MT3 Keycaps Comfort Battle Keychron V1 vs. Vortex PC66 Review & Comparison


We have another battle of the boards, this time focusing on comfort when using MT3’s caps. Personally, the MT3 is one of my favorite keycap profiles, but its unique shape and tall height can make it difficult to use on some boards. Let’s see how the Keychron V1 and Vortex PC66 performed and what makes each of them worth considering. Both boards were shipped by Remember to use creator code TheManicGeek at checkout to support the channel. This will not affect my impressions of these boards in any way.

Choosing the Right Boards for MT3 Keycaps

Before the review, let’s talk about why I chose these boards for MT3 Keycaps. The MT3, designed by Matteo and developed by Drop, aims to replicate the aesthetics and functionality of older IBM Beam Spring terminals. Available in die-sub PBT and double-shot ABS, this long, spherical, concave profile offers a unique typing feel, different from Cherry or OEM. The closest comparison would be the SA keycaps, but even they feel and sound somewhat different from the MT3. The main challenge with MT3 caps is getting the typing angle right, as a steep angle or front height can make them difficult to use.

Choosing the Right Boards for MT3 Keycaps

Testing the Boards: Vortex PC66

Both boards we’re testing today have the right combination of front height and typing angle for their form factors, making them comfortable to use with MT3’s caps. Today’s keycaps include the Double Shot ABS Set MT3 Cyber by Mito and the Dysub PBT Set MT3 Operator by Beep. Links to these and other items in the video are in the description. Thanks to the drop for sending the MT3 operator set. This does not affect my opinion of these products. Note that I bought the MT3 Cyberset myself, so I’m fast becoming an MT3 enthusiast.

Vortex PC66: A Retro-Styled Contender

Let’s dive into the Vortex PC66 keyboard. Priced at around $104 as a bare-bones kit, this keyboard stands out with its quirky design, vintage aesthetic, shallow typing angle of 5 degrees, and a unique pen rail under its striking top. It offers everything a modern enthusiast could want, including Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, a detachable USB-C cable, gasket mounting, south-facing hot-swap socket, PCB mount stabilizers, and case stamping. Despite its retro look, it has a distinctive blocker in the lower left corner, reminiscent of what the HHKB 65% keyboard looks like. There’s also a Vortex logo badge, along with other badges optional for customization. If the style isn’t to your liking, there’s an alternative version without the blocker.

Vortex PC66 A Retro-Styled Contender

Build Quality and Experience with the Vortex PC66

Build quality is impressive, although the polycarbonate plate requires a bit more cleaning after machining. An almost unnoticed quirk is the bottom row shift, which moves the spacebar slightly to the right compared to the normal 65% layout. If you use your right hand for the spacebar, it’s not noticeable, but you might feel awkward when using it with the left. Even with the gasket installed, the keyboard has no noticeable flex because the case silicone sits directly on the back of the PCB. It makes it feel like a reduced version of the mod’s stack mount.

The keyboard also features large silicone inserts on the front and back to keep the acoustic material tight and add heft without using more expensive materials. This results in a very harsh-sounding, plastic-like board, but the balance seems to be well-achieved. The only challenge I encountered was with the spacebar stabilizer wire, which was oddly bent in my sample. It wasn’t a QC issue, but it wasn’t something I could easily fix on my desk because the legs would get in the way.

Dealing with Wire Issues

It was like the smiling face of a clown staring at me, asking if I wanted to know how he got his scars. It worked, but always felt a little slow no matter what I did. Thankfully, I had a pair of wire benders to help get everything back in good order. If this happens to you, the cheapest solution is to buy replacement cables from a reputable vendor. That way, you can replace the wire and have some spares for future builds or problems. This was the first time I encountered this kind of twist, so now I know to watch out for it. For our build in PC-66, we used Holy Pandas lubricated with Tribosis 3204 and MT3 Cyber.

Dealing with Wire Issues

Keychron V1 Overview

Stabilizers were replaced with 205 grade Zero. Now go to Keychron V1. It’s a $69 barebones board that comes in as the underdog in this competition. It costs less and lacks wireless connectivity but offers Mac mode as well as QMK and VIA compatibility. When using VIA, note that layers 0 and 1 are for Macs, and layers 2 and 3 are for PCs. It also has a plastic case with a silicone case insert, but instead of silicone plate foam it uses a proper foam option. The stock foam is a bit stiff and brittle and doesn’t include integrated switch pads like the silicone foam in the PC-66. Visually, this board has a more industrial, basic look with transparent or matte plastic and a block-on-wedge design.

Keychron V1 Build Features

At stock, this board has a steel plate, which is my least favorite plate material. However, it has good tolerances and minimal uneven ping or resonance that is common in steel. It also has a south-facing hot-swap socket and RGB lighting to brighten things up if you want. In the upper right corner, there’s a rotary knob for volume control, but you can get this board without the knob if you prefer an extra switch instead. The rest of the board looks very spartan, like the rest of the V lineup. Unlike the PC-66, the V1 is tray mount, so the bottom is quite sturdy with a steel plate.

Customization Options for Keychron V1

However, unlike the PC-66, the V1 offers several different plate options. For our build, we chose a number of third-party mods, which I’ll discuss in more detail in a follow-up piece. Our V1 setup includes a palm plate, poron plate and case foam, PE switch foam (all from Keyboard Customs), 205G zero-tune stabilizers, Cherry MX Ergo clears from MK with Tribosys 3203, and an MT3 operator’s headset. . Additionally, we will provide a comparison of V1’s sound before and after modification. I’d do the same for the PC-66 if it had more options, but for some buyers, the “what you see is what you get” approach may not be a deal breaker.

Customization Options for Keychron V1

Conclusion: PC-66 vs Keychron V1

Sorry for the interruption; AC has just kicked in. Let’s get back to it. Both the PC-66 and V1 are excellent choices for typing on MT3 caps. They’re comfortable, they sound and feel great, and they complement different aesthetics without being too expensive. Personally, while I didn’t like the acoustics of the stock V1 as much as the PC-66, I preferred the V1’s configuration. The bottom left blocker on the PC-66 was too annoying for my preferred use case. The V1 also benefits from aftermarket options available through Keychron and third-party vendors, which can alter the sound and slightly alter the feel to suit personal preferences.

I always prefer to have options, and if that means giving up wireless connectivity for now, that’s fine with me. But this is just my personal preference, and your needs may vary. I recommend waiting for the QMK via PC-66 compatible version and picking up this model. However, if the lack of this functionality doesn’t bother you, choose the bottom left corner design that you prefer. Note that during the filming of this content, we received an update from Vortex regarding a delay with their PCB supplier. As of this content, shipping is estimated for August.

As for the V1, we actually have to house that board this time. For now, we’ll stick with the MT3 operator. Let us know in the comments if you are interested in a super tuning guide for Keychron V1. This guide will cover all available modification options and how they affect the sound and feel of the board.

By Muhammad Ahmad Butt

Muhammad Ahmad Butt as an Off-Page SEO Specialist, I'm dedicated to enhancing digital presence and boosting website's organic rankings. I bring a proven track record of driving targeted traffic, increasing domain authority, and optimizing online brand perception.

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