Review: Epomaker TH80 Pro is a great mechanical keyboard for newcomers to the hobby

The device offers great performance and features at a price that’s affordable and allows users to experiment

Newcomers to the mechanical keyboard hobby require a starting point. One does not simply assemble a $400 keyboard with full-fledged modifications. It’s better to go with a budget keyboard that allows beginners to experiment with switches, keycaps, and features while remaining reasonably priced.

When it comes to a beginner-level device, the Epomaker TH80 Pro is a no-brainer. It’s a 75% mechanical gaming keyboard with three connections to a PC or Mac. Users can choose between Bluetooth, a USB dongle, and a wired connection. Users will find a healthy dose of RGB lighting because it caters to gamers, but it also boasts other bells and whistles that will improve the work-from-home experience.

KEYCAP AND SWITCH SET It’s an excellent all-purpose keyboard for the office or as a gaming battle station. Epomaker provided a white version for testing, complete with PBT keycaps with an MDA profile and Budgerigar tactile switches. This combination produced mixed results. The PBT keycaps are strong and thick, providing a comfortable typing experience. They felt bulky due to their round edges and tops that are sculpted to the fingertips. Meanwhile, the legends were legible despite my dislike for the font.

The Budgerigar tactile switches, on the other hand, were a revelation. The best part of the experience was the feel. They have a slot to allow the RGB to shine through, making the keyboard lighting more vibrant, but the best part of the experience was the feel. The switch has a two-stage spring and is extremely responsive. It surges back up after pressing a key, ready for another actuation.

Typing on the TH80 Pro felt like I was holding Pop Rocks in my hands. It was sparkling. The solid feel of the stabilizers for the Enter, Space Bar, Shift, and Back Space keys added to the overall experience. They were well-lubricated and didn’t rattle.

In terms of gaming, the switches are responsive to touch. It won’t perform as well as SteelSeries OmniPoint switches that offer analog functionality and faster response times, but the feel of the switch is arguably better. It’s ideal for those who pound the keys on their keyboards. Users can replace the Budgerigar switches if they don’t like them because the TH80 Pro is hot swappable.

RESOLVING A PROBLEM WITH THE KEYBOARD The combination of the two produced a heavy typing experience, but it did cause some issues, such as the space bar and the 8 key becoming stuck. I tried lubricating the switches to stop the problem, but I ended up solving it by switching to a lighter set of keycaps.

Surprisingly, the thinner SteelSeries Prismcaps pair well with the Budgerigar switches. Despite being made of two layers of plastic meshed together, these pudding-style keycaps feel flimsy, but the slightness of the material made the TH80 Pro keyboard feel poppier. The frosted sides of the keycaps also displayed more RGB lighting.

As a 75% keyboard, the TH80 Pro lacks a number pad and other dedicated keys such as Insert, Home, and others. This results in a compact form that will not crowd a desk. When scrolling through pages, the device has a Delete key as well as Page Up and Page Down keys. If a user requires those other buttons, they can be accessed by pressing the Function key. To access the End or PrtSc keys, players must hold down that and another key.

WORKING OUT CUSTOMIZATION The Function key also controls screen media and other shortcuts. For the south-facing lighting layout, users can select from 18 RGB styles or colors. Users can also switch between three paired Bluetooth devices by pressing the Function key. This means they can use the TH80 Pro on a Mac, then switch to an iPhone before discovering it also works on a PC. That’s all well and good, but the battery check quick key was my favorite feature. The lighting on the numbers clearly showed how much battery was left.

The device does support Epomaker’s proprietary software for those who want more control over the keyboard. It’s a clumsy program, but it allows users to change the lighting. The knob can also be fine-tuned. It’s usually a simple way to control the volume or even mute a computer.

Users should not expect the best build quality from the TH80 Pro because it is in the budget category. The device is constructed of sturdy but unremarkable plastic. Nonetheless, it has a few extras, such as adjustable feet to change the typing angle. It has a small amount of foam to improve the sound, which isn’t particularly good. It even has a convenient location on the bottom for storing the USB dongle when not in use.

According to the manual, the mechanical keyboard’s battery has a capacity of 4,000 mAh. If the RGB is turned off, it can go days without charging, but if your keyboard looks like Christmas came early, don’t expect the battery to last more than a day.

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