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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.