Disclaimer: The EPOMAKER Shadow-X was provided to us at no charge courtesy of EPOMAKER. However, this was done with the understanding that I was to give my honest thoughts and opinions on the keyboard. The EPOMAKER Shadow-X is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in one, or feel free to use your own links.
The EPOMAKER Shadow-X is a 70% pre-built keyboard and offers 3 connectivity methods.
|3/5-pin Hotswap PCB
|Type-C Wired, 2.4 & Bluetooth Wireless
|NKRO in all modes
|1000Hz in Type-C Wired & 2.4G modes
|370.4 x 129.8 x 47.8mm
The keyboard comes with the keyboard with a pre-built keyboard, 8 spare key caps (yellow coloured) and 3 spare switches. It also comes with a braided Type-C wire, a 2.4GHz Bluetooth receiver (mounted in the keyboard), a keycap and a switch puller.
Build Quality and Design
The Shadow-X comes with only one colour option, a gun-metal finish. At roughly 800 grams, the keyboard has a good weight despite being made of plastic, with a metal-like finish and smoothly-cut edges. The plate-mounted stabilizers come with two height options and can withstand a good amount of pressure. Rubber pads mounted on the base also improve stability.
The keyboard comes with a rotary knob that allows users to select the connectivity mode. The 12 o’clock direction for connectivity via the Type-C wire, 1 o’clock direction for pairing via the wireless 2.4GHz receiver and the 2, 3, 4 o’clock direction for pairing via Bluetooth.
The quality of the rotary knob feels expensive. It is made of metal and has good resistance when turning between each node, producing a muted click when turning to each node.
LCD Screen and Software
The highlight of the keyboard is probably the LCD screen above the arrow cluster. While it is mostly just an aesthetic element, it features useful functions like a built-in clock, caps lock and battery indicators. It also indicates the current connectivity method and detects whether you are connected to a WINDOWS or MAC OS. The latter feature is useful as the Shadow-X will change the key layout to match the respective OS.
The user manual also comes with instructions on how to toggle the LCD screen display menu. Users can change the settings for the Backlight effects, including the colour, effect, speed and brightness.
One can download the Shadow-X Driver software to complement the usage of the keyboard. The driver allows you to edit FN hotkeys, set macros or change the backlight effects. The most impressive feature is probably the customising of the LCD screen. You have the option to draw custom pictures, upload personal pictures or even create short GIF animations, which will then be uploaded and displayed on the Shadow-X LCD screen. Another interesting feature is the sharing of backlight effect templates and LCD animations. You can share your designs or download designs shared by other users.
One downside is that there is no mention of this driver in the user manual. Considering how useful this driver is in customising the user experience, I was surprised that they didn’t include a link for it inside the manual.
Overall, typing with the pre-built set felt good and the keys felt very responsive. The sound profile is a little muted and has a soft feel when the keycaps are pressed.
The keyboard feels slightly small when typing. After all, it is a 70% keyboard. My only gripe was the number of hotkeys and shortcuts I had to memorise. Commands like volume up/down were hidden behind a combination of commands involving the Fn key. While the user manual provides a rough list of the basic commands, it remains a challenge trying to remember even the most important ones.
I enjoyed all the connectivity methods of the keyboard. The USB-C connection allowed the keyboard to charge quickly. The dongle connection method was convenient, and I appreciated the built-in storage port for the dongle in the keyboard itself. There were no issues with the Bluetooth connections, and the keyboard could also be paired with mobile devices/tablets.
As a hot-swappable keyboard, individual key switches can be swapped without desoldering or disassembling the keyboard. The keycaps are also easily removable thanks to the provided keycap and switch puller tool.