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Cherry MX Board 6.0 Keyboard Review

April 18th, 2016 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

For years now Gamers have been drawn to mechanical keyboards that feature the ubiquitous Cherry MX switch, although, as we know other switch types are also available. But while Cherry have been busy making switches (a lot of switches at that!) their keyboards have been somewhat hidden from view. In fact we here at pcGameware have never reviewed a Cherry keyboard, or a Cherry product, until now that is. Here we have the Cherry MX Board 6.0 featuring, as you may have guessed Cherry MX switches.

The Cherry MX Board 6.0 is a full size keyboard with Cherry MX (Red) switches and features Cherry RealKey (RK) technology. The keyboard is equipped with an aluminium top housing with a sand-blasted finish and a fingerprint resistant coating. The MX Board 6.0 features red LED illumination with bi-colour status keys. In addition to this there are thirteen function keys, Win key control and a full length ergonomic palm rest with magnetic docking.

 

cherry-logo ‘A keyboard like a precision instrument. Faster than any other. More accurate than any other. Pure in its concept and quality: Uncompromisingly fast. Uncompromisingly precise. Uncompromisingly focused. Designed to dominate with its sophisticated features and innovative technology. The CHERRY MX BOARD 6.0 breaks through technical boundaries and sets pioneering new course. A keyboard for people who want to advance. For people who want to leave their mark instead of following others.’
Cherry MX Board 6.0 - box front Cherry MX Board 6.0 - box back

 

The Cherry MX Board 6.0 arrived at pcG in a large black box that seemed strangely heavy for a keyboard! The front of the box has that subtle minimalistic look with just the brand, product name and the key technologies highlighted along with the ‘German engineering and design’ statement.

Looking at the back of the box we see a nice large image of the keyboard hiding within. Highlighted are the following features that sit along side the branding, product name and the box contents.

  • Aluminium Top-Housing
  • Quick-Snap Palmrest
  • Bicolor Status Keys
  • Win-Key Deactivation
  • 13 Embedded Functional Keys
  • Red Illumination
  •  

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - inner box and sleeve Cherry MX Board 6.0 - inner box

     

    On opening the box we find that there’s another box hiding within and what a box it is! The inner box is a brilliant glossy red colour with an embossed Cherry logo, very smart indeed. Cherry are clearly trying hard here to ensure you’re aware that you’re looking at a premium keyboard here with the MX Board 6.0.

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - inner box open Cherry MX Board 6.0 - packaging

     

    On opening the box we can see that Cherry have taken the packaging and presentation to the next level, with the keyboard itself protected by a soft cloth bag; note that even the bag itself is embossed with both the Cherry and the MX logos. In addition to the keyboard, within the box we also find a full size wrist rest.

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - manual

     

    There’s not much else in the box though except for a multilingual user manual.

     

    At the time of writing the Cherry MX Board 6.0 is available from Overclockers UK for approximately £150 and comes with a 1 year warranty.

     

    Specifications/Features

    courtesy of Cherry

    Features:
    – The world´s fastest keyboard – with Cherry MX Switches and Cherry Real Key Technology
    – Mechanics: Cherry MX tech – Gold Crosspoint precision module for all keys “Made in Germany”
    – Electrics: Cherry RealKey technology – full analog signal processing
    – Full N-Key rollover – all keys are read simultaneously
    – 100 % anti-ghosting – no inputting errors
    – Aluminium top housing with sanded finish and grease resistant coating
    – Bi-colour status keys (blue backlight when activated)
    – Win-Key deactivation
    – 13 double function keys
    – Red LED key backlight with adjustable brightness (dimmer)
    – Rubber palm rest with magnetic connector (quick-snap)
    – 200 cm cable with textile covering

    Specification:
    – Layout UK
    – Cherry MX Red Switches
    – Housing colour: Aluminium (Sanded-Finish)
    – Keycap colour: black
    – Weight (product): aprox. 1350 g (Keyboard), 257 g (Wrist rest)
    – Cable Length: 2 m

    * Additional details available here

     

    First Impressions

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - cherry

     

    First impressions of the Cherry MX Board 6.0 (strange name BTW!) are all about the build quality, that’s the first thing the strikes you, the quality! There’s no doubt that this is one beautifully engineered keyboard and a keyboard that’s built to last, it’s really heavy too at 1.35KG! If there’s was even a BMW styled, designed and manufactured keyboard then the MX Board 6.0 is surely it! And that’s high praise…

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 Cherry MX Board 6.0 - back

     

    As you can see from the image above the Cherry MX Board 6.0 is a very purposeful looking keyboard, it’s good looking too thanks in part to its simple styling. There’s very little here apart from that extremely sturdy aluminium frame and a keyboard, no special buttons or controls, it’s all pretty simple stuff. What’s a particularly nice touch is the embossed Cherry logo and name in the centre at the bottom of the aluminium frame (see image above).

