It appears that new CHERRY products are coming thick and fast as the replacement for the CHERRY MX Board 3.0 has been released and comes in the form of the all-new CHERRY MX Board 1.0.
As is commonplace for CHERRY products, the new keyboard is presented in a neat fashion with the box containing the keyboard itself, along with a quick set-up guide, a plastic wrist-rest and some black non-slip surfaces to help the keyboard stay still during regular usage. On first impressions, the new board is sturdy, with laser-etched keycaps present atop either the extremely comfortable to type on MX Brown switches or the newer, dampened MX Red Silents. With laser etching, there is no printing required and the legends are etched into the individual keycaps for maximum longevity and so they will never fade or chip off, even after heavy usage.
The typeface used on the keycaps themselves is a new one and looks futuristic and modern. Moreover, the new font used works nicely with the new CHERRY logo. Unlike its predecessor, the MX Board 3.0, the logo does not come backlit and instead is printed on the bottom of the board in a silver, metal-effect plastic, making it look sharp when combined with the black of the keyboard itself and the white backlighting. The backlighting, much like on the now discontinued CHERRY MX Board 6.0, features one hundred different levels that can all be selected individually with the button combinations of the Function key and the ‘F5’ (Lighting Down) and ‘F6’ (Lighting Up) keys respectively. If you wish to change it by levels of ten, then this can be done with the button combination of the Function key and the ‘F7’ (Lighting Down) and ‘F8’ (Lighting Up) keys respectively. The backlighting itself, when fully on, makes the board look sleek and modern and the laser-etched keycaps allow the light to shine through perfectly.
On the subject of the Function key, much like the CHERRY MX Board 6.0, there are a myriad of extra functions that can be achieved. They are as follows:
- Function + ‘F1’ – Volume Mute.
- Function + ‘F2’ – Volume Down.
- Function + ‘F3’ – Volume Up.
- Function + ’F5’ – Backlighting Down One Level.
- Function + ’F6’ – Backlighting Up One Level.
- Function + ‘F7’ – Backlighting Down Ten Levels.
- Function + ‘F8’ – Backlighting Up Ten Levels.
- Function + ‘F9’ – Backlighting Toggle On/Off.
In line with this, there is also the ‘CHERRY key’ (this was also on the MX Board 6.0) that allows the user to lock the Windows ® keys. This is rather useful for gamers and can eliminate the common issue of a mistaken keystroke when going for either the ‘Ctrl’ or ‘Alt’ keys. There are no lock lights in the usual sense on the MX Board 1.0 but, instead, when the functions of ‘Num Lock’, ‘Caps Lock’ or ‘Scroll Lock’ are enabled then that particular key will be lit up like the rest, but when they are disabled then they return to their normal, non-backlit status.
Unlike some other CHERRY products that we’ve reviewed in the past, the MX Board 1.0 Backlight does not feature a braided cable and instead features a standard 1.8 metre cable that in reality is not necessarily that long. However, for normal-sized desks, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Having used both switches on this particular keyboard, I can say that I prefer the slightly-heavier-on-papers and soft-tactile MX Browns with the higher actuation force of 55cN over the linear MX Red Silents. In general, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Reds as they just seem a little too light for me personally and the Silent variants do dampen the noise, but only if you don’t press down on the keys too hard. If you’re a hard typist, like myself, then the difference that the dampening makes is minimal. On the subject of the dampening, it only makes the keys heavier than the 45cN force displayed on the box. Moreover, it makes them feel harder than the Browns certainly and in a way, slightly comparable to the MX Blacks in overall force (60 cN). From a personal perspective, they feel too heavy to fully type on and so, I’ll stick to the MX Browns out of the two switches currently on offer. Both sets of switches are guaranteed to fifty million actuations, as is displayed on the box itself, along with a new logo entirely. A new ‘HS’ logo is present adjacent to the usual ‘MX’ logo and it looks as if it stands for ‘High-Speed’ which appears to be an updated form of the old ‘RK’ (Real-Key) technology. I’m in the dark about this technology and it appears like it’s some updated form of the full anti-ghosting that was present on the MX Board 6.0 and full-anti ghosting is also present on the MX 1.0, along with full N-Key rollover that was also present on the MX 6.0.
Unfortunately, the wrist-rest, by comparison to the one on the MX Board 6.0, is far too plastic and cheap-feeling and it also only clips into the bottom of the keyboard in a rather flimsy manner. This is unlike the wrist-rest on the MX Board 6.0 which was a much more luxurious product that connected into a lip beneath the aluminium housing magnetically.
Overall, the new CHERRY MX Board 1.0 is a marked improvement on its predecessor, featuring some wonderful updated features such as the now-white backlighting and newer typeface. Also, the similarities to the MX Board 6.0 are unparalleled and the MX Board 1.0 can be looked upon as the much-improved spiritual successor to the former. The MX Board 1.0 overall is a quality product that acts as a fantastic follow-on from the MX Board 3.0, but, I still prefer the minimalistic look of the MX Board 3.0 personally, but that’s not to say that it won’t appeal to other consumers.