Author Topic: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?  (Read 830 times)

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Offline Nek

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Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« on: Sat, 09 November 2019, 09:23:39 »
I am searching for a good old keyboard with good switches. I want to try the Blue ALPS but it is like impossible to find one that is not outrageously expensive. So I just wanted to go slow at first and ended up finding and ordering the following VTech keyboards. As I searched around, I found out that they are essentially a rebranded Laser Computer Inc keyboard based on these findings (videos/images):

Another guy that got this VTech: https://imgur.com/a/Ct5v0VT

Videos:

VTech version

This one is the Laser branded version

Here are the actual keyboards (which I will clean them thoroughly ofcourse)

Pictures of what I ordered

Both keyboards
229747-0

Keyboard no 1
229749-1
229751-2

Keyboard no 2

229753-3
229755-4

So what do you think, was this really a good buy, are they any good fit after my Filco? Based on the above videos and images, I hope and think IMHO that indeed they are, especially the keycaps which are doubleshot PBT :D (drooling). I can't wait to receive them and when I do I will post my opinion and more pictures.

Also do you know a good guide for cleaning these type of keyboards (keycaps, plastic case etc) as good as possible without damaging them?
« Last Edit: Sat, 09 November 2019, 22:17:10 by Nek »
Filco Majestouch 2 Blue MX | CM Storm Brown MX

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 09 November 2019, 10:24:12 »
Congrats!
Those look like SMK switches. Those are pretty nice.

I clean keyboards by taking them apart and washing the plastic parts separately from the electronics.
* Do invest in a keycap puller: wire or H-shaped are the most gentle. Use it to remove all keycaps gently. Be careful with the longer keys that may have stabiliser bars. Put the keycaps in a mesh bag with zipper (lingerie section in clothing store) with some denture cleaning tablets (pharmacy, next to the tooth paste). Zip up, put in a bucket and cover with warm tap-water. Let them fizz for a while and then rinse and dry the whole bag of keycaps.
* Clean the plastic case parts separately with dish soap and sponge. I do it in the shower.
* Use Q-tips, cotton pads, rags with isopropyl-alcohol to clean between key switches and on PCB where necessary.
I'm getting a bit fed up of spam-bots now ...

Offline ollir_

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 10 November 2019, 14:38:54 »
Hi,

the first video is by me.

I noticed these two Vtechs some time ago on ebay and thought I'd tip someone off to get them, but never did. Glad you picked them up.

When I got my Vtech, I took some photos and wrote up some impressions about it: https://imgur.com/a/Ct5v0VT

In short: I like the board very much. It feels solid enough even if it's no real tank. The switches are really nice if you like clicky switches. They sound more machine-like and not as deep as clicky Alps, but they don't sound bad to me, just different to Alps clicks.
« Last Edit: Sun, 10 November 2019, 14:42:09 by ollir_ »

Offline Nek

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 10 November 2019, 16:06:08 »
Congrats!
Those look like SMK switches. Those are pretty nice.

I clean keyboards by taking them apart and washing the plastic parts separately from the electronics.
* Do invest in a keycap puller: wire or H-shaped are the most gentle. Use it to remove all keycaps gently. Be careful with the longer keys that may have stabiliser bars. Put the keycaps in a mesh bag with zipper (lingerie section in clothing store) with some denture cleaning tablets (pharmacy, next to the tooth paste). Zip up, put in a bucket and cover with warm tap-water. Let them fizz for a while and then rinse and dry the whole bag of keycaps.
* Clean the plastic case parts separately with dish soap and sponge. I do it in the shower.
* Use Q-tips, cotton pads, rags with isopropyl-alcohol to clean between key switches and on PCB where necessary.


Great, thanks for the confirmantion and also thanks for your thorough cleaning tips!!  :)

Hi,

the first video is by me.

I noticed these two Vtechs some time ago on ebay and thought I'd tip someone off to get them, but never did. Glad you picked them up.

it's a small world, right? :D

I was also skeptical how no one else noticed those before, as they seemed to be too good to be true. But apparently, someone (you) did and I was just lucky enough to not have a real competition as you already had one. Thanks for the positive confirmation about them. I really liked your video and how your keyboard sounds and how clean it is, I hope to be able to make my own as clean as yours too. :thumb:

Quote
When I got my Vtech, I took some photos and wrote up some impressions about it: https://imgur.com/a/Ct5v0VT

I have seen that already and again it is also your's! :)) I really liked the quality of the pictures, man you must have a really good photography talent. I would easily think that this keyboard would go for 1000s of $, just by how good it looks in those pictures. Amazing work!  :thumb:

One thing that I would like to ask you, because I couldn't find a reliable source, is if all the keycaps are double shot and if their plastic is PBT or ABS? I ask this because I know that the white ones are doubleshot (from the various pictures), but in one of the pictures of the keyboards that I actually ordered (keyboard 2 second picture), the Left Shift key seems to have its lettering faded away at the bottom and that is not a good sign, but maybe it just a photograph artifact. Also what about the plastic case, is it ABS or PBT? Do you know?

