keyboards

/dev/tty MT3 Custom Keycap Set

/dev/tty MT3 Custom Keycap Set

These keycaps are based on the profile from IBM beamspring terminals of the 1970s, this custom set is the first-ever fully sculpted set of dye-sublimated PBT keycaps in Hi-Profile.

Many computer terminals of old were constructed with a slanted switch layout from front to back. Because of that slant the keycaps sat at an angle atop the switches. This set is a reimagination of that unique slanted build, but optimized for modern keyboards. Thanks to significant 3D modeling work from Matt3o the MT3 profile is born!

The built quality of this set is impeccable. The plastic is think and the dye-sublimated are super clean and have a fantastic sound. The lip and cup on the top of the caps contour finger tips perfectly. On top of that the color tone is very pleasing. I got the RGB modifiers which give the set a pop of color.

By far my favorite keycaps ever!

Varmilo VA87MR Keyboard

The fact that I have 3 of these keyboards should tell you a lot.

I love almost everything about these boards. First of all they are super clean. No nasty branding anywhere. The floating keycaps make it easy to clean and look good. The key caps it comes with are front-printed which gives it a stealthly look. They are made of PBT plastic which is far superior to ABS and feel better too. They also use Cherry stabilizers which in my opinion are much better than Costar (feel + sound). Costar stabilizers are also super annoying to deal with when swapping keycaps whereas Cherry's are very easy. The USB cable can be routed to the left, middle, or right. I always keep it in the middle because symmetry is nice. You can order the case in different colors, have the option of many types of switches, and keycap colors.

The only thing I don't like is that the LEDs aren't RGB. This should be standard on every single board nowadays.

Let me tell you a little bit about each board that I have.

Varmilo VA87MR #1 Varmilo_VA87MR It has a blue case and white PBT front printed keycaps as seen above. The switches are Gateron Blue with blue LED lights. I call it "my boy blue!" The white keycaps on the blue case have crisp and clean look that I like. The Gateron blues have a light feel and the clicks aren't that loud. The LEDs are bright and shine through the key caps at night so I usually keep them on the lowest level of brightness.

Varmilo VA87MR #2
Varmilo_VA87MR I loved my first Varmilo VA87MR keyboard so much that I ordered another! This time I got it with Gateron Green switches, orange LED lights, a white case, and white key caps. The green switches are heavier which I prefer and I didn't have a tenkeyless board with greens yet. They aren't as crisp as Cherry MX Green but better than blues nonetheless. The all white/orange LED also looks pretty sweet.

Varmilo VA87MR #3 Varmilo_VA87MR I got this one with a white case and mint key caps just because mint is wacky color. I've never used it with the mint key caps however. It has white LEDs and Cherry MX White switches. Cherry MX Whites are a smoother version of Cherry MX Greens and have a quieter click. I went with white on white on white because it makes the board great for swapping out and highlighting most key cap sets. I've got the /dev/tty set on there now and it looks great.

WASD CODE Keyboard

CODE_Green

I have three CODE keyboards. Two are full size and the third is tenkeyless. They all have black cases (bought them before white was an option). Two have Cherry MX Green switches and one has Cherry MX Clear switches. I bought the full size board with Green's first. I absolutely loved how the board and switches felt. It made typing fun and I cranked out a ton of (real) code on it. It was my first board with switches other than Cherry MX Browns. I was nervous that the clickiness would be too noisy so I ordered it with O-rings. I can't say that I preferred the O-rings though. I'm used to noisy keyboards at this point. The second CODE (tenkeyless) board I have I didn't order with O-rings. Cherry MX Green switches are by far my favorite!

The case has no markings or labeling which I am a fan of. A lot of nice boards have logos plastered on them and I find it to be an eye sore. The LEDs light up the white backplate nicely although I wish they were RGB LEDs instead of white.

My only other issue with the board is that my first one came with what seemed to have been painted keycaps and they started chipping after short use. It mostly started chipping around where the legends were, making them deformed and unreadable. My second and third boards did not have this problem however not as much typing was done on those keycaps.

Keyboards

Below is a list of my keyboard collection. I'll write reviews on each one... some day.

Keyboard Name Size Switch
Ajazz AK33 RGB 65% Zorro Blue
Das Keyboard Model S Professional Full Cherry MX Brown
Dell AT101W Full Alps SKCM Black
Input Club K-Type Tenkeyless Halo True
Input Club WhiteFox 65% Zealios Purple 67g
Massdrop CTRL Tenkeyless Kaihua Box White
Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8 Full Cherry MX Brown
Plum Electro-Capacitive Tenkeyless N/A
Royal Kludge RG-987/928 Tenkeyless Greetech Black
Unicomp Ultra Classic Full Buckling Spring
Varmilo VA87MR Tenkeyless Gateron Blue
Varmilo VA87MR Tenkeyless Gateron Green
Varmilo VA87MR Tenkeyless Cherry MX White
Vortex POK3R 60% Cherry MX Clear
WASD CODE Keyboard Full Cherry MX Clear
WASD CODE Keyboard Full Cherry MX Green
WASD CODE Keyboard Tenkeyless Cherry MX Green