    Looking at the back of the MX Board 6.0 we can see that the cable itself is detachable yet seems to use some form of proprietary connection!? We can also see that there’s cable routing options both straight out of the back and left/right of the keyboard, which is nice to see. When flat the keyboard is kept in place thanks to six rubber feet, four at the front and two at the back. The central silver contacts are actually the magnets for attaching the wrist rest.

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - leg down Cherry MX Board 6.0 - leg up

     

    In addition to this the back of the keyboard can be raised a further 10mm courtesy of the extending legs at the back. The legs themselves extend out to the side (usually better then extending back) yet do not feature rubber feet of their own.

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - flat Cherry MX Board 6.0 - raised

     

    As you can see there is a natural incline to the Cherry MX Board 6.0 yet it is very subtle, should this not suffice the back of the keyboard can be raised further courtesy of the legs described above. I found the perfect setup for me was with the legs raised and the wrist rest attached.

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - controls Cherry MX Board 6.0 - Cherry key

     

    The main functions aboard the Cherry MX Board 6.0 are to be found on the top row. This comprises of of F1 – F3 for sound control (Volume Mute, Volume Down & Volume Up) and F5 – F9 allows for control over the illumination, very precise control too! F5 reduces brightness by 1%, F6 up by 1%, while F7 and F8 allow control over brightness at 10% intervals. F9 simply disables all illumination.

    Above the number pad we also find four additional keys the Cherry key and three media Control keys (Previous Title, Play/Pause and Next Title). The Cherry key allows for the following Windows functions to be disabled (especially useful when Gaming): Windows key. ALT + F4, ALT TAB and CTRL + ALT + DEL.

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - wrist rest Cherry MX Board 6.0 - wrist rest attachment

     

    The wrist rest is simply beautiful as far as I’m concerned and is just awash with nice touches and made from quality materials. The top is covered with a rubber surface that’s got a real high level of grip yet it feels soft to the touch. This is further enhanced by the finishing touches that see the MX logo embossed into the surface of the rubber and the smart yet subtle silver Cherry logo in the centre. It is so much better than that basic bit of plastic that some manufacturers offer…

    The wrist rest also simply attaches to the keyboard by way of magnetism. Just offer the wrist rest into position and the keyboard’s magnetism (there’s a pun there somewhere!) will simply pull it into position. Very simple yet clever!

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - complete

     

    With the wrist rest in position the keyboard takes on a whole new (far bigger!) look. You’re going to need plenty of desk space for this keyboard, but it’s surely worth it as keyboards don’t come much better than this. But there in lies my worry and it’s probably the only worry I have. The Cherry MX Board 6.0 is a illuminating mechanical keyboard and simply that, yes it’s a damn good one, but it’s still just a keyboard as there’s very little else here to get excited about…

     

    Hardware Installation

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - connection The Cherry MX Board 6.0 connects by way of a single Gold plated USB plug found at the end of a 2.0m braided cable. For a keyboard the cable itself is quite thin and relatively flexible, which is always good to see. This is of course down to the fact that there are no other features aboard the MX Board 6.0 such as additional USB ports or audio ports.

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - firmware Although there may be no software for the Cherry MX Board 6.0, the firmware of the keyboard can be updated. After looking on the Cherry website (here) I found an update program that when ran updated my firmware from version 4.0.242 to version 6.0.0 It’s a shame though that there’s no real way of knowing what version of firmware you have in the first place. Needless to say that throughout testing I used version 6.0.0 of the firmware.

     

    The following games were used during testing:

     

    Hardware Performance

     

    Once the Cherry MX Board 6.0 is plugged in and the PC fired up you can marvel at the bright red illumination and bright it is too! At 100% brightness the LEDs are so bright you may need sunglasses, in fact I’d say it’s the brightest that I’ve ever seen. Of course this is a good thing as nobody wants dull LED lighting. The brightness adjustment is also extremely impressive being able to modify the lighting by either 10% (F5/F6) or 1% (F7/F8) at a time, now that’s some precise control!

