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Epomaker TH66 Review Hotswap Gateron Pro Switch Keyboard

 
One of the best features you can get on a mechanical keyboard is hot swappable switches. Hotswap keyboards such as the Epomaker TH66 (seen pictured) are more versatile and future-proof than regular keyboards because if the switch breaks you can easily swap it. And, if you want to try different switches down the road you can do so without having to buy a new keyboard!

The Epomaker TH66 keyboard comes with 66 keys (65% layout), hot swappable Gateron Pro switches, aluminum metal knob, south facing RGB lights and tri-mode connectivity so, you can connect the keyboard three ways - via USB-C cable, Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4Ghz wireless connection. The bluetooth chip supports multipoint so, you can connect the TH66 keyboard to up to 3 devices at the same time, which is a useful feature for productivity when working on different machines (e.g. laptop and computer).


Gateron Pro switches are an enhanced version of the original Gateron with better features such as gold plated switch contacts, smoother actuation and less wobble, thanks to being factory lubed and having a shorter stem. The Gateron Pro are top mounted SMD switches with clear top, white bottom and 3 pin contacts. Most RGB keyboards on the market have either north-facing RGB lights or south facing RGB lights. The TH66 keyboard is unique though. It is a south facing RGB keyboard with a north-facing top row.


South-facing RGB leds shine through from the bottom side (nearest to you), while north facing led shine through the top. There is no difference in functionality between the two, except keycap compatibility. North-facing keyboards are compatible with almost all backlit compatible keycaps, except for Cherry profile keycaps. 
 
The only way you can use Cherry profile keycaps on a north facing RGB keyboard is with certain switches such as Epomaker Chocolate Rose switches, Boba U4T switches and Holy Panda/Glorious Panda switches. The advantage of south-facing RGB light keyboards is brighter RGB lighting and 100% compatibility with all keycaps.


Because the TH66 keyboard has south-facing and north-facing leds, switch replacement won't be as straight forward. Epomaker recommends Gateron SMD switches for this keyboard. The stock keycaps on the TH66 keyboard have an MDA profile with dye-sublimated legends and, they are made of PBT plastic (single shot). MDA profile PBT keycaps are some of the best in the business but you can always use aftermarket keycaps, although keycap customization will be more expensive due to the north/south facing leds.


The TH66 keyboard dummy switch stabilizers have also been lubed from factory and help minimize rattling noise. In fact, there isn't any (see video test). The TH66 keyboard is compatible with 5-pin and 3 pin switches. There is EVA sound dampening foam and a large 2200 mAh rechargeable battery inside the TH66 keyboard. Battery life is approximately 5 days with lights turned on and 11 days with lights turned of. Charging time takes 50 minutes, which is a lot faster than most keyboards.


The top part of the keyboard casing is made of semi-translucent smoked plastic, which allows the RGB backlighting to be seen from the front, bottom and sides of the keyboard. The bottom side of the keyboard is made of opaque black plastic so, the RGB lighting doesn't shine through the bottom like on the Epomaker HS84 board. The backlighting can be turned off directly from the keyboard by cycling down 4 brightness levels. 
 
There are a total of 8 dynamic RGB lighting effects (e.g. rainbow, breathing, radar), as well as 8 single solid colors. There doesn't seem to be a custom RGB lighting mode. The metal knob on the far right top corner is a volume controller with a centre push button for muting the volume. The volume potentiometer knob is apparently remappable, according to Epomaker's product listing. However, there aren't any instructions on how to do this nor software available to download.


The Epomaker TH66 keyboard measures 32cm long and 11cm wide and weighs 796 grams (has a metal top plate). The keyboard casing is naturally inclined so the front end is thicker (2.3cm) than the bottom end (1.6cm). 
 
The overall height of the keyboard, including the top row of keys is 4cm high, while the height of the bottom row of keys is 3cm. The TH66 keyboard has rubberized dual feet risers for extra height adjustment.
 
The shorter feet risers elevate the top row of keys to 4.5cm, while the taller feet risers elevate the top row of keys to 5cm. The feet risers rubber material is very grippy, preventing the keyboard from sliding on the desk. There is also a flat rubber pad on each bottom corner of the keyboard so, the bottom of the keyboard doesn't get scratched.


The Epomaker TH66 keyboard comes with a velcro strap, an unbranded detachable stiff fabric cable (1.3 meters) and a 2-in-1 metal removal tool to remove keycaps and switches. There aren't any switch replacements included in the box, which have been nice since spares always come handy.You can buy the Epomaker TH66 from amazon with either Gateron black, Gateron blue or Gateron brown switches. The keyboard plastic casing is available in two variants: white frosted and smoke tint.

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