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Vortex Pok3r RGB review

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Vortex Pok3r RGB review

A quick look
Make

Vortex

Model

Pok3r RGB

Price

$145

Form factor

60%

Switch and force

Cherry MX, Various

Backlighting

RGB

Uppercase

Metal Bezel

Key rollover

NKRO

Keycap type

Doubleshot ABS

Weight and dimensions

Net 2.2 lbs, 15 x 12 x 2.7

Features and accessories

None

The good

Compact Design
Programmable Layers
RGB Backlighting
Great Switch Options
Software-less Lighting Customization

The bad

Lighting Instructions Vague

Our Rating
User Rating
Rate Here
Build quality
9.2
9.3
Switches and stabilizers
8.0
10
Keycap quality
7.0
9.7
Features
7.5
9.3
Labels and branding
8.0
9.0
Design
10
Bottom Line

There's a ton of cool stuff in this tiny package. If you're looking for something in this form factor the Pok3r RGB is an awesome option.

8.0
Our Rating
9.5
User Rating
You have rated this
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The Vortex Pok3r RGB is the much awaited RGB version of one of the most popular mechanical keyboards, the Vortex Pok3r.

You can read our review of the American-branded Pok3r, the CODE 61-Key mechanical keyboard. In addition to this, I’ve also done a few other Vortex reviews such as the Vortex Race 3 which you can check out here. If you’re unfamiliar with Vortex, they focus exclusively on mechanical keyboards and have quite an interesting list. This is refreshing as most other mechanical keyboard companies that I focus on also produce a variety of other gaming related products.

Since we already covered many of the features in that review and this model’s only key difference is the addition of RGB lighting, this will be a shorter review than normal. As always, I’ll start by unboxing the Vortex Pok3r RGB and then go on to review the mechanical keyboard in-depth.

 

Vortex Pok3r RGB Unboxing

pok3r rgb box

The Pok3r RGB comes in its distinctive tiny keyboard box, fit for a compact 60% keyboard. The “3” adorns a rainbow overlay – let the hype commence!

pok3r rgb box and keyboard

And here’s the Pok3r RGB out of the box! This is a review unit, we’re guessing that the keycaps may slightly change with the units that ship out for retail. Namely, the “Menu” key on this keyboard will likely be replaced with a “Pn” key similar to the CODE 61-Key.

CODE 61 key DIP switches

As with the standard Pok3r, the familiar DIP switches are here in the same place. These switches can be used to change the layout of the keyboard between Qwerty, Dvorak, and Colemak. You can also make the Caps Lock key act as the Fn key, or swap the placement of the Fn and Pn keys using these DIP switches.

The best place to read about all of these settings is on the Pok3r manual, which can be found here.

 

Vortex Pok3r RGB Switches and Keys

pok3r rgb switches

The Poker 3 RGB keyboard will come in 5 different Cherry MX switch types – Red, Brown, Blue, Nature White, and Black. Our model has Brown switches as seen above.

You’ll also notice in the above image that the switch housing is clear, and the LED lights are mounted under the switch. The back plate is white, allowing for the colors to glow nicely underneath the keycaps.

You may notice that the font used on the top of the keycaps are new and different from the regular Pok3r legends. There’s almost a stencil-like feel to some of the letters, like the D and B seen above.

pok3r rgb keycaps

The keycaps are Doubleshot ABS plastic, which feels great in our testing.

The M, <, >, and ? keys are used in conjunction with the Fn key to switch between the 4 different layers. The Default layer is not programmable, but the other 3 are. These programmable layers are what makes this keyboard a favorite of many computer programmers.

One slight change to this RGB keyboard is the indicator light colors used on the spacebar which shows the layer you’re on.

  • LED off – default layer.
  • LED Red – Layer 2
  • LED Green – Layer 3
  • LED Blue – Layer 4

pok3r rgb keyboard

 

Poker 3 RGB Backlighting

backlit RGB poker 3

Getting into the meat of what makes the Pok3r RGB new and exciting – the backlights! These RGB backlights are genuinely awesome. The colors are extremely rich and vibrant, and the way they fill the spaces in between the keys glowing against the white back plate looks fantastic.

As for the setting the colors of your backlights, the keyboard is really flexible. Here’s a diagram of how the manual describes adjusting the backlighting, and we’ll go into more detail about how to change your settings.

pok3r rgb controls

 

Changing the Poker 3 RGB Backlights

When you press and hold down on the Pn key, you’ll see the 1, 2, and 3 keys light up in Red, Green, and Blue (RGB). While holding down the Pn key and touching those keys, you can adjust the brightness of each to 7 different levels, including off. We’ll call the resulting color from the mix of your RGB values your “Selected Color”.

Once you have a Selected Color, you can hold down on Pn and press the 4 key to cycle through some different backlight modes.

  • The first will light up each key you press for a brief second with your Selected Color.
  • The 2nd acts the same, but instead of using your Selected Color, it uses a random color on each key.
  • The 3rd will radiate out a ripple of light from each typed key in your Selected Color.
  • The 4th will radiate out a random color of light from each typed key.
  • The 5th will shoot a line of your Selected Color across the row of the key that you typed.
  • The 6th will shoot a line of one random color across the row of keys that was typed upon.

pok3r rgb backlights gif

Now, if you hold Pn and press the 5 key, you’ll get some other effects –

  • The first mode will set all key backlights to your Selected Color.
  • The 2nd mode will pulse your Selected Color.
  • The 3rd will display a constantly moving pinwheel of a rainbow, which really looks amazing.
  • The 4th mode is a “Raindrop” mode, which lights up random keys for a moment with a random color.

The final backlight mode for the Pok3r RGB is being able to setup a custom profile, which allows you to light each individual key any color you would like. You can edit these two profiles by pressing Pn + 9 or 0. You can display them using Pn + – or =.

Vortex Pok3r rgb backliting

Also important to note, you can adjust the brightness levels of the backlighting using the Pn + X keys to lower it, and Pn + V to raise it. For color effects that have movement, you can speed up the movement by pressing Pn + <, or slow it down by pressing Pn + >.

Poker 3 RGB gif

 

Vortex Pok3r RGB Mechanical Keyboard Overall Verdict

If you are considering a 60% mechanical keyboard and think that the RGB backlighting is worth an extra $20 or so, look no further than the Pok3r RGB. Once again, Vortex surprises us with how much cool stuff they can fit into such a tiny package. I’ve enjoyed the amount of customization and backlit options this mechanical keyboard has. The Vortex Pok3r RGB is an excellent minimalistic mechanical keyboard and is easy to carry around.

The level of customization and built-in color effects that you can use without the need for additional firmware or software installed onto your PC is a refreshing change from most RGB keyboards on the market today. Though it may not always be as easy as using a GUI to customize your backlighting layout, it’s much easier than we would have expected for an on-keyboard experience. Overall, I had a great time doing a review for the Vortec Pok3r RGB and will gladly recommend it to anyone looking ot buy an RGB mechanical keyboard.

 

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About The Author
Brendan W
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9 Comments
Leave a response
  • James
    June 16, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Good review, thanks.
    Can you change the color of the spacebar when on a layer other than the default? Would hate that to be a fixed color…

    • Kyle
      June 17, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      The layer indicator light does remain the fixed color, unfortunately. Maybe in a future firmware update they will give users the ability to customize it, but for now you’ll likely want to choose whichever layer goes best with your color scheme because you’ll have to live with it.

  • Dermenslof
    June 16, 2016 at 11:39 am

    it’s released ?
    where can we buy it?

  • Mj06
    July 8, 2016 at 3:18 am

    The keycaps seems to be the same ones being used in the ducky shine 5 rgb. Even the font design is the same as well as the dots on top of the spacebar. The only difference are the fonts printed on side which ducky doesn’t have

  • Kevin
    July 21, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Still not available?

  • tusing
    August 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Can I combine this:

    “The first will light up each key you press for a brief second with your Selected Color.”

    with having a “default backlight color”?

    So, for example, can I have my whole keyboard lit up blue, but when I press a key, it briefly changes to pink?

  • uruphy
    November 22, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Is there a way to customize the “menu” key under Pn+9 layers? That’s the only key that I can’t seem to change the color for, bcz it’s the one designated for choosing the color.

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Build quality
Switches and stabilizers
Keycap quality
Features
Labels and branding
Design