Vortex Race 3 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Mar 06, 2020 at 07:45 am
Vortex  Race 3 Picture
Entertainment / HTPC
Connectivity Wired
TenKeyLess (75%)

The Vortex Race 3 is a solid overall mechanical keyboard. It's one of the better-built keyboards we've reviewed so far and it's offered in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches, so you'll be sure to find one that suits your needs. The keys have a linear level design and feel very nice to type on. The typing experience is light with the Brown switches, but the ergonomics of the board aren't the best. It only features one incline setting that can be set by screwing in additional feet. The Race 3 also has a non-typical layout with a TKL 75% design. It's about the size of most 60% or 65% keyboard but features a few more keys like a TKL keyboard. This enthusiast keyboard also comes with colored keycaps for a more unique style.

Our Verdict

7.6 Gaming

The Vortex Race 3 is a decent gaming keyboard. Its keys are quick to actuate and it feels very responsive. It's also one of the better-built keyboards we've seen so far, so it should last you a while. However, this version lacks backlighting, although there's one with RGB lighting.

4.5 Mobile/Tablet

The Vortex Race 3 is a wired-only keyboard that isn't designed to work with mobile smart devices.

7.9 Office

The Vortex Race 3 is a good keyboard for the office. The model we tested has Cherry MX Brown switches, which offer an excellent typing quality with great tactile feedback. It's also quiet enough to use in an open-office environment, but going with clicky switches might not be. On the upside, it's a very well-built keyboard that should last you for years, and it's also fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, which makes it very versatile.

7.2 Programming

The Vortex Race 3 is a decent keyboard for programmers. It has an excellent typing quality and is available with many different Cherry MX switches, so you should find one that suits your needs. However, it doesn't have the best ergonomics, although the keycaps have a linear level design which is quite comfortable to type on. Programmers should also appreciate the ability to program every key and to create three additional layers.

3.5 Entertainment / HTPC
  • 7.6 Gaming
  • 4.5 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.9 Office
  • 7.2 Programming
  • 3.5 Entertainment / HTPC
  1. Updated Feb 04, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
1.1" (2.8 cm)
Width 12.5" (31.8 cm)
4.6" (11.6 cm)
Depth With Wrist Rest
1.76 lbs (0.800 kg)

The Vortex Race 3 is a very compact keyboard. Although it's described as a TKL 75%, its dimensions are closer to a compact design like the Ducky One 2 Mini or the Obinslab Anne Pro 2.

Build Quality
Keycap Material PBT

The build quality of the Vortex Race 3 is excellent. It feels very solid, and its frame is entirely made out of metal, which is great. The board features Dye Sub PBT keycaps that feel durable. This is one of the better-built keyboards we've reviewed so far.

Board Design
Minimum Incline
0 °
Medium Incline
Maximum Incline
5 °
Wrist Rest No

The ergonomics of this keyboard are mediocre. This board has a straight design and usually lays flat. However, it comes with a set of feet, which will give you a small angle. They need to be screwed in, though, so it's not as easy to set or take off as typical folding keyboard feet.

Backlighting No
No Backlighting
Individually Backlit Keys
Color Mixing
No Backlighting

The Vortex Race 3 doesn't have backlighting, although there's a variant that supports full RGB lighting.

Cable & Connector
Length 4.9 ft (1.5 m)
Connector (Keyboard side)
Micro USB

The micro-USB cable of the Vortex Race 3 is detachable, which is nice. The cable has white markings and gives off cheap overall vibes, but on the upside, it's very easy to replace if you want to modify the style of your keyboard.

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

This keyboard is wired-only, so it can't be used wirelessly.

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

Every feature available on this keyboard is done through the board itself. All media keys are hotkeys on the F keys, and you can program macros on all keys as well. The macro recording sequence might be a bit tricky at first, but it works well. You can create three additional layers, and each has a different LED light color, which is situated under the spacebar. You can also activate Game Mode to prevent your Windows key from minimizing your game by pressing Fn+End.

In The Box

  • Vortex Race 3 keyboard
  • Extra colored keycaps
  • Mac Command keycaps
  • Incline keyboard feet
  • Screws
  • Micro-USB to USB cable

Typing Experience
Typing Experience
Key Switches
Cherry MX Brown
Operating Force
51 gf
Actuation Force
38 gf
1.9 mm
Total Travel
4.0 mm

The Cherry MX Brown used on this board might feel a bit less tactile than others. Its tactile bump isn't as pronounced as other keyboards we've reviewed like the Ducky One 2 Mini. Also, while our unit features Cherry MX Brown switches, this board is also available in a wider variety including Blue, Red, Black, Clear, Silver Speed, and Silent Red. Different switches will result in different keystrokes and typing experience.

