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Varmilo Sakura And Sea Melody VA87M TKL Keyboard Review: Form And Function In Perfect Harmony

Varmilo Sakura

Varmilo Malaysia sent us a whole slew of their newly-launched artisan mechanical keyboards in Malaysia. We received the ever-popular Beijing Opera, Sakura, and Sea Melody, which are all TKL boards. The Sakura and Sea Melody is equipped with Varmilo’s very own EC v2 switches, so this review will primarily focus on those first. The Beijing Opera has the Cherry MX Reds. Truth be told, everybody knows Cherry MX, everybody knows the Reds, so we won’t go too deep into that.

For a closer look at the boards, we’ve prepared a special gallery at the end of this article for your pleasure. Enjoy.

What’s In The Box?

Varmilo Sea Melody
Varmilo SakuraVarmilo Sea Melody
1 x Varmilo Sakura
1 x Keycap Puller
1 x Quick Start Guide
1 x Set of extra Keycaps
1 x miniUSB-A Cable
1 x Varmilo Sea Melody
1 x Keycap Puller
1 x Quick Start Guide
1 x Set of extra Keycaps
1 x miniUSB-A Cable

Design

Varmilo Sakura

The design on these keyboards are top-tier. The designers put in so much effort into the keycaps and even the casing, to make the overall board look very thematic and aesthetic. Most prominent would be the spacebar, which has the largest print on the keyboard. The others include the arrow keys, Fn and Start Button, Esc key, as well as the Shift and Enter keys. The use of colour also flows really well from zone to zone. Majority of the blues and pinks are on the modifiers, and the alphabet zone is kept white or colour combos down to a minimum so it doesn’t seem “too much” or gaudy.

These design cues may seem small if you look at them individually, but when you put them together, it just makes for a really great looking mechanical keyboard.

Board

Varmilo Sea Melody

Unlike the Beijing Opera which has a nice extra touch on the casing and on the bottom, the Sakura and Sea Melody features a simple casing that sticks to its respective colours. That’s Pastel Pink on the Sakura, and Pastel Blue on the Sea Melody. While I would’ve liked to see a couple of water droplets on the Sea Melody and Sakura petals on the Sakura’s cases, it’s okay for Varmilo not to do it because the focus of the design is mainly on the keycaps.

The board itself feels sturdy and firm, and there is almost no amount of flexing at all. Of course, on a daily use the keyboard will be on your desktop and there shouldn’t be any instance where your keyboard would be flexed (unless of course you post a picture of it on social media for the #flex). But if you’re traveling often and you tend to carry/bring your keyboard with you, it’s important to have a sturdy keyboard that doesn’t flex easily. And the Sakura and Sea Melody are great boards for that, alongside its TKL size too.

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Varmilo Sakura And Sea Melody VA87M TKL Keyboard Review: Form And Function In Perfect Harmony 11

RGB Lighting

Varmilo Sakura

If you’re into RGB lighting on your keyboard, I apologize, the Varmilo Sakura and Sea Melody aren’t for you. Varmilo wants to show off its design and RGB should not get in the way of it. I’ve come to a phase where I just don’t appreciate backlighting anymore. I mean, it’s great for product shoots and looks awesome in videos. But when it comes to daily use case, it can get too glaring and distracting.

Cable

Varmilo Sea Melody

The Varmilo Sakura and Sea Melody both come with braided miniUSB cables that follow their respective themes – Pastel Pink for Sakura, Pastel Blue for Sea Melody. They are of decent length and should reach your desktop just fine. It’s nice that the cables are braided too for extra protection, but it would’ve been nice if Varmilo used USB Type-C instead, since most devices nowadays are shifting into newer connector options. miniUSB still works fine, it’s just that it’s old, and even microUSB would’ve been a better option. The cables also come with a Velcro cable tie for easy storage.

Keycaps

Varmilo Sakura

Varmilo improved upon their classic keycaps which had a thickness of 1.3mm and a matte textured finish on the surface. Dubbed as the new V-Silk PBT keycaps, these are not doubleshot PBT, but instead dye-sub PBT keycaps. It has the same 1.3mm thickness, but has a soft and smooth surface instead.

There is very little wobble with the keycaps in the N/S direction, but more when it comes to the W/E direction. They feel stable and nice to type on. As for the larger keys like Enter and Spacebar, they all have very good stability. There is no wobble, no audible spring ping, and they just sound really satisfying.

Switches

Varmilo Sea Melody

Varmilo’s keyboard uses their proprietary EC v2 switch, which are electrocapacitive switches. The Daisy switch on the Sakura and the Sakura switch on the Sea Melody are both linear switches, with a difference in only spring weight.

These switches only come in plate-mount and 3-pin variety. The top housing has a clear fully open LED-bar allowing for any standard keyboard LEDs to shine through.

Varmilo Sakura

These switches are extremely smooth, despite having a slight scratchy feel in every stroke. But the good thing is, the scratchiness is uniform throughout the entire board, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. This just means that Varmilo has great quality control. The scratchiness is more apparent in the Daisy (35g) switch than the Sakura (45g).

Sound

Varmilo Sea Melody

When it comes to sound, these switches have a strong mid to high pitched plasticky sound that matches their push feel. So when you’re typing on them, they may sound loud, but it’s not as obnoxious as Cherry MX Blues. They sound quite hollow when they bottom out, so it takes a bit of getting used to.

Typing Experience

As for typing experience, these Varmilo keyboard with their EC switch did take me some time to get used to them. Normally, I type on Gateron Yellows and Cherry MX Reds. So for my heavy typing fingers to start typing on such light switches as the Daisy and Sakura, it took a while. I did 100 typing tests on each switch to get used to them, and I started with the Sakuras (45g) first. What I realized is that with the Sakuras, my typing accuracy got better after 40 typing tests, and on the Daisy switch, i got better accuracy from the 20 typing test mark.

So, if you’ve never experienced such light switches before, just know you’ll need time to get used to it, and not hate on the switch/board as soon as you type on it. They’re still great switches for light and fast typing, I managed to break my own personal best of 95WPM to 104WPM with the EC v2 Daisy.

Conclusion

Varmilo Sakura

The Varmilo Sakura and Sea Melody are amazing keyboards in terms of both form and function. They look aesthetically pleasing, and they have excellent build quality. If you’re a gamer looking for your next gaming keyboard, these may not be for you. But if you’re a creator and you appreciate great design, the Sakura, Sea Melody and even the Beijing Opera is definitely something up your alley.

If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, you can do so by visiting 9inepercent’s official online store here. The Sakura and Sea Melody are priced at RM649, while the Beijing Opera is priced at RM749.

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Varmilo Sakura And Sea Melody VA87M TKL Keyboard Review: Form And Function In Perfect Harmony 11

RM25 DISCOUNT CODE

Varmilo Malaysia was also kind enough to offer a discount code if you want to get one of their VA87M keyboars for yourself. Just head on over to 9inepercent’s official online store, or Lazada and Shopee store, and use this code “9INEAXO” to receive RM25 off, minimum spend RM200.

9INEAXODiscount Code – Expires 31st Jan 2020

The code will be usable till the 31st of Jan 2020, can be used on discounted items, but can not be stacked. For code redemption on Lazada, unfortunately due to limitation on discount code generation, you will need to PM 9inepercent’s Lazada store to obtain the discount voucher via chat system.

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Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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