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KBT Race S Pink Limited & QWERKeys Keycaps

KBT Race S Pink Limited Edition

So this week has been good to me in keyboarding terms – I’ve finally received the KBT Race S I ordered from mechanicalkeyboards.com earlier this month. The delay wasn’t their fault, just customs, but I’m very glad to finally have my hands on it.

The Race S is a 75% keyboard from what I understand, which refers to its size. It’s less wide than a tenkeyless, and it also has a very cool layout – Instead of a traditional keyboard, which has spaces between different sections of the keyboard, on the Race S they are all together. This, combined with the extremely minimal ‘bezel’ around the keys, gives the impression of just a bunch of keys chilling in space, which I very much like.

Of course, to accomplish this there are some changes to the sizes of the keys that I’m still getting used to. The Delete key is in the upper right, and it is massive – bigger than the traditional Ctrl or Alt keys on a Filco, for instance. The cursor keys are also massive, which makes them very easy to hit but I’m not sure of the utility in, say, driving games. It’ll be interesting to find out. Of course, a big thing is that the keyboard comes in an American layout too, so some of the legends don’t match up with my UK layout PC. Of course, I’ve been dealing with this discrepancy for years so it’s not too much of an issue.

The particular Race S I have is a pink limited edition, which was on sale on mechanicalkeyboards.com due to some cosmetic issues of the keycaps. I’ve pleased to say that they’re not noticeable in using the keyboard, and hard to spot even if you go looking for them. The colour is definitely unique, which is exactly what I wanted – should be fun to turn up to LANs with this one!

The keyboard includes white backlighting, which looks awesome with the pink keycaps. The lighting is adjustable by using the Function key in combination with Z, X and C. Z toggles between lighting modes (WASD + Cursor + Esc only, all keys, all keys ‘breathing’ and no backlighting). X and C will turn up and down the backlighting. There are five different levels (not including off) and the brightest is quite bright indeed – you can even look past the keys and see the stark white printing of the board and the legends thereon. I’m a big fan of backlighting, as I’m often writing late at night, and it was this that kept me using the K90 over the other keyboards I have around the house.

The Windows key turns into the Function key based on a switch on the back of the keyboard. There are also dip switches for disabling the Windows key altogether and swapping Caps Lock work and Control, which I understand is quite popular with a certain segment of the programming crowd.

There are quiet a few function keys on the keyboard, with F1-F6 and F10-F12 all having secondary functions, including media controls and print screen. Backspace also launches the calculator, which is pretty awesome.

The keyboard connects to the PC via a Mini USB to USB lead. A white one is supplied with the keyboard; with it unplugged the keyboard is completely flush.

The Race S weighs incredibly little for a mechanical keyboard – just 500g. That’s a three times lighter than the Corsair Vengeance K90, two-and-a-half times lighter than a Filco Majestouch-2, and half that of a Tenkeyless Majestouch-2. The box it comes in is also really tiny; I didn’t expect there to be a keyboard inside at all! Despite this, the typing experience is perfect.

I went with Blue switches on the keyboard and I’m glad I did. I’ve got two each of Black, Brown and Red but I’d sold my Das Keyboard and Razer Blackwidow some time ago, so I hadn’t used a Blue keyboard for a while. For typing at home, this keyboard is brilliant – more fun than even the Topre Realforce, I think.

So far, I’m really happy with the Race S and I’d definitely recommend it.

New keycaps from QWERkeys and a friendly Redditor

Happily, I was also sent some keycaps from two very kind individuals, including Dan at QWERKeys. The company is a UK-based startup that sells mechanical keyboard keycaps, and they’ve got some great stuff coming out. They tweeted that they were coming out with some new StarCraft keycaps, and I quickly volunteered to test them out.

The keycaps you see in place of F2, F3 and F4 are all from QWERKeys. The quality of the printing / lasering is really good, and it works well with even the complicated curves and lines of the Terran and Protoss logos. They also have a Zerg keycap, but I got this from them earlier and is now sitting on my Majestouch-2 TKL at work, so I don’t have a photo of it – instead I got a Batman keycap! Very cool stuff, and I definitely agree that Zerg should be replaced in SC2 with Batman.

If you’re looking for some fancy customised keycaps, then definitely check out these guys, quality stuff.

So now I’ve got a lot of keyboards

I decided to pile up all the keyboards I’ve got at home at the moment, and this is the result:

  • Top row: Corsair Vengeance K90 (Red), Corsair Vengeance K60 (Red)
  • Second row: Topre Realforce 105, Filco Majestouch-2 Ninja (Brown)
  • Third row: Leopold FC500R (Black), Matias Quiet Pro (Quiet Click), to be returned
  • Last row: KBT Race S (Blue), Cooler Master Quick Fire Rapid (Black)
  • Absent: Filco Majestouch-2 TKL (Brown)

I think I have a problem. Ah well, what can you do? :)

4.5 / 5 stars     
Posted in Hardware, Keyboards, Peripherals and tagged , , , .
  • maeda

    Dear Mr. Judd,
    How does the KBT Race compare to the CMStorm? Is it less or more sturdy under wildly flailing fingers?

    • It seems about the same in sturdiness – I have no complaints with either. The Race is much lighter and the front part of the plastic chassis flexes a bit, but I’m not worried about it.

      • maeda

        I got mine in the mail. I’d say the build quality is decidedly worse but still not really an issue. The chassis flexes and the painted keys aren’t great, but whatever it lacks in substance, it more than makes up for in style. The layout is better, it’s nicer looking, and it has more useful functions. The CMStorm was better built, but offensively ugly on most fronts.

      • maeda

        I also forgot to add… Thanks for your thoughts. I’m enjoying my new keyboard immensely.

  • K

    Was wondering after a few months of use with this keyboard if you still stand by all your thought about it?

    Thanks :)

    • Hi there!

      Yeah, I still use this keyboard daily and it seems a good deal. The only real issue has been the keyboard’s durability – after a lot of taking it in my bag to type on the train with, the white casing has gotten scratched revealing a dirty grey underneath. I’m guessing this might be more of the cosmetic issues that caused it to be discounted. It still looks good from a distance, but up close it looks a bit less stunning.

      Hope this is helpful – if you have any other questions please ask away :)