So after a long wait and much anticipation, I’ve finally received my Pok3r RGB. This article is simply going to be a quick overview and opinion piece without going in depth about programming the board, changing lights, etc. That information is all in the official manual here and also other places online with a little bit of searching. I also won’t be going into the switches as you can choose what you want when you buy the board (I went with Cherry MX Blues).
So what is the Pok3r RGB? The Pok3r RGB is the RGB backlighting version of the Pok3r keyboard which is the successor to the previous Poker II keyboard. Vortex makes both keyboards and functionality is nearly identical between both of the Pok3r boards. The obvious difference between the two would be the new lighting options however, there are a few other things noticeably different:
- Doubleshot ABS keycaps unlike the original Pok3r’s PBT caps
- One colour available
- Slightly glossier aluminium case
- White backplate
- Standard philips screws
The case is aluminium, and the backplate is steel. The board feels completely solid and is heavier than you’d expect if you’re used to using more mainstream mechanical keyboards such as the Corsair or Razor range. This keyboard is the most solid keyboard that I have owned, and I’d buy it again for that reason alone.
As a bit of a side note, it may seem weird that they have chosen a white backplate with a black aluminium case but it helps to show off the lights which I will demonstrate further on in this review.
As mentioned above Vortex have chosen to go with doubleshot ABS keycaps instead of PBT which is most likely because traditionally there aren’t many PBT backlight compatible keycaps. Weirdly enough, however, Vortex is known for their rare and high-quality PBT backlight compatible keycaps, so I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t choose to use them with this board. In saying that however, the ABS keycaps provided are thicker than your average ABS keycaps and feel pretty decent.
The keyboard comes with four layers which you can switch between with PN/Menu + M/</>/?. I’ve found for routine tasks; the default layer works wonders. There are four dip switches on the bottom of the board which can change your layout or do other things which you can read about in the manual here. I used one of the dip switches to change the caps lock key to FN, and for programming and other writing tasks, the default layer is fantastic.
For example, the keys I, J, K and L are the arrow keys which mean that I don’t have to leave the home row to navigate my editor. All I have to do is place my left pinkie on caps lock (which I swapped to FN) and then the keys turn into arrow keys. The home/end and page up/down are in similarly convenient locations and overall make your typing experience a great one.
On top of the default layer, you have three more layers to play around with which you can completely modify to your will. From the keys themselves to the functions of each key as well as the backlighting, everything you change on a layer will stay there for when you want to come back to it, even if you bring your keyboard to a different computer. This is perfect for having a layer for specific programs or games. You can read more about programming in the official manual.
Now to the fun part. There are ten lighting modes in total plus the option to have no lights at all. You also have the option to change each key colour manually to whatever you like. (Official manual).
- Responsive modes can be toggled with PN/Menu + 4
- Fixed modes toggled with PN/Menu + 5
- Speed is changed on fixed modes with PN/Menu + </>
- Brightness changed with PN/Menu + C/V.
To start off with are the non-responsive modes.
First and foremost is my favourite mode, the Vortex mode
Now to follow up we have 6 responsive modes.
Individual keys mode
Individual keys RGB mode
Flash RGB mode
Beam RGB mode
The build and quality of life features sell this board for me. The board feels great to type on, and the functions are perfect for typing in general as well as programming. Gaming is also a possibility although you may run into trouble with the lack of F1-12 keys and arrow keys. However, this is solved by just creating a custom layer for your game. I am simply in love with this keyboard.