This post is English translation of “【レビュー】VARMILO VA73M Panda JIS Keyboard“. Please be patience with my poor English.
I won a keyboard in a raffle at Tokyo Mechanical Keyboard Meetup Vol.4, and they told I have to write a review about it, so here it is. This is a keyboard by VARMILO, the company is putting effort into Japan market.
This is a standard, steady mechanical keyboard in a good way. I don’t have much to say in addition. So I can show you some photos at least.
Panda, the biggest feature and the biggest advantage of this keyboard. The meaning of getting this keyboard is the panda, I think. Black and white, and green the color of Bamboo grass. The reflection of Panda on the surface of the water, at spacebar. Keytop’s font is shaped of bamboo grass. If you love panda, this is one and only keyboard you’ll choose.
There are many choices of keyboard including gaming, etc. But this kind of ‘cute’ keyboard selection is few, I think. I wish more keyboard makers make keyboards which focus on looks.
You can find more pandas other than space key. They pose like alphabets on A, B, I, R key. So cute. It’s a mystery why A, B, I, R keys are panda. Also there is big sitting panda on ESC key.
As you can see Hiragana on keytop, it’s a JIS layout for Japan. Actually I can’t use JIS layout, but making JIS layout is a proof that VARMILO is putting effort into Japan. I’m glad as Japanese mech-key fan.
The only thing is, we can’t buy ANSI layout in here Japan. It has originally ANSI layout for outside of Japan. But it seems that only JIS layout is available in Japanese shop like ふもっふのお店 and Amazon.co.jp. I’m glad if I can buy ANSI layout from Japan, but maybe I can import from overseas shop like MechanicalKeyboards.com if necesary. Looks like VARMILO’s another keyboard like Chicken-dinner, is available in ANSI layout.
Bamboo grasses on cursor keys because of it’s panda! Key layout is a bit unusual, it has cursor keys and Insert, Delete, PageUp, Down keys in addition to 60% layout. Like 65% or 70%-ish. No Home and End keys. I think it’s quite makes sense that it has both compactivity of 60% layout and needs of cursor keys.
I’m wondering how many people using cursor keys… People like engineers are using HJKL or FBPN, doesn’t they? I’m assigning my customized FBPN as cursor on my 40% MiniVan.
Once upon a time, a keyboard cable outs directly from keyboard body itself. Now it’s common that the cable is detachable. This keyboard has USB-C, is still rare for keyboard connector. Of cause USB-A to USB-C cable is inside a package so you don’t worry about cable.
But, there are ‘fragmentation’ on keyboard connector lately. For smartphones, maybe there’re some advantages like quick charging. For keyboards, personally, I think Mini-B connector is enough. But I know Micro-B is convenience for people using Android smartphones. Also there are many USB-C only PC like tablet or MacBook lately. Maybe USB-C keyboards are good for them. I think we have to buy new cables for new connector until we die😓
Each key has white LED, it turns on when the keyboard is connected. You can choose always on, or flashing slowly like breathing. It’s dimmable, but not so blinding at max brightness. Because keycaps are thick and opacity. It’s cool that edges are shining. Under the keycap, they are so bright like photo above.
The height is about 2 cm at front of keyboard. I think it’s common for mechanical keyboard, but I guess some people needs palmrest for it.
It has foldable legs at back, so you can make it angled. They has very big rubber foot on both legs and bottom, so very stable on the desk even you don’t use foldable legs.
The weight is about 761 grams. It is bit heavy against it looks. I guess it has strong plate inside, and it makes solid typing feels. And this one has Cherry MX brown, so I felt it similar to capacitive switches. You can choose Red, Blue, Black and Pink (Silent Red) switches other than Brown.
Inside the package, there are a manual, spare keycaps which has no pandas, a key-puller and a cable. You can wipe out pandas through using these keycaps, but who will do that? Anyway, spare keycaps are always welcome.
By the way, Varmilo is combined with “via” and “armilo” from Esperanto wards, according to the manual. Like ‘implying equipment customized for you‘, etc. Also the manual instructs how to change number keys to function keys, disable Windows key, changing CapsLock to Ctrl.
There are two more big accessories in the package. First, stuffed Panda! WHY!! No Keycappie like photo above. And, large mouse pad. Too big to take a photo, but it’s 40cm * 89cm large. It’s grey, chinese style inc painting bamboo grasses and panda illustrations are on it. It makes sense that mouse pad with keyboard, but I don’t know why stuffed animal with keyboard at all. But it’s ok, because it’s cute. I think it’s fun if the other makers follow it.
So, it was a quick introduction of VARMILO VA73M Panda JIS Keyboard. Cherry MX switches, 60% layout with cursor keys, JIS support. I think it is very steady, practical keyboard for everybody.
There is 100% layout version of this, and also Sakura version with same layout. I think it’s rare that there are another version with exactly same function. It is good we can select keyboard with looks. I hope Varmilo continue releasing keyboard with cute looks. And please release ANSI version in Japan!
— Varmilo (@Varmilo_Zhh) 2018年5月8日
Personally, I’m filled with rapture if including these statues instead of stuffed animal!😍