I'm browsing mechanical keyboard related content pretty much all day when I have some time to spare. I've had friends ask, "Hey Anthony, don't you ever get tired of looking at mechanical keyboards all day?" and the answer has always been a resounding NO. Mechanical keyboards are awesome, and when Func approached me to review their new KB-460 I could not refuse.
The KB-460 is Func's first mechanical gaming keyboard, and their second USB gaming peripheral to be released. Since this is a gaming keyboard Func has decided to go with Cherry MX Reds with a red backlight. This is the only option at the moment, but Func has made clear that if there is enough interest, they would be willing to consider other switches. If you're not familiar with the variety of Cherry switches check out the awesome wikis on /r/MechanicalKeyboards!
The keyboard uses DCS keycaps that are fully backlit by individual 2mm LEDs mounted next to the switch. There are four different lighting modes, three for brightness adjustment, and one to enable a breathing mode. The backlighting looks absolutely stunning. The red backplate reflects the light evenly, and it's easily one of the nicer backlights out there. I just wish there were more options in the software or more built in presets similar to how Ducky goes about lighting with their Shine series.
The keycaps on this board just don't feel very good for typing in my opinion. Of couse this is extremely subjective because everyone has different fingers. I find that the keys grab onto my fingertips because they are too smooth. I tend to prefer keycaps that have a rough texture because they don't grab onto my fingers as much. That being said, everyone will have different feeling towards keycaps and the same goes for switches. This isn't particularly much of an issue because this is a gaming keyboard so you're fingers shouldn't be moving too much anyway if they're stuck on the WASD cluster.
One issue I noticed with the keycaps is the bottom row. It unfortunately has modifiers that are too big, a meta key that is too small, and it has a shortened spacebar. This keyboard is going to be a pain in the neck if you're planning on getting custom keysets because of this. Since this is a gaming keyboard, I don't know if the gaming community will find this an issue, but I know any mechanical keyboard enthusiast like myself would. I suppose it's really up to the person buying this keyboard if they want to replace the keycaps or not. Keep in mind that you could find extra keycaps from WASDKeyboards.com, but the spacebar might be the main issue since it is much smaller than the standard 118.10mm spacebars found on the majority of mechanical keyboards.
Personally for typing I'd opt for a tenkeyless board board for typing, but having a full size layout means you can remap the tenkey to have tons of macros storred on the built in memory. Yes you read that correctly, this keyboard stores the profiles on it's built in flash so that you can keep the profiles with you instead of relying on extra software when you're using another computer with this keyboard. I just wish the software would work on GNU/Linux operating systems because gaming on GNU/Linux is finally becoming feasible with Valve's huge push in the recent months. Hopefully we can see this soon if there is enough interest from the community!
Wrists that need a rest.
One thing Func is doing that is very impressive is including a wrist rest. I haven't seen this done before from popular brands such as Filco, Ducky, Leopold, or Realforce so I think Func deserves a nice pat on the back for including this with their keyboard. The wrist rest is very sturdy and is coated with a soft touch plastic just like the rest of this keyboard. Mounting clips were included in the packaging but they were made of cheap plastic so I chose not to use them. The rubber grips on the bottom of the wrist rest are suitable enough to prevent the wrist rest from moving around.
The wrist wrest is designed with a comfortable angle and makes typing easier because the hand can rest at an optimal height. Since it's detached from the board it's very easy to take this keyboard with you in any standard keyboard bag for LAN parties, or if you don't want a wrist rest, you don't need to use it at all.
The switches on this board are plate mounted onto what looks like a very sturdy red coated metal plate. This plate also serves as a reflector for the LED backlighting and it does a fantastic job and providing even light across the board as mentioned earlier. I would have no issue in saying this keyboard is well constructed, because it is. The case is also very professional looking and there are no unnecessary bells and whistles that you don't need.
When I took this board apart to get a shot of the red backplate I took a gander at the silk screen on the PCB and noticed a familiar name, Tesoro. The KB-460, while using a very good looking case, hides the internals of a Tesoro G1. There isn't anything wrong with this if you're comfortable with a rebadged product, and quite frankly it doesn't change the amazing build quality one bit. It's not unusual for a company to use third-party internals, for instance Apple uses Samsung SSDs and Intel CPUs these days in their notebooks. A mechanical is a mechanical, and nothing is going to take away from the quality you're getting over rubber domes. I took some time to look up the Tesoro G1 and found that the Tesoro models have the same keycaps but lack the Func Mode and profiles, so I'm going to give the blame on the bottom row to Tesoro and cut Func a break here. I consider this keyboard a better revision of the G1.
There is a lot of potential in this board. If Func would move placement of the switches to allow for a standard bottom layout, offer a greater variety of switches, and maybe add a few more options for lighting in the software, this board would truly be a perfect board. The backlighting is fantastic, the added value of Func Mode offers something I haven't experienced on mechanical keyboards before, and the included wrist wrest is something they should be very proud of for including.
One final point I have to stress is that the pricing is phenomenal for what you're getting. Most other manufacturers charge a lot more for backlighting, and none of them include wrists rests at this price point. If you don't mind the non standard bottom row and like Cherry MX switches, this is a pretty great board.
The KB-460 is available for an MSRP of $119.95 at Func.net
I received the product free of charge from Func. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, no one reviewed the content before it was posted, and I am not being compensated for my review.