Varmilo VA87M Mechanical Keyboard – Unboxing & Review

Varmilo VA87M Mechanical Keyboard – Unboxing & Review


The tenkeyless keyboard has been an iconic
layout and has been quite synonymous with modern mechanical keyboards. And in my opinion, it is a timeless one. So today we’re going to check out one of
the longstanding TKL boards in the market, the VA87M from Varmilo. A big thanks to mwave.com.au for providing
this keyboard for review, and for their continued support, and I’ll put the links in the description. As said, this is tenkeyless keyboard, and
this one has a completely standard ANSI layout, although Varmilo do make ISO versions, with
language specific keycaps which is awesome. And a tenkeyless keyboard of course is just
missing the numpad, so if a numpad is important to you, then it may not be for you, but you
could always get a separate one. But by giving up the numpad, you gain a lot
of lateral space, and while it may not look like that much, it’s very noticeable with
everyday use, and allows us to bring our mouse closer to the centre for a more ergonomic
experience. This keyboard comes in so many different colours
with its outer case and keycaps. But the one I have here is perhaps the most
stealthy configuration. The case is made from plastic, but it has
an almost metallic appearance, with a bit of sparkle, almost looking like a dark metallic
grey. And there’s a very slight texture to the
surface. It’s quite an interesting design that I
haven’t come across in other reviews. It’s like a floating key design, meaning
that the mounting plate is the top surface, with the keyswitches exposed from the sides,
but it isn’t as much as a traditional floating key keyboard. Here we have the plastic top shell acting
as a cover, but it doesn’t rise to enclose the keyswitches like most other keyboards. So it only comes up about 1.9mm above the
plate surface. And this allows for a very minimal bezel around
the keyboard. The sides only go 3mm past the keycaps, while
the top and bottom have about 5mm. The keycaps match the enclosure being black
on dark grey. And I love this look, it’s very subdued,
and the legends are perfectly legible to me in normal lighting conditions. But with the lights off, it does get a bit
hard to see with just the monitor acting as light. The legends themselves have a nice simple
typeface to them, and are also slightly italic. And their quite sharp as they are dye sublimated,
so they’ll be very durable over time. Looking at the side profile and it does have
a slight inclination to it, and because of that near floating key design, the case itself
is quite slim. We can also see the pretty much Cherry profile
keycaps that Varmilo use on all of their keyboards. It’s a very popular profile, and is very
comfortable to use in my opinion. On the bottom we have some flat rubber feet
for non slip, and two flip up feet that are also nicely rubber tipped. And we have our mini USB port in the centre,
with cable routing channels. Taking off the keycaps and these are a nice
1.4mm thick, and are made from PBT plastic, which should be quite shine resistant over
time. And underneath the keycaps, this one in particular
comes with Cherry MX Speed Silver keyswitches, but it does come in all the other varieties
of course. These switches are intended for and marketed
towards gamers, and are a linear keyswitch, meaning that they have no tactile bump, and
are smooth all the way down. These have a total travel distance of 3.4mm,
rather than the normal 4mm. And have an actuation distance of 1.2mm, rather
than the normal 2mm. And the actuation force is 45g. So they feel very similar to Cherry MX Red’s,
but just bottom out earlier, so you have to get used to that. So the logic behind this is simple. First of all a linear keyswitch has no obstructions
and allows for easier and faster repetitive actions. The shorter distances will then contribute
more to that. And the light actuation force of 45g will
again, make actions quicker and easier, in theory. All these factors are very minimal, but all
together, it does create a switch that in theory is better for gaming. Whether it makes a difference to you, I’m
not so sure. I can game with any switch with no problem,
but I’m not a pro or anything, but objectively, it is a keyswitch that requires a lesser amount
