Vortex Cypher Single Spacebar US1 60% Laser Etched PBT Mechanical Keyboard

Availability: In Stock
$93.00
+ Free Shipping*
SKU: VTG68_LBK
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Vortex Cypher Single Spacebar US1 Mechanical Keyboard

Available Switches

Cherry MX Black thumbnailCherry MX Black
VTG68BLKLBK
$93.00
Cherry MX Brown thumbnailCherry MX Brown
VTG68BRNLBK
$94.00
Cherry MX Blue thumbnailCherry MX Blue
VTG68BLELBK
$93.00
Cherry MX Red thumbnailCherry MX Red
VTG68REDLBK
$96.00
Cherry MX Clear thumbnailCherry MX Clear
VTG68CLRLBK
$97.00
Cherry MX Silver thumbnailCherry MX Silver
VTG68SVRLBK
$98.00
Cherry MX Silent Black thumbnailCherry MX Silent Black
VTG68SBKLBK
$99.00
Cherry MX Silent Red thumbnailCherry MX Silent Red
VTG68SRDLBK
$99.00

Keycaps

Details and Specifications

BrandVortex
ModelCypher
Size60%
Physical LayoutUS QWERTY
Logical LayoutANSI
Frame ColorBlack
Frame Top MaterialPlastic
Frame Bottom MaterialPlastic
Primary LED Colorn/a
Control LED Colorn/a
USB Key RolloverFull
Multimedia KeysF-Row
Switch Mount TypePlate
Built in Audio PortNo
Built in Mic PortNo
Windows CompatibleYes
Mac CompatibleYes
Linux CompatibleYes
Weight1.1100 lbs
Cord Length48 inches

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  • I've come to love this thing more than expected. I initially bought it because I was looking for a pre-built that came with stock silent black switches, and there were limited options at the time, but I also really wanted something around ~60% layout but with top layer arrow keys (without the hassle or reprogramming keys and tracking down aftermarket keycaps). This fit the bill, and it's come to be my favorite workhorse board for typing.

    POSITIVES:
    - excellent feel and build quality. Sure, it's a plastic case and it isn't as robust as a Pok3r or other aluminum boards, but it feels great to type on. It has a metal plate anyway, but the plastic case helps reduce unnecessary ping and rattle and it has a pleasantly forgiving feel. Despite the plastic construction, it also feels sturdy as hell.
    -excellent layout. It's simple, has everything I need and nothing I don't. One could quibble over whether it's better to have a DEL key or a home key, but for quickly navigating webpages or documents, having Home, End, PgUp and PgDn is hard to beat. Once you get a feel for the function layer, the DEL key is easy enough to access; and I could always reprogram it if necessary. (NOTE: get the firmware update ASAP if you pick this up. The initial firmware had some minor quibbles with programming).
    -clean, subtle design. Part of the joy of having a 60% or 65% is having something simple and sleek, and the black on grey design is perfect for work or any other minimalist setting. The simplicity has only grown on me in comparison to my other boards.
    -pleasant keycaps. There's a con I'll get to below, but in terms of thickness, texture, and typing sound, I love these caps.
    -USB C. I'm not a fan of underchannel cable routing that you find on larger boards, and USB micro and mini always feel so flimsy. USB C is nice, and I like that stick right out the back left, exactly where I'd want it.
    -MX silent blacks. Killer, smooth, beautifully silent linears. The higher actuation force makes them feel quite a bit less scratchy than Silent Reds, which are also great, but I much prefer these. They took a week to get used to coming off of Browns and Reds, but I've found I prefer this weight by a long shot. They are pretty quiet, though you can hear a bit of spring rasp. Lubing would probably go a long way (but I'm lazy). I know there's a general sense that linears aren't great for typing, but I adore typing on these--enough that I'm thinking of getting some non-silent blacks to round out the stable.
    -excellent stabilizers. I assume these are lubed, and they seem to be modified cherry stabs. Great, solid feel with no unnecessary rattle.

    CONS:
    -layout is challenging for aftermarket keycaps. With a lot of 1U keys on the bottom row, 1.75 right shift, and a weird row layout for the Home/end/pgup/pgdn keys, aftermarket caps are challenging unless you're willing to go all out for GMK or get a bunch of expanded sets. The row layout is probably the hardest to find, so you may want to stick to non-sculpted sets like DSA, XDA, or R3 SA. I haven't replaced my caps yet, but i probably will at some point.
    -laser-etched caps. Sigh. The ONE thing I wish they had done differently was to use double shot or dye-sub caps. As is, these beige on grey caps feel fine but some keys get dirty fast. For whatever reason, my C and M keys are grungy as hell, while other more commonly used keys like T and E still look great. Not a fan of laser etched caps, and it's clear they'll eventually wear down, too. Also, the font is. not great. Not the worst like the heinous gamer fonts found on so many backlit boards, but I've never understood Vortex's obsession with Bank Gothic fonts. That said, if you're fine with the Pok3r caps, these appear to be the same.

    NEUTRAL
    -programmability. Not something I plan to use, but it's there if you want it. I don't think it uses QMK, which some folks will care about, but it's a non-issue for me. As is, the function layer is easy enough to use to reach the F keys, DEL, media controls, and the ~ (which is function ctrl esc), so I'm good to go.
    -no adjustable feet. I prefer my boards completely flat (even flatter than this) as I use a floating hand typing technique, so I don't miss having flip out feet at all. But depending on your preferences, this might matter to you.

    OVERALL
    -I feel like folks are avoiding these because of the plastic construction and similarity to the TADA68, but it's really a phenomenal workhorse of a 65% for the price. I like it enough that I'm considering getting a second one for work to replace an excellent Leopold that feels great, but isn't quite as satisfying to type on, despite the much better keycaps. As expanded / alternate keycap sets become more common and available at lower price points (c'mon Tai-Hao!), this should be an increasingly excellent way to get into smaller layout boards at a great price point and without sacrificing arrow keys.

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