EVGA Z15 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Apr 07, 2021 at 09:41 am
EVGA Z15 Picture
9.3
Gaming
2.7
Mobile/Tablet
7.8
Office
7.9
Programming
5.4
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
Full-size (100%)
Mechanical
Yes

The EVGA Z15 is a full-sized mechanical gaming keyboard that's hot-swappable, so you can swap out the switches for a feel or brand that you prefer. It has outstandingly low latency, among the lowest we've measured. It has customizable RGB backlighting, dedicated media keys, a volume control wheel, and you can set macros to any key. While it doesn't have a USB passthrough or dedicated macro keys, there's a similar model called the EVGA Z20 that does, but it isn't hot-swappable. Unfortunately, it uses ABS keycaps that are prone to developing shine from finger oils. Also, the gamer-forward keycap font and the large EVGA branding plate at the top of the board may bother some people.

Our Verdict

9.3 Gaming

The EVGA Z15 is incredible for gaming. This very well-built keyboard has an outstandingly low click latency and is one of the lowest we've tested. All of its keys are macro-programmable, and you can control the RGB backlighting on a per-key basis. The clicky Kailh Speed Bronze switches on our unit feel light and responsive, and the pre-travel distance is shorter than on some other clicky switches. Since the board is hot-swappable, you can also swap out the switches for any feel you prefer.

Pros
  • Outstandingly low click latency.
  • Hot-swappable switches.
  • Customizable RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
Cons
  • ABS keycaps easily develop shine.
2.7 Mobile/Tablet

The EVGA Z15 is a wired keyboard and isn't designed to be used with mobile devices or tablets.

7.8 Office

The EVGA Z15 is very good for office use. This very well-built keyboard has two incline settings and comes with a wrist rest, so it shouldn't cause much fatigue when typing for long periods. While the clicky Kailh Speed Bronze switches on our unit might be too loud for an office, the board is available with linear switches that should be quieter. Also, the board is hot-swappable, so you can swap out the switches for any feel you prefer.

Pros
  • Hot-swappable switches.
  • Customizable RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
Cons
  • ABS keycaps easily develop shine.
7.9 Programming

The EVGA Z15 is very good for programming. It's a well-built keyboard that feels comfortable to type on thanks to its incline settings and included wrist rest. All of its keys are macro-programmable, and it has customizable RGB backlighting. The clicky Kailh Speed Bronze switches on our unit feel light and responsive, but the pre-travel distance is shorter than on some other clicky switches, so it may cause some accidental keystrokes. The board is also available with linear switches. Since the board is hot-swappable, you can swap out the switches for any feel you prefer.

Pros
  • Hot-swappable switches.
  • Customizable RGB backlighting.
  • All keys are macro-programmable.
Cons
  • Wired-only design.
  • ABS keycaps easily develop shine.
5.4 Entertainment / HTPC

The EVGA Z15 isn't ideal for home theater PC setups since it's a wired keyboard. It lacks a trackpad, so you need a mouse on the side to navigate the user interface. On the plus side, it does have RGB backlighting, dedicated media keys, and a volume control wheel.

Pros
  • Customizable RGB backlighting.
Cons
  • Wired-only design.
  • No trackpad or trackball.
  • ABS keycaps easily develop shine.
  • 9.3 Gaming
  • 2.7 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.8 Office
  • 7.9 Programming
  • 5.4 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Apr 07, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Apr 02, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.5" (3.8 cm)
Width 17.5" (44.5 cm)
Depth
6.0" (15.2 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
8.8" (22.4 cm)
Weight
2.23 lbs (1.010 kg)
8.0
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material ABS

The EVGA Z15 feels very well-built. Its plastic base and brushed metal plate feel sturdy and exhibit very little flex. The doubleshot ABS keycaps feel nice for ABS plastic, but since they pick up oil more easily than PBT plastic, they're prone to shine. The stabilizers feel very stable, and even the large keys don't wobble much. The feet are grippy enough to prevent the board from moving unintentionally, and they don't collapse when you push it forwards.

7.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
10°
Wrist Rest Detachable

The EVGA Z15 has good ergonomics. It's a straight board with two incline settings and slightly curved keycaps. It comes with a magnetically-attached hard plastic wrist rest that helps a bit with posture, but it isn't plushy like the wrist rest on the EVGA Z20. However, it should still feel comfortable enough to not cause fatigue during long periods of typing.

9.7
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
RGB
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Ok
Effects
Yes
Programmable
Yes

The EVGA Z15 has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys. You can customize effects and colors using the EVGA Unleash RGB software. It's good at color mixing, but green and blue light reflects off of the keycaps, which can get annoying if you only want to see white backlighting.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
No
Length 6.0 ft (1.8 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Not Detachable

It comes with a standard braided cable that's fairly thin and retains kinks.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries
Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Dedicated
Macro Programmable Keys
All
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel Yes
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad Yes
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator Caps, Scroll & Num lock

Using the EVGA Unleash RGB software, you can set macros to any key on the board. There are dedicated media keys above the numpad which includes a volume wheel. You can put the keyboard into game mode by pressing Fn + G, which disables the Windows key to prevent you from accidentally minimizing your game. Unlike the EVGA Z20, it doesn't have a USB passthrough, a 3.5mm audio jack, or a time-of-flight sensor, but it is hot-swappable.

Design
In The Box

  • EVGA Z15 keyboard
  • Wrist rest
  • Keycap puller
  • Switch puller
  • 8 Kailh Speed Silver linear switches
  • Quick Start guide

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Kailh Speed Bronze
Feel
Clicky
Operating Force
54 gf
Actuation Force
54 gf
Pre-Travel
1.1 mm
Total Travel
3.7 mm

The EVGA Z15 variant we tested uses Kailh Speed Bronze switches, which feel light and responsive. The pre-travel distance is much shorter than other clicky switches, which may cause you to accidentally actuate keys if you're not used to the sensitivity.

