60% keyboards have started to really interest me, I first bought a KBP V60 from www.pexonpcs.co.uk and had a lot of fun playing around with it and generally falling in love with the small footprint of the keyboard, but with pretty much the same functionality.
A few days ago I bought my second 60% keyboard and also ordered a 65% keyboard which should be arriving in March. The one that arrived a couple of days ago was the Vortex Pok3r (Poker III). This is the updated version of the Poker II which has been very popular amongst 60% keyboard fans.
There are a few differences that you can see straight out of the box with the Pok3r whilst keeping the features that everyone loved from the Poker II. The minimalist form factor, the Cherry MX switches and the stock PBT keycaps are the same, but the case has been changed to aluminium and the keys can be programmed far more in depth to what we saw previously. The metal case really does sell this for me. I bought my V60, then paid almost the same for the aluminium case to get away from the plastic one it came with, effectively doubling the price of the original keyboard. Although the Pok3r is more expensive, the aluminium case makes it far better.
The box is very minimalistic, it really is just a black box with the words “Vortex” and “Pok3r” on it, nothing more. I do like this though, it keeps printing costs down and it embodies the idea that this keyboard really is a minimalist board – even though it is packed with features.
As you can see I went for the white version, I love white and even when I get black keyboards I like to add white keycaps, I currently have 3 sets of white caps and this makes my 4th. This is the first keyboard I have had with a white case out of the box though. It is beautiful! I took it in UK layout so that I could get the board quicker, but I do prefer the US layout now.
As you can see, most keys have legends on the side of the keycaps as well as on the tops. This is due to losing almost half of the keys you would find on a full-sized keyboard. To access these keys, it is as simple as pressing the FN key as well as the key you would like to use. So if you want to use the Home key, simply press FN + Home. To print screen, you use FN + PRTSC. Ok, this means you have to press one more key to get these functions to work but after a day or two it becomes second nature, reverting back to a keyboard that doesn’t have a function key seems very strange.
One of the more interesting set features that the Pok3r boasts are the multiple layers and programmability of all the keys. Most keys can be programmed to do 32 functions, which is crazy! The layers work simply by selecting your layer using your FN + layer key. Once you are on this layer you can program it. you can change nearly ANY key to do whatever you want. So, for instance if I wanted to change the “/” key to my “backspace” I would do the following
“”FN”+”Right CTRL” (this puts me into programming mode)
Then press “/” then press the “backspace”
Press “PN” to confirm
If you are finished programming, simply press “FN” + “Right CTRL” again to exit programming mode, if you have not finished, just follow the steps for whichever keys you want, remembering to press “PN” after each change to confirm.
If this isn’t enough for you, you also have dipswitches on the back of the keyboard. These can make it so that your FN key can be changed place as well as allow layouts like Colemak and Dvorak, again, this is straight out of the box! As you can also see from this picture, the keyboard comes with rubber feet, stopping any scratches on tables etc.
The Pok3r comes with a removable Mini USB cable, this means you could get a custom made cable or sleeve your original cable, either way, you can customise it to make it your own.
Another thing I like about this keyboard is the availability of Cherry Green key caps. I have been wanting a board with greens for some time and haven’t been able to find one. The Cherry MX Green is a tactile, clicky switch, so you can feel the bump and hear the click when the activation point is hit. The actuation force is very high at 80 cN (nearly 80g) and a bottoming out force of 105cN and is the highest of the Cherry switches I have used. If we look at some other switches, we can see how much difference there is, Red and brown switches actuate at 45cN, blues at 50cN and blacks at 60cN. The greens are far stiffer, but I do love them. If you do not like stiff keys, simply don’t buy these.
So, that is pretty much all I wanted to do with this overview, I am not going to give it a rating or any pros or cons list as it isn’t really a review. What I will say is I currently have approximately 8 keyboards and this one has taken pride and joy on my main computer table, I have even written this with it!
Hopefully, I will be back very soon with more reviews, builds or overviews, I will have to see what products I receive or buy over the next few weeks. Also, please let me know what I can improve on my videos, I have only started to do these recently so I am very new to it.