Vortex Core Aluminum 40% Dye Sub PBT Mechanical Keyboard

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Vortex Core Mechanical Keyboard

Available Switches

Cherry MX Black thumbnailCherry MX Black
Cherry MX Blue thumbnailCherry MX Blue
Cherry MX Brown thumbnailCherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Red thumbnailCherry MX Red
Cherry MX Clear thumbnailCherry MX Clear
Cherry MX Silver thumbnailCherry MX Silver
Cherry MX Silent Red thumbnailCherry MX Silent Red




  • CNC aluminum frame
  • 3 programmable layers
  • 40% space-saving form factor
  • Split programmable space bars
  • DSA profile keycaps


Details and Specifications

Switch StemsMX
Physical LayoutANSI
Logical LayoutUS QWERTY
Frame ColorGray
Frame Top MaterialAluminum
Primary LED Colorn/a
Control LED Colorn/a
Hotswap SocketsNo
USB Key Rollover6
Multimedia KeysYes
Switch Mount TypePlate
Built in Audio PortNo
Built in Mic PortNo
Interface(s)Micro USB
Windows CompatibleYes
Dimensions3.15" x 9.84" x 1.12"
Weight1.10 lbs

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  • Amazing keyboard, spent years with this thing clacking away ina n open office with blue switches. Loved every minute of it. Caseless design means it lacks "ping" that Ive found comes with larger, encased keyboards. This thing is perfect and you owe it to yourself to buy one just bc of how cute it is.

  • This was my first mechanical keyboard and I couldn't be happier. It functions so well and is so nice and compact.

  • Great little 40% keyboard with one flaw: by default, apostrophe is mapped to fn1 B, and fn1 T is F5. So that means for a lot of common words like: isn't, doesn't, couldn't, etc. Basically, any word that ends in "n't", there is a chance you accidentally hit F5 if you don't let go of the fn1 button fast enough. Several times I have accidentally refreshed a browser window while typing a message and lost progress (it actually happened while I was typing this as well, whoops). You can luckily re-program it, but it's kind of a shame that it's like this by default. Not really a problem with other contractions, but unfortunately n't is a very common contraction and might end up with an accidental page refresh :(

  • Bought this a few years ago.

    Takes a while to get used to but it's a good keyboard. Great quality

  • TL;DR: This keyboard is fantastic, but your mileage may vary on the speed gains you hope for from this 40% format. I also personally had some issues figuring out the layers, and occasionally have mysterious issues that required unplugging and plugging back in.

    I have had this keyboard for the better part of a year now, and can say that the quality of the hardware is excellent. If you are on the fence about whether to get this simply based on whether the product is good, I say go for it. At this price point, this keyboard is a steal.

    Now, there are some issues with this keyboard, which are a mostly a product of the 40% format, not the manufacturer:

    In particular, I have found that after many months of typing on this as my sole external keyboard, I have never reached the kind of speed I might have hoped. Using the number keys is simply slower than it would be if I had dedicated keys, and some occasionally-used keyboard combinations are simply trickier than I would like. That's a hazard of this style of keyboard, so be prepared for that.

    Another issue, which is actually a problem with the product itself, is that figuring out how to use the layers is really not intuitive, and took me a week or two to really grok. I still have issues where I get one of the lights turned on - indicating I am in a mode, which I don't understand - but I mostly ignore it and it seems OK. Occasionally I get myself into a state where the tab key does not work as expected, and I have to unplug and plug it back in. This happens rarely enough that it is not a big deal.

    Despite all these complaints, I highly recommend this keyboard. Just be ready for a little bit of exploration when you begin using it.

  • Keyboard shipped with older firmware, so keycaps didn't match key inputs until firmware was updated to V1.04.05

    After updating firmware, everything worked perfectly!

