Retail Price - £89.99
CHERRY MX Silent Red switches
TKL, space-saving design
16 million colour RGB backlighting
There's no real denying that the original CHERRY G80-3000 is one of the last remaining veterans of the mechanical keyboard world. Over the last 30 years or so, the design has undergone several interesting revisions, with each one bringing certain refinements.
The latest of these, the CHERRY G80-3000N RGB TKL not only brings a lot of letters to the party, but also vital components in the modern age such as Silent Red switches, a TKL form factor, and most integrally to some, plenty of RGB.
But, can it stand up against other space-saving candidates out there? Let's find out.
Design - Classic, sharp looks paired with some questionable build quality
The G80-3000N RGB TKL sports similar looks to the original keyboard's run over its various generations with the same screwless underside and black shell helping this new generation to look rather sharp indeed.
The most striking thing though is simply the fact it's a TKL, or tenkeyless keyboard. This means that it sacrifices the number pad from the right-hand side in a bid to offer users that little bit more desk space. In contrast to other TKL boards out there, the G80-3000N RGB TKL also seems remarkably compact and has a much smaller footprint than its competitors, but it's from here that things go a little bit awry.
As much as the board looks great, its construction seems rather flimsy by contrast to other boards at this price point with some deck flex and quite a bendy chassis, even when succumbed to little pressure. Moreover, whilst it does feel quite light in hand, this is a possible mark of the fact the G80-3000N RGB TKL isn't the most well-made keyboard I've tested.
On a more positive note, the keycaps feel pretty good under finger, and with laser-etched legends, they won't be wearing off anytime soon. The fact that there is a non-braided cable does cheapen the G80-3000N RGB TKL a little, just considering the overall pricing, but otherwise, connects via USB-A, which is convenient.
Performance - MX Silent Red switches keep things quiet and light
On the switch front, this revised G80-3000 continues the theme of utilising CHERRY's MX line, but does, if you'll pardon the pun, switch things up a bit with its choice.
The older models utilised either MX Blacks or Blues in a bid to please fans of both linear and tactile switches, and some earlier models even went as far as using MX Clears.
For the G80-3000N RGB TKL though, there's no choice as this only comes with the light, linear and silent MX Red Silents, an apparent favourite of the German manufacturer on other boards such as the older MX Board 1.0.
These offer a 45cN actuation force, which means they're snappy enough for both banging out essays and gaming. They're also a durable switch too, being rated for 50 million keypresses, meaning you're likely to wear out before the switches do.
I've never been the biggest fan of linear switches, having always traditionally gravitated towards the heavier, more tactile side of the switch world. But, for a set of linears, the Silent Reds are nice to use with a satisfying and quiet keystroke that's helped along by the switch dampening. Unlike other keyboards with Silent Reds in them, the G80-3000N RGB TKL offers the smoothest of keypresses where others can be quite jagged or gritty.
Otherwise, the space-saving TKL layout in day-to-day usage was marvellous, but if you aren't used to not having a number pad, then it is worth sticking with a more traditional, full -size offering.
Software and lighting - Sumptuous RGB let down by mediocre software
It's on the point of lighting where the G80-3000N RGB TKL claws back some of the points lost in design through providing some bright and sharp RGB lighting.
Whilst the lighting may not be everyone's cup of tea, there's no denying that for those who do want it on that what's on offer looks marvellous with a total spectrum of colours in all their vivid glory.
On software though, CHERRY Utility, the brand's gaming software that's used to both configure macros and lighting, isn't up to scratch in comparison to say, Razer Synapse. Its layout is a little clunky and feels old-fashioned by contrast, and whilst it's simple to use, the feature set does feel a little light.
The CHERRY G80-3000N RGB TKL represents quite an interesting package. For those wanting a space-saving keyboard with some great switches and marvellous lighting, then you're in luck.
Otherwise, the poor build quality, sparse software and comparatively high price mean this new version of an old legend doesn't entirely live up to the name of its predecessors, which is a massive shame.