If you don't like the clicky feel, it's also available with Kailh Speed Silver switches, which are linear and don't provide any tactile feedback. If you're unsure which feel you like, the board is hot-swappable, so you can easily swap them out for any three-pin switches you prefer. EVGA also has a non-mechanical version, the EVGA Z12, if you don't like the feel of the mechanical switches at all.

8.0
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The EVGA Z15 has very good typing quality. The keycaps feel pretty good for ABS, although they may be prone to shine. All of the keys feel quite stable, and even the bigger keys, like the Spacebar, Enter, and Shift keys, don't wobble. The Kailh Speed Bronze switches offer nice tactile feedback, but the short pre-travel distance is shorter than on most clicky switches, which may cause you to accidentally actuate some keys if you aren't used to the sensitivity. While it does come with a wrist rest, it isn't very plushy since it's made of hard plastic with a leatherette cover, which may not feel comfortable to some people.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Loud

The Kailh Speed Bronze switches on our unit are loud and may bother those around you, especially in a noise-sensitive environment. This keyboard is also available with Kailh Speed Silver switches, which should be quieter.

10
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
0.9 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

The EVGA Z15 has an exceptionally low click latency that should feel responsive enough even for competitive gamers.

While most keyboards have a polling rate of 1000Hz, this keyboard can also be set to 2000Hz or 4000Hz, so we tested it at its maximum polling rate. We didn't test it at lower than 4000Hz, but we expect that the latency should be higher, although not by much.

Software and Operating System
9.1
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name EVGA Unleash RGB
Account Required
No
Profiles
6+
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
Software
Ease Of Use
Okay
Software Windows Compatible
Yes
Software macOS Compatible
No

The EVGA Unleash RGB software offers a lot of customization options. While the interface itself is fairly clunky and feels less refined than some other programs, setting macros and changing the RGB backlighting should be easy enough to figure out.

7.2
Software and Operating System
Keyboard Compatibility
Windows Full
macOS Partial
Linux Partial
Android No
iOS No
iPadOS No

The EVGA Z15 is fully compatible with Windows, and only the Pause Break and Scroll Lock buttons don't work on macOS. Since the software is only available on Windows, you can't set macros or change the backlighting effects on macOS or Linux.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the EVGA Z15 in black with Kailh Speed Bronze clicky switches, but it's also available with Kailh Speed Silver linear switches. While it doesn't have any variants, the EVGA Z20 is a very similar board but has extra features, like dedicated macro keys, a USB and audio passthrough, and a time-of-flight sensor; however, it isn't hot-swappable like the Z15. You can see the label of our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The EVGA Z15 is a fantastic gaming keyboard, especially for its price point. It has one of the lowest latency measurements we've tested, almost as low as the Corsair K100 RGB. While it doesn't have as many switch options as some other gaming keyboards, it is hot-swappable, meaning you can easily swap out the switches for the brand or feel that you prefer.

For other options, see our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best gaming keyboards under $100.

EVGA Z20

The EVGA Z15 and the EVGA Z20 are both fantastic wired gaming keyboards with very similar designs, but there are a few differences. The Z20 has dedicated macro keys, a USB and audio passthrough, and a unique time-of-flight sensor that you can program to perform certain functions when you approach or move away from your keyboard. It's available with linear or clicky Light Strike LK Optical switches. On the other hand, the Z15 is a hot-swappable board that lets you easily swap out the switches without needing to solder anything. It's also available with clicky Kailh Speed Bronze and linear Speed Silver switches.

Corsair K100 RGB

The EVGA Z15 and the Corsair K100 RGB are both fantastic wired gaming keyboards. They both have fully customizable RGB backlighting, dedicated media keys, a volume control wheel, and all of their keys are macro-programmable. However, the Corsair also has a USB passthrough and a programmable multi-function dial. It also has slightly lower latency, although the difference isn't significant enough to be noticeable. On the other hand, if you like the option of changing the switches whenever you want, the EVGA is hot-swappable.

SteelSeries Apex Pro

The SteelSeries Apex Pro and the EVGA Z15 are both fantastic wired gaming keyboards. The SteelSeries uses proprietary OmniPoint linear switches, which let you customize the pre-travel distance of every key. Also, it has a small, customizable OLED screen that lets you access keyboard functions or even display game stats, CPU operations, and gifs. Unfortunately, it isn't available with other switch types. On the other hand, the EVGA is available in more switch types. It's a hot-swappable board that lets you replace the stock switches with any type you prefer. It also has one of the lowest latencies we've tested.

EVGA Z12

The EVGA Z15 is much better overall than the EVGA Z12 mainly because it's higher-end, meaning it has more features. The Z15 is a mechanical keyboard available with linear and clicky switches, while the Z12 is non-mechanical and has rubber dome switches. The Z15 feels better built, comes with a wrist rest, has individually lit keys, and the latency is much lower. One of the few advantages the Z12 has over the Z15 is that it has extra macro keys, but you can reprogram any key on both.

Razer BlackWidow Elite

The EVGA Z15 and the Razer BlackWidow Elite are both fantastic wired gaming keyboards. They both have dedicated media keys and a volume control wheel, and all of their keys are macro-programmable. The Razer is available with clicky Razer Green, tactile Orange, and linear Yellow switches, while the EVGA is available with clicky Kailh Speed Bronze and linear Speed Silver switches. Also, the EVGA is a better option if you like to easily swap out the switches for other ones whenever you want since the board is hot-swappable. While they both have incredibly low latencies, the EVGA's is lower and is among the lowest we've tested.

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