Whether you’re into aesthetics or not, the mechanical keyboard subculture is unavoidably aesthetic. Once you get past the “gunmetal gray” of the greatest gaming keyboards, the color of the keycaps and the design of the case become increasingly essential. Have doubts? Examine the subreddit dedicated to mechanical keyboards.
It looks like a photography subreddit, but it’s really only about cool keyboards. That’s where the iQunix ZX75 comes in handy. This mechanical keyboard was made to look cool and impress with its blend of retro and future technology. But appearances are only a lure to entice you inside.
After giving it some attention, you’ll see that it’s been constructed to the exacting standards of a keyboard lover so that its users can have a premium typing experience. Although it’s expensive (starting at $195) and has a few downsides worth noting, for pure typing, it’s an alternative that succeeds.
The iQunix ZX75’s Design
The iQunix ZX75 is reminiscent of a keyboard you might encounter in a post-apocalyptic setting, like Fallout, in that it is both retro and cutting-edge at the same time. The aesthetic value of this board is crucial. It seems both futuristic and throwback at the same time. Its bulky body and thick bezels are a throwback to a period when being slim and lightweight was not a priority.
But its vivid hues, latticework striping on the back, and intriguing mash-up of textures and stylizations produce a keyboard that seems like it belongs on the deck of a spaceship. There are 5 different hues available, each with its own charm. Both the white, gray, and yellow Gravity Wave and the black, semi-translucent, cased Dark Side were supplied to me for evaluation.
There’s also a Tangerine color scheme with black and orange keycaps, a Camping variant with green and white keycaps, and a second Dark Side color scheme with see-through keycaps. The keyboard has half-inch bezels on all four sides, giving it a square appearance when viewed from above.
A set of hex screws in each corner adds a hint of industrial design, and a sizable light between the control row and the volume knob indicates Caps Lock and wireless pairing status by changing color. Activating the pause function involves clicking the tall, rounded volume knob in the upper right corner. Intricate details in the layout persist even at the keyboard’s back and base.
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The back is finished with two frosted panels that function nearly like windows. After you flip it over, you’ll see that the Gravity Wave edition has a solid yellow back with diagonal stripes and a label that looks like graph paper. The Dark Side variant is of the same textured design but is completely black and pared down.
You can also adjust the typing angle with a set of magnetic feet, and choose between wired and wireless (2.4GHz) operations with a flip of a button. The layout is unlike any other keyboard out there, that much can’t be denied. However, there is much more to this keyboard than meets the eye. When it comes to mechanical keyboards, iQunix is well-known for producing high-quality products that stand out from the crowd thanks to their creative features and quirky design.
This is still the case right now. The ZX75 has a highly efficient 75% configuration. It maintains the arrow keys, function row, and right-side navigation and editing buttons. To make better use of the available vertical real estate, this column and the arrows below it have been moved closer to the primary key set. The designers get rid of any keys they deem unnecessary.
There are four options in the navigational column: Back, Home, Delete, and End. This differs from the A80, which we examined last summer and used Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End. The ZX75 is unusual among tiny keyboards in that it lacks Print Screen and Page Up/Page Down keys, neither of which are assigned to the Fn key.
Just look for them, and you won’t find them. That may not be a significant deal for you, depending on how often you use those keys, but it was a constant source of frustration for me. As a writer, I rely on those keys frequently; not having them has prompted me to find alternatives, such as the Windows Snipping tool for snapping a quick snapshot.
No software that can implement these features is currently on the market either. Stay tuned for a driver release, the support page advises, but it’s unclear when that could be. The keycaps are, without a doubt, a major selling point for the ZX75. They’re not only really well built, but the coordinated color scheme makes them stand out on any tabletop.
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Keycaps are manufactured from a durable PBT plastic that won’t get shiny or soak up skin oils. The legends are a separate piece of bonded acrylic that is scratch- and fade-proof. Because of the double exposure, the edges of the legends are distinct and unmistakable.
Underneath the keycaps of the ZX75 are your choice of Cherry MX Blue, Red, or Brown switches, or TTC ACE, Gold Pink, or Speed Silver. If you have a different set of switches you’d like to try and the keyboard is compatible with hot-swapping, you may simply unplug the one you’re using and plug in the new one.
It’s an excellent perk for fans, however, it’s not the only one. You can tell which switches have their LEDs at the bottom by unplugging them and looking at them from above. Since it is oriented to the south, you can use a different set of keycaps without worrying about interference ruining the sound.