  • nice keyboard if your coming from a 100% board it'll be weird at first but after a couple hours of use you should be a pro
    the user manual does a great job explaining how to switch between layers and using the multiple function keys
    overall it's a great keyboard that looks super clean on the desk and feels like a quality product in build and function you can see the effort that went into designing the CORE

  • I ordered this board to try and minimize how much keyboard space I was taking up on my workspace. I went from a tkl to this and the jump in quality was insane from the beginning. I don't have a pc, so I wasn't able to easily flash the new firmware into it, but i was able to eventually put together a free dev copy of vm ware to get it up and running. The board worked great out of the box, but being able to customize the layers has really taken it to the next level. It also takes a long time to get used to where all the modifiers are, but it's definitely worth the wait. I would recommend this board for anyone that wants to buy an affordable high quality board that really rewards deep diving and customization. I've replaced the outer darker grey keys with individual dsa caps- the only thing I'd like to be able to get at some point is replacement keycaps with the same modifier info on them but in more attractive colors.

  • Got this keyboard almost a year ago and I love it as much as the day I got it. Still functions like it did on day 1, couldn't ask for a cooler more productive kb.

  • This is a uniquely and rarely beautiful keyboard. The keycaps are dream: shape, color, sound, feel. I ordered with MX Silver switches, as I prefer a little less travel distance, and it ended up being a great choice for this keyboard.
    The keyboard is very programmable, especially with the latest firmware and online tool (if you want to remap more).

  • Love this board. I got it configured with MX Clears and the keys are such a pleasure to type on. There are still instances where I wish I had a full sized keyboard but for the price and quality, I am not sure you can find a better keyboard at least I haven't yet!

    Really enjoy the form factor, and I feel like it has helped increase my WPM. Didn't take much time at all to become really proficient with the layout. Although, there are still some times where I accidentally hit esc or tab and I didn't mean to. Love it and almost certainly will buy another from Vortex! Beware tho, originally when I received it, it definitely had some outdated software or the wrong software package on it. A quick trip to Vortex website solved that issue and I was able to get it configured correctly.

    Don't pass this one up, you will regret it!

  • Extremely fast shipping, I asked for the shipping to come as soon as possible as I was not able to bring my usual keyboard to the place I was going and thought this would be a great fit. It is! Glad i decided to delve into the world of 40% keyboards. :)

  • this keybared is absolutly amazing

  • This is the first 40% board I've owned and frankly I'm in love. Desk space is at a premium at my job, and removing the footprint of the cheap membrane boards my company provides has been a huge help when dealing with multiple laptops in need of troubleshooting at a time. The community over at r/mechanicalkeyboards has even created a better tool for making custom key layouts, which I would consider a huge improvement over the one provided by vortex themselves. the ability to map left shift to fn1 took the board from "neat" to "an actual improvement over a normal keyboard (for me anyways)"

    As for the board itself, its been quite sturdy and has been overall a wonderful piece of equipment to type on. I have run into very few issues with it, barring a foolish attempt to troubleshoot a mac with it once. Overall, very much a worthwhile keyboard to check out, especially at its current price.

  • I got this keyboard used and I found no issues. I got the cherry brown version, but have since swapped the switches out for something heavier. I am now using arctos 65 switches. I am really happy with how the keyboard is

  • The layout is surprisingly intuitive, and I acclimated in roughly 2 week's time. The build quality is exceptional. There's no flex or rattles, and the PBT keycaps have colour-coordinated sub-legends for quick identification. The stock cable is very stiff, so I replaced it with a magnetic Wsken Mini 2 cable (no issues). FYI, updating the firmware alters the layout on the bottom row, so you'll need to swap a few keycaps accordingly (check the online manual). Other than USB-C, there's not much I'd want to change.

    In summary, I very much enjoy my feeling!

  • I absolutely love this keyboard. Perfect introduction to 40% keyboards. I ordered mine with the MX Clear switches which I also highly recommend for anyone who is looking for a quieter keyboard to use at work.

