Pros: Multiple modes of connectivity, Build Quality, Ease of Use and Setup, Great Sound Profile out of the box
Cons: Plastic Construction, Bluetooth lag, Not my favourite Keycap Profile
Disclaimer: The Epomaker TH80 SE 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 of the keyboard. The Epomaker TH80 SE is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in one, or feel free to use your own links.
I’m not really a keyboard reviewer and prior to this, I only had 1 keyboard, the DIY gasket set (MW65) that I ordered from TaoBao and custom-built myself. I loved its sound profile (Akko Radiant Reds) and I have been in love with it since I built it back in 2021.
Fast forward to 2023, Epomaker reached out to me to review some of their products. Taking a quick look at some of their products, the discreet blackout aesthetic of the TH80 SE stood out to me. The features also seemed pretty interesting at its relatively budget price point of 99 USD. For ease of reference, I’ll list them down below.
- Switches: Gateron Pro 2.0 Yellow
- Three Modes of Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 & 2.4GHz & Type-C Cable
- 75% 81 Keys Hot-swappable
- “SA-like” or Cherry profile keycaps depending on the colourway chosen
The wireless capability, both USB dongle and Bluetooth, was a nice addition for those who prefer a clutter-free setup without any cables. For me, I didn’t really like the latency and stuck to the USB-C connection in the middle of the keyboard.
What I really liked was the layout of the keyboard, supplemented with the very handy knob at the top right corner, which by default is a volume control unless configured otherwise.
For casual users, which I would assume would be the bulk of the people getting this keyboard, it is pretty much plug and play and no setting up or tinkering is needed, which IMO is a huge plus. Within the packaging comes a nylon braided USB-C cable, a keycap and switch remover, and s handful of spare switches.
The keyboard itself is pretty hefty despite having a mostly plastic construction. This makes it not so much a good choice for a portable keyboard despite its wireless capabilities and in-built battery. That said, the weight helps in the stability of the board and the build quality feels pretty good. I am not sure whether to attribute it to the weight or keyboard or the dampening material inside, but the sound feels pretty muted and thocky for a stock keyboard without any lubing or modding done, something that really impressed me.
The mic from the iPhone that I used to record the audio seems to make the sound a little higher pitched and clackier than it is in real life.
The keycaps it comes with had a stated “SA-like” profile, which isn’t my favourite and it took some getting used to. I am also not a fan of the sound profile of these keycaps. However, the Gateron Pro yellow switches it came with are hot-swappable, which is always nice to be able to have options. The yellow switches are budget workhorse switches that type really well and smoothly for the price, and I actually really like the feel of them. I am sure the Gateron yellows that I chose to come with this board would sound and feel much better if they were hand-lubed. The spacebar is a little rattly but it is expected from a “pre-built” at this price point.
The TH80 SE feet have 3 variable heights for you to adjust to your preferred angle/height, which I thought was a really thoughtful inclusion at this price point. It feels pretty solid and I didn’t feel any noticeable wobble or instability when typing on it (with a desk mat under).
To conclude, the Epomaker TH80 SE is a really complete keyboard for a budget offering. It has nailed all the essentials in terms of both function and construction. Of course, there are a few quirks of the keyboard that I would have loved to be better but I wouldn’t have expected to experience them realistically for what I’m paying. Do take note on what keycap profile you are looking for when ordering and the switch options as well. They do offer multiple switch options now, such as Linears ranging from their in-house Flamingo and Wisteria switches to Gateron Pro 2.0 Yellow and Black. For tactile switches, the only option offered is the Budgerigar switch.