of effort to press, and will be ever so slightly by a tiny amount, quicker to actuate and reset. In my personal experience and opinion, I do
like gaming with these. It is easier on my fingers, and I do feel
like I am slightly faster. It may be a placebo effect, but I definitely
feel less sluggish, in comparison to say a Cherry MX Blue board. But I am loving how it feels on this keyboard. These Varmilo keyboards have been really impressive
in how they feel. They’re very full in how they feel, where
another keyboard can feel more hollow and not as dense. And that also goes for how it sounds as well. Just sounding more solid and deeper in comparison
to others, and we’ll see why later. The stabilisers on here are amazing, and contribute
to that feeling. These are genuine Cherry stabs, and are generously
lubed, and perhaps overlubed. But they make for amazingly smooth and soft
feeling stabilisers that are often not the case with majority of off the shelf mechanical
keyboards. Other little things. We have some media control keys on the F7
for F12 keys, which is accessible via the FN key. We can also lock the Windows key, by pressing
Fn with Windows. And that’s pretty much it. There’s no customisability, or programmability,
or any dip switches. What you see, is what you get. Taking the keyboard apart is pretty easy by
unscrewing a couple of Philips head screws, and then releasing the plastic tabs. Alright so here’s the plastic top shell,
and it is the thinnest and most flimsiest piece I’ve come across. But that’s only because of its low profile
design, and when paired with the metal plate, it doesn’t really matter. The bottom shell is also pretty slim, but
does have some ribbing on the bottom surface for reinforcement. Although the most important part is this piece
of foam here. This piece of foam is what makes the keyboard
feel so good to type on, and also makes it sound better. It’s using a sturdy and standard 1.5mm thick
steel mounting plate which is bent at the front and back. The PCB is very clean, and this specific keyboard
did not come with LEDs, however as seen, most of them are available with LEDs. But since they are the same PCB you can easily
solder in your own lighting, as I did with this, but is of course not RGB compatible. And as we can see, these are south facing
LEDs, meaning that the LEDs are on the bottom, rather than top, and this ensures that the
keycaps do not hit the LEDs. However the combination of south facing LEDs
and the fact that the keyswitches are exposed, this means that at an angle, the LEDs are
visible. This isn’t really an issue with normal use,
as when you’re over the top of it, you can’t really see them. But when you step away from it, the LEDs are
blaringly there, and on full brightness, they are quite blinding. So I like to keep mine on the lowest setting. Overall, this is a wonderful choice for a
tenkeyless keyboard. All of these recent keyboards that I’ve
checked out from Varmilo have all genuinely felt so nice to type on. There’s been a noticeable difference between
the Varmilo keyboards and many of the other mainstream brands. And I think this is mainly attributed to the
solid Cherry profile keycaps, the very smooth and generously lubed stabilisers, and of course
the foam on the underside of the PCB. I feel that these implementations together
create such a pleasant and satisfying typing experience. This may seem overwhelmingly positive, but
many other keyboards feel hollow in comparison. There’s nothing really bad to say about
it. I guess the top shell not surrounding the
keyswitches isn’t for everyone, and you perhaps would like a high profile design instead,
but that’s just an aesthetic thing. And there’s no customisability or programmability
or any software, but at the same time does keep things simple as well. But all in all, I found it very enjoyable
to use. I feel that this is a benchmark in retail
tenkeyless keyboards that are widely available for a reasonable price, with another option
being the Leopold TKL boards. There’s also Filco, but they’re a bit
more expensive. Thanks again to mwave.com.au for providing
this keyboard for review, and I’ll put the links in the description if you want to check
it out. And also a big thanks to Varmilo for being
a sponsor of the last Sydney Mechanical Keyboard Meetup.

