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EVGA Z15: A fast 4K report rate gaming mechanical keyboard

EVGA Z15 is an hot-swappable keyboard, it means you can pull the switches out and replace others.

What's in the box

  • The Keyboard: EVGA Z15
  • Keycap Puller: Plastic and colored black
  • Switch Puller: Small and metal
  • Extra Switches: 8 extra switches
  • Wrist Rest: Thin and made from plastic and mesh.

In the box, you get the usual items along with the keyboard itself. A few extra switches are included so you can test out the hot-swappable feature for yourself. The switch puller and keycap puller are both a bit underwhelming, we recommend finding better options if you plan on changing the keycaps or switches. A wrist rest is also included that you can optionally use with the keyboard.

Build Quality

  • Material: Brushed aluminum top plate and a plastic bottom
  • Flex: Small amount of bend
  • Typing Angle: Standard
  • Kickstands: Yes, with two settings.
  • Wrist Rest: Yes

The case has minimal flex and is quite sturdy, as the brushed aluminum top plate keeps the keyboard rigid. There is a slight typing angle when the keyboard is flat, but you also have two typing angle adjustment options. The feet themselves are extra wide which result in a very stable typing experience. There are five pads on the back that keep the keyboard from sliding around. The wrist rest offers a bit of extra support for your wrists and detaches magnetically. The wrist rest is made from a combination of plastic and mesh material that won’t break easily.

Layout and Size

  • Layout: Full-sized
  • Dedicated Media Keys: Yes
  • Scroll Wheel: Yes
  • Length: 17.5 in / 445 mm
  • Width: 5.94 in / 151 mm
  • Thickness: 1.48 in / 37.5 mm
  • Weight: 2.72 lbs / 1234 grams

The keyboard comes in the typical full-sized layout, but you also get a dedicated media keys located in the top rated corner of the keyboard. The media keys control the sound and allow you to pause, skip, and mute your music. The buttons have a rubbery top and a shallow click, making for a satisfying keypress. There is also a horizontally mounted scroll wheel that lets you change the volume levels on the fly, which is perfect if you’re in a full-screen application and don’t want to close your window.

The Keycaps

  • Keycap Material: Double-shot ABS plastic
  • Profile: Standard / OEM
  • Legends: Shine through
  • Standard Bottom Row: Yes
  • Aftermarket Keycaps: Yes

The keycaps are made from a cheap material (ABS) that develops a greasy shine after touching, we would have liked to see higher quality materials used here. The font on the keycaps looks a bit dated and very gamely. On the plus side, the RGB light illuminates the legends to make them easy to read at night. The sub-legends describe the lower-level functionality of the keys and are also illuminated by the lighting. You can easily swap the keycaps out with a new set as the keyboard has a standard layout and bottom row. Aftermarket sets will work with this keyboard.

The Switches

  • Type: Kailh
  • Options: Speed Brown or Speed Silver
  • Hot-Swappable: Yes, 3-pin sockets
  • Lifespan: 70 million keystrokes
  • Actuation Distance: 1.1 mm
  • Travel Distance: 3.5 mm
  • Actuation Force: 50g

The EVGA Z15 comes with two switch choices, the Kailh Speed Browns and Speed Silvers, a clicky and linear option. It would be ideal if they offered a tactile option, but the keyboard is hot-swappable, so you can swap them out if you need to. The Kailh switches are ideal for gaming with a lower actuation distance that is perfect for gaming. The lifespan of the switches is 70 million keystrokes, which is not quite as good as Cherry (100 million) but should be sufficient for a long-lasting keyboard. The hot-swap sockets are 3-pin instead of 5-pin, which means you may need to clip the legs off of your replacement switches if you want to swap them out.

Stabilizers

  • Type: Standard plate-mounted
  • Color: Black
  • Unlubed/Lubed: Unlubed

The stabilizers are responsible for making the spacebar and other larger keys nice and stable on each keypress. For a stock keyboard, the stabilizers are surprisingly good. They offer a nice feel and sound on each keystroke. If you want to improve the stabilizers further, you can easily perform aftermarket modifications to make them feel smoother and more satisfying. We recommend removing them, clipping the legs, and applying lubricant.

The Lighting

  • Color: RGB
  • Per-Key: Yes
  • Underglow: No
  • LED Location: North-facing
  • Change Lighting Effects: FN + Right Arrow / Left Arrow
  • Change Brightness: FN + Up Arrow/ Down Arrow

The lighting on the keyboard comes in a full-color RGB. You can easily change between a few different presets or customize it yourself using the software. You also have the option to lower or increase the brightness depending on your own preferences. You also have a few indicators that show if you have caps lock, scroll lock, num lock, or windows lock turned on.

The Software

  • Name: EVGA UnleashRGB
  • Compatibility: Windows only
  • Macros: Yes
  • Per-Key Lighting: Yes
  • Remap Keys: Yes
  • Onboard Memory:
  • Profiles: Yes, up to 9. FN + 1-9

The EVGA software is fully comprehensive and allows you to customize the important aspects of the keyboard. For starters, you can assign up to nine profiles and assign different macros, lighting, and remaps to each profile. The software allows you to choose different lighting layers and change the polling rate between several different options. While the software is a little clunky to use, once you get used to the interface, you have a lot of power at your fingertips.

Connectivity

  • Port Type: USB-A 2.0
  • Wireless: No
  • Latency: 0.25 ms (4000 Hz polling rate)
  • Compatibility: Windows
  • Number of Devices: 1
  • Braided Cable: Yes
  • Cable Length: 6.6 ft / 2 m
  • USB Passthrough: No

The keyboard uses a single non-detachable USB-A 2.0 cable. The latency is extremely low with a polling rate of 4000 Hz or 0.25ms. This is four times faster than a normal gaming keyboard (1 ms). The cable itself is braided and feels quite thin.