Quote
In short: I like the board very much. It feels solid enough even if it's no real tank. The switches are really nice if you like clicky switches. They sound more machine-like and not as deep as clicky Alps, but they don't sound bad to me, just different to Alps clicks.

I do like the clicky ones, too much actually. However at work I must use a more silent keyboard and currently I have a CM Storm with Cherry MX Brown switches, which they suck big time. I just got a Cherry MX Tester with almost all the common switches and guess what: turns out that for me, the worst of them all by far is the Brown. I also think that it doesn't actually have a reason to exist at all, because it feels like a linear (red in particular), but it is scratchy which makes it awful. And the bottom line is that the MX Red linears feel much better as an alternative. In other words, If I can't have good clicky switches, would rather have the reds which are completely linear but very smooth instead of the browns, which are... just awful. Really, I think that all other MX would be fine for me.

What I really want to find is a nice tactile one, with sharp and strong bump as the Blue MX but without the click sound. The MX Clear switch, although very stiff, is more like what I want as a tactile bump, even though it is not as sharp as Blue/Green, it still is much better than the Browns. Anyway I digressed too much, this should be discussed properly in an another topic (which I'll plan to make soon).

Now on topic: I just can't wait to try the VTechs out.  ;D
Filco Majestouch 2 Blue MX | CM Storm Brown MX

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 10 November 2019, 20:24:17 »
Congrats!
Those look like SMK switches. Those are pretty nice.

I clean keyboards by taking them apart and washing the plastic parts separately from the electronics.
* Do invest in a keycap puller: wire or H-shaped are the most gentle. Use it to remove all keycaps gently. Be careful with the longer keys that may have stabiliser bars. Put the keycaps in a mesh bag with zipper (lingerie section in clothing store) with some denture cleaning tablets (pharmacy, next to the tooth paste). Zip up, put in a bucket and cover with warm tap-water. Let them fizz for a while and then rinse and dry the whole bag of keycaps.
* Clean the plastic case parts separately with dish soap and sponge. I do it in the shower.
* Use Q-tips, cotton pads, rags with isopropyl-alcohol to clean between key switches and on PCB where necessary.

ALPS ALPS ALPS

Offline Nek

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 11 November 2019, 02:02:58 »
ALPS ALPS ALPS

What do you mean? Are the  switches of the VTechs ALPS?
Filco Majestouch 2 Blue MX | CM Storm Brown MX

Offline Kevadu

  • Posts: 362
Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 11 November 2019, 11:13:48 »
ALPS ALPS ALPS

What do you mean? Are the  switches of the VTechs ALPS?

No, they're SMK.  Good switches but not Alps.  Not sure what he's on about either.

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 11 November 2019, 11:24:25 »
SMK also made these switches with key stems that fitted Alps-compatible keycaps. And the internals of the switches work in a similar to how Alps SKCM-switches work.
Maybe one of those things is what he is referring to. I dunno.
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Offline ollir_

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 13 November 2019, 12:31:43 »

I have seen that already and again it is also your's! :)) I really liked the quality of the pictures, man you must have a really good photography talent. I would easily think that this keyboard would go for 1000s of $, just by how good it looks in those pictures. Amazing work!  :thumb:
Thanks a lot. I do like photography, but there's nothing special when it comes to photographing keyboards for the purpose of showing them off quickly. Just find a nice place to put the keyboard on (no distracting elements on background, even lighting if possible, etc.), grab a speedlight and point it to the roof or shoot it through a reflector or whatever and get photos from different angles. If you don't have a speedlight, just use a large window as the light source and put off any artificial lights and make sure the time of day and light is such that you don't get hard shadows.

As for focal length, I find 50mm macro (on a full frame camera) to be nice for keyboards. 50mm is good for normal images when you step back but the focal length gets still enough magnification when going in close.

I do have some more conceptual photography plans with some of my keyboards if I could get the time and resources to make them happen. Maybe one day.

But now I digress.

