Review: Varmilo EC Keyboard can’t justify its price with limited features and compatibility

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The Varmilo EC v2 Keyboard makes use of high-end mechanical key switches and has a flowery paint job, but it surely lacks trendy options and full compatibility with Apple merchandise.

Varmilo claims to have the very best EC switches within the trade, and hopes to be a preferred alternative for influencers seeking to make their workstation pop with colour. The corporate’s slogan is “keyboard artist” and one take a look at their designs let you know they’ve created some lovely designs.

We had been particularly despatched the Varmilo EC Summit with “Sakura” switches. The Sakura EC swap is a linear swap with an actuation power of 45g and terminal power of 55g. Varmilo says that the Sakura swap is much like crimson switches on normal mechanical keyboards.

Design

Varmilo has a number of lovely designs for its keyboards. We acquired the Summit design with blue and white key caps and customized artwork on a number of keys. The spacebar and backspace key characteristic a small mountain vary, and the “Home windows” secret is a compass.

Dark blue key caps with black characters can be hard to read in low light

Darkish blue key caps with black characters might be exhausting to learn in low mild

This keyboard is simply enjoyable to have a look at, although a few of the design selections have an effect on performance. The darkish blue key caps with black lettering are tough to learn in some lighting situations, and the additional media buttons solely work on Home windows PCs. The caps are PBT 1.3mm which can be painted with dye sublimation, which mustn’t put on a lot over time, however outcomes will fluctuate.

There are two small toes you’ll be able to unfold to boost the keyboard’s peak. When not in use the keyboard case sits at a slight slant, so typing might be snug at both peak.

This keyboard may be very heavy. Regardless of not having a battery attributable to being a wired-only keyboard, it weighs way more than different mechanical keyboards we have examined.

Know-how

What makes Varmilo keyboards particular is their use of Electrostatic Capacitive (EC) mechanical switches. These work by measuring the change in electrical capacitance between two metallic conductors.

Classic mechanical switches (left) and Electrostatic Capacitive switches (right)

Basic mechanical switches (left) and Electrostatic Capacitive switches (proper)

EC keyboards profit from “contactless” typing which extends swap life to close infinite. {The electrical} sign used to actuate switches means that there’s zero enter lag, which is vital for some forms of gaming.

Basic mechanical keyboards just like the Keychron K2 make the most of normal mechanical actuation. This implies the important thing press bodily makes two metallic plates contact, which may put on slowly over time.

The usage of EC switches makes this keyboard very costly in comparison with opponents. Customers must resolve if having EC switches versus normal mechanical is price the additional value.

Whereas EC switches could have theoretical infinite lifespans, normal mechanical switches have unimaginable lifespans as properly. It feels exhausting to justify almost tripling the value of a keyboard only for theoretical peace of thoughts.

The old USB port on this expensive keyboard is a big oversight

The previous USB port on this costly keyboard is a giant oversight

The Varmilo Summit keyboard we examined makes use of USB 2.0 Micro-B, a connector thought of historic by at the moment’s requirements. This implies you may want a selected cable when connecting the keyboard, and the cable shipped with it terminates in USB-A, which results in different points.

Most trendy Macs have USB-C solely, which suggests should you intend to make use of a Varmilo keyboard, you may want to purchase a brand new cable or adapter. Customers available in the market for a mechanical keyboard could have already got a USB hub for his or her Mac, nonetheless, however this doesn’t suggest you are able to go.

We linked the Varmilo to an iPad Professional through a TwelveSouth StayGo hub and it didn’t work. We then tried utilizing a HyperDrive 12-in-1 hub which did work. There is no noticeable cause for this distinction, however one thing could also be occurring within the USB 2.0 translation that affects the keyboard’s compatibility.

There aren’t any bluetooth radios on this keyboard. You might be restricted to a wired connection.

Utilizing the Varmilo EC Keyboard

After the keyboard was linked to our Mac mini or iPad, it labored nice. The keys actuate with a pleasing click on and bounce again with some power. The keys are balanced and really feel very satisfying with every keypress.

The keys are well made add some color to any desk

The keys are properly made add some colour to any desk

Typing with the Varmilo is general an important expertise, however there are some points with its setup. This can be a Home windows keyboard at the beginning, which means the ALT key acts because the Choice key on Mac, and the compass secret is CMD, which is the reverse order for Macs.

The perform row does not work on iPadOS apart from F1 and F2 controlling display screen brightness. F1 by means of F12 work on macOS, however the particular media keys above the num pad don’t, although customers can at all times map these keys manually.

We don’t advocate utilizing this keyboard with a Mac until you turn the important thing features of these command and possibility keys. Fortunately on a mechanical keyboard key caps are straightforward to change out with the included device.

Different keyboards, like Keychron, provide a swap that permits customers to alternate between a Home windows and Mac config with out having to wrestle with inner menus. This costly keyboard designed and bought in 2020 appears to lack a few of the primary features we have come to count on.

Must you purchase the Varmilo EC Keyboard?

In case you are available in the market for a keyboard to make use of together with your Home windows desktop the Varmilo can be a price a glance. Although, for $157 you may doubtless discover higher keyboards with extra trendy performance and a backlight.

Mac and iPad customers look elsewhere. Sadly this keyboard is not as much as our requirements for compatibility and performance anticipated of a contemporary mechanical keyboard.

Different keyboards like these made by Keychron provide totally different backlighting choices, bluetooth pairing modes, and a swap to alternate OS layouts. Keychron does this whereas holding their keyboards between $69 and $99.

  • Key journey and sound is nice
  • EC switches imply zero-lag enter


  • Cons

    • Home windows particular structure
    • Hub compatibility points
    • Makes use of historic USB 2.0 Micro-B connector
    • Web site lists backlight, although does not have one

Ranking:2.0 out of 5

The place to Purchase

The Varmilo EC keyboard is obtainable through Varmilo’s web site beginning at $157 for blue or brown switches and $162 for crimson.

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