    The micro usb cable that came with mine was kinda crap. It's fitment wasn't that great which caused the cable to move around in the port. This would lead to the keyboard losing connection. I replaced the cable with one off Amazon for 8$ and have had zero issues since.

  • With MPC now you are able to program the entire keyboard with ease. There are three modifier (pn,fn,fn1) to program with on 3 layers. As a programmer, I found this keyboard was the best for me. I moved all pinky keys (mainly the symbols with shift) to thumbs : pn on left thumb and fn1 on right space. I can finally remember numbers 5 to 9 as well as use arrow keys without leaving the home row. I also have ctrl/shift inst (copy / paste) mapped to macros.

    Worth to mention that mine came with mx silver switches. To my surprise, on vortex core, they are stiffer than the silver switches on my corsair. I always wished the silver could be stiffer towards the bottom so that I can avoid bottom out, and this is god send!

    Overall build quality is great! I felt like I was playing mahjong. I worried about the micro usb port so I bought a magnet usb cable.

  • I bought this keyboard because I was tired of lugging around my full sized keyboard, and I was not disappointed. I got mine with the MX Silvers, switching over from the Logitech Romer G switches, the Silvers felt much smoother. If you're hesitant about purchasing this keyboard because you're not sure how you will like the layers, from my experience with the keyboard, it is very easy to get used to. Overall, it's a great keyboard that's not only aesthetically pleasing, but very functional as well.

  • This keyboard is amazing!

  • Great form factor.
    The keycaps feel as amazing as any quality PBT keycaps do.
    There is much less typing noise than on other keyboards like the Anne Pro and KBParadise V60.
    After updating the firmware, you can switch Caps Lock TAB.
    It's just really great to type on, and the build quality is superior!

  • My first and only MK until now was a Magicforce 68, which I honestly love, but I needed something more portable. Got the Core and absolutely do not regret it at all. The learning curve is definitely there, and will definitely take some getting used to considering the fact that it's 40% (obviously). Build quality is wonderful. Sturdy, great finish to the product, and very clean. When you get yours, make sure to update the firmware on it via the Vortex website, which fixes some of the defaults on the keyboard and allows you to program the space bars separately and makes a few things a little more conventional and comparable with some of the other boards. Overall a great keyboard and would definitely recommend it to anyone that's looking for a 40%


  • The quality of this keyboard is fantastic. Really nice for a first time 40% user like myself. Delivery was faster than expected. Very satisfied.

  • This is a great 40% keyboard. It is really well designed, and works quite a bit like other vortex poker keyboards, so if you are familiar with the programming on those, this will be very similar.

    The great thing about this keyboard vs a planck is that it is much easier to program than creating a flashing a custom firmware to the keyboard. As mentioned in another review, the only real big downside that I've hit so far is that although there is a separated space bar, which is cool, they cannot be programmed separately, which is a shame.

    Other than that, this is a great quality pre-built 40% keyboard.

    This review was written on it, and I found nearly all the punctuation I was looking for :-)

  • The best 40% layout I've used. The key position have been very well thought out. Also, the manual is wrong when it comes to the symbol keys location. I've contacted Vortex and they told me that this is a mistake with the manual, not the keyboard malfunctioning. The programmability is a must have feature on a keyboard of this size.

  • This keyboard has excellent build quality. Baseplate exhibits no flex and the switches and PBT keys are top notch. However, either my keyboard's software is defective, or the user manual describing the default Fn1 shift layer is incorrect- all symbols (ie !@#$%^&*()_ ) are on row 2 from the top (not R1 as in the manual) and shift Fn1 b corresponds to ", n to ?, m to {, , to }, and . to |. Programming one of the spacebar keys will result programming the other with the same function, thus, for example, you cannot program the left spacebar to function as a backspace and the right spacebar as space (both spacebars will act as backspace). Caps can't seemed to be programmed to Fn either. Overall, the learning curve seems to be rather steep, particularly due to the keyboard's limitations.

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