Overall and Final Verdict
When it comes to keyboard reviews, while I cover a lot of them, what I use and like myself isn’t always what we get in to review. The Pok3r RGB from Vortex though is the opposite. I use an original Pok3r and my wife uses the older Poker 2 on our LAN rigs. So when the chance came up to take a look at the new RGB version I was excited, hell I would have most likely been picking one up anyhow. That didn’t keep me from diving into the keyboard in both our feature breakdown and in my performance testing to see what the keyboard was all about. If anything I’m more critical because I want to use it in the future. That said the form factor and build quality that I love with my previous Pokers is still there. The newer Pok3rs have actually stepped up the build quality even more with their new aluminum case. It is a big improvement over the old plastic design in construction and the heavier weight helps keep the tiny keyboard from sliding around.
The choice to go with double shot keycaps is an improvement over the painted keycaps that you normally see on backlit keyboards including previous backlit Poker models. I did have an issue with the caps being ABS when Vortex already produces a great backlit PBT and the caps are a little thin causing backlighting to bleed through. In other words, while an improvement over a standard painted cap, there is still room for improvement. I also love the new RGB backlighting. Some people might not like backlighting at all, but if you do, it is nice to be able to pick your favorite color or go with colors that match your PC or other peripherals.
I really like that you don’t need to use any software to program the Pok3r RGB and to change the backlighting colors. I even think the lighting controls are all well placed and easy to use. That said I really wish they would actually label the lighting controls. Every time I would go to change things I would have to relearn their locations over again. Going with side labels like the rest of the function layer controls would have been great. Speaking of the function layer controls, I would love to see the direction pad move back over to WASD for us gamers.
So is the Vortex Pok3r RGB the keyboard to get? I think that people who like a minimalist setup or people like me who are trying to save as much room in their LAN bag and on their tablet at events are going to love the new Pok3r RGB. There are going to be people who aren’t going to be willing to lose the buttons, but honestly, anyone who is okay with a TKL should be able to use the Pok3r with just a short period of adjustment. At just under $140 it fits about right price wise compared to other RGB keyboards, especially when you take into consideration what the non-backlit Pok3rs are selling for.
Live Pricing: HERE
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