One of the best things about keyboards is there is a keyboard for nearly any situation and any personality. You have the choice to go mechanical or rubber domes and then after that you can pick from wireless and wired and even the keyboards focus. Being LanOC we do cover a lot of keyboards that have a big gaming focus but aren’t limited to just gaming keyboards. Today I’m going to take a look at a keyboard from Cherry, yes the Cherry that makes the Cherry MX keyswitches that everyone loves. Today I’m taking a look at the Cherry MX-Board 3.0, a non-backlit keyboard with a standard office focus. I’m excited to see what Cherry has to offer and to find out if the MX-Board 3.0 is the way to go when looking for a quality non-backlit mechanical keyboard.

Product Name: Cherry MX-Board 3.0

Review Sample Provided by: Cherry

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Link: HERE

 

Specifications

Interface

USB 2.0 (PS2 via adapter)

Connecting Cable

approx. 1.80 m / 5.91 ft

Dimensions

446 x 158 x 28 mm,

17.56″ x 6.22″ x 1.10″

Keyswitches available

Red, Blue, Black, Brown Cherry MX

Inscription

Laser

Warranty

2 Years

Included

G80-3850 Keyboard

Detachable Cable

2 Non-slip surface pads

2 Rubber caps for feet

Quick Guide

 


Packaging

The packaging for the Cherry MX-Board 3.0 consists of a box that is about the same width as the keyboard and slightly longer. The box has a black and blue theme with a few circle shapes around drawings of Cherry MX keyswitches. In the foreground Cherry included a photo of the keyboard itself. Around on the back you get a full photo of the keyboard to show the key layout and they have highlighted a few key features in multiple languages. Cherry also includes information on all four of the keyswitches available in the MX-Board 3.0. Our sample has browns, but you can also get blues, reds, and blacks. 

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Inside the keyboard sits with a cardboard compartment right above it with “Original Cherry” across the top as a nice poke at keyboards with cherry knock off keyswitches being used. In that cardboard compartment Cherry hides the keyboards detachable USB cable. Along with the keyboard and the USB cable you do get a user manual for documentation and they also include two bright red rubber feet. Its weird that the keyboard doesn’t come with the two large feet installed, but they do come with double sided sticky tape on one side.

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Photos and Features

The Cherry MX-Board 3.0 is an all blacked-out basic keyboard with no backlighting. They didn’t just fall back on a traditional mechanical keyboard look for the board though. Cherry started by designing a very thin keyboard, thinner than any other mechs I have worked with in the past. As first glance a lot of people might actually think this is a rubber dome but the bright white Cherry logo up top might clue them in. The bezel around the outside edge is a little over a half inch thick, so not the thinnest but it did leave room for them to slip in the name of the keyboard down in the bottom right corner. What did impress me though was how thin the bezel was in between everything inside of the keyboard. What I mean by this is the space between the F keys and the number row and in between the number pad and the direction pad. They were able to help keep this a small keyboard with small adjustments in those areas.

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Fans of a clean layout will especially like the MX-Board 3.0. There aren’t any special macro keys or large volume knobs on the board. Cherry kept things simple with a standard layout and an all-black design. You can replace all of the keycaps on the MX-Board 3.0 easily because it has a full standard layout including the bottom row that a lot of manufactures like to change. To keep things clean they use a nice font on the alpha keys and most of the modifiers actually use icons rather than words. The long modifier keys like enter and shift all have the icons pushed all the way to the end as well with it being on the left end for the keycaps on the left side and all the way to the right end on the right keycaps. The only exception to a fully standard layout are the volume control and home buttons right above the number pad. I like this though, it is simple but it gives you often used controls right there without having to use any function keys.

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The MX-Board 3.0 doesn’t have any USB pass-through ports or anything special like that. So all you have going on around on the back edge is the Mini-USB connection for its detachable cable. The plug is dead center on the keyboard in the small extended area under the cherry logo.

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Speaking of the removable USB cord. The cord for our sample came in as a bit of a mess as you can see below, I assume they must have tested our sample before sending it out. The cord that comes with the board is really nice though. It is just under 6 feet long and has a thick rubber coating to protect it from damage. On top of that it also has a sleeving on the outside as well. The cord is a standard USB 2.0 cable on one end and has a mini USB connection on the other. They didn’t add any gold platting or anything like that to add features to the packaging and on marketing materials, just a good quality USB cord.

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On the bottom of the MX-Board 3.0 we have a few things going on. For starters in the middle is a bright red sticker. Here we have all of the required logos and information on the keyboard including its serial number and model information. This is important for in the future on the chance you have to RMA or have issues. Also on the bottom we have two tiny rubber feet along the front edge and then two flip out feet on the back. The flip out feet do not have rubber on the ends like I have been seeing on a lot of other keyboards, so when you are running the 3.0 angled there isn’t going to be much for grip. I think that is why they also include the two large red feet that you can attach for additional grip. I love that they include them because they are needed, but I do wish they would just ship the board with them already installed.