Keycaps

  • /dev/tty Matt3o MT3 Custom Keycap Set
  • GMK Jessica Plum Custom Keycap Set
  • GMK T0mb3ry Yuri Custom Keycap Set
  • GMK Zambumon Nautilus Custom Keycap Set
  • Massdrop Backlit Doubleshot PBT w/ Gray modifiers
  • Massdrop Blank PBT w/ Light Gray modifiers
  • Massdrop RGB (modifiers) Set
  • Oblotzky SA Oblivion Custom Keycap Set
  • Originative Carbon Black
  • Pudding PBT Doubleshot Keycaps
  • Royal Kludge Doubleshot ABS - White Keycap / Blue Font
  • T0mb3ry SA Carbon Custom Keycap Set
  • Tai-Hao ALPS Switches Doubleshot ABS Keycaps - Red Dolch
  • Tai-Hao Avatar ABS Keycap Set - M2 (Orange Accents)
  • Tai-Hao Blue/White Doubleshot PBT Shine-Through
  • Tai-Hao Cubic Colored Translucent Keycaps
  • Tai-Hao Ocean Deep 2-Tone ABS Doubleshot
  • Tai-Hao Purple PBT Doubleshot - Cement/Lavender alphas w/ Slate/Lilac modifiers
  • Vortex Backlit Doubleshot PBT
  • Vortex Side-Lit PBT

Switches

  • Gateron Blue Plate Mount (Clicky 55g)
  • Gateron Green PCB Mount (Clicky 80g)
  • Gateron Green Plate Mount (Clicky 80g)
  • Gateron Yellow Plate Mount (Linear 50g)
  • Kaihua Kailh Bronze (Clicky 50g, 1.1mm +/-0.3mm pre-travel, "Speed Switches")
  • Kailh BIG Switch by NovelKeys (Burnt Orange, Tactile)
  • NovelKeys x Kailh Plum (Tactile 70g, "Pro Heavy Switches")

Max Keyboard Nighthawk X8 Review

I recently purchased a Max Nighthawk X8 mechanical keyboard(orange backlight). This is the second mechanical keyboard that I’ve bought. The other is a Das Keyboard S Pro which I will use as a comparison on some notes.

Unboxing

Overall the packaging is very nice. The box seems a little big for the keyboard but there is a lot of padding to protect your new baby. The palm rest which feels like a gel pad is protecting the underside of the keyboard. The board itself is wedged between foam blocks on either end. I don’t remember there being any padding on top. That shouldn’t be a problem because it was packed within another box filled will foam peanuts to protect the top. There is a plastic bag covering the keyboard which protects it from dust and debris. The only thing I did not like was a slip cover over the keyboard box. I’d rather that the image/info be printed directly on the box. The slip cover though is a high end matte black and very nice. The box itself is matte black and stiff. You can tell it’s quality cardboard and what’s protecting underneath is something special.

Appearance and Function

The first thing I noticed was the matte black texture of the keyboard and keys. It has a soft look and velvet feel to it. The weight of the keyboard is significant but doesn’t feel as heavy as my Das Keyboard. There are no distracting logos which is good because I place a high value on my desk looking slick and streamlined/professional. There is a thin ridge and trench outlining the entire keyboard which, as soon as I saw it, knew would collect dust and be hard to clean. I haven’t had the keyboard long enough for that to happen but I know eventually it will. The braided cable is sturdy to the point of being rigid. Once you hook it up though, who cares? The cable connection to the keyboard is off-centered to the right. I don’t have a problem with this but I know others do. The cable is long enough that it’s a non-issue for me – and my rig is setup to the left of my desk. The back stand legs are decent and leave the keyboard at a good angle. I haven’t had any problems typing because of that. The rubber pads under the lower part of the bottom are smaller than the Das Keyboard. I wish they were bigger. The USB and audio ports I have not used at all because I have a USB powered headset that plugs into the front of my tower. The USB ports on the keyboard are low powered which limits their use. I feel like they could have done without them and lowered the cost a little.

Keys

The key lettering is centered which I do not prefer but I know that is due to the back light position which is in the center. The function keys row doubles as media keys and the media function symbol is written below the F#. This means the LED cannot illuminate the media key symbol because the connector to the key cap is blocking the light. This makes me sad. Also the space bar has a long bar of clear plastic for the LED to shine through but 1 LED is not enough to illuminate the entire bar. If there were 2 or 3 LEDs under the space bar it would look more impressive. The numlock, capslock, and “G” (gamemode) notification area is well lit. Adjusting the LED brightness is easy and the “breathing” mode is very cool.

The X8 comes with Cherry Brown MX switches which provide a soft tactile bump and are known to be clicky. Compared to my Das Keyboard it sounds less clicky and softer to the touch. This may be due to the finish of the keyboard which is that velvet matte finish. The key faces are a little small. They seem to fall somewhere between cylindrical and spherical whereas the Das Keyboard is a flatter cylindrical shape. I would like it if the key faces were larger like the Das Keyboard because I have fat fingers.

Summary

Overall I am very impressed with this keyboard and see myself typing and gaming on it for a long time. It is almost exactly what I was looking for, just needs a few tweaks.