Quote
One thing that I would like to ask you, because I couldn't find a reliable source, is if all the keycaps are double shot and if their plastic is PBT or ABS? I ask this because I know that the white ones are doubleshot (from the various pictures), but in one of the pictures of the keyboards that I actually ordered (keyboard 2 second picture), the Left Shift key seems to have its lettering faded away at the bottom and that is not a good sign, but maybe it just a photograph artifact. Also what about the plastic case, is it ABS or PBT? Do you know?

I haven't even pulled them all off at any point because the board was so clean when I got it so I'm not 100% reliable source either :> I pulled the left shift now and it was double shot. I presume the rest are as well. As for the type of plastic, I wouldn't know. The case or caps don't show any sign of yellowing which could suggest PBT, but then again, the board is in such a good condition that it might have never seen daylight for all I know. I also tried to look for any signs of the shining ABS gets with use but couldn't really find any.
« Last Edit: Wed, 13 November 2019, 12:33:36 by ollir_ »

Offline Nek

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #9 on: Wed, 13 November 2019, 14:23:11 »
Thanks a lot. I do like photography, but there's nothing special when it comes to photographing keyboards for the purpose of showing them off quickly. Just find a nice place to put the keyboard on (no distracting elements on background, even lighting if possible, etc.), grab a speedlight and point it to the roof or shoot it through a reflector or whatever and get photos from different angles. If you don't have a speedlight, just use a large window as the light source and put off any artificial lights and make sure the time of day and light is such that you don't get hard shadows.

As for focal length, I find 50mm macro (on a full frame camera) to be nice for keyboards. 50mm is good for normal images when you step back but the focal length gets still enough magnification when going in close.

I do have some more conceptual photography plans with some of my keyboards if I could get the time and resources to make them happen. Maybe one day.

Well, what you just said went over my head, because I am not familiar with photography, but it seems that you really know. Thanks for the tips btw.

Quote

I haven't even pulled them all off at any point because the board was so clean when I got it so I'm not 100% reliable source either :> I pulled the left shift now and it was double shot. I presume the rest are as well. As for the type of plastic, I wouldn't know. The case or caps don't show any sign of yellowing which could suggest PBT, but then again, the board is in such a good condition that it might have never seen daylight for all I know. I also tried to look for any signs of the shining ABS gets with use but couldn't really find any.

They definitely are PBT, just look at the pictures I posted on the OP, they keyboards are very dirty, therefore they have been worked a lot but all the keys are white. Some of the pictures are a very warm light so the white there seems orangeish, but 2 of them have better light and the keys are very white (apart from the dirt of course). So I guess, it must be double-shot PBT. Anyway, tomorrow I will have them delivered so I will check them first hand. I'll let you guys know.
Filco Majestouch 2 Blue MX | CM Storm Brown MX

Offline Nek

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 16 November 2019, 08:31:32 »
I received them 2 days ago and I managed to clean one of them and here is some before and after photos:

BEFORE

230056-0
230058-1
230060-2
230062-3
230064-4


AFTER

230068-5
230070-6
230072-7
230074-8
230076-9
230078-10
230080-11
230082-12
230084-13
230086-14


For the keycaps I used 3 Denture Tabs (Orega brand to be precise) and put them all inside a plastic bowl filled with water (covering all keycaps). Let them frizzle there for about 40 minutes and then rinsed them well and let them to dry overnight on a towel.

keycaps after Denture Tabs drying

230066-15

For the top plastic case, I used simple green dish soap (AVA brand), a plain green scrub sponge and finally the Easy Eraser by Scotch-Brite. That sponge is incredible for removing deep stains and not ruining the surface, with only water. I know I sound like an advertisement, but really this one truly does remove stains that nothing else can.

For the switch plate and the bottom plastic case I painstakingly used plain Q-tips with a soft cleaning liquid (very gentle, it is for cleaning LCD screens) and I vacuumed them. I could not separate them because they are literally glued together, with the cables being glued to the plastic bottom with a bunch of silicon glue. Very time consuming and tedious, but the qtips did work wonderfully.

Anyway that was about cleaning, in the next post I'll add my experience and opinion.
« Last Edit: Sat, 16 November 2019, 09:03:19 by Nek »
Filco Majestouch 2 Blue MX | CM Storm Brown MX

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 17 November 2019, 20:04:54 »
Congrats!
Those look like SMK switches. Those are pretty nice.