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No huge surprises when I pulled the keycaps off to take a peek at the keyswitches on the Cherry MX-Board 3.0. You get genuine Cherry MX switches of course and in the case of our sample we have browns, but you can also get reds, blue, and blacks. The switches are plate mounted on a black painted backplate and as mentioned earlier there isn’t backlighting LEDs except on a few of the keys with indicator lights.

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What I find most interesting about the Cherry MX-Board 3.0 is the flat key profile that they went with. I would have expected a standard Cherry or OEM layout but this profile is extremely short a flat profile. This gives the keyboard more of a rubber dome look but with mechanical switches still.

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The keycaps are extremely thick and feel like PBT. They are solid black with a laser etching and a bright white backfill. The profile photo of the keycap along side of a Vortex OEM profile keycap to really give an idea of how short the keycaps are. I love the design though, you get the low profile look of a rubber dome but with the nice tactile feel of a Cherry brown. Also in this photo we can see that the keycaps have a slight cylindrical profile to them even though they are otherwise flat.

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Software

Keeping things simple carried over to the software on the MX-Board 3.0 as well. Well for the most part at least. Finding the software to download was a pain, it wasn’t linked on the actual product page. I had to sort through a LONG list of keyboards on the support page to find it. Even then I almost downloaded the wrong language version. When installing the software I was surprised to find out that the software lets you select the language during the install as well so I don’t know why they even have different downloads for each language. My last complaint about the installation was when it required a reboot after finishing everything up.

Once installed though, I was really surprised to see that Cherry didn’t try to fancy up their software with the ugly skins that you see a lot of companies use. I like that they just use the basic program with the Cherry logo down in the corner. The software covers both Cherry’s mice and keyboards, but in this case we are only using the keyboard half. Basically what you get Is a list of the top row from F1 all the way through the volume controls. Here you can select each key can reprogram what it does. You can type in basic key sequences or record full macros if you want all in the software. They also let you do things like opening up programs webpages, and folders. All in all the software is extremely simple and frankly it is unneeded for most people but I am glad they kept it simple and did give you the option to be able to get in and tweak things.

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Performance

For testing I have been using the MX-Board 3.0 as my main keyboard for a few weeks now. This gives me a nice range of testing from gaming as well as a lot of writing. Considering browns are my preferred switch, I was able to jump on the MX-Board 3.0 and had no issues right away. The lower profile design was really the only adjustment but even that wasn’t to difficult to adjust too. The flat keycap profile is similar to the DSA keycaps that I run on my Novatouch and a few other keyboards. The clean look and solid feel of the board made swapping from the Code keyboard that I use day to day simple. Really the only thing I missed was the backlit keys, if this keyboard had backlighting It would be just as at home on my desk as my daily driver.

Some people might find the MX-Board 3.0 a little boring, but that clean look is what I have been preferring in my own keyboards recently. The easy to read legends are also a nice bonus as well. I’m also really glad they didn’t try to pack the volume controls in as a function. I am a lot more likely to use a volume control if it is easy to see and get too, the only time you will find me using a function key for anything on a keyboard is when it controls backlighting settings. Functions typically require me to stop and think about what I’m doing and in that time it is normally just as easy to just use the in windows controls or the knob on my speakers.

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Overall and Final Verdict

So out of all of the keyboards I have covered over the years, where does the Cherry MX-Board 3.0 fall? Well it is a bit of a weird situation. Typically a board that looks like this would actually be a low dollar budget keyboard for office use. Cherry feeds into this with the clean and simple styling as well as the low profile design. What sets this keyboard apart though is this being a mechanical keyboard not a rubber dome. In addition to that the overall quality of the board is top notch. Normally I can find small issues here and there to nitpick, even the Code keyboard that I use everyday has a few small quality issues. The MX-Board 3.0 is a rock solid board though. You get easy to reach volume controls without the overdone gaming styling that some boards go with. Really the only thing keeping me from using this keyboard as my main in the office is the lack of backlighting. While I like clean styling, I do still spend a lot of time working and gaming overnight and the backlighting is always nice to have in that situation.

My other concern with the MX-Board 3.0 is with its price. At around $110 currently the board does cost more than what a lot of other non-backlit mechanical keyboards run. That is specifically for the model with brown switches though, you can find a 3.0 with reds for as low as $85 on amazon right now. To be fair I think the overall build quality is better, but I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time justifying that price. Where I can really see this being popular is in offices. A lot of people are running mechanical keyboards at home, having a high quality option at work that you know is going to hold up is perfect. The clean styling isn’t going to stand out in your office so you can discreetly run your mech while everyone else is still using the Dell keyboard their PC came with.

fv4recommended

Amazon Link: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #36598 10 Apr 2015 19:07
Happy Friday everyone. Before we head over to MLG for the weekend I wanted to post up my Friday review. Today I take a look at a keyboard from Cherry, the MX-Board 3.0. Enjoy!

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