No review of mechanical keyboards would be complete without a Cherry keyboard. The German company has become synonymous with high-quality Qwerty PC keyboards, in large part thanks to its manufacture of the mechanical switches that underlie a great many respected keyboards from other brands.
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The Cherry G80-3000 is a long-running classic, in production at least 24 years, a full-size extended Windows keyboard with a number keypad. The design is simple and utilitarian, quite far removed from the ostentatious ‘boards favoured by gamers, so quite suitable for general office duties or by professional developers.
Construction is now in the Czech Republic and uses lightweight matt-finish plastic – our sample was in a dark charcoal grey (‘Black’), and you can also find it in a beige-like colour that Cherry calls Light Grey.
The keys are comfortable on the fingertips, a slightly slippery feeling plastic, textured like waxy sandpaper, and with shallow dished recesses. Despite the slightly unusual finish from the plastic we found it to have a good tactile feel to inspire fast typing. The lettering is laser-etched for longevity.
The outside chassis of the Cherry G80-3000 is quite deep at 191mm but relatively low-profile at just 38mm high. That’s 48mm with the rubbered under risers lowered. These proved reasonably effective at preventing board drift across the desk.
A fixed USB cable snakes out from the right rear corner, with 1.7m of wire to play with.
The external construction is clearly below that of premium-priced keyboards like those from Filco, and while it’s far from being flimsy it does feel somewhat cheap and insubstantial.
Also in the debit column, it lacks the touch-typist’s friends, the little bumps on the F and J keys, which seems a particularly strange oversight by a keyboard specialist. But what keeps the Cherry G80-3000 a real contender is its Cherry MX switches.
UK models of the Cherry G80-3000 always come with Cherry MX Blue. The noisy but superbly tactile option means this is the most affordable keyboard we’ve seen with these switches – they’re more typically to be found inside £100-plus peripherals.
Aside form the long-lasting real mechanical keys (specified at greater than 50 million presses per key), this keyboard also boasts UNIX Code Set 3 support for some legacy installations, when using the supplied PS/2 adaptor.