EVGA Z10 Mechanical Keyboard Review: A Unique, Full-Featured Gaming Deck

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EVGA Z10 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Targets Discerning Gamers And Enthusiasts

EVGA Z10 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Retail box
EVGA is best known for its graphics cards, and for good reason. EVGA is the number one NVIDIA authorized board partner in the U.S. and they have been for a long time. Like many brands in the PC enthusiast space, however, EVGA has started to branch out beyond just graphics cards and today they have a wide range of items in their product stack, ranging from motherboards and notebooks to peripherals and power supplies. Despite being in the peripherals game for a relatively short while, however, EVGA already has five gaming mice in the market, and it just introduced its first mechanical keyboard, the Z10.

evga z10 wrest

Like most products released by EVGA, the Z10 is designed with enthusiasts in mind. To accommodate this savvy and demanding crowd, the Z10 comes stacked with features that include red backlighting, an adjustable wrist wrest, macro keys, and spring loaded feet. In addition, EVGA has included an on-board LCD display that can either monitor your hardware's health, or display in-game info in real-time.

Although the Z10 comes fully loaded, a quick look under the hood shows EVGA didn't go the traditional Cherry MX route. Instead, the Z10 sports Kailh switches that are made to mimic Cherry’s original design. If you're not familiar with Kailh switches, or even how to pronounce the name, don't worry -- we've got you covered. First though, lets check out the Z10's specs, and then we'll discuss what these switches are all about...

EVGA Z10 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Specifications & Features
Form Factor:
 Full size
Switch Type:
 KailhMechanical Brown
Backlight:
 Yes
Backlight Color:
 Red
Dedicated Macro Keys:
 Yes
Anti-Ghosting:
 Full N-key rollover (NKRO)
Disables Windows Key:
 Yes
Audio Ports:
 None
USB Ports:
 2 x USB 2.0
Wrist Rest:
 Yes
Dimensions (WxHxD):
 7.28 x 1.38 x 18.5 inches (17.20 x 3.11 x 45.80 cm)
Weight:
 3.25 pounds (1.32 kg)
Warranty:
 3 year
Price:
 $149 MSRP - Find it on Amazon

If you're not sure how to pronounce Kailh, you're not alone. In fact, if you watch various videos featuring the switches, you'll hear people pronounce it in a variety of ways. The consensus is that it's pronounced the same as kale -- the trendy, leafy greens that are all the rage in hipster restaurants right now. Here's to hoping these switches leave a better taste in your mouth than a kale salad with pomegranate dressing and candied hearts of palm. (Editor's Note: I'd eat the heck out of that salad, Chris!)

Kailh has found a place in the market because many keyboard manufactures had been looking for a cheaper and more readily available mechanical key switch for quite some time. Cherry's switches have been in high demand for years, and their products command a premium. This doesn't necessarily mean Kailh is an inferior product, but they don't have the same reputation as Cherry just yet, and it could take some time for consumers to see them as a truly viable replacement. To quell any uneasiness with using a relatively unknown switch type, most keyboard manufactures offer long warranties on their boards featuring Kailhswitches. In this case EVGA back this keyboard for 3 years, while many keyboards with Cherry Switches only have a limited 1 year warranty.

evga z10 kailh

Kailh are Chinese made switches that are clones of the original Cherry MX design. When we say clones, we mean they're essentially outright duplicates -- there's really no other way to put it. Kailh produces switches that operate nearly identical to Cherry's in every way. Even the colors are the same. If you’re familiar with Cherry’s switches, these Kailh alternatives require little introduction: Blue is a clicky switch and Brown is a softer-touch, tactile, non-clicky switch. While they try to offer the same feel as Cherry, there are going to be some differences. For instance, the Blue switches will take a little extra force to actuate, while others might require a little bit less force. Despite these differences, Kailh legally uses the Cherry MX blueprint, the differences reside in the materials and parts being used inside the switches. 

Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Brown

EVGA is releasing the Z10 with both Kailh Blue and Brown switches. We have the Brown version on our test bench, which has a tactile force of 55G and a per-travel distance of 2.0mm. The switches also have a 60 million keystroke lifespan and the board offers Anti-Ghosting technology with N-KEY rollover for all of the button mashers out there.

Now that we've given you a proper tease, let's drop in for a closer look at the product...

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