Cherry MX Board 5.0 Review

Cherry MX Board 5.0 Review

What's Included

Build Quality

The case is mostly plastic with an aluminum trim. This is a downgrade over the Cherry MX Board 6.0, which had an all-aluminum case.

The plate is also made out of aluminum instead of steel. Like I mention anytime there is an aluminum plate, this makes a huge difference in the sound and feel of a keyboard significantly. Steel is preferred.

There is cable routing on the bottom of the case, and a non-removable 1.8m, braided, and gold plated cable.

You'll also find the height adjustment feet here, and plenty of rubber feet to prevent the keyboard from sliding around.

Finally, we see an extra large wrist rest. The wrist wrest has a soft rubber finish on the top where your palms will be resting. Sadly, it attaches with plastic clips. I wish they had used magnets instead. This makes it inconvenient to add and remove, and the plastic clips may break in the future with a lot of use.

The wrist rest also features it's own height adjustment feet, which allows you to elevate the entire keyboard and wrist rest assembly.

Weight

Without wrist rest

  • 37.4 oz
  • 1060 grams (about 100grams lighter than the Cherry MX Board 6.0)

With wrist rest

  • 52.2 oz
  • 1480 grams

Dimensions

Keyboard Itself

  • 464 x 145.5 x 36 mm (18.2" x 5.7" x 1.4")
  • feet add 14mm (0.55") to the height

Wrist Rest

  • 480.5 x 86.5 x 36 mm (18.9" x 3.4" x 1.4")
  • feet add 14mm (0.55") to the height

Layout

The layout is a standard ANSI layout with four additional keys in the top right. You'll also see the LED indicators in the top right above those additional keys. I believe every keyboard manufacturer that chooses to create a full-size keyboard should put these four additional keys here. It just makes sense. It adds extra functionality without adding any physical dimensions to the keyboard.

In this case, Cherry has opted to go with a Cherry key and media control keys. The Cherry key allows you to swap between gaming mode or office mode, and the media control keys give you the ability to go back, play/pause, and go forward.

Full N-key rollover is always on with this keyboard, so the gaming mode does not have an effect on it. However, the gaming mode does allow you to block certain Windows commands.

  • Windows key
  • Alt + F4
  • Alt + Tab
  • Ctrl + Esc
  • Ctrl + Alt + Del

The mute, volume up, and volume down keys are on the function layer under F1-F3. I would have preferred if the volume control was swapped with the media control keys in the top right, but that's simply a preference. Personally, I use my volume control more often than skipping or pausing tracks.

Keycaps

The keycaps are Doubleshot PBT, and they feel surprisingly smooth for PBT. The font has been redesigned. It's sharper, more refined, more modern, and with more evenly backlit legends. All that being said, the incomplete closure on some of the legends still leaves room for further improvement in the future.

Of course, being that this keyboard is from Cherry, the keycaps are Cherry profile.

Switches

  • Cherry MX Blue
  • Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Red
  • Cherry MX Silent red
  • Cherry MX Black

Stabilizers

Stock Cherry stabilizers aren't bad, but other companies have improved on them by designing them a bit differently and lubing them from the factory. The design improvements of these other stabilizers still allow for easy key removal, but remove some of the "mushy" or soft feel like these have.

Backlighting

No, it is not RGB backlighting, but I do appreciate the clean white aesthetic. There are 10 levels of brightness, and three modes. The Cherry MX Board 6.0 had 100 levels of brightness, which was hilariously overkill. Fn + F5 turns off the backlighting, Fn + F6 lowers the brightness, and Fn + F7 raises the brightness. You can switch through the three modes, on, breathing, or pulse, by pressing Fn + F12. The pulse mode is quite distracting, and I don't know what it would be used for. When in breathing or pulse modes, F6 and F7 adjust the speed of the animation instead of the brightness, with four different speeds.

Pricing / Availability

  • for reference: Cherry MX Board 6.0 MSRP $219
  • Cherry MX Board 5.0 MSRP $189 (probably)
  • Expected to be in North America later this year.
  • Available in Europe for €159 EUR right now.

Summary

I like that Cherry listened and switched to PBT keycaps, but it seems to be at the cost of lower build quality. The switch to an aluminum plate is disappointing, and introducing more plastic into the case itself isn't great for the look or feel. The fact that the extra large wrist rest is not connected by magnets is inconvenient (and it feels like the clips could break over time). The backlighting, however, being a nice clean white, looks better (instead of red with blue accents).

One feature you are missing out on is Cherry's "RealKey" technology, which is real time analog signal processing. This brings the responsiveness of the Cherry MX Board 6.0 to 1 ms. I don't have a way to scientifically test the responsiveness of either keyboard, but to me the slower responsiveness of this keyboard (theoretically around an average of 20 ms instead) did not affect my gameplay or typing. However, because of this feature, competitive gamers may be drawn towards the Cherry MX Board 6.0 instead.

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Disclaimer: Cherry sent this to me for review. Thanks Cherry!

Nathaniel Hirschler Avatar
By Nathaniel Hirschler

I started Rhinofeed in 2011 as a way to share my various hobbies with the internet. I hope you enjoy reading my articles and watching my videos as much as I have enjoyed creating them!
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