72 thoughts to “Varmilo VA87M Mechanical Keyboard – Unboxing & Review”

  1. Some clarification. This one in particular did not come with LEDs installed, even though they're already in near the start of the video. Also I've had this board for so long, that I seem to have lost the escape keycap, therefore I have this other one on.

  2. Now, that's what a good keyboard looks like. Corsair, Razer, Logitech, etc. should take notes, instead of selling blingy crap for $150+

  3. It looks like it would be a simple matter to make a high profile top for the case. It sounds really nice.

  4. I think mx silvers make quite the difference while gaming. try micro-strafing (spam adadada) with reds, then switch to silvers. you're going to notice how much faster you are with silvers.

  5. Hey. Kind of off topic and I'm sure you've answered it before but what kind of lube do you recommend for keyboard stabilisers?

  6. good vid. wish it had rgb.. or.. red leds. i've got a coolermaster rapid-i from 3 years ago and its never let me down. my only issue is the white leds.. need some variety. if it was rgd it'd be an instant buy for me.

  7. Cherry mx speed switches is indeed faster if you come from one mech keyboard to cherry mx speed switches keyboard. Of course it's fastesteness shows up when you have to press the key rapidly many times. When walking around it is quite the same as blues or reds. Also you can lay your finger on key curve (f.e. "s" key) and press with the finger the key above that one (f.e. "w" key). In that way you won't bottom out but will be able to press the key. Btw it feels quite heavier when you bottom out (comparing to mx reds), probably because of that 0.6mm difference it feels heavier cause it comes to that a bit faster. I red somewhere that speeds and reds bottom out force differ at around 6-7 grams (reds are lighter). So basically most noticible things in these switches: bottom out force and actuation point

  8. Just found this channel. It's brilliant, taking apart the keyboard kinda reminds me of JerryRig. But without the bend/burn/scratch tests.

    Love the floating-key-design boards. Are there any board with that design, but with anodized aluminium top and bottom shells?

  9. I really wanted to get Varmilo VA87 but somehow chose Masterkeys Pro due to higher reselling potential. But I might be wrong tbh. Now I've got two Masterkeys Pro, white and RGB cherry Browns, and they differ in feeling – white LED is lighter to press and feels like more cheap. I wonder if that's the case with switches that Varmilo uses? I saw their white LED cherry mx are a bit different than usual ones.

  10. Heads up if you're in Australia, Mwave are doin a crazy cheap sale on quality Varmilo keycaps : https://bit.ly/2tKQu9V

  11. the solder 76 cap clean and this KB is a beauty wish more US KB oem's made these and seriously TKL keyboards omfg i need to feel the MX slivers
    i got a 67 Velocifire key KeyBoard from amazon and it's a adjustment and finally a mech KB upgrade from the Corsair K55 was fun from nasty HP office one i had omg NEVER AGAIN!

  12. very nice keyboard
    I have the full layout with the numpad
    Unfortunately I made bad experience with the retailer in germany…

  13. Great Video! I've been looking for cheap mechanical keyboards for awhile and I found two that interest me and I'm wondering if you could review them or at least just look at them. https://www.amazon.com/AURTEC-Keyboard-Optical-Mechanical-Computer/dp/B07D3RMFRG/ref=asc_df_B076CMGZY6/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=242063454653&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9608682059846228091&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1023234&hvtargid=pla-504737732767&th=1 and https://www.amazon.com/Mechanical-Keyboard-Exclusive-Switches-Aluminum/dp/B079FHFDJ8?th=1 . It would be very much appreciated if you help me. Subbed!

  14. Developer Chief: Let's remove the number pad. Also delete the LED lighting.

    Worker: Do we pass the savings on to the customer?

    Chief: Of course not! 140 Bucks! *all laughing like dr evil*

  15. Guys. I've an embarrassing question. How would I go about cleaning my keycaps if they're "oily"? Like, with skin oils and stuff.

  16. the only thing i don't like about varmilo keycaps or the keycaps that come with varmilo keyboards is that they are not curved inwards as much as other keycaps. This made typing uncomfortable for me, but I easily solved it by getting some aftermarket keycaps. Still, thumbs up for varmilo!

  17. Just bought this (directly) from Varmilo in the CMYK color scheme to replace my ancient Ducky Shine 9008S – I love this keyboard!

  18. Saw that Wasd keyboard has the ability to have caps with art on top. Could you review these? Maybe see how they feel to touch?
    How they actually feel and function as caps?

  19. Does anybody know a site to purchase a legitimate 10 keyless Varmilo keyboard in the UK. Is the Varmilo website legitimately owned by Varmilo, or is it a fake website? Primarily concerned because it appears as unsecured on my web browser. If it's legitimate and you can verify that for me, I would appreciate it as I'm currently very interested in purchasing one of their keyboards.

  20. So that I get this correctly, the only reason this space bar doesn't sound like crap like the corsair high end mechanical, is because varmillo Lubes the the heck out of it as opposed to corsair and others that dont.

    So eventually afer a couple of weeks-months and the lube breaks down, it will sound just as bad as all the rest?

  21. My Varmilo VA87M which I bought back in 2016 didn't have that foam thing inside. They probably added it for the newer versions.

  22. Got myself Varmilo VA87M CMYK ISO, a magnificent piece of equipment! I can't believe how much quality has been put to it, and compared to many alternative options in $135 price range it's a strong winner! The quality, attention to details, low thickness and sturdiness make it a true icon.

    PS And colors of CMYK variation are even better when you see it in person!

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