Varmilo VA87M Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Sep 25, 2020 at 09:28 am
Varmilo VA87M Picture
7.0
Mixed usage
7.0
Gaming
1.8
Mobile/Tablet
7.6
Office
7.0
Programming
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 great, as the PBT keycaps feel nice to touch, and the linear switches provide a responsive gaming experience. While the linear switches may be ideal for gamers, they're comfortable enough for extended typing sessions without any noticeable increase in typos. Likewise, 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

7.0 Mixed usage

The Varmilo VA87M is a decent keyboard for mixed use. It's a satisfactory choice for gamers and programmers as the keyboard has white backlighting and great build quality. Unfortunately, programmers and gamers might be disappointed that there are no programmable macros or companion software. While the ergonomics are only okay, the keyboard shouldn't cause any fatigue or pain. It's a good choice for those working in an office, as the switches are quiet won't cause an uptick in typos.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Low pre-travel with our unit.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Feet easily collapse on themselves.
7.0 Gaming

The Varmilo VA87M is a decent keyboard for gaming. The Cherry MX Red switches on our unit has low pre-travel and don't need a lot of force for keys to actuate. Also, it has white backlighting with two preprogrammed settings. Ergonomics are only okay, as it lacks a wrist rest but overall is quite comfortable and shouldn't cause any fatigue. Unfortunately, there's no companion software and you can't customize any macros.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Low pre-travel with our unit.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Feet easily collapse on themselves.
1.8 Mobile/Tablet

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

7.6 Office

The Varmilo VA87M is a good keyboard 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 great overall, and the Cherry MX Red switches on our unit shouldn't bother those around you. Typing feels light but isn't likely to cause an uptick in typos. It has a great build that's made of durable plastic, with a metal plate supporting the switches.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • White backlight.
  • Low pre-travel with our unit.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Feet easily collapse on themselves.
7.0 Programming

The Varmilo VA87M is a decent keyboard for programmers. It has a great typing quality, with quiet switches that shouldn't bother those around you. Despite being light, they don't increase typos. It has a white backlight with two settings that can be controlled via hotkeys. 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.
  • Low pre-travel with our unit.
Cons
  • No companion software.
  • No macro-programmable keys.
  • Feet easily collapse on themselves.
  • 7.0 Mixed usage
  • 7.0 Gaming
  • 1.8 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.6 Office
  • 7.0 Programming

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)
Weight 2.2 lbs (1.0 kg)

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

8.5
Design
Build Quality

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. All of the keycaps, including the spacebar, are stable and are made of PBT plastic that feels nice to the touch. 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
Incline Settings
1
Wrist Rest No

The Varmilo VA87M has okay ergonomics. It has a straight design with one incline setting that may help prevent any fatigue. That said, there's no wrist rest.

9.7
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting Yes
Color White
Brightness Settings
Yes
Individually Backlit Keys
Yes

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
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 insulated rubber cable and connects via Mini-USB.

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

This keyboard is wired-only and can't be used wirelessly.

Design
Extra Features
Media Keys
Hot Keys
Macro Programmable Keys
No
Extra Controls
No
USB Passthrough
No
Numpad No
Windows Key Lock
Yes

The Varmilo VA87M doesn't have too many extra features and lacks macro-programmable keys. It has media hotkeys while the 'Windows Lock' key is accessed via the hotkey FN+'Windows'.

Design
In The Box

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

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Cherry MX Red
Feel
Linear
Actuation Force
48.7 gf
Pre-Travel
1.98 mm
Total Travel
4.04 mm

The Varmilo VA87M in our unit has Cherry MX Red switches, but it's also available in a variety of switches. The Red switches offer linear feedback and have a low pre-travel and don't need too much force to actuate, resulting in a light and responsive typing experience.

8.5
Typing Experience
Typing Quality

Typing on this keyboard is great. 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 of 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'll likely be louder with Cherry MX Blue switches, but we haven't tested this.

Software and Operating System
0
Software and Operating System
Software
Software No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
No Profile
Onboard Memory
No
Cloud Sync
No
Backlight Programming
No
Macro Programming
No
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

This keyboard doesn't have any customization software. If you'd like a keyboard that has companion software to customize the backlighting, 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 none of the function keys, the 'Print Screen', 'Scroll Lock', and 'Pause Break' buttons work on macOS. Likewise, the F1 and F2 buttons only work to control screen brightness.

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 SF is a better wired keyboard than the Varmilo VA87M. The Ducky has full RGB backlighting, macro-programmable keys, and two incline settings. That said, the Varmilo with Cherry MX Red switches is much quieter and doesn't require quite as much force to actuate the keys.

Ducky MIYA Pro

The Ducky MIYA Pro is a better wired keyboard than the Varmilo VA87M. The Ducky has macro-programmable keys and compatible companion software. That said, the Varmilo has media hotkeys and has a shorter pre-travel distance.

Ducky One 2 RGB TKL

The Ducky One 2 RGB is a better keyboard than the Varmilo VA87M. The Ducky has programmable macros and compatible companion software. That said, the Varmilo has media hotkeys. 

Durgod Taurus K320

The Varmilo VA87M is a better wired keyboard than the Durgod Taurus K320. The Varmilo has a better build quality due to the switches being housed on a metal plate, and it has white backlighting. That said, the Durgod has companion software to set macros, and there are variants with RGB backlighting.

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.

Ducky One 2 Mini

The Ducky One 2 Mini is a better keyboard than the Varmilo VA87M. The Ducky has full RGB backlighting, two incline settings, and macro-programmable keys. That said, the Varmilo has a shorter pre-travel distance.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is a better keyboard than the Varmilo VA87M. The Obinslab has full RGB backlighting and programmable macros. That said, the Varmilo has media hotkeys and an incline setting.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

The Varmilo VA87M is a better keyboard than the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro. The Varmilo doesn't need as much force to actuate the Cherry MX Red switches and its build quality is a bit better overall. That said, the HyperX is fully compatible with Linux.

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