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

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EVGA Z10 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard: Design and Features

If the EVGA Z10 looks familiar, it's because the company has been showing the board off at trade shows like CES for quite some time. The Z10 also somewhat resembles the Logitech G15, which sported an on-board LCD at the top of the keyboard. EVGA has clearly made a more modern looking design though, with their sharper corners, smaller LCD, and silver accents along the top.

The Z10 comes packed with a host of features, but the on-board LCD is clearly what sets it part from the majority of mechanical keyboards on the market. The display can be used in a variety of ways. One option allows it to link with EVGA Precision for real-time hardware monitoring, but it can also be used to display keyboard macro-mapping and show in-game OSD information. It can also just display the date and time, if you're not looking for anything fancy.

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On the right side of the board are the multi-media keys as well as an easy access volume slider. The volume slider was extremely easy to operate and is a nice alternative to some of the large and bulky options other keyboards offer.
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On the opposite end of the keyboard is the back-lighting dimmer switch. Like the volume switch it's extremely easy to use and it gives you quick access to the intensity of the lighting effects.
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One of the features we found interesting and actually helpful, was the over-sized space bar. Regardless of where you rest your thumbs on the keyboard, the space bar is easily accessible. This is actually a nice feature, especially for gamers. The fact of the matter is gamers' hands come in all shapes and sizes, but the spacing between the WASD keys and space bar is virtually the same on every full-sized keyboard. The over-sized space bar adds a little bit of extra depth to better service various hand sizes.

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Both sides of the Z10 include USB 2.0 pass through ports. This allows other USB devices to easily be connected to the keyboard. Most keyboards we have tested include only a single USB port, if they have any at all, so the fact EVGA has included two is a nice feature for those who need it.

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The left side of the board is designed for gamers. At the top of of the board there is a E-Key button that puts the keyboard in gaming mode. What this does is disable the Windows button, so if you're gaming and accidentally press it you won't be booted from your game. We should also note that the E-Key is configurable should you want to disable other buttons as well.  Below the E-Key is set of customizable macro keys that can be programmed via the included software as well.

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Unlike many other keyboards on the market, the Z10 doesn't just give you a few macro keys, all placed on one side of the keyboard. To up the ante there are two more macro keys situated to the right and left of the up arrow key as well.

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Another feature we haven't seen on many keyboards is quick release feet. When pressing tabs on either end of the board, the feet fly right out. This is a nice twist, as it allows the tilt of the keyboard to be changed with the simple press of a button.
 
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The Z10 comes with a black, sleeved cable that's stylish and long enough for anyone that doesn't have their computer situated inches away from their desk. At the end of the cable are two USB connectors. One of the connectors powers the keyboard, while the other is for the USB pass through feature. With the two connectors the Z10 takes up dual USB ports on your PC, but since there are two ports available on the board, you break even in the connectivity department.
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The include wrist rest fits with the overall aesthetic of they keyboard and is quite comfortable. The top of the rest uses a soft plastic with a textured surface that gives your wrist plenty of support without feeling overly stiff. Unlike some other keyboards on the market that attach via plastic clips, the Z10 rest is connected magnetically, making installation a snap -- literally.

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The rest also works in three different positions. It can either be placed directly up to the edge of the keyboard, or it can be pulled down further away from the base to extend its reach. We actually found the furthest setting to the the most comfortable. Of course this option is going to take up more real estate on your desk, but if the wider positioning works for you, you'll like this detail of the Z10.

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The back lighting on the Z10 only comes in one color; red. RGB is all the rage right now, so some people might find the lack of color options a turn off. There are still many keyboards on the market being released in only a single color though, and EVGA has included a robust software suite that allows the illumination options to be changed.

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The on-board LCD does offer multiple colors though. Using the "FN" key you can cycle the LCD though multiple colors, including blue, red, green and yellow.

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EVGA also included some spare key caps with the Z10. The included key caps are not specialized gaming key caps, however. Instead, they are simply replacement key caps for the most used keys. While adding in some specialized gaming key-caps would have been a welcome addition, it's nice to know users will have extras laying around for when wear and tear starts to show.

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Let's look at the software side of things, next...


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