Varmilo VA87M Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Sep 25, 2020 at 09:28 am
Varmilo VA87M Picture
7.9
Gaming
3.3
Mobile/Tablet
7.8
Office
7.4
Programming
4.3
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
Size
TenKeyLess (80%)
Mechanical
Yes

The Varmilo VA87M is a decent mechanical keyboard. It has an excellent build that's made of durable plastic, with the switches supported by a metal plate. It comes in a wide variety of colors and many different switch types; the unit we tested has Cherry MX Red switches. The typing quality is excellent, as the PBT keycaps feel nice to touch, and the linear switches provide a responsive gaming experience. That said, its latency is a bit high for a wired keyboard, which might be a dealbreaker for professional competitive gamers. Despite not having a wrist rest, it's comfortable to use overall and shouldn't cause any fatigue. Unfortunately, there are no macro-programmable buttons or companion software to customize settings.

Our Verdict

7.9 Gaming

The Varmilo VA87M is a good keyboard for gaming. The Cherry MX Red switches on our unit have a short pre-travel distance and don't need a lot of force to actuate. However, its latency is a bit high, which might disappoint competitive gamers. Unfortunately, there's no companion software, and you can't program any macros.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Available in various Cherry MX switches.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Latency might be too high for competitive gamers.
3.3 Mobile/Tablet

The Varmilo VA87M is a wired-only keyboard and can't be used with a mobile device.

7.8 Office

The Varmilo VA87M is good for office use. The ergonomics are just okay because it doesn't have a wrist rest, but typing should feel comfortable and painless. The typing quality is excellent overall, and you can get the keyboard with your preferred type of Cherry MX switches. It has a great build, with Dye Sub PBT keycaps that feel amazing to type on.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Available in various Cherry MX switches.
Cons
  • Some keys don't work on macOS and Linux.
7.4 Programming

The Varmilo VA87M is decent for programmers. It provides an excellent typing experience, and it's available in various Cherry MX switches. Ergonomics are only okay, as it lacks a wrist rest, but it shouldn't cause any fatigue or pain. Unfortunately, there are no macro-programmable buttons, and since you can't use it over Bluetooth, it can't pair with other devices.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Available in various Cherry MX switches.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Some keys don't work on macOS and Linux.
4.3 Entertainment / HTPC

The Varmilo VA87M is bad for use with a home theater PC. It lacks wireless connectivity, which means you need to run a cable from the couch to your computer. On top of that, there's no trackpad, so you need a separate mouse for navigation. On the upside, it has backlighting, which is great for gaming in the dark.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Available in various Cherry MX switches.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • Wired-only
  • No trackpad.
  • 7.9 Gaming
  • 3.3 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.8 Office
  • 7.4 Programming
  • 4.3 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Mar 23, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.4" (3.5 cm)
Width 14.0" (35.6 cm)
Depth
5.2" (13.3 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
N/A
Weight
2.22 lbs (1.008 kg)

The Varmilo VA87M is a small, TenKeyLess keyboard that shouldn't take up much space on your desk.

8.5
Design
Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

The Varmilo VA87M's build quality is excellent. The switches are housed on a metal plate, and the rest of the frame is made of durable plastic with no signs of flex. It has PBT keycaps that have a fine texture to them but still feel smooth. The keys are stable, especially the space bar. The key symbols are printed on with dye sublimation, which in theory should last over a decade, but we don't test for this. The feet are covered in a cheap-feeling rubber and can collapse on themselves easily when you slide the keyboard. That said, the keyboard has enough grip and weight to prevent this from happening too often. If you'd like a TKL keyboard with better build quality, check out the Drop ENTR.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Minimum Incline
4 °
Medium Incline
N/A
Maximum Incline
12 °
Wrist Rest No

The Varmilo VA87M has okay ergonomics. It naturally sits at a four-degree incline, and it provides two incline settings. It doesn't come with a wrist rest, but you may not need one due to the keyboard's relatively low profile.

8.9
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color
White
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes
Color Mixing
Great
Effects
Yes
Programmable
No

The Varmilo VA87M has two backlight options available, 'Always On' or 'Breathing' mode. You can adjust the brightness and the 'breathing' speed through the appropriate hotkeys. There are some variants without backlighting.

Design
Cable & Connector
Detachable
Yes (Wired Only Keyboard)
Length 4.7 ft (1.4 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Mini USB

The Varmilo VA87M is a wired-only keyboard comes with a basic rubber-coated cable and connects via Mini-USB.

0
Design
Wireless Versatility
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Multi-Device Pairing
No
Proprietary Receiver
No
Battery Type
No Batteries

The Varmilo VA87M is wired-only and can't be used wirelessly.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Trackpad / Trackball No
Wheel No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
Yes
Lock Indicator No Indicator

The Varmilo VA87M doesn't have too many extra features and lacks macro-programmable keys. The 'Windows Lock' key is accessed via the hotkey FN+'Windows', preventing you from accidentally minimizing your game. If you want a similar keyboard with macro-programmable keys, check out the ASUS ROG Strix Scope TKL.

Design
In The Box

  • Varmilo VA87M keyboard
  • User manual
  • Mini-USB to USB-A cable
  • Extra keycaps
  • Keycap puller

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Cherry MX Red
Feel
Linear
Operating Force
50 gf
Actuation Force
50 gf
Pre-Travel
2.0 mm
Total Travel
4.0 mm

Our unit has Cherry MX Red switches, but it's also available in various Cherry MX switches. The Reds are linear, so they don't provide tactile feedback. They have a short pre-travel distance and don't need much force to actuate, resulting in a light and responsive typing experience.

