Lofree Block mechanical keyboard review: Type like it’s 1989 with this retro style keyboard

This retro revival keyboard is a typing dream

The retro Lofree Block
(Image: © Stevie Bonifield)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Lofree Block is a minimalistic retro-inspired keyboard that combines a classic aesthetic with modern features for a premium typing experience that’s tough to beat.

Pros

  • +

    Phenomenal typing experience

  • +

    Great key sound and feel

  • +

    Wireless or wired

  • +

    Built-in battery life display

  • +

    Hot-swappable

Cons

  • -

    Wireless battery life could be better

  • -

    Not ideal for gaming

  • -

    Single-color backlighting

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I love retro tech, from the original GameBoy to the blocky keyboards on old-school computers. As someone younger than Google, I never got to use those original 80s and 90s keyboards myself. That’s just a small part of why I’m so excited about the Lofree Block mechanical keyboard. 

The Lofree Block brings the charm of retro-tech to the modern age, delivering a premium typing experience wrapped in a timeless case. Not only does it look great, but it’s also one of the best-sounding keyboards I’ve ever used (and I’ve tried quite a few).

Lofree Block price and availability

The Lofree Block retro keyboard unboxed

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The Lofree Block is available in US QWERTY layout for $169 from Amazon and Lofree’s official website.

For that price, you get the full-size, 98-key, Lofree Block keyboard; a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable with a 90-degree angle; and a 2.4GHz USB Type-A wireless receiver. It’s hardly the premium care package that many productivity keyboards can offer in this price range, but it is balanced out by a durable build, full POM switches, an awesome retro aesthetic, and a hard-to-beat typing experience right out of the box.

Cheaper options do exist, such as the $89 Cherry KC 200 MX mechanical keyboard. However, while this keyboard similarly offers a full-size deck, backlighting, and impressive typing experience by way of Cherry’s next-gen MX2A switches, it’s wired only and lacks the old-tech appeal of the Block. It also lacks the Block’s two bright orange knobs that give quick access to volume levels and connection modes. 

Lofree Block design

The Lofree Block retro keyboard

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The design of the Lofree Block is inspired by retro tech, particularly the gray and off-white keyboards of early home PCs. It doesn’t look dated, though. The Block has a clean, minimalistic look with pops of orange to spice things up. The result is a stylish keyboard that fits right in at the office or home.

It’s a full-size keyboard, so it includes the function keys as well as the number pad. It measures 15.1 x 4.9 x 0.7 inches and weighs in at 2.4 pounds. You can connect it wirelessly with Bluetooth 5.0 or a 2.4GHz USB dongle or wired using the included USB-C cable. 

The Block is fully hot-swappable, but out of the box you get custom linear switches from TTC with a 43g actuation force and 3.8mm of key travel. It has single-color white backlighting, which is only customizable through 14 preset modes (to swap through them, hold the function key and use the left and right arrow keys).

One detail I really love are the knobs in the top right corner. They’re a bright orange that’s just the right splash of color to make the Block feel fresh. One knob controls the keyboard’s mode (wireless, cable, or powered off) and the other is a volume knob. There’s also a bit of orange on the back of the keyboard on the unique ring-shaped height adjustment feet.

The media knobs on the Lofree Block retro keyboard

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

Another modern touch to this old-school keyboard is the little status panel between the main keys and the number pad. This displays the number and caps lock status, which wireless mode you’re using, and the Block’s current battery life. When it’s charging, the battery bars will flash and then turn solid as the battery refills so you know when it’s done.

The Block’s case is plastic, although it doesn’t feel cheap and it suits the retro aesthetic well. Inside, the Block is gasket-mounted with two layers of foam padding underneath. The gasket structure gives it a bit of cushioning when typing, but not too much.

Lofree Block keys

The switches on the Lofree Block retro mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The keys and stabilizers on the Lofree Block sound phenomenal. It features custom full POM switches from TTC that resemble a Cherry MX Speed Silver or Black switch. They have a 43g actuation force, which is in the 40g to 50g sweet spot I prefer for typing. They’re also 5-prong switches, which adds a bit of extra stability. 

Each switch is self-lubricating and it certainly shows. These switches are buttery smooth. Every keystroke is clean and soft without any metallic sound or crunchiness. The self-lubricating feature also means that the keys won’t lose that smoothness over time. 

The stabilizers sound just as good if not better. The Block includes Lofree’s custom stabilizers, which are fantastic right out of the box. All of them are smooth and consistent without any rattling or hollow tones. They have a deep “thock”, but it’s not too loud, either. 

On top, you get a set of dye-sublimation PBT keycaps with a nice matte texture. It’s not too grippy or too smooth. The font is clean and minimalistic, as well. A few of the keycaps, like the backspace key, have subtle retro details on them, which is a nice touch. 

Lofree Block performance

The retro Lofree Block keyboard

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The typing experience on the Lofree Block is top-notch. It has a soft, light feel to it that won’t leave your hands tired, even after typing for hours at a time. 

The sound quality on the Block makes typing even more satisfying, but rest assured it’s still quiet enough that you could bring it to the office. In fact, the neutral gray and white color scheme would blend right in (but you’ll get a much better typing experience than you would on a basic membrane keyboard). 

One other area where the Lofree Block shines is productivity and content creation. A full-size keyboard is great for setting up macros and shortcuts in apps like Photoshop or Premiere Pro. The function keys are also pre-assigned for some media functions like pause/play and changing windows. I especially love the volume knob – it looks cool and you really can’t go wrong with media knobs. 

While the Block is fantastic for typing, coding, and content creation, it’s not the best choice for gaming. If you’re looking for a keyboard mainly for typing with some casual gaming on the side, the Block can fill that need well. However, the switches and polling rate aren’t quite fast enough to make this a go-to keyboard in competitive games, especially when compared to more responsive purpose-built gaming keyboards.

If you’re looking for a keyboard that can help you tear up your Steam library, then something like the Alienware Pro Wireless could suit your needs better for a similar price.

Lofree Block connectivity and battery life

The mini display on the Lofree Block retro keyboard

(Image credit: Stevie Bonifield)

The Lofree Block has a few connectivity options: USB-C wired, Bluetooth 5.0, or wireless with a 2.4GHz USB dongle. You can connect up to three Bluetooth devices simultaneously. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

I mainly used the Block wirelessly with the 2.4GHz USB dongle. According to Lofree, the 2000mAh battery can last 10 hours with the backlighting on or 80 hours with it off. The battery actually lasted a bit longer than that during my testing thanks to an auto sleep feature that turns off the backlighting if you haven’t pressed any of the keys in a while. 

While that feature is helpful, the battery life could still be better. I had to charge the Block roughly every other day when using it for 8 to 10 hours per day. Of course, it still looks great with the backlighting off. So, if you want to save some battery life, press the function key and the up and down arrow keys to adjust the backlight brightness. 

Bottom line

Overall, the Lofree Block is a fantastic mechanical keyboard for typing, coding, and content creation. Straight out of the box the custom switches and stabilizers sound amazing. At the same time, the Block is still quiet enough to take to the office, where its minimalistic gray and white design will blend right in. 

The Block might look like a prop from “Back to the Future,” but it’s loaded with premium modern features. The dedicated volume knob and built-in battery life display are especially convenient. While the battery life could be better, the display makes it easy to ensure you plug it in before it dies on you. If you’re looking for a great keyboard for typing that sounds and feels great out of the box, the Lofree Block is definitely worth checking out.