Review: Best 88-Keys Home Piano We Can Actually Afford
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
Finding the perfect beginner digital piano is not easy. You do not want to spend too much on a digital piano with gazillion features you will not ever use. Yet you do not want to spend too little or you will find your cheap keyboard is nothing more than a glorified musical toy. I am going to review the key-action, sound quality, various features, and functionalities of this home piano and demonstrate the onboard sounds in order to help you make a better buying decision.
The most critical feature of a digital piano is the key action. Here, this WK-310 from NUX does not disappoint. We get 88 full-size graded hammer action keys simulating the touch response of an acoustic grand piano.
The keys are heavier on the lower register and get progressively lighter on the higher register. Four velocity curves ensure you can match your skill level and playing style accordingly.
The white key tops have a textured surface, very useful in humid climates should your fingertips get sweaty. The black keys have a matte surface improving grip. I love the thick red felt liner at the key pivots.
This works to dampen key noise as well as provide an aesthetic accent. The key action is light enough for beginners yet fast enough for demanding players. Discounting the slightly noisy keys, this has got to be one of the best key actions at this price.
For a list of digital pianos with great key action, you can check it out here.
While this digital piano comes with 127 tones, the default grand piano voice is what most owners will use 99% of the time and this sound does not disappoint. The multi-sampled, 5-layer Steinway grand piano sounds warm and is perfect for those who love to play dreamy romantic ballads. For playing in a band, the piano sound will most likely get lost in the mix, which is not really an issue as most will just use this as a home piano for solo playing.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find string resonance on this piano because most home console digital pianos at this price use a dated and basic stereo piano sample. Advanced pianists needing more nuanced expression will welcome the triple pedals controlling soft, sostenuto, and damper which supports half-pedaling.
With a generous 180-note polyphony, I did not encounter any dropped notes. While the grand piano and electric pianos sound great for the price, I personally would not use the remaining voices. The guitars, organs, woodwinds, brass, and synth sounds are generic GM patches meant more for MIDI files playback.
Sounds can be layered as well as split across the keyboard, a feature lacking from premium brands that cost more. However, the volume mix of the layers cannot be adjusted, thereby limiting more creative use. To thicken up the sounds, you can turn on a basic reverb and chorus effect.
While an option to dial in the amount of reverb and chorus would be nice, it is not a feature beginners would dabble in.
I do not expect a user registration memory feature for a beginner digital piano such as this, but I was a little disappointed that all user settings are lost when the power is turned off. It is also quite painful having to scroll sequentially to get to a particular sound. A way to have the numbers jump by 10 would have been quicker.
I have a list of great-sounding keyboards and digital pianos for every budget here
When you get a great piano sound for a budget price, you would assume corners were cut in the build quality. Not here. While the keyboard is made from durable plastic and the furniture stand is made from laminated fiberboard, the fit and finish are better than premium Japanese brands in the same price category.
The keys have no lateral free play, the hinges are tight, and the switches have a satisfying firm tactile feel.
What I did not like in the design, includes the volume knob. Which could have been sleeker looking and the ridiculously oversized font labeling the functions. Unless NUX intended to market this digital piano to presbyopic geriatrics, they should really use a more discrete font, size, and color
Features and Functions
A metronome is an essential time-keeping tool for learning to play the piano and there is one in here.
For those accompanying a singer, the transpose feature is handy.
A single-track recorder allows a teacher to capture his or her demonstrations, helpful for students learning a new piece of music.
For those times you would rather be entertained than tinkle the ivories yourself, this digital piano comes with 52 onboard demo songs.
If you do not mind paying more for more advanced features, check out my recommended list
At this price, do not expect a whole load of bells and whistles which not everyone uses. I love the 2 headphone jacks, one for the teacher and another for the student. The jacks come in 2 sizes, ¼” and a 3.5mm ensuring the WK-310 will work with any pair of headphones you have.
There is a USB MIDI port for connecting to music learning apps or music production software as well as a pair of stereo audio in and out jacks.
What I absolutely could not understand is why would NUX use RCA connectors for audio input and output. I guess this is one of the cost-cutting measures as most beginners are unlikely to use external amplification with a home digital piano.
Thankfully, you can do without wires and stream backing tracks through the speakers using Bluetooth audio. The 20 watts output from the speakers driven by a pair of 10 watts amplifiers is more than sufficient for a large living room.
Here I have recommendations for speakers, headphones, microphones, and other connectivity devices which you might be looking for. You can check out my beginner piano app as well as some beginner video courses and course materials available for you. Also, do check out this free 25 Piano lesson too.
In conclusion, the NUX WK-310 is ridiculously great value for money. For a mere few hundred dollars, not only do you get a digital piano with 88 full-size hammer action keys and a great piano sample, but the furniture stand, triple pedals, and, depending on where you buy it, a piano bench and a pair of headphones may also be included.
For a beginner piano student who does not want to break the piggy bank, but needs a digital piano that can be used to learn for at least 4 to 5 years, getting this digital piano is a no-brainer. There is one problem though, this digital piano does not seem to be distributed in most parts of the US and the EU.
I hope you found my review of the NUX WK-310 useful. Do check out the links provided in this article for the latest and most updated information and prices on NUX WK-310. Do also take a look at my other articles to find the best and most suited instrument for your personal need. Also, check out my Piano App and beginner keyboard course available for you