Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

New MX2A Red switches and a great layout give gamers a lot to love.

Key Takeaways

  • Cherry XTRFY K5V2 offers customization from switches to keycaps, and per-key RGB lighting.
  • The compact design allows for better gaming posture and hand positioning.
  • The new Cherry MX2A Red switches provide fast, satisfying key presses.

Unless this is your first time shopping for a mechanical keyboard, you've heard of Cherry. That's because the company makes the key switches that appear in millions of keyboards from various brands. But it also offers its own keyboards, including the new fantastic Cherry XTRFY K5V2.

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

Cherry Xtrfy K5V2

$140 $150 Save $10

The K5V2 lets you customize your keyboard. The switches, stabilizers and keycaps to the cable, frame and even the little plate for the logo is swappable.

Form factor 65% keyboard Switch options Cherry MX2A Red Switches Colorways Black, Transparent White, Amnis Blue, Custom Backlight Per-key Customizable RGB LED Strip Construction PCB-mounted, Pre-lubed Stabilizers Dampening Double layers of sound-dampening foam Keycaps Thick ABS Hot-swappable Yes Dimensions 360 x 172 x 144mm Weight 841g Number of Keys 67 Brand Cherry Num Pad None Pros

  • New Cherry MX2A Red switches
  • Quality board construction and materials
  • Stunning per-key RGB lighting
  • Extremely customizable
  • Compact size but keeps direction keys

Cons

  • Software-free settings may have you referring to the manual often

AmazonCherry

The 65% Keyboard: Small, but Mighty

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

One of my favorite things about the XTRFY K5V2 is that it is so small without sacrificing the direction keys. Chopping off the number pad to make a keyboard smaller isn't new, but some keyboards sacrifice the familiar direction buttons or put them in a weird place. I like that Cherry kept these keys around.

If you're wondering why compact keyboards are good for gaming, the answer is that this design keeps your hands close together. Assuming your left hand is on the WASD keys (near the left side of the board) most of the time, removing the number keys lets you bring your right (mouse) hand in closer. It's a more natural position. I have compact and full-size keyboards and I can tell you: my shoulders really feel it after gaming for a couple of hours with a full board. So does the thumb on my mouse, which bangs against the keyboard too often.

The XTRFY K5V2 also keeps the delete, page up, and page down keys, which are handy for gaming and a variety of tasks. Cherry merged the function keys with the number keys, further reducing the keyboard's footprint. Although your preferences may be different, I find the compactness of the keyboard to be freeing. I have more room on my desk when I use it. Even my posture is different because my right arm is closer to my side.

These days, there are certain features you can expect from a high-quality, mechanical gaming keyboard. The list includes N-key rollover, a high polling rate, and sound-dampening material. The XTRFY K5V2 nails these features. It has a 1000Hz polling rate and full N-key rollover. It also has double layers of sound-dampening foam.

The keyboard also features pre-lubed, PCB-mounted stabilizers to ensure that the ABS keycaps respond reliably to your key presses, no matter how frantically you hit them. Beyond that, the XTRFY K5V2's keys are hot-swappable, meaning you can change them out for others. Also, as a sucker for lights, I have to point out that the per-key RGB lighting on this board is stellar.

Sweet New Cherry Key Switches

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

The XTRFY K5V2's biggest draw has to be its new key switches. As I mentioned, Cherry is known for its high-quality key switches. The XTRFY K5V2 debuts Cherry's new MX2A Red switches, which have a different mechanism than the venerable (and much-loved) MX Red switches.

I love typing on the MX2A Red switches. Typing text, pounding the WASD keys—every keypress is fast and comes with a satisfying (but not loud) clack. The spacebar was a little louder than the other keys, but not annoying.

Preferences vary, of course, but I feel confident saying that if you like Cherry Red switches, you'll be very happy with this new switch version.

No Software? No Problem—Mostly

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

Interestingly, Cherry doesn't offer software for its new keyboard. Instead, it packed a boatload of customization features into the board itself. Nearly every key has icons or text on the user-facing side. Hold the FN key, and they're active. Media controls? Check. RGB lighting options? Check. Macros? You betcha. It even has mouse control options.

I found it easy enough to use the media controls, but I had to download the manual to figure out some of the lighting-related icons. For example, pressing the FN key and the key with the fingerprint icon lets you cycle through six lighting effects relating to your typing. It's cool, but dang, that's a lot of info to be represented by one icon.

I ran into a similar issue when recording macros. The printed quick-start guide (which comes with the keyboard) was all I needed this time. I like that the keyboard's indicator lights signal when the board is ready to record the macro.

The keyboard also has a function key that lets you swap between USB 2.0 and 3.0. If you plug the keyboard into a USB 3.0 port, it can improve the RGB lighting.

Should You Buy the Cherry XTRFY K5V2?

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

The Cherry XTRFY K5V2 is a big win. Yes, the lack of software means you have to interpret various icons to change settings. And, at $139, it's pricier than, say, the Keychron C3 Pro. But should the XTRFY K5V2 fit your budget, I'd jump on it. I love the sound and feel of the new keys, the layout, and the RGB lighting. I don't think a gamer can go wrong with this mechanical keyboard.

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

Cherry XTRFY K5V2 Review: This Keyboard Comes Out Swinging With New Red Switches

Cherry XTRFY K5V2

$140 $150 Save $10

The K5V2 lets you customize your keyboard. The switches, stabilizers and keycaps to the cable, frame and even the little plate for the logo is swappable.

Form factor 65% keyboard Switch options Cherry MX2A Red Switches Colorways Black, Transparent White, Amnis Blue, Custom Backlight Per-key Customizable RGB LED Strip Construction PCB-mounted, Pre-lubed Stabilizers Dampening Double layers of sound-dampening foam Keycaps Thick ABS Hot-swappable Yes Dimensions 360 x 172 x 144mm Weight 841g Number of Keys 67 Brand Cherry Num Pad None AmazonCherry

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