduced a new Raw Performance usage and adjusted how the Gaming and Office usage scores are calculated. You can see the full changelog here.
  4. Updated Jun 21, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.2. This update introduces new Backlight Features and Backlight Clarity test boxes. We've also added a new Switches test box, added additional test comparisons to our Hardware Customizability test box that we introduced with our last Test Bench. For an in-depth look at our changes, you can see our full changelog here.
  5. Updated May 17, 2023: Review published.
  6. Updated May 09, 2023: Early access published.
  7. Updated May 03, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  8. Updated Apr 24, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  9. Updated Apr 05, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

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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.

NuPhy Field75

The NuPhy Field75 and the NuPhy Halo75 are wireless mechanical keyboards with high-profile designs and compact (75%) form factors. The Field75 is more gaming-focused, with a higher wireless polling rate of 1000Hz and better gaming performance. It also has dedicated macro keys and several control knobs which the Halo75 lacks. On the other hand, the Halo75 has a bit more extensive RGB lighting, with a narrow lighting zone that wraps around the entire case, which the Field75 lacks.

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.

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.

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Size
Compact (96%)
Height
Lock" (Lock cm)
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth
Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
Lock" (Lock cm)
Weight
Lock lbs (Lock 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.

N/A
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material Locked

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.

N/A
Design
Ergonomics
Curved/Angled
Locked
Split Keyboard
Locked
Key Alignment
Locked
Minimum Incline
Lock°
Medium Incline
Lock°
Maximum Incline
Lock°
Home Row Height
Lock mm (Lock")

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.

N/A
Design
Hardware Customizability
Replaceable Cherry Stabilizers
Locked
Stabilizer Fixation
Locked
Spacebar Stabilizer Size
Locked
Size Of Right Mod Keys
Locked
Hot-Swappable Switches
Yes
Switch Stem Shape
Locked
Switch PCB Socket
Locked
North-Facing Cherry MX Interference
Locked

These keyboards offer excellent hardware customizability.

N/A
Design
Backlight Features
Backlighting Locked
RGB
Locked
Per-Key Backlighting
Locked
Effects
Locked
Software Controllable
Locked

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. 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.

N/A
Design
Backlight Clarity

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.

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
Locked
Length Lock ft (Lock m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Locked

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

N/A
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
Locked
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
Locked
Proprietary Receiver
Locked
Battery Type
Locked

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.

N/A
Design
Macro Keys And Programming
Dedicated Macro Keys Count Lock
Onboard Macro Programming
Locked
Macro Programming With Software
Locked

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

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Locked
Trackpad / Trackball Locked
Scroll Wheel
Locked
Control Knob
Locked
USB Passthrough
Locked
Numpad Locked
Windows Key Lock
Locked
Lock Indicator Locked

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
N/A
Typing Experience
Typing Quality
Key Spacing
Lock mm (Lock")

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 standard 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.

N/A
Typing Experience
Typing Noise
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Typing Sample Sample
Average Loudness
Lock dBA
High Pitch Clicks
Locked

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.

Typing Experience
Switches
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Wobble Video Sample
Switch Name
Locked
Switch Type
Mechanical
Feel
Locked
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Operating Force
Lock gf
Actuation Force
Lock gf
Pre-Travel
Lock mm
Total Travel
Lock 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.

Performance
N/A
Performance
Single-Key Latency
Best Connection
Lock ms
Best Connection Std Dev ±Lock ms
Wired
Lock ms
Receiver
Lock ms
Bluetooth
Lock ms

These keyboards provide good single-key latency performance. They're more than suitable for casual gaming in any genre, but we recommend a keyboard with marginally lower or more consistently lower latency for playing competitive games.

For a similar keyboard with better all-around latency performance, check out the NuPhy Field75.

N/A
Performance
Multi-Key Latency
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Latency Video Sample
Connection Evaluated Locked
Key Press
Lock ms
Key Release
Lock ms

These keyboards have good multi-key latency overall, but they're fairly inconsistent, and we recommend a keyboard with more stable latency if you typically play faster-paced or competitive games requiring inputs while multiple keys are pressed and maintained.

N/A
Performance
Data Transmission
Connection Evaluated Locked
USB Polling Rate
Lock Hz
Effective Update Rate
Lock Hz
N-Key Rollover (NKRO)
Yes
Multiple Keys Per USB Report
Locked

These keyboards offer decent data transmission performance. They have full N-key rollover and can report multiple keypresses per USB report. That said, their effective update rate of 250Hz is a bottleneck for their 500Hz polling rate. Note that this test was conducted while connected wirelessly via USB receiver. You can also use these keyboards wired, but their performance is still bottlenecked with an effective update rate of 333Hz for a wired polling rate of 1000Hz.

N/A
Performance
Chord Split
4 Chord Split Delay
Lock ms
8 Chord Split Delay
Lock ms

These keyboards have good chord split performance overall, but they're somewhat inconsistent. The average 4-chord and 8-chord split delay is fairly low, but performance is somewhat variable, which can produce consistency problems for playing games requiring many simultaneous inputs, like rhythm games.

Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Configuration Software
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] Software Tour Sample
Software Name Locked
Software Windows Compatible
Locked
Software macOS Compatible
Locked
Onboard Memory
Locked
Profiles
Locked

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.

N/A
Software and Operating System
Computer Compatibility
Windows
Locked
macOS
Locked
Linux (Ubuntu 22)
Locked
Media Key Compatibility
Locked

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.

N/A
Software and Operating System
Wireless Mobile Compatibility
Android
Locked
iOS
Locked
iPadOS
Locked
Media Key Compatibility
Locked

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.