I clean keyboards by taking them apart and washing the plastic parts separately from the electronics.
* Do invest in a keycap puller: wire or H-shaped are the most gentle. Use it to remove all keycaps gently. Be careful with the longer keys that may have stabiliser bars. Put the keycaps in a mesh bag with zipper (lingerie section in clothing store) with some denture cleaning tablets (pharmacy, next to the tooth paste). Zip up, put in a bucket and cover with warm tap-water. Let them fizz for a while and then rinse and dry the whole bag of keycaps.
* Clean the plastic case parts separately with dish soap and sponge. I do it in the shower.
* Use Q-tips, cotton pads, rags with isopropyl-alcohol to clean between key switches and on PCB where necessary.


Great, thanks for the confirmantion and also thanks for your thorough cleaning tips!!  :)

Hi,

the first video is by me.

I noticed these two Vtechs some time ago on ebay and thought I'd tip someone off to get them, but never did. Glad you picked them up.

it's a small world, right? :D

I was also skeptical how no one else noticed those before, as they seemed to be too good to be true. But apparently, someone (you) did and I was just lucky enough to not have a real competition as you already had one. Thanks for the positive confirmation about them. I really liked your video and how your keyboard sounds and how clean it is, I hope to be able to make my own as clean as yours too. :thumb:

Quote
When I got my Vtech, I took some photos and wrote up some impressions about it: https://imgur.com/a/Ct5v0VT

I have seen that already and again it is also your's! :)) I really liked the quality of the pictures, man you must have a really good photography talent. I would easily think that this keyboard would go for 1000s of $, just by how good it looks in those pictures. Amazing work!  :thumb:

One thing that I would like to ask you, because I couldn't find a reliable source, is if all the keycaps are double shot and if their plastic is PBT or ABS? I ask this because I know that the white ones are doubleshot (from the various pictures), but in one of the pictures of the keyboards that I actually ordered (keyboard 2 second picture), the Left Shift key seems to have its lettering faded away at the bottom and that is not a good sign, but maybe it just a photograph artifact. Also what about the plastic case, is it ABS or PBT? Do you know?

Quote
In short: I like the board very much. It feels solid enough even if it's no real tank. The switches are really nice if you like clicky switches. They sound more machine-like and not as deep as clicky Alps, but they don't sound bad to me, just different to Alps clicks.

I do like the clicky ones, too much actually. However at work I must use a more silent keyboard and currently I have a CM Storm with Cherry MX Brown switches, which they suck big time. I just got a Cherry MX Tester with almost all the common switches and guess what: turns out that for me, the worst of them all by far is the Brown. I also think that it doesn't actually have a reason to exist at all, because it feels like a linear (red in particular), but it is scratchy which makes it awful. And the bottom line is that the MX Red linears feel much better as an alternative. In other words, If I can't have good clicky switches, would rather have the reds which are completely linear but very smooth instead of the browns, which are... just awful. Really, I think that all other MX would be fine for me.

What I really want to find is a nice tactile one, with sharp and strong bump as the Blue MX but without the click sound. The MX Clear switch, although very stiff, is more like what I want as a tactile bump, even though it is not as sharp as Blue/Green, it still is much better than the Browns. Anyway I digressed too much, this should be discussed properly in an another topic (which I'll plan to make soon).

Now on topic: I just can't wait to try the VTechs out.  ;D

It's extremely difficult to find keyboards that are not cherries, excepting amazon where they have gateron, kahil and outemu blues and stuff.

Pretty good find you've got there!

Offline Sintpinty

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Re: Just got 2 VTech keyboards - are they good?
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 17 November 2019, 20:10:28 »
I received them 2 days ago and I managed to clean one of them and here is some before and after photos:

BEFORE

(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)


AFTER

(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)
(Attachment Link)


For the keycaps I used 3 Denture Tabs (Orega brand to be precise) and put them all inside a plastic bowl filled with water (covering all keycaps). Let them frizzle there for about 40 minutes and then rinsed them well and let them to dry overnight on a towel.

keycaps after Denture Tabs drying

(Attachment Link)

For the top plastic case, I used simple green dish soap (AVA brand), a plain green scrub sponge and finally the Easy Eraser by Scotch-Brite. That sponge is incredible for removing deep stains and not ruining the surface, with only water. I know I sound like an advertisement, but really this one truly does remove stains that nothing else can.

For the switch plate and the bottom plastic case I painstakingly used plain Q-tips with a soft cleaning liquid (very gentle, it is for cleaning LCD screens) and I vacuumed them. I could not separate them because they are literally glued together, with the cables being glued to the plastic bottom with a bunch of silicon glue. Very time consuming and tedious, but the qtips did work wonderfully.

Anyway that was about cleaning, in the next post I'll add my experience and opinion.

Looks good as new