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing experience is excellent. Our unit uses Cherry MX Red switches, but it's available in a variety of different switches. Despite linear red switches being better suited for gaming, they're comfortable enough to type on and don't result in an increase in typos. The PBT keycaps feel nice to the touch. All the keys are stable, especially the spacebar. The keyboard is quiet enough to not disturb anyone around you but also makes a faint click when a key has been actuated.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise
Noise
Quiet

Typing is quiet and shouldn't bother those around you. It's likely louder with Cherry MX Blue switches, but we haven't tested them.

7.2
Typing Experience
Latency
Latency Wired
12.8 ms
Latency Receiver
N/A
Latency Bluetooth
N/A

The Varmilo VA78M has decent latency. It should be okay for most desktop tasks and casual gaming, but it might not be good enough for competitive gamers.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Macro Programming
No
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

This keyboard doesn't have any customization software. If you want a keyboard that has companion software, consider the Durgod Taurus K320.

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

This keyboard has decent compatibility. Everything works as intended on Windows, but the function keys, 'Print Screen', 'Scroll Lock', and 'Pause Break' buttons don't work on macOS. The F1 and F2 buttons only work to control screen brightness on Linux.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Varmilo VA87M with Cherry MX Red switches in the CMKY color variant, but it's also available in a variety of different switches and colors. Most models of this keyboard should be available in a variety of color schemes and Cherry MX switches, including Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown, Silver, and Speed Silver.

 

Color Switch Lighting
CMKY Cherry MX Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown, and Speed Silver White LED
RGBY Cherry MX Red, Black, Blue, Brown, Black, Silent Black, and Clear White LED
RGBK Cherry MX Red, Black, Blue, Brown, Black, Silent Black, Silent Red, Clear, and Speed Silver White LED
Summit White Cherry MX Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown, and Speed Silver White LED
Moonlight Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown White LED
Sakura Cherry MX Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown, and Speed Silver None
Koi Cherry MX Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown, and Speed Silver None
Sea Melody Cherry MX Red, Silent Red, Blue, Brown, and Speed Silver None
Panda Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown, Silent Red, Silent Black, Silent Red, Clear and Speed Silver White LED
Mac Cherry MX Red, Black, Blue, Brown, Black, Silent Black, Clear, and Speed Silver White LED
Forest Fairy Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown, Black, Silent Black, Clear, and Speed Silver None
Beijing Opera Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown None

 

You can see the label of our unit here.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Varmilo VA87M is a wired, mechanical TenKeyLess (80%) keyboard with great build quality. Like many keyboards on the market, it's available in a wide variety of colors and switches, and some models include white LED backlighting. Unfortunately, it doesn't have programmable keys or software support. For other options, check out our recommendations for the best RGB keyboards, the best gaming keyboards, and the best mechanical keyboards.

Ducky One 2

The Ducky One 2 and the Varmilo VA87M are quite different. While the Varmilo is a TKL keyboard, our unit of the Ducky is full-size, though there are smaller versions available as well. Also, even though the Varmilo scores higher for gaming, the Ducky actually performs better because it has lower latency. The Ducky has macro-programmable keys and lets you create custom profiles and store them on its onboard memory. Both keyboards are available in various switch options. The Ducky that we tested doesn't have backlighting, but there are variants that do.

Ducky MIYA Pro

The Ducky MIYA Pro and the Varmilo VA87M are very similar. The main difference is that the Varmilo is a TKL, while the Ducky is 65%. Also, the Ducky has macro-programmable keys and customization software. You can get both keyboards in various switch types.

Ducky One 2 RGB TKL

The Ducky One 2 RGB TKL and the Varmilo VA87M are very similar. The main differences are that the Ducky has lower latency, macro-programmable keys, and software for customization. Both keyboards are available in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches.

Durgod Taurus K320

The Varmilo VA87M and the Durgod Taurus K320 are both wired TKL mechanical keyboards. The Varmilo has lower latency for gaming, but it doesn't have macro-programmable keys or customization software, which the Durgod does. Our Durgod unit doesn't have backlighting, but you can get a variant that does. They're each available in a variety of Cherry MX switches.

Drop ENTR

The Varmilo VA87M is a better keyboard than the Drop ENTR. The Varmilo we tested has a better typing quality thanks to its lower actuation force and short pre-travel distance than the Drop's Halo True switches. However, the Drop feels much better built than the Varmilo, and it's fully compatible with Linux, whereas the Varmilo is only partially compatible.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 and the Varmilo VA87M are very different. The Obinslab is a 60% wireless keyboard, while the Varmilo is a wired TKL. The Obinslab is better for gaming because it has lower latency. Also, it has macro-programmable keys and software for customization.

Ducky One 2 Mini V1

The Ducky One 2 Mini V1 and the Varmilo VA87M are both wired mechanical keyboards, but the Ducky has a 60% layout, while the Varmilo is a TKL. The Ducky has macro-programmable keys and customization software, which the Varmilo lacks. Both keyboards are available in multiple switch options.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

The Varmilo VA87M and the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro are almost identical in feature and performance. The Varmilo feels better built because it has PBT keycaps, and it's available in more switch options. The Varmilo has white backlighting, while the HyperX's is red.

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