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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches

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REVENGE:
Review:
This KBC Poker with PBT key caps and Cherry Blue key switches was ordered from TaoBao and picked up directly from the shop's office (run by twenty year olds). Since there have already been several previous unboxings and reviews of the Poker, I'll jump straight to the goods and guts of this particular board, focusing on the PBT key caps and Cherry Blue key switches.

Like the other production Pokers people have been receiving, this one has a red PCB.


These PBT key caps  feature dark silver lasered legends.


Being Poker specific key caps, they have all of the proper Fn layer legends.


PCB mounted Cherry Blue (somewhat)tactile + (sometimes)clicky key switches. (Huh??? More on that in a moment)


Windowed Caps Lock key. Ripster was right, the quality on this guy is not first class.


Small molding imperfections, and the window itself is not symmetrical.


Im being picky here, this stuff is completely unnoticeable during normal use. Key wobble however, especially on the unstabilized Tab and Caps Lock keys, is noticeable - more pronounced than on my Qtronix Scorpius 35, but on par with my Razer Blackwidow.


The key top texture feels good, a bit rougher than the silver on white Compaq MX11802 PBT keys.


But will it outlast ABS?


WASD cluster. I purchased this board expecting engraved PBT key caps, but this set is great in its own way. The dark silver legends are understated and stealthy, yet still very functional in various lighting conditions.


David, meet Goliath. More size comparisons to follow after my camera battery finishes recharging.


Looks good in the dark, although Im not a fan of the bright blue LED trend as blue light exposure can cause macular degeneration over long periods of time.


PBT key caps are almost completely opaque.


Compare this spacebar with the ABS one.


Seriously, this is just unnecessary.


To disassemble, remove these 5 screws circled in green.


The board is secured using thread-locked machine screws, good quality and reminiscent of the Model F.


PCB revision and controller information.



Foam mod: cut and insert strips of foam between the casing and the board to reduce PCB flexing. Post mod, typing makes a good thump that reverberates throughout the board. Flexing in the home-row is now negligible.


The quality of the PBT key cap set is acceptable and on par with what weve come to expect from KBC. Presently, youre going to find some small flaws here and there. As I was typing this paragraph, I noticed that all of the top row key caps have a little bit of left over plastic protruding from the north face of the cap. This is in contrast to most of the other key caps, where that nub of plastic has been sanded off, a small factory oversight perhaps.

[strike]Now, its time to address a rather serious problem Ive encountered while typing on this board. The sound and feel of the Cherry Blue switches on this particular board vary wildly from key to key. My V key sounds and feels very similar to the switches on my Scorpius 35 and BlackWidow, differences between PCB and plate mounting aside. My S key, on the other hand, feels and sounds almost like a Cherry Clear the tactility is reduced, the spring force feels higher, and there is essentially no click from the jumping bean mechanism. Between the feel of the V and S keys is a spectrum of behavior exhibited by the other keys on the board, ranging from the normal tactile and clicky nature you expect from a Cherry Blue to strange, muted tones and reduced tactility. Neither of my other two Cherry Blue boards exhibits this level of inconsistency in key feel between switches, and I intend to find out whats going on by opening up the switches that seem to have lost their clicky character.[/strike]

UPDATE: At least two of the problematic switches have been fixed by opening the switch up and manually depressing the stem a few times. YMMV.
UPDATE: After opening some more switches and a foam mod, this board feels just as nice and consistent as my other plate mounted Cherry Blue boards.

Overall, the KBC Poker is a neat little piece of hardware whose level of quality is not quite on par with that of Filco or Cherry. The lasered PBT caps are aesthetically pleasing and make a nice addition to the package for the right price. [strike]However, if you had to get this board now, I would avoid going for the Cherry Blue version until other people can confirm or disconfirm the problems Ive experienced.[/strike] If you get one with Cherry Blues, you may experience some switch non-uniformity, but it is fixable if you're willing and able to open up the problematic switches. In the end, the issue is not a deal breaker by any means.

Tohveli:
Too bad you ended up with a board that is inconsistent. Still a nice review and great pictures, let's hope this isn't a common problem and that it can be solved.

REVENGE:

--- Quote from: Tohveli;375275 ---Too bad you ended up with a board that is inconsistent. Still a nice review and great pictures, let's hope this isn't a common problem and that it can be solved.
--- End quote ---

Well the funny thing is that this board has ended up being very quiet, almost muffled sounding. I type on it without any issues, so this could turn out to be a positive.

kaiserreich:
It's sad that they did not make windowed keys for the Esc and the Cursor Keys.
The Review Sample with the engraved keycaps seem to have these. Without it, it is rather hard to see whether the special functions for those keys are enabled.

REVENGE:

--- Quote from: kaiserreich;375304 ---It's sad that they did not make windowed keys for the Esc and the Cursor Keys.
The Review Sample with the engraved keycaps seem to have these. Without it, it is rather hard to see whether the special functions for those keys are enabled.
--- End quote ---
Actually, I'm *very* glad they didn't do so, because the LEDs are so damn bright that they bleed out nicely from the gaps between the keys. The ABS version looks even better since the key caps are somewhat translucent. Rather, the Caps Lock LED window is just annoying.

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