Keyboard Review: Varmilo VA87M TKL

Keyboard Typing Practice, Or Review?

This started out as just some random sentences I’m typing so I can get used to my new keyboard. By the end, if you read that far, it becomes more of a review of a fancy bit of technology called a Varmilo VA87M Forest Fairy TKL Dye Sub PBT Mechanical Keyboard. It’s not the most expensive keyboard I ever bought, at $131.00, but by most people’s standards, it’s kinda pricey. The cost wasn’t a factor though – not that it wouldn’t have been if the keyboard had cost over 200.00 (I’da never gone that high). It is a tool I use for building websites and editing photos and good tools shouldn’t be bought based solely on price.

Taking the cover off my new keyboard

What I was looking for when I was shopping for a new keyboard was a TKL form factor – Ten KeyLess, which means all the standard keys, except no number pad and it’s associated keys. I can’t recall ever using those keys, even when I had keyboards that had them. I’ve made a point of buying keyboards without them for years. In fact, the keyboard I wanted to replace has even fewer keys, 82 as opposed to 87 on this Varmilo. I wasn’t actually missing any keys, but some keys had dual functions, if you hit the Ctrl, Alt or Fn keys at the same time.

Comparing My Old Keyboard With The New

My old keyboard, a Deck, is/was a great board. I’ve been using it for maybe 15 or 16 years. The manufacturer makes a mundane version of that keyboard for industrial use – or rather used to before higher tech came along. They packaged the enthusiast board in translucent colored plastic bodies and added tiny lights that you could adjust the brightness. I have two of those boards, one in a gold color, the other red. The keys make a loud noise that I got used to quickly, but other people, even those I was talking on the phone with, commented on the loud clicky noise the Deck made.

My tired old Deck keyboard

The Varmilo makes noise too, but it’s a much more pleasant noise to me. I ordered the board with Cherry MX Brown switches. Not all the keys make the same sound. All the characters sound the same, but the various function keys, like spacebar, shift, enter, etc., make a different sound, I think depending on the shape of the key. There might be 4 distinct sounds these keys make and I like it. I’m a fan of ASMR, so I’m sensitive to and enjoy certain sounds. I have some saved ASMR media that is nothing but typing and listening to it helps me relax and sometimes sleep.

Looks Are Important

Once I heard the sound of one of these keyboards in a video review, that became one of the reasons I considered this model. Varmilo makes this keyboard in a number of different artistic looks, which was also very appealing to me. But I think I became sold on this specific board when I saw that it was green – the same color scheme of my room decor. I think I stopped looking when I saw this particular board. I had a glimpse of it while watching video reviews of different Varmilo boards, so I googled it and found MechanicalKeyboards.com, where it was in stock at what I thought was a reasonable price.

Color Coordinated Keyboard

The keyboard arrived today. I was anxious to set it up, but I like to read the instructions first. I saw the part where it explained how to choose and adjust my preferred LED lighting pattern. I appreciated the value of lights in a keyboard, like my old board had, because that area of my desk is kinda dark and the glare from my large monitor is a bit harsh. What a big disappointment when I discovered the only lights on this particular board are for the caps lock and scroll lock keys. No LED or RGB lighting schemes to choose from, not even the most minimal. Some of the other themes this board comes in have LED lighting effects though.

Varmilo, Expand Your Marketing Reach

It seems like Vermilo markets this board primarily to gamers. I might have missed learning about this board if I avoided watching or reading gamers’ reviews of keyboards. Maybe I am the anomaly though. Could it be that not being a gamer is rare? I am familiar with the genre, since I used to be involved heavily in modding cases. Most of my fellow modders were gamers – I seemed to be the odd man out in those circles. But these days, I’m just a wrinkled senior citizen looking to replace and old board that, in computer years, is way older than me.

It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a lot of non-gamer types would really like a keyboard like this. I’m retired, but I “work” a lot at my home office, where an ever increasing number of people are making their livings. Something that fit my decor was a factor for me, so it might be for others. An artistic board might also appeal to those who are forced to work in crowded and impersonal office settings. Being able to express some individuality with stylized peripherals could boost productivity.

After surfing around Vermilo’s website, it looks like they could be preparing to expand their reach. I clicked a number of links to pages I wanted to explore, but got a popup that said “coming soon” instead. I don’t care for the way they set that up, but it does give me hope they will be providing a wider scope of products and customizations.

The Obligatory Review Conclusions Part

The little bit I used the board today has encouraged me to think about desk lighting options rather than just returning the keyboard for a different one that does light. None of the green keyboards light up and the ones that do, well, they ain’t the green board. Now that I have spent the last hour typing this (I’m a slow, two-finger typist), I have convinced myself to spend some time searching for a lighting solution so I can continue to enjoy this board. As it is now, I have to turn on a harsh lamp that nearly blinds me every time I look up at the screen to see what I’ve typed. That’s right, after 27 years of typing on keyboards and the 2 years of typing class in high school and the 2+ years I had to type stuff in the Army, I still have to look at the keyboard when I type.

Style & Functional Keyboard

The Varmilo VA87M Forest Fairy TKL keyboard is my new favorite keyboard. I like that it’s corded and mechanical, the cord length is excellent and I’m glad I was able to route it 3 different ways. The white and green color scheme is great and I even like the fantasy deer and leaves motif. One thing I noticed after a little while is that when trying to slide the board away from me or to the side, one or both of the adjustable feet collapse. That’s bothersome. The only other drawback is, as I mentioned, the lack of lighting, but I think I’m going to be able to live without that – until Varmilo decides a future Forest Fairy TKL model deserves a little complimentary lighting.

Enjoy the product images below. Visit Varmilo’s website to view all of their beautiful products.

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