Lofree Block 98 Review — Back to the 80s

We have established that Lofree makes some really cool keyboards. The Lofree Flow and Edge are two of the best low-profile keyboards that I have had the pleasure to use. So, when Lofree asked me if I would like to test out the Lofree Block 98, I agreed without a second thought. Block 98 is perhaps one of the most unique modern-day keyboards, and for one simple reason. It takes inspiration from the legendary IBM Model M and adds a lot of modern tech that allows it to compete with other modern-day keyboards. What you get is something that is pretty stellar but niche.

The Lofree Block 98 is a retro-inspired keyboard with all the modern features you can expect

So what exactly sets the Lofree Block 98 apart other than its quirky, old-school looks? Well, not a lot, and honestly, that has never been an issue for me when using this keyboard. If you are looking for a good mechanical keyboard with multiple connectivity options, this keyboard will do the job just fine, and I doubt that you will be looking for anything else.


The packaging of the Lofree Block 98 is nothing extraordinary. The company has decided to go for a standard cardboard box with all the information about the keyboard printed on it, and there is also a white and orange sleeve that matches the overall color scheme of the keyboard itself. There is nothing stylish or over-the-top going on here, and honestly, that should not really be a problem considering how Lofree is already well aware of the type of customer base this keyboard is for.

Opening the box reveals the usual set of documentation that is a standard with Lofree keyboards and then you are presented with the Lofree Block 98. The keyboard might look odd and something that is from the past, and that is perhaps one of the reasons behind its charm. It does not come with anything extra aside from your usual USB cable, as well as the 2.4GHz receiver. Yes, the Block 98 does have 2.4GHz connectivity, something I really wish were available in the Flow or Edge.

If you are taken aback after looking at the Lofree Block 98 for the first time, then don’t worry. You are not the only one because I felt the same way. The keyboard looks good. That is not the issue. However, it also looks like it is from an era that is no longer relevant, and that is where you are going to find the charm on this keyboard. The combination of off-white, light grey, and orange is tastefully done to the point that the keyboard looks elegant, and the huge forehead with just two knobs is almost comical and a pretty nice touch if you ask me.

Of course, Lofree was not going to add the knobs just for the sake of having them there. After all, the IBM Model M did not have any knobs on it. So, what are they responsible for? Well, one of the knobs allows you to switch between connectivity modes, and the other one is for volume. Both feel pretty nice to the touch and after a while, you start getting used to the orange color scheme blending nicely with the rest of the keyboard. It is not the color combination that you would think about working out, but it actually does and does so gracefully.

I do understand that you might feel that the Lofree Block 98 is not built up to the standards, but that is not the case. Although it is not as high-tech as the Lofree or the Edge, Lofree has made sure that this keyboard has all that you need for a good overall experience. The entire keyboard is made out of textured PBT plastic, and while this might look like an odd choice, it is a nice way to pay homage to the keyboard of the 80s, and honestly, I don’t mind. Lofree has already proven to us that it is really good with materials, so this keyboard is more of a passion project that stays true to its roots.

Speaking of roots, just because the Lofree Block 98 looks like something out of the 80s does not mean that it is built using the same techniques. The Block 98 is every bit as modern when you start realizing what’s under the hood, and that makes this keyboard even more special. If you are not familiar, the Block 98 is a gasket-mounted keyboard–which means that right out of the box, the overall typing experience is going to be a lot smoother and softer. Before we get to that, you can look at the construction in the diagram below, indicating how the keyboard is constructed.

There is no denying that as far as the overall construction is concerned, the Lofree Block 98 is made using quality materials and you are not really going to have to worry about how the keyboard is going to perform. If you are spending your money on this keyboard mainly because of the way it delivers a great typing experience while looking retro, then this definitely is something that you are going to like. I do understand that this is not something that might be for everyone, but hey, Lofree has put in a great effort, and it is very evident.

Moving on, let’s talk a little about the switches in Lofree Block 98. Although the company does not specify the switches in Block 98. They are, however, made by the incorporation of TTC, so you know that they are going to be good. The switches are also hot-swappable, so you are not really going to have to worry about you are going to stick with the same switch as long as you have the keyboard. The information on the switches can be found below to give you a good idea of what you are getting.

  • Total Travel: 3.8mm
  • Pre-travel: 1.6mm
  • Actuation Force: 43gf
  • Bottom-out Force: 50gf
  • Spring Length: 22mm
  • Contact Mechanism: Gold-plated contacts
  • Durability Design: Dual-pin electroplating

Honestly, I don’t really mind the switches on the Lofree Block 98–they are not the deepest or clackiest sounding switches in the market, but if you are a typist and you are looking for something that sounds good and sounds old-school, then that is not the case. But then again, the hot-swap nature of these switches is going to allow you to just change the switches for something that you actually like. The keyboard has a lot of customization potential, so you can always take your time and effort to make the keyboard sound the way you want it to sound. You can check the way the keyboard sounds in the sound test below to get a better idea.

Moving on, the Lofree Block 98 also brings the signature white lighting that we have seen on the Flow and Edge, and honestly, I don’t really have an issue with the lighting, but the way this keyboard is designed and the nature and construction of the keycaps, you don’t really need the lights, in the first place. Of course, this is subjective, to say the least, but this is not something that is for everyone. Historical accuracy aside, I believe the lighting is just a novelty addition, and the keyboard could do without it without actually having any issues coming in the way of its functionality.

After spending a good chunk of time with the Lofree Block 98, I can easily say that this keyboard is one of the most confident things done by the company, and that is, too, in a good way. Block 98 is not a reinvention of something that has been done before–it is not trying to break the chain or start a trend. It’s just the keyboard-maker having fun and tapping into the segment of the market that was previously only occupied by custom keyboards. This is a great prebuilt keyboard made for those who are looking for something different but also modern.

The Lofree Block 98 is an excellent keyboard that is inspired by the retro keyboards that once ruled the market but Lofree has taken a step further and outfitted the keyboard with all the modern tech that you could look for in a good keyboard.

  • Great typing experience
  • Retro-inspired design
  • A ton of modern features
  • Tri-mode connectivity
  • Looks might not be for everyone
  • Switches aren’t the smoothest