Hello, I'm from Spain and recently I've bought a Varmilo VA87MN keyboard through Massdrop. I want to give some feedback after some weeks of use so I've made a review/feedback post. I hope you find it useful.A few picsHardware - Case
The case is really beautiful. Floating keys and low profile give the keyboard a thin and modern look, compared to the classic bulkyness of other TKL cases. It is also minimalist, without decorations or weird shapes. Beautiful and timeless. I don't see much room for improvement in the looks department. Maybe adding more color choices and/or an aluminum case option would be nice.
The cable routing options are fine, but I really don't need the ones on the side. I would have preferred them in the back too, on both sides. But hey, more options is always a good thing. Hardware - Switches
Gateron browns are nicer than expected, they are really smooth. Being able to choose Cherry MX or Gateron switches is a great plus.
Switch orientation (LED on south) is different from what I was used to, and raises some observations.
- Keys on this orientation feel a bit more wobbly when you push them forwards (not down), compared to the inverted switches (LED on north) I've used on other keyboards. This is a bit more noticeable with Gateron switches.
- Tactile switches, specially MX Brown and Gateron Brown, feel a bit different on south orientation compared to north. Maybe the bump is more noticeable? It's hard to say, but the difference is there.
- LED on south orientation limits the choice of backlit aftermarket keycaps.
- The normal switch orientation of the Varmilo keyboard has it's advantages too. It allows correct lighting of front printed keycaps (which some may prefer) and also allows the little window on Lock keys to shine, which, by the way, looks very nice too.
Stabilizers are great. I have other boards with cherry stabs that are very inconsistent, ranging from OK to terrible inside the same board (for example my Ducky Shine 5), but the stabs on the Varmilo are (all of them) almost perfect. This makes a huge difference, big keys feel much better and they give a high quality impression. Hardware - Keycaps
Great quality keycaps, love the thick PBT. And the cherry profile. And the texture. Dye sub quality is very nice too, characters are very defined without bleed.
Such quality keycaps is not something you see on most stock keyboards. Most brands use thinner ABS keycaps, from smooth laser etched backlit keycaps (Corsair, Coolermaster, Ducky etc.) to the newest doubleshot grainy backlit keycaps (Vortex RGB, Ducky etc.).
Varmilo keycaps, while not backlit, make the keyboard sound better, feel better. And they last longer. In the end, they make the keyboard feel more "premium".
Not everything is perfect though. Some keycaps have the legend a bit misaligned or slightly distorted/incomplete (see image
). This is something easily visible and Varmilo should be a bit more meticulous about these errors.
I like the symbols used on the keycaps (arrows on shift, enter, backspace, tab, etc) and how they are placed, but I still don't like the font being italic.
The shiny dome on the Windows keys is kinda ugly. It screams Windows Vista, and that is not a good thing. I think Varmilo should get rid of it. They should also update the Windows logo to the latest Win8/10 version (I think they've already updated the symbol on the newest batches). Functionality - Keys
Media keys is a must have nowadays, but the location (F7-F12) is not very good because they aren't easy to reach.
Mute (Del), Vol- (End), Vol+ (Pg Down), Play/Pause (Ins), Prev Track (Home), Next Track (Pg Up) are a better choice and easier to reach.
This also has an advantage: It frees all the F keys, so Varmilo could add on the future a way to manually program them with macros (For example Fn+F12=Calc, Fn+F11=Explorer, Fn+F10=Mail, etc) or extra functions (repeat rate, delay rate, etc).
There is other problem I've found with the media keys. If I keep pressed a volume combination (Vol+, Vol-) it only sends a signal once. You have to press fn+f8/f9 repeatedly to raise/lower the volume more than 1 tick.
The ability to change caps lock and ctrl, Win key locks, and move Fn to the left side is very nice too. I dont't use them personally, but I know many people find this very useful. And I'm sure they could offer more insight on this than me.
If something, It would be very nice if you were to include two more keycaps for the alternate placement of ctrl and caps lock. Functionality - LED Lighting
The LED lighting modes are nice, and the brightness adjustment is very intuitive. But a few more modes would be great, specially a reactive mode (light&fade the pressed key) and a customizable mode.
RGB LEDs would also be nice, but is not a must. As a matter of fact, the Varmilo has replaced a Ducky Shine 5 as my main keyboard