The Government of Quebec is shutting down non-essential businesses till April 13. Therefore, our lab is temporarily closed and we can't test new products. In the meantime, we will continue to update articles from home.

Vortex Race 3 Keyboard Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 06, 2020 at 07:45 am
Vortex  Race 3 Picture
Test Methodology v0.8
7.3
Mixed usage
7.4
Gaming
3.6
Mobile/Tablet
7.7
Office
7.3
Programming
Connectivity Wired
Size
TenKeyLess (75%)
Mechanical
Yes

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

7.3 Mixed usage

The Vortex Race 3 is a decent overall keyboard. It's very well-built, can be used on any computer operating system, and is available in many different switches. It offers a great typing experience with the MX Brown switches, which is great for the office. However, its ergonomics aren't the best, and its lack of backlighting might be a deal-breaker for some.

7.4 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.

See our Gaming recommendations
3.6 Mobile/Tablet

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

7.7 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.

See our Office recommendations
7.3 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.

See our Programming recommendations
  • 7.3 Mixed usage
  • 7.4 Gaming
  • 3.6 Mobile/Tablet
  • 7.7 Office
  • 7.3 Programming
Pros
  • Amazing metal build quality.
  • Available in a wide variety of switches.
  • Excellent typing quality.
Cons
  • No dedicated software with interface.
  • No backlighting.

Check Price

Gray Race 3
Unavailable
B&H

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Dimensions
Height
1.1" (2.8 cm)
Width 12.5" (31.8 cm)
Depth 4.6" (11.6 cm)
Weight 1.8 lbs (0.8 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.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

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.

6.5
Design
Ergonomics
Board Design
Straight
Incline Settings
1
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.

0
Design
Backlighting
Backlighting No
Color No Backlighting
Brightness Settings
No
Individually Backlit Keys
No

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

Design
Cable
Detachable
Yes
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.

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

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

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

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.

Design
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
Keystrokes
Key Switches
Cherry MX Brown
Feel
Tactile
Actuation Force
39.2 gf
Pre-Travel
1.83 mm
Total Travel
4.00 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.

8.5
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
Noise
Quiet

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

Software and Operating System
4.5
Software and Operating System
Software
Software Name No Software
Account Required
No Software
Profiles
4
Onboard Memory
Yes
Cloud Sync
No
RGB Programming
No
Macro Programming
Yes
Software Windows Compatible
No
Software macOS Compatible
No

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.

8.2
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.

Ducky One 2 Mini
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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.

Das Keyboard X50Q
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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.

IBM Model M
Unavailable
B&H

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.

+ Show more

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider

Unlimited access to full product reviews, test measurements and scores

test table UI

Product prices across the site on reviews, tables and tools

product prices UI

Additional votes for our
next reviews

Additional votes UI

Early Access
to our reviews and test measurements

Early Access UI

Create Discussion