Vortex ViBE Keyboard Review 9

Vortex ViBE Keyboard Review

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After the 40% form factor CORE and 75% form factor Race 3, Vortex is back again with another smaller-than-TKL layout keyboard. The Race 3 is effectively a length-shrunk keyboard with 83 keys that does not have a dedicated Num Pad, and people said that was cool, but that they would rather have a Num Pad than a function key row. Enter then the ViBE, a wholly new 78% form factor keyboard that is effectively a 60% keyboard with a Num Pad cluster attached to it. Thanks again to Vortex for providing us with a review sample.

The ViBE has 79 keys, which goes with the 78% form factor (100% has 104 keys in the standard ANSI layout, for example). However, with fewer keys than the Race 3, it makes the latter with the so-called 75% form factor seem out of place now. This is a pet peeve of mine since non-standard layouts are really all over the place with companies doing their own thing, which makes assigning a percentage as a means of comparison between these a futile thing to try and keep track of. For the purpose of this review, take a look at the layout and simply consider it a longer, narrower keyboard without the function key row or arrow-key cluster but a Num Pad instead. It is a very interesting layout that, if programmable, can makes this a TKL keyboard sans the function key row, or a Num Pad via layers as Vortex often does. Do not dismiss it immediately thus, and allow me to walk you through it as we begin our review with a look at the specifications below.


Vortex ViBE Keyboard
Layout:78% form factor (79 keys)
Material:Aluminium case, steel plate and PBT plastic keycaps
Macro Support:Yes
Weight:0.91 kg / 2.0 lbs.
Wrist Rest:No
Anti-Ghosting:Full N-Key rollover USB
Media Keys:Available as a layered function
Dimensions:99 (L) x 371 (W) x 38 (H) mm
Cable Length:5 ft / 1.5 m
Switch Type:Choice of Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, Black, Clear, Speed (Silver), Silent Red, or Silent Black mechanical switches
Backlighting:Limited to some keys (on the base version)
Warranty:One year
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