[4:20 Reviews] LZ MX Mini by LifeZone
[4:20 Reviews] LZ MX Mini
I like to start off the review with some high level basics about the keyboard for all the lazy stoners 🙂
- Case Type: 2 piece aluminum case, aluminum plate and aluminum bar
- Keycaps: Dolch doubleshots with SP red Cherry keycap
- Cabling/Wiring: Pink LEDs under Scroll Lock, Caps Lock and Pause/Break
- Other Aesthetics: N/A
- Switch and Modification: Cherry MX Reds with custom 62g springs and Cherry MX Black switch on the spacebar. Each individual switch is modified with lubricant on the friction points (slider, spring) and stickers applied between the housing.
But before we dive into the detailed jargon, let’s talk a little bit about the history and it’s case designer. Originally, the “MX Mini” was a community driven project on the Korean forums, much like many of the other Korean customs out there (KMAC, Cheat, 356-series, etc.). The initial release of the MX Mini included an acrylic/aluminum case, plate and PCB. As you’ll see, the layout is very similar to the Noppoo Choc Mini with some clear differentiation in switch positioning and key-unit spacing. Though, the MX Mini you see above only has the heart and internals of what we deemed the original, it was only a matter of time before people realized that they could start making their own cases…
– Enter LifeZone aka LZ –
LZ is a blogger and active KBD member who specializes in designing custom cases. Reusing the existing MX Mini PCB, LZ has masterfully crafted an anodized aluminum shell around it. From what I’ve seen, he has designed cases for A.87 PCBs as well such as the LZ-F, LZ 87 SE, LZ-S, etc. Essentially what you have here is somewhat of a frankenstein keyboard that most people simply refer to as LZ Mini or LZ MX Mini.
The PCB itself isn’t anything especially exciting. It’s one of the earlier designs in this fast paced world of Korean customs, but the layout and size is certainly something to be appreciative of. In fact, it’s very similar to the Noppoo Choc Mini with some minor differences. While my keycaps may be confusing, the column of keys all the way on the right are mapped as (from top to bottom): Pause/Break, Delete, Insert, Page Up, Page Down and Right Arrow. The reason why you’ll see strange keycaps in those positions is because I prefer a uniform profile per row, else my OCD starts whooping my ass!
Retail price for the LZ case, PCB and