Typing Experience
Typing Quality

The typing quality provided by the Vortex Race 3 is excellent. It's very natural to type on once you get used to the linear profile of the keycaps. They also feel very nice and the tactile feedback is good. All keys are stable, including the spacebar. Overall, typing on this keyboard feels great, and you shouldn't feel fatigue after a while.

Typing Experience
Typing Noise

Typing on this keyboard isn't too loud and should be suitable to type on even in an open-office environment.

Typing Experience
Latency Wired
7.7 ms
Latency Receiver
Latency Bluetooth
Software and Operating System
Software and Operating System
Software & Programming
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Onboard Memory
Cloud Sync
Macro Programming
Ease Of Use
No Software
Software Windows Compatible
Software macOS Compatible

Although this keyboard doesn't have downloadable software with an interface, you can still customize some things directly on the board itself. All four layers can be saved directly on the board, so your macros will stay if you use the keyboard with another computer.

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

This keyboard has great compatibility. All keys work on Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it quite versatile. However, since it can't be used wirelessly, it won't be the best option for mobile smart devices.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This keyboard is available in a lot of different switches. Most of our review should still be valid for all of them, but the overall typing experience should change drastically depending on which switches you go for. You can choose between Cherry MX Brown (which we tested), Red, Blue, Black, Silent Red, Silver Speed, and Clear. There's also a variant of this keyboard that has RGB backlighting. This variant is available with Silent Black switches rather than Clear switches.

Compared To Other Keyboards

The Vortex Race 3 is a good overall mechanical keyboard that sets itself apart by its unique design. It's categorized as a TKL 75% layout, which is about as small and compact as a 60% or 65%, but has a few more keys, similar to a TKL layout. It's available in many different switches, which is great. It's also one of the boards with the best build quality we've tested thanks to its full metal frame. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best keyboards for writers.

Keychron K4

The Keychron K4 and the Vortex Race 3 are very different keyboards. The Vortex is a wired-only keyboard and can only be used with desktop operating systems, while the Keychron is a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and has a multi-device pairing feature. Both keyboards can be configured with your preferred type of mechanical switches, and neither of them has software support for customization. However, all keys on the Vortex are macro-programmable using a macro recording sequence on the keyboard. Also, the Keychron has backlighting, which the Vortex lacks.

Ducky One 2 Mini

The Ducky One 2 Mini is a better overall keyboard than the Vortex Race 3 thanks to its full RGB backlighting. Both these mechanical keyboards are available in a multitude of switches, which is great. The Ducky has a 60% compact design without arrow keys, while the Race 3 has a similar footprint, but features more keys, including arrow keys. The Race 3 has a full metal frame, which makes it a bit sturdier. Although both our units have Cherry MX Brown switches, they feel a bit different and the Ducky has a bit more tactile feedback.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is a more versatile keyboard than the Vortex Race 3 thanks to its wireless Bluetooth connection. They're about the same size even though the Race 3 has a bit more keys, like navigation arrows. The Anne Pro 2 also has full RGB lighting and software to help you control it easily. You can also easily set macros inside it. On the other hand, the Race 3 is slightly better-built as its frame is entirely made out of metal.

Ducky MIYA Pro

The Ducky MIYA Pro and the Vortex Race 3 are two good keyboards that can be customized quite a bit. Even though the Ducky is a compact 65%, it's still wider than the TKL 75% Vortex, which offers more keys. The Vortex is also fully compatible with both macOS and Linux, and it also feels a lot more solid thanks to its metal base. On the other hand, our unit doesn't have full RGB lighting, although there is a variant with it.

IBM Model M

The Vortex Race 3 is much better than the IBM Model M. It has a better build quality, each key is macro programmable, and you can save up to four layers of customization directly to the keyboard's on-board memory. However, the Model M offers a better typing experience and it's more comfortable to type on.

Das Keyboard X50Q

The Das Keyboard X50Q is a slightly better keyboard for professionals than the Vortex Race 3. Its full-size design gives you access to more keys, but does take a bit more space on your desk, especially if you use the included wrist rest. On the other hand, the Vortex is better-built thanks to a metal frame, but it doesn't have any backlighting like the Das, although an RGB variant exists. The X50Q also gives you access to 'applets' to show you desired information, which the Vortex can't do.

Redragon K552-RGB

If you're looking for a compact mechanical gaming keyboard, then the Vortex Race 3 might be a better option than the Redragon K552-RGB. Even if the Race 3 doesn't have RGB - although a variant with it exists - the board is noticeably better-built and you can record macros directly on the board, which you can't do with the Redragon. Also, the Redragon K552 is only available in Blue clicky switches, while the Vortex can come in a lot of different Cherry MX Switches.

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