Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody review: a Hi-End mechanical keyboard

By: Alex Chub | 13.09.2021, 11:00
Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody review: a Hi-End mechanical keyboard

Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is an excellent keyboard that will suit both gamers and fans of mechanical models that type a lot. It has a solid and rigid case of excellent quality, durable keycaps made of thick PBT-plastic and standard layout. The switches use the proven Cherry MX switch. The interchangeable cable adds extra durability points to the keyboard. Meanwhile, the Varmilo VA108M looks really cool and comes in a variety of colors. But has a few complaints about the keyboard. First, it is an old-fashioned mini-USB connector of the detachable cable, instead of which a Type-C connector would be desirable. And a practically useless key backlight, which does not illuminate characters. The price of Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is an impressive 5350 UAH, although a mechanical keyboard of this class never comes cheap.

reasons to buy Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody:

  • excellent build quality and materials;
  • robust and solid construction;
  • robust and durable Cherry MX mechanical switches;
  • replaceable cable;
  • original design.

reasons not to buy Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody:

  • outdated MiniUSB connector;
  • backlight does not illuminate the characters on the keys;
  • high cost.

Fastpass

  1. What is Varmilo brand?
  2. What's included?
  3. What does the ASUS ROG Strix Scope RX look like?
  4. How comfortable and what does the keyboard do?
  5. In a nutshell

What's the Varmilo brand?

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There are a bunch of hyped brands that make mechanical keyboards. Mainly they are HyperX, Razer, ASUS, MSI, Cougar and so on. But there is a class of manufacturers producing mechanical keyboards, that are not positioned as gaming keyboards, but focus on quality of materials, construction and assembly. Among these brands we can recall Dycky, Vortex, Keychron, Filco, Leopold and Varmilo (by the way, the last two brands are assembled in the same production facilities). Varmilo is a Chinese brand which produces very high quality mechanical keyboards without any extra features in different form factors: full size, compact, up to separate number blocks. Another peculiarity of the Vermilo keyboards is that one model comes in a bunch of different, sometimes quite exotic colors. One such Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody keyboard has arrived today.

What's in the package?

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The Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is packed in a box of the same color as the keyboard itself. In this case - the blue and white box with the company's logo and nautical graphics. In the box you will find the keyboard itself, additional keycaps, key removal tool, detachable cable, documentation and an unusual bonus - a set of postcards.

What does Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody look like?

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Structurally, Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is a typical classic mechanical keyboard. In contrast to the now popular "skeleton" keypads, the keyboard has a plastic cover, so the mechanical switches are hidden from the user. They are installed directly on the metal base. But the design of the keyboard is very unusual. The keys are white and blue and some of them have pictures with a sea theme: from drops and ending with jellyfish to seashells, starfish and whales. The design is a bit on the nose but it's certainly not boring. The same model is available in other, more "neutral" variants.

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The plastic surface of the keyboard is also blue. But if you look closely, you can notice the texture pattern that imitates wood. The surface is haptically very pleasant and does not collect fingerprints and other traces of use.

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The caps are made of 1.3 mm thick PBT plastic. Unlike the more popular ABS plastic, PBT is more wear-resistant and stiff. Caycaps have a nice rough texture and do not "polish" over time and do not start to shine like ABS. But the cost of manufacturing (and therefore keyboards) with PBT plastic keycaps is also higher. The downside of using thick PBT-plastic is backlighting: the keycaps are not translucent. Consequently, characters are not visible in the dark and the backlighting has only a decorative function.

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On the back of the keyboard, there is only the cable connector, which is closer to the right edge. A removable cable is a nice feature: it can be easily replaced with a new one in case of failure. However, using the ancient MiniUSB in 2021 is a bit confusing. It would be desirable the familiar, handy, and the most important thing is the nowadays more widespread Type-C.

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On the bottom of the keyboard, there are rectangular rubber inserts all around, a metal plate with technical specifications in the middle and folding legs for changing the keyboard tilt angle. Thanks to the rubber seals and the keyboard's considerable weight, it won't slip on your desk:

Two possible keyboard angles:

The cable is not braided, moderately thick, but very pliable. Length of the cable is 1,5m which is good enough for most occasions.

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Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is assembled very well. Thanks to the metal base the whole construction has excellent rigidity and does not squeak when twisting. And there is practically no squeezing.

How easy is it to use and what can the keyboard do?

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The keyboard has pretty much the standard layout. It's just how it should be: F1 key is pressed right above 2 key, both Shift and Backspace keys are long and Enter is single-decked. So, you'll never get used to it - it's all standard and convenient. The keyboard supports N-key roll over (NKRO), so any number of keys pressed simultaneously is triggered. All symbols and drawings on the keys are applied by dye-sublimation printing, they are very durable and will not rub off with time. The Cyrillic alphabet is present, but unfortunately there are no Ukrainian symbols. It is not a critical problem, though.

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The only difference from the standard layout is the additional buttons above the number block. They launch the standard music player, email client, calculator and explorer. Beside that, F7-F12 are combined with Fn buttons for playback control and volume control.

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Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is available with Cherry MX mechanical switches, which need no introduction. There are variants with Blue, Brown and Red. A keyboard with red switches came to us. These are linear switches with a 4mm full stroke and 2mm to actuation. The required weight for actuation is 45 g. They have no tactile response at the actuation point, they are not very noisy. They only provide noise when the keycaps touch the base of the keyboard. Cherry MX Red keypads are perfect for gaming due to their light linear stroke, though I didn't have any problems with typing while testing. But for those who like typewriter effect there is also a tactile Cherry MX Blue variant.

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The keyboard uses Cherry stabilizers with internal wire layout and external mechanisms. They do an excellent job and the long buttons are virtually wobbly. At the same time, there is practically no difference in pressure compared to conventional buttons.

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The Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody has white backlighting. But as stated above, it does not illuminate the characters themselves and is used in this case only for beauty. There are two modes: static and breathing. They are switched with combination Fn + right arrow. The brightness is adjusted by a combination of Fn + up and down arrows.

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The keyboard has no other additional functions. Therefore, it is not necessary to install any additional application. Simply plug it into a USB port and use it. Together with the keyboard we received Varmilo Sea Melody Desk Mat XL surface which has the same design as the keyboard. The blue and white coloring and the image of a whale. XL is the largest option that takes up the majority of any standard office desk. Its dimensions are 900x400mm and 3mm thick. There are smaller variants.

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The rubberized base of the surface is made of caoutchouc and has an excellent grip on the desk. Thanks to this the surface does not slip at all. The edges are stitched and the top surface is made of fabric and is great for use with any mouse.

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Bottom line. Three things to know about the Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody.

  • The Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody is an excellent quality mechanical keyboard with proven Cherry MX switches.
  • It has detachable MiniUSB cable.
  • The keyboard layout is standard and has four additional keys.
Varmilo VA108M Sea Melody Keyboard Specifications
Switches Mechanical, Cherry MX Blue/Red/Brown
Lifetime 50 million presses
Stroke to actuation point 2 mm
Actuation force 45 g
Backlight White

Connection

  • wired, USB
  • Cable
  • 1.5 m, detachable MiniUSB
  • Dimensions
  • 442x137x33 mm
  • Weight
  • 1100 g xml-ph-1351@deepl.inter