When it comes to custom keyboards, Varmilo is one of the top names in the business. They refer to themselves as “keyboard artists,” and for good reason as we’ll find out today. On the review bench is the VA87RGB, a high-end mechanical keyboard packing Cherry key switches, PBT caps, RGB lighting, and dye-sub legends. They call it the Double Rainbow - all the way.
- Pricing: $159.99
- Cherry MX switches: Silent Red, Blue, Brown
- Switch Life: 50M Actuations
- PBT keycaps with dye sublimated rainbow legends
- ABS Case
- Detachable Mini-USB cable
- N-Key Rollover
- 100% anti-ghosting
- Accessories: Swappable keycaps with rainbow ring art, wire keycap puller
- Dimensions: 356 × 134 × 33mm
- Weight: ~2kg
As a keyboard enthusiast, I make a habit of checking in on my favorite manufacturers’ websites and Facebook pages to see what they have in store. When I saw the Double Rainbow, it immediately caught my eye. It’s a well-established fact that I’m a fan of some flashy RGB, but RGB on top of RGB?!? Madness, and exactly my kind.
Thankfully, Varmilo was willing to send one over for me to try. While gamers might scoff at the idea of melding keyboards and art, it’s pretty clear that Varmilo has something going on here. Just look at the box it came in:
The keyboard inside is just as nice. It features a white case and matching white PBT keycaps. The legends are dye sublimated. This is a process that involves heating the plastic with a laser and joining it with a dye for permanent legends that will never fade. PBT, too, is well known for its resistance to wear. Varmilo has even applied a light texturing to their surface so finger oils won’t show (the white color helps with this too).
Taken as a whole, it looks great. I really like the ROYGBIV legends and the rainbow-ring alternate looks great on the Escape key. The Space Bar also has an artistic wrap around it: rainbow waves crashing against each other that looks great. I only wish they had extended this onto the typing surface because it’s really eye catching. Combined with the RGB backlighting, it really is a double rainbow all the way.
It’s made out of a high-quality ABS plastic with a heavy steel plate under the switches. This gives it a nice weight and completely removes any kind of flex to the board. It feels well-built in every sense that applies to keyboards.
Typing on it also feels fantastic. If you’ve been reading our keyboard reviews for a while, you know that I love full aluminum cases on my keyboards. Yet here, the VA87RGB with Cherry MX Browns has a great tactility. The thick PBT caps make a sound that’s almost snappy and very nice. Only the best plastic mechanical keyboards feel so nice to type on and few, if any, dedicated gaming keyboards.
That said, you will find a few familiar features here. N-key rollover is present, as is full anti-ghosting. This means that all of your keystrokes will register no matter how many you press at any time. A quick key combo can enable Windows Lock, so you won’t hit that by accident mid-match, and along the function row you have your media controls present and accounted for in a secondary layer.
The lighting is also fully programmable right on the board, no software required. It comes with 12 presets that can be swapped into on the fly using the Fn button and a number key and some of them are really neat. The “Bilateral Marquee Blooming Mode” (yes, that’s a mouthful) is one of my favorites, wrapping each row of keys on the top and bottom in a color until they meet in the center and unwind again. There’s also a Rain mode, Ripple, Reactive Typing, and, of course, the rainbow Wave mode. If you’d like to set your own color scheme for each key, it’s as easy as another key combination to select from a color palette illuminated on the keys. Neat!
While the Double Rainbow isn’t what I would consider a gaming keyboard, the thing that I’ve come to learn is that most “gaming” keyboards are really just any other keyboard with some funky designs and software. That said, the VA87RGB doesn’t feature macro programmability. While you can swap the Caps Lock with the Fn and CTRL keys, if you’d like to record macros, you’ll need to pick up a program like AutoHotKey.
If you’re in the market for a new keyboard, take it from me and look outside the gaming space. Companies like Varmilo are delivering keyboards that are built and feel so much better that it will quickly make you wonder why the gaming world doesn’t just catch up. The VA87RGB Double Rainbow looks great, feels great, and is responsive enough to carry you through any game. Recommended.
- Unique, artistic design that looks great
- Nice RGB backlighting
- Great PBT keycaps with spectrum dye-sub legends
- No key rattle - Varmilo made this thing feel amazing to use
- No software
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.