     

    Cherry MX Board 6.0 - illumination

     

    The volume controls (F1-F3) also work well as do the three media controls, but it’s the Cherry key and the FN key that are most interesting to us Gamers. The Cherry key disables the main Windows controls – ALT + F4, ALT TAB and CTRL + ALT + DEL, which makes sense.

    The FN key can be switched permanently On, this is shown by the Blue LED colour and works in the same way as the Lock keys (Caps/Scroll & Num). But when on (Blue) all of the Function Keys at the the top that have secondary functions only perform that function, i.e. FN is permanently On! Now that might not sound like a bad thing (and it isn’t) but a by product of this is that all of the associated F keys are now disabled! At first I wasn’t aware of this function and thought that the blue FN key was just its colour and was obviously somewhat confused as to why some of my F (Function) keys wouldn’t work! 😮 FYI: This functionality (FN On/Off) is controlled by pressing both the FN key and the CTRL key at the same time.

    Now let’s talk about the Cherry MX (Red) keys and the RK controller that controls the keyboard and offers up N-Key Roll over, especially as this is no doubt for us Gamers. In Game I found the keyboard worked very well and as well as any other MX based keyboard, but it feels different to me!? In fact in use it feels more subtle and a little less responsive than a regular Cherry MX Red keyboard, although I’m unsure why. A by product of this is that it is also a little quieter too, which is no bad thing. It’s also extremely comfortable too use, especially with the rear legs raised and the really nice grippy (bad word) wrist rest attached.

    To be fair there’s very little to complain about here, especially when looking at what’s offered. Although I would say that this is a keyboard designed for typists more so than for Gamers despite the presence of Cherry’s RK controller. It’s what’s not here that has me worried, as there’s no per key lighting, no Macro recording, no programmability and no software…

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Keyboard’s don’t really get much better than this. The Cherry MX Board 6.0 is a good looking, beautifully built mechanical keyboard built by and using switches from one of the best manufacturers in the world! It may also be ‘the world’s fastest keyboard’ (and it is good) but I think Gamers are likely to want a little more for their money, especially when the asking price is a high as it is.

    The Cherry MX Board 6.0 arrived at pcG in a large heavy black box, with the contents within beautifully packaged and nicely presented. The keyboard itself was wrapped in a cloth pouch embossed with the Cherry and MX branding. There’s not much in the box though other than the keyboard and the impressive wrist rest and a multilingual user manual.

    Once out of the box it’s soon apparent that the MX Board 6.0 is a pretty big, heavy keyboard that’s no doubt built to last thanks to some impressive German design and engineering. Even the wrist rest impresses, being very sturdy and featuring a lovely rubberised grip with an embossed MX logo. The keyboard itself features a sandblasted aluminium top plate with Cherry MX (Red) switches and a Cherry RX controller. The latter providers support for Full N-Key Rollover. Both the front of the keyboard and the front of the wrist rest also sport smart Cherry logos and the whole keyboard package is one that exudes quality.

    The MX Board 6.0 also features additional functionality in the form of volume control, brightness control and media controls as well as a ‘Cherry’ key to disable basic Widows functions that get in the way of Gaming. The brightness control is worth a particular mention as the keyboard allows you to control the brightness at 1% intervals, which is great as it’s especially bright and vivid.

    In use the Cherry MX Board 6.0 is simply faultless especially when it comes to typing, it’s both comfortable to use and a little quieter than other Cherry MX (Red) based boards that I’ve tested. In Game the keys were responsive and I had no issues with Lag or Rollover, but I did feel that the keyboard (in-game) seemed to lack a little of the immediacy of other keyboards with the same switch type. I don’t quite know why this is as I couldn’t quite put my finger on it! 😉

    There’s no software for the MX Baord 6.0 and that’s a shame as there’s no programming and no Macro support, there’s also no per key lighting and no lighting effects which would have been nice.

    It is this that gives me my only concern over the Cherry MX Board 6.0. It’s not what’s here that has me concerned, as what is here is simply great, it’s what’s not here, especially when you consider the £150 asking price. Whether you’re a hardcore Gamer, a casual Gamer or simply a typist the asking price is simply too high in my opinion. But there’s still no denying what you get is a good looking, beautifully engineered mechanical keyboard that will last for many years to come…

     

    Verdict

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    Overclockers UK




    Cherry MX Board 6.0

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    Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Cherry MX Board 6.0 a Silver
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Cherry for providing this sample for review

     


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