So… as you can tell by the title of this post, whilst there’s definitely a brand name in there, there’s no product name/family. I’ll be referring to this keyboard as “the VicTop” for the remainder of the review. Back on track – The keyboard I’m looking at today is the smallest and cheapest model VicTop offer: the TenKeyLess (TKL/80%/87 keys), “Outemu” blue clicky switched, “water resistant” model to be a bit more specific. At £24, this keyboard is one that anyone on a budget may be considering!
- Outemu blue switches
- TenKeyLess (87 key) layout
- ANSI layout (slim enter key)
- Clean, simple design
- Non-removable USB cable
- Included keycap puller
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Blue switches are known for being amongst the loudest switch. They’re of the “clicky and tactile variety”, adding a distinguishable “click” sound when pressing the key as well as the noticeable bump when pressing a key.
Blue switches are the most common “clicky” switch and are generally favoured by typists, due to the click and bump – which confirms a key press.
Blue switches are generally not used by gamers, due to the higher “actuation force” required for each keypress, which typically comes in at 50cN. This makes double tapping a key a little harder.
Design and build quality
The design concept for the VicTop was clearly a very simple one, however don’t let this hold you back. These days, it’s hard to find a clean and simply designed keyboard that could fit into any environment it is placed. Most modern keyboards are now being built with RGB functionality (similar to the Geezer GS2 I reviewed a while back). The model I purchased is the non-backlit model, as I’m personally not a fan of rainbow backlit keyboards. The VicTop features standard sized keycaps, so you can customise these until your heart is content. Looking at what’s included in the box though, you’ll find a black and white design throughout, with no backlighting to complement (in any colour). Despite my (albeit quick) research, I’ve not been able to find out what these keycaps are made of.
Moving from top to bottom through the product, you’ll find the Outemu blue clicky switches beneath each keycap. These switches are mounted in an ABS frontplate that I initially mistook for being metal! The front plate is slightly textured and is completely black aside from the small logo and Caps Lock and Scroll Lock led indicators, which are all white.
This leaves us with the base and USB cable. The base is constructed out of ABS and metal and provides the keyboard with a fair amount of heft. On the bottom of the keyboard you’ll find the two rubberised foldable feet to raise the angle of the keyboard, as well as two smaller rubber pads towards the front of the keyboard to prevent movement on your desk. Unfortunately, these are only single level feet, therefore you’re stuck with flat or slightly raised. The USB cable around back isn’t braided, but is pretty thick and has a decent length to it.
As there’s no RGB backlighting, there’s no bespoke software to install to use this keyboard. It’s simply plug-and-play – easy to setup and start using, I don’t think I even saw standard drivers installing! The top row of keys, however, do have secondary functions to them. Holding down the FN key and tapping the F keys will allow you to control things such as media, key lock and volume.
I’ve used this keyboard for a few weeks now as one of my daily drivers. I use my Logitech G610 Orion Brown when I’m in the office (3 days a week) and I’ve been using this keyboard when I’m working from home (the other 2 days a week). Working in IT, 99% of my workload is typed – so I’m using the keyboard a LOT throughout the day.
So far, the VicTop has been a solid little keyboard. The more compact design has permitted me a little extra room on my desk, meaning I can have my mouse slightly closer to the centre of my desk (may be something those with RSI would consider?) meaning “less reach” when switching from typing to navigating with the mouse. The Outemu switches haven’t thrown up any issues (although I definitely notice when I’m typing at work and typing at home – Blue and Brown feel significantly difference even when ignoring the click) and have done well so far.
I’m personally not a fan of the ANSI keyboard layout (a.k.a American layout). I much prefer a larger enter key and my pipe/back-slash key on the left hand side of my keyboard. Despite this, I’ve found I get used to switching layouts pretty quickly, with only the occasional mis-hit when aiming for the enter key whilst typing fast.
A £24 – I genuinely cannot find a significant fault with this keyboard. Yes, there are some things that would be nice to have: a simple white backlight, a braided USB cable, brown switches. The Outemu switches are incredibly loud, much louder than the Huano blue’s in my GS2. There’s absolutely no way I could use this in an office environment, or in the same room as my wife! I’m also slightly annoyed that the layout is US as opposed to UK – but in all honesty, these are minor gripes.
The keyboard is incredibly well built, made of ABS and with some metal elements. This, paired with mechanical switches and wrapped in a clean and simply designed body is very nice to have. Taking into consideration the price tag (again – at the time of writing this review, it was £24 (currently: [amazon_link asins=’B01DBYNVSY’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’askanasu04-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’427d23e2-60d4-11e7-a781-1b61b1c49ed7′]), I’d say this keyboard is a no-brainer for those on a budget, looking for a TKL keyboard or looking for a well designed keyboard without all of the OTT RGB effects.