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
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!
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.
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
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 backplate 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.
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
Poker 3 RGB Backlighting
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 backplate looks fantastic.
As for 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.
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.
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 set up 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 =.
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 + >.
Overall Verdict of the Vortex Pok3r RGB
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 to buy an RGB mechanical keyboard.