The switches and PCB on this keyboard are separated by a large layer of foam, and the costar stabilizer is pre-lubricated. The sound of typing is dampened sufficiently that there is no rattling or hollowness. Acoustics are important to keyboard fans, and this one sounds great without any tweaking. With the provided adapter, the ZX75 can also function wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.1 or 2.4GHz.
With an Fn keypress, you can store up to three different Bluetooth profiles on the keyboard and instantly switch between them. Both dongles provide a quick and stable switch, but gamers should use the 2.4GHz dongle, which has a quicker polling rate of 1,000 Hz. The keyboard is available from iQunix with and without RGB backlighting, so it’s perfect for those who love or hate that feature.
Adding backlighting will increase the price by $20, from $195 to $215, but it will make your display stand out with its 19 preprogrammed effects and 10 static colors. Due to the lack of backlighting, the keyboard legends cannot be used in the dark to help with typing. Only the dark will see this.
Learning to Type on an iQunix ZX75
Mechanical keyboards offer a wide range of typing experiences depending on the switches you use. The ZX75 is available with either the more common Cherry MX switches or the more obscure TTC switches. TTC switches are top-notch, despite their obscure moniker. The TTC ACE switches on all of the models I tried were pre-lubricated, ultra-smooth Linears that made a noticeable difference in the quality of the sound right out of the box.
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Because of their superior smoothness and lack of spring noise, I prefer these switches over Cherry switches any day of the week. The ZX75 has a fantastic keyboard and is a joy to type on. The switches are silky smooth and utterly sharp at the bottom. The keycaps’ tactile quality is also a strong selling point for me. You can tell they’re made with care because they have a pleasant texture and feel when handled.
Because of their double shot design, they have a satisfyingly heavy feel and sound with every press of the key. The costar stabilizers in the keyboard didn’t have any rattles when I first opened the box. Taking them apart isn’t recommended unless you have experience with assembly keyboards, but I did it anyway and found that they were properly lubricated right out of the box.
iQunix did an excellent job of ensuring sure you won’t need to take these apart anytime soon. They are the most finely adjusted stabilizers I’ve ever used on a factory-made keyboard. The ZX75 goes against the grain of the increasingly popular soft and flexible typing sensations found on enthusiast keyboards. The typing experience is decidedly retro, and it’s quite solid.
It’s nice to have a good typing experience that feels consistent from key to key, and it’s also a bit of a breath of fresh air. This is not the right keyboard if you want something springy and cushioned to type on. Missing keys were the only serious challenge I faced when typing on the board.
Since the secondary layer is set aside for media, lighting, and wireless controllers, I had to find alternatives, such as using Ctrl+Scroll to mimic Page Up and Page Down. When there are several keys that aren’t assigned to anything, it can get bothersome. There must be a way to map those absent buttons.
A Look at Playing Games on the iQunix ZX75
The ZX75 isn’t designed to be a gaming keyboard, but it does the job for casual games that don’t have complicated controls. The tactile feel of the keys, the satisfying click as you type, and the clear, crisp feedback you receive when you hit the bottom row all contribute to the overall pleasure of using a keyboard for any reason.
I never felt at a disadvantage while competing with others using a dedicated gaming keyboard because the keyboard is responsive enough for competitive gaming whether using a cable connection or the 2.4GHz dongle. Despite its convenience, Bluetooth’s polling rate of 125Hz (8ms) means it’s best used for typing.
You might find yourself wanting something with a little more versatility once you get past these fundamentals. You may rest assured that none of your key presses will be lost thanks to the ZX75’s N-key rollover functionality, but without the option to remap keys or record macros, you’ll be limited to the game’s default layer and macro features.
AutoHotKey and similar third-party programs come in handy here, but they need to be learned and then left running in the background. This will likely change if iQunix launches dedicated software for the keyboard, but as of this writing, it is unavailable.
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The ZX75 is a fantastic keyboard that offers capabilities normally reserved for enthusiasts in a stylish and novel design. The quality of use is exceptional for a pre-built keyboard, and the keycaps might command a premium even if the rest of the keyboard was not upgraded. Therefore, the ZX75 is a keyboard that, at present, is without the necessary software to replace its missing keys.
Those in need of remapping capabilities may find the iQunix A80 Explorer, which shares a comparable design and functionality and for which a driver is readily accessible, to be a suitable substitute. The iQunix F97 is a good alternative to the original if you like the design but require a numeric keypad.
If you can live without Print Screen and Page Up/Down keys, the ZX75 is still a great option. It’s one of the rare keyboards that allow you to save money if you choose to forego RGB lighting, and it also provides a wonderful typing experience and pleasant acoustics.