The Hero 84 testing was a little interesting because it actually came in and I tested it off and on in between a few other reviews. This gave me a chance to still get in my normal testing that includes writing reviews and far too much gaming. I was really surprised right out of the hole as just how quick I was able to grab it and get going. Even with the 60% keyboards there was an adjustment period but for my specific use this was basically a more compact version of a TKL keyboard that I use a lot with my LAN rigs. The big thing for me was that the bottom right corner needed to have the direction pad, just like it would be on a TKL and the main keyboards key layout was really close to normal with the exception of the modifier keys on the right side of the bottom row, keys that I rarely use. Delete was in about the same place I would look for it at and the other keys added hardly see any use. The F keys were nice to have back for quick refreshing and whatnot but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker to lose them.
The compact design came amazingly close to the same size as a 60% keyboard and if you guys remember that was damn small. That makes this a perfect keyboard for people who need the desktop space or people who need to travel with a proper keyboard often. Years ago I would sometimes travel to events like CES that I would be doing a lot of writing at with a proper keyboard. I really wish I had the Hero 84 at that time, it would have saved a little space in my bag. For people who are big LAN fans like I am, the Hero 84 gives you a small footprint to save room for a larger mousepad in the 3 foot space you get at most LANs.
As someone who still does require a full number pad on their main PC day to day I would love to see Keycool make a similar keyboard with no gaps between everything with a number pad still packed in. I know it wouldn’t save to much space, and I don’t need to save space on my desk, but I would still love it. Cooler Master did something lose with their XT but it had a weird function layer that put the direction pad in the number pad and I don’t want to fight with that when arrowing through an excel file and inputting numbers.
I was actually impressed with the overall typing performance of the keyboard, especially with having Kailh keyswitches. The keyswitches performed exactly like my many keyboards with Cherry MX Browns and didn’t have the wobble that I have experienced with Kailh blues in the past. The cherry stabilizers were quiet and the keyboard was solid and didn’t have any weird pings or noises when bottoming out keys.
Much like my Poker 2 the Hero 84 has backlighting, something that I require for both my LAN keyboards and in my office. I would love to say that I touch type but there are always times I need to take a look, especially when working with a non-standard keyboard like this when you try to find a key you rarely use. The blue backlighting wasn’t really at the top of my choices, I would much prefer the white myself but it still looked great. The lighting controls allowed me to turn it up far to bright as well as turn it down to almost nothing. The PBT keycaps don’t have translucent legends though so keep that in mind. As you can see in the photo below it means the lighting will help the keycap glow but the letters themselves don’t glow like most backlit keyboards. A set of Vortex PBT backlight keycaps will fix that and last just as long, I’m running a set of them in white on my Poker2 and black on my Code.