Author Topic: KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches  (Read 31600 times)

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Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 03:54:04 »
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.
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Offline Tohveli

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 04:59:05 »
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.
Current stuff: Logitech G11(Rubber domes FTW!!!!...not), Logitech G500(Prediction/form FTW!!!...not), Puretrak talent
In the mail: Zowie Mico and Filco Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless
Do want: Vortex Race

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 05:12:53 »
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.

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.
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Offline kaiserreich

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 06:42:18 »
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.

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 07:03:05 »
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.
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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Offline kaiserreich

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 07:26:36 »
Maybe add a resistor to the LED to lower the brightness of the LED.

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 08:12:01 »
Quote from: kaiserreich;375311
Maybe add a resistor to the LED to lower the brightness of the LED.

Red LEDs would be much more eye friendly.
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Offline kaiserreich

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 08:22:20 »
Actually, with the opaqueness of the keycaps, can you even see the other lights even if you mod it?
Apart from the Capslock key of course

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 08:59:55 »
Quote from: kaiserreich;375328
Actually, with the opaqueness of the keycaps, can you even see the other lights even if you mod it?
Apart from the Capslock key of course
You mean a resistor mod? I'm not sure you would be able to if you reduced the current to the LEDs. But it would make them work better with windowed / clear keys. I would like to put an SP clear key on Esc, but I'm afraid the LED is going to be too bright.

Also, an update on the Blue switch problem. I took one of the switches and opened and closed the housing a few times to try different stem / spring combinations, and now the original blue stem + spring combo feels just as it should, so it looks like the issue is fixed. Also, I find I'm strangely attracted to a combination of black spring + blue stem, essentially a heavier tactile clicky switch.

Ergo clears are also definitely a winner, they're much more tactile than browns.

Update: I just finished doing a quick and dirty foam mod which has significantly reduced PCB flex near the center of the board, making the switches feel closer to being plate mounted than PCB mounted.
« Last Edit: Thu, 07 July 2011, 12:02:14 by REVENGE »
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Offline Atenacius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 11:34:36 »
Is this a kind of refresh for the KBC Poker or is it just for this model in particular? They new keys look pretty awesome and I really like the red PCB peeking out from underneath

Keychron Q6 GATERON G PRO YELLOW
Vortex Pok3r CHERRY MX RED
Das Keyboard Model S CHERRY MX BLUE
IBM Model M
1391401 09 MAR 93

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 12:00:39 »
Quote from: Atenacius;375436
Is this a kind of refresh for the KBC Poker or is it just for this model in particular? They new keys look pretty awesome and I really like the red PCB peeking out from underneath

The only thing new that I know of is the factory PBT key cap set. I thought the production Poker has always used a red colored PCB.
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Offline Atenacius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 07 July 2011, 13:21:20 »
Quote from: REVENGE;375453
The only thing new that I know of is the factory PBT key cap set. I thought the production Poker has always used a red colored PCB.

Well from what I saw on eBay, there is a Poker with ABS caps, bright white key legends and a Poker with PBT caps, red key legends

Keychron Q6 GATERON G PRO YELLOW
Vortex Pok3r CHERRY MX RED
Das Keyboard Model S CHERRY MX BLUE
IBM Model M
1391401 09 MAR 93

Offline qtan5370

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 08 July 2011, 11:28:07 »
Quote from: Atenacius;375491
Well from what I saw on eBay, there is a Poker with ABS caps, bright white key legends and a Poker with PBT caps, red key legends


Yes, two type, I got both on eBay.
Look for Keyboard? Check my offers. I have most major keyboard and some caps for you, if you don\'t see it there, ask me. I am Top rated seller on eBay now, and have retail store in China selling keyboard and other gaming staffs.

My eBay store http://stores.ebay.com/E-sports-Gaming-equipments?_rdc=1

My store(lower price than eBay): http://www.keyboardwow.com

Offline Atenacius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 08 July 2011, 12:16:05 »
Quote from: qtan5370;376220
Yes, two type, I got both on eBay.

 
Yeah I've been watching your items, I'm very interested. I want to get a white Plu-87 with Reds but I already have 2 keyboards. When I find a good reason, I will definitely order one from you.

Keychron Q6 GATERON G PRO YELLOW
Vortex Pok3r CHERRY MX RED
Das Keyboard Model S CHERRY MX BLUE
IBM Model M
1391401 09 MAR 93

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 11 July 2011, 22:40:24 »
Yo aming! Thanks for jacking my pics! Guess it's time to design a watermark...
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Offline Wibox

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 12 July 2011, 07:57:48 »
Great review and awesome pictures! :thumb:
!! YKBDS !! - KBC Poker (Ergo Clear Cherry) - Apple M0116 (Pink ALPS) - Apple M0115 (Orange ALPS) - Das Keyboard (Blue Cherry) - IBM Model F - IBM Model M - Dell AT101W (White ALPS) - Cherry POS 8000 (Clear Cherry) - Apple Extended II (Cream ALPS)

Offline iMav

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 14 July 2011, 16:20:52 »
Have you verified correct functionality of all the dip switches?  I've had some reports that the dip switch for swapping Caps Lock and L_Ctrl does not work as advertised.

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 14 July 2011, 17:47:42 »
Quote from: iMav;380475
Have you verified correct functionality of all the dip switches?  I've had some reports that the dip switch for swapping Caps Lock and L_Ctrl does not work as advertised.
Just did a quick test with dip switch #2, seems to work properly.
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Offline sordna

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 15 July 2011, 01:35:44 »
Dip switches work fine on my poker too. However in escape-lock mode, you can't type the ` and ~ characters.
I would expect that holding FN while in escape-lock mode would make ESC produce the original layer's ` and ~ characters, but it does not. It would be very useful for programmers / unix users.
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Offline Arcanius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 17 July 2011, 16:55:10 »
I'd just come up with a dirty solution
Win+ backtick = Backtick.
This would apply in both modes.

EDIT: A better solution would be to swap Esc and Backtick... Having a permanent Escape mode on.....  then having fn tilde actually result in tilde, but upon turning the escape mode on in hardware, you would only get tilde, even with the FN key..
« Last Edit: Sun, 17 July 2011, 17:08:59 by Arcanius »

Offline kaiserreich

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 18 July 2011, 06:28:47 »
Quote from: iMav;380475
Have you verified correct functionality of all the dip switches?  I've had some reports that the dip switch for swapping Caps Lock and L_Ctrl does not work as advertised.

My DIP switches was mounted upside down.
It works the other way around

Offline Arcanius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 18 July 2011, 07:23:32 »
Oh wow, that kind of sucks. It doesn't really affect functionality, but the quality kind of scares me.

Offline Arcanius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 20 July 2011, 17:28:14 »
I just had an idea for the bright LEDs. Look at picture 4of15. See how there's a marking "CAP" on the top right part of the Caps Lock switch? This is where the LED was mounted on the prototype boards, which had a little window ala Realforce. You should be able to add a resistor here, which should dim the LED a bit, by reducing the current going through it. The left trace is likely a +5V or +3V, and the right is ground.

Offline sordna

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 20 July 2011, 17:33:20 »
Another way, is to just stick a piece of black duct-tape inside the caps lock cap. It dims it perfectly.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage & Advantage2 LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Advantage2, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, IBM SSK (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline Arcanius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 20 July 2011, 17:42:29 »
Well.... that works too.
But if you pull the caps off or something, it doesn't look as cool. :P
With a nice resistor, you'd swear it was built in!

Offline digitalleftovers

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 25 July 2011, 16:10:00 »
Typing on my PBT poker with Reds now.  I have the red PCB as well.  The PBT caps don't feel as different from ABS as I thought they would, but I like the heavy texturing.  If anything, they feel more like SP's keys for that reason.  I'm going to consider getting some clear keys for it, though.  I like my desk well lit, and its difficult for me to see the glow under the PBT keys.  They definitely don't have the light bleed that my ABS keys do, which leaves me relying on the light reflected around the bottom.  Thats not saying these LEDs aren't bright, they are brighter than my ducky, but the shiny aluminium plate on my ducky relfects the light better than this red PCB.  It really is an incredible little device.
Keyboards:
Filco 104 MX Brown (Otaku) - FKBN104M/NPEK 黒い空
Ducky TKL MX Brown/Blue 80% (White) - 1087-F 白の空
KBC Poker MX Red with PBT Key Caps - PFCN6000


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Offline kaiserreich

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 31 July 2011, 01:50:18 »
Tell me more about your foam mod please?

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #27 on: Mon, 01 August 2011, 16:05:12 »
Quote from: kaiserreich;390278
Tell me more about your foam mod please?
What would you like to know? I used some sort of semi-firm packaging foam, can't be certain of which type. I imagine different types of foam would perform differently, give you different levels of firmness + damping. Try experimenting! Make sure you cut the strips to different levels of thickness, since the PCB sits at an angle in the case.
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Offline winterbear

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #28 on: Mon, 01 August 2011, 18:25:55 »
Has there been anyone else who got this keyboard and experienced the same inconsistent feeling? I am pretty interested in buying a Poker Blue (I have a Poker Red and I think the size is great) but I don't know if I would feel comfortable about "opening the switch" (I don't even know what that means) considering I don't even have a proper keycap puller, modifications are not really something I had considered.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Current:
Realforce 87U, Niz Plum Atom 68 (35g), CM Storm QF Blue

Previously Owned:
Leopold Tenkeyless Brown, Leopold Tenkeyless Blue, HHKB Pro 2 (Blank, Charcoal), Poker X Red

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 01 August 2011, 18:52:55 »
Quote from: winterbear;391224
Has there been anyone else who got this keyboard and experienced the same inconsistent feeling? I am pretty interested in buying a Poker Blue (I have a Poker Red and I think the size is great) but I don't know if I would feel comfortable about "opening the switch" (I don't even know what that means) considering I don't even have a proper keycap puller, modifications are not really something I had considered.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
I used two precision flatheads to pop off the top housing on the switches that were problematic. If anything, you should ask iMav to check if anyone in his Group Buy have had similar problems.
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Offline himynameisbunny

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #30 on: Thu, 04 August 2011, 00:35:01 »
Surprised that the foam mod was only mentioned on the last page...

Thinking of doing it with some high density foam once I get some dimensions that I need it cut to.

Can't help but think it would affect drainage if there was a spill though.
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Offline Arcanius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #31 on: Thu, 11 August 2011, 14:20:46 »
I wouldn't worry that much about drainage, but depends how prone you are to spilling drinks.
To other owners: How do the stabilizers feel on Cherry Reds?
« Last Edit: Thu, 11 August 2011, 18:13:07 by Arcanius »

Offline REVENGE

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #32 on: Thu, 11 August 2011, 16:51:40 »
Quote from: Arcanius;397145
I wouldn't worry that much about drainage, but depends how prone you are to spilling drinks.
To the OP: How do the stabilizers feel on Cherry Reds?

No idea, I don't own a Poker with Reds. (Unless you're referring to someone else?)
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Offline Arcanius

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 11 August 2011, 18:12:54 »
Sorry, meant say to other owners, don't know what came over me.

Offline AtL

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 27 September 2011, 13:28:51 »
In escape-lock mode, does this version allow you to type the ` and ~ characters while holding FN?
KBC Poker

Offline csm725

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 27 September 2011, 15:05:25 »
No it doesn't. (Used to own a Poker, so this is IIRC)

Offline gr0undzer0

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KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #36 on: Mon, 04 June 2012, 10:41:16 »
Thanks for this post. I just found a used Poker FINALLY. I'm excited to get it and I'm glad to know someone has worked some of this out.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
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Offline evolyn

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Re: KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #37 on: Wed, 13 February 2013, 15:37:36 »
looksvery cool :)
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Offline habitualapse

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Re: KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #38 on: Mon, 15 April 2013, 11:22:25 »
Thanks for the great review. Had been thinking on getting a Pure/Race for a while now.
Filco MJ2 Ninja Brown TKL

Offline TheBinary

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Re: KBC Poker PBT with Cherry Blue Switches
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 09 May 2013, 00:15:31 »
Thanks for the great review. Had been thinking on getting a Pure/Race for a while now.

I heard they were going be available easily to me soon, was curious how it differed from the original. Thanks for taking the time to give us the info :)