The Lofree Flow is an excellent keyboard. Its smooth Kailh POM switches and gasket-mount design combine for a typing experience you won’t find in other low-profile keyboards. While it’s not perfect, its faults are minor and don’t detract from the high-quality typing experience.
|+ Smooth Kailh tactile switches|
+ Gasket-mount design
+ Pleasing sound
+ Classy aesthetics
+ Good-quality PBT keycaps
+ Good value (at discounted crowdfunding price)
|- No remapping
- No 2.4 GHz connection
- Laggy Bluetooth
- Dim single-color backlight
- Fixed typing angle
- Barebones package
Lofree has made a name for itself with quirky compact keyboards like the typewriter-inspired Dot. But while some of the company’s earlier products may come across as a bit gimmicky, its newest product, the Flow, is anything but.
The Flow is a low-profile, wireless 75% keyboard with unique features such as all-POM Kailh switches and a gasket mount design. This makes for an excellent keyboard on paper, but does the final product live up to the promise? Let’s find out.
Disclaimer: Lofree sent me this keyboard free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. They had no say in the content of this review.
Packaging and Accessories
The Lofree Flow makes a great first impression with its tasteful packaging and magnetically-sealed clamshell box. It’s one of the better packages I’ve received in my time reviewing keyboards here at Voltcave. There’s not much inside the box, though: the Flow, a basic manual, and an angled USB Type-A to Type-C cable.
It’s a pretty barebones package, without any of the extras—such as keycap and switch pullers—you may be used to receiving. If you want both (and a cleaning brush), you’ll have to pay for a $15 add-on.
I don’t blame Lofree for trying to make some money, but $15 for add-ons that usually come for free with most keyboards feels like a cash grab. But you do at least get separate switch and keycap pullers, unlike the combination switch and keycap pullers I usually see.
Let’s take the Flow out of its box and see how it stacks up.
Design, Layout, and Build Quality
Fortunately, the Lofree Flow immediately impresses when you first set eyes on it. It’s a sleek 75% keyboard with an aluminum frame and restrained keycaps. The Flow has a premium feel to it that, I imagine, would go well with a MacBook.
As far as the layout goes, the Flow is mostly unremarkable. It’s a traditional cramped 75% layout with no spacers, knobs, or extra keys. I prefer the “exploded” 75% layout of keyboards like the Skyloong GK75, but there’s nothing wrong with the Lofree Flow’s arrangement. It’s just not very exciting.
I do, however, like the gold accent on the frame, a color echoed in the Flow’s bottom feet. It’s a minor detail, but it adds a nice touch. Speaking of the feet, the Flow comes with fixed feet that, combined with rubber nubs, give it a 3.9-degree typing angle. Sadly, fixed feet mean you’ll need to find another way to prop up the keyboard if you prefer a steeper typing angle.
The Flow’s most impressive design features, however, aren’t visible to the naked eye. Lofree managed to squeeze in a proper gasket mount design and sound-deadening material into the Flow’s 10-mm (0.39-inch) frame, which is impressive. Lofree probably spent the bulk of its R&D budget figuring this out, and I think it was a good call.
Unfortunately, my unit had one noticeable issue. Out of the box, the PCB and keys were off-center in the frame; the keys sat flush on the left side but had a noticeable gap on the right. It didn’t affect the typing experience, but it wasn’t a good look.
A Lofree representative told me this can happen during shipping but that “it’s not common at all.” Thankfully, it’s easy to resolve, as you can push the keys to the left or right and slide the assembly into position.
Beyond the misalignment, my unit also had a couple of loose fittings. One of the feet and the gold accent mentioned above were rattly, slightly the Flow’s premium impression. I didn’t have the right screwdriver bit for tightening the screws, but I’m confident you could resolve both issues without too much trouble.
Overall, I’m impressed by the Lofree Flow’s design and build quality. The misaligned keys disappointed me initially, but I’m glad it was an easy fix.
The Lofree Flow comes with a white LED backlight and subtle RGB underglow from two small strips on its bottom. The backlight isn’t great; the SMD LEDs aren’t very bright, and the backlighting feels more like an afterthought. You don’t get shine-through legends either, so the dim lighting doesn’t really have anywhere to go.
However, I like the ambient RGB lighting on the rear. With only eight colors and two modes, it’s subtle and won’t impress RGB fanatics. However, it’s perfect for my tastes, adding extra visual appeal without going overboard.
Connectivity and Software
Lofree’s Flow is a dual-mode keyboard with wired USB Type-C and wireless Bluetooth. You switch between the two with a three-way switch next to the USB port. Unfortunately, you don’t get a low-latency 2.4 GHz option here, so the Flow won’t be suitable for wireless gaming.
As with all modern Bluetooth keyboards, you can connect the Flow to three devices simultaneously and switch between them with a quick two-key combo (Fn + 1/2/3). I had no issues pairing the Flow to my desktop and Pixel 6a and could switch between them freely.
Bluetooth worked fine with no dropped connections, but it was noticeably laggy. It’s not the worst latency I’ve experienced, but I found it annoying enough that I quickly switched back to the USB connection after a day and a half of Bluetooth. That said, those of you used to Bluetooth keyboards likely won’t find this too huge of an issue.
Lofree claims a 40-hour battery life from the Flow’s 2000 mAh battery, with a respectable 3-hour charge time. While the charge time is fine, 40 hours seems a bit short compared to other slim keyboards. The latency issues meant I didn’t test the battery life, so I can’t say whether Lofree is being conservative here.
Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse once we turn to the software side. Or, rather, the lack thereof. The Lofree Flow only comes with pre-configured Windows and Mac layouts with no way to freely remap the keys. So if, say, the media key setup doesn’t work for you, you have no way of changing it to suit your preferences.
Remapping should be a default feature on all keyboards in 2023, so I’m disappointed Lofree didn’t include the functionality. Sure, it’s not the only company to forego remapping on a low-profile keyboard, but that’s no excuse when boards like the QMK-supporting Keychron K3 Pro exist.
Lofree ships the Flow with uniform low-profile PBT keycaps. They’re decent keycaps overall, with unobtrusive legends and a good typing feel. They feel like how PBT keycaps should, unlike the weirdly chalky keycaps on boards like the Vissles V84. The keycaps are also reasonably thick for low-profile caps, which is always nice.
The design is a bit plain, but the printing is crisp and the look suits the board’s portability and productivity-focused concept. However, the combined legends for Mac and Windows keys look busy and somewhat detract from the visual appeal. It would have been nice to have separate Windows and Mac keycaps.
If the stock keycaps are a bit too plain for you, you can opt for the add-on keycap sets Lofree offers. You have a two-tone pebble and beige with red highlights (Retro); a black and white with red highlights (Alert); and a Kickstarter-themed black, white, and mint green colorway.
Of course, you can also install your own aftermarket keycap sets, as the Flow has standard MX-style switch stems and stabilizers. As long as the keycaps you have support the Flow’s 75% layout, the keycaps will install fine with no stabilizer- or switch stem-related issues.
Switches and Typing Feel
So far, the Lofree Flow has been good, if flawed. But let’s move on to the best part of the Flow: the typing experience.
Switches and Stabilizers
The Lofree Flow comes with Kailh’s all-new low-profile polyoxymethylene (POM) switches, which the two companies claim is the “world’s first low-profile switch made entirely of POM material.”
The white Flow has 50-gram linear “Ghost” switches, while the black version has 45-gram tactile “Phantom” switches. There’s also a third clicky “Wizard” switch with a 50-gram actuation force, although you can only buy these as add-ons.
Polyoxymethylene (POM) is an extremely low-friction plastic commonly used for keyboard switch stems. It’s much smoother than plastics such as ABS and PBT, making it ideal for use in mechanical keyboard switches. Despite POM’s popularity for switch stems, all-POM switches are relatively rare. Switches like the Durock POM and Kailh Box Cream switches were some of the most notable examples before these low-profile Kailh switches.
Kailh claims that POM is a “self-lubricating” material, but that’s not entirely accurate. It’s certainly smooth, but all-POM switches still come with factory lube. This makes for a smoother switch and helps minimize slipping issues stemming from POM-on-POM contact.
The jury’s still out on whether all-POM construction significantly affects switch feel or is just a marketing point. I lean toward the latter and don’t consider switch material a good indicator of smoothness or typing feel.
The three switches differ slightly in actuation distances. While all three have a total travel distance of 2.8 ± 0.25 mm, their pre-travel distance specs differ. The linear Ghost and clicky Wizard switches have a pre-travel actuation of 1.2 ± 0.30 mm. In contrast, the tactile Phantoms have a longer 1.6 ± 0.30-mm pre-travel distance.
The Phantom switches are great to type on, with a pronounced tactile bump early on and smooth operation. They’re obviously patterned after modern tactile switches, with their P-shaped force curve. Of course, the low-profile design means that Kailh couldn’t go as heavy on the tactility as some of the best tactile switches, but the tactility is still very satisfying and miles ahead of other low-profile tactiles.
I like the Phantoms enough that I’d take them over MX Brown-style tactiles any day of the week. That’s not a huge bar to clear, admittedly, but it’s not something I’d thought I’d ever say about a low-profile switch.
The Flow’s standard Cherry-style stabilizers on my unit don’t seem to have any lube based on a visual inspection, but they feel OK to use regardless. The Backspace stabilizers on my unit feel slightly scratchy, but the rest are fine and are good enough to use as they are.
Overall Typing Experience
I wasn’t necessarily excited to test the Flow, as I’ve never been a massive fan of low-profile keyboards. But the Flow surprised me from the moment I typed out my first few words. The switches are great, but what sets the Flow apart is its polycarbonate plate and gasket mount design.
The latter provides a welcome bit of flex and bottom-out bounce, which I’ve never felt on a low-profile keyboard. Combine that with the switches’ pronounced tactility and smooth travel, and you get a genuinely delightful typing experience. It’s surprisingly addictive, too, and kept me using it far longer than I expected I would.
Of course, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Yes, the Flow is fun to type on, with pleasant tactility and bounce. As far as low-profile keyboards go, it’s fantastic. That said, none of these can quite make up for the reduced switch travel.
But you know what? It gets close, closer than I ever expected a low-profile keyboard to get. If you like low-profile keyboards, you’ll love the Flow. And even if you don’t, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much you’ll enjoy typing on it.
I had no issues hitting my usual ~120 WPM on the Flow. Many low-profile keyboards feel awkward to me, even after an adjustment period. However, I had no such problems with the Flow.
Even better, the Flow backs up this great typing feel with a mostly-fantastic sound profile. My tactile unit has a muted clack that’s equal parts creamy and poppy, a combination that sounds like music to my ears.
As usual, I recorded the typing demo with an Audio-Technica AT2020 placed about a foot above the keyboard. I applied minor noise reduction in iZotope RX 8 and raised the levels slightly to save you from turning your volume up too much.
I’ve been a bit critical of some aspects of the Flow, but the typing feel and sound is one area where I have no complaints. It’s tactile, bouncy, and sounds excellent; well worth the $130 Lofree’s asking for it on Indiegogo.
Vs. The Competition
In my opinion, the Lofree Flow’s main competitor is the similarly thin, similarly Mac-inspired Vissles LP85, which I reviewed just under two years ago. The LP85 impressed me back then, but I think the Flow is a much better keyboard on every front.
Don’t get me wrong; the LP85 is still a good low-profile keyboard, especially considering how thin it is. However, its clicky opto-mechanical switches and chiclet-style design just can’t compete with the tactile Kailh Phantom switches in the Lofree Flow.
And it’s not just the switches, either. The Flow’s gasket mount design makes it feel much more like a proper mechanical keyboard than the LP85 ever will. Unless you’re really after the Mac look, the Flow is easily the better keyboard.
However, there’s also the Keychron K3 Pro, which comes in at a lower price and packs in QMK/Via compatibility for custom mappings. If budget (or programmability) are priorities, then the K3 Pro is worth considering. However, if you’re going on typing feel alone, then the Lofree Flow is still far and away the better keyboard.
Logitech also has a low-profile 75% competitor in the MX Mechanical Mini. It’s possibly the least appealing of the bunch, with soldered Kailh low-profile switches (different from the ones in the Flow) and no remapping, all at a steep $150 MSRP. The Logitech uses non-standard stabilizers with non-standard spacing, so you won’t be able to install your own keycap sets on it. It’s also not a very good keyboard to type on, which makes the Flow a much better choice.
Overall, the Lofree Flow is significantly better than competing low-profile 75% keyboards in almost every area. Its lack of customizable key mapping falls short compared to the Keychron K3 Pro and its QMK compatibility, but the Flow’s typing quality gives it the edge.
Most low-profile keyboards are strictly portable-only for me, as the form factor comes with too many compromises to consider using at home. But the Lofree Flow is different. No, it won’t replace a full-thickness keyboard, but it’s good enough to sit alongside them as a valid alternative for use at home and on the go.
However, it’s not a total home run, with issues such as the fixed typing angle, so-so Bluetooth performance, and lack of programming holding it back from true greatness. Overall, though, I think the Flow’s excellent typing feel compensates for all these issues, so long as you don’t rely on complex custom mappings or demand low-latency wireless connectivity.
The Lofree Flow is available for $130 during its Indiegogo campaign, with boards scheduled to ship in August. At that price, the Flow is a no-brainer for anyone seeking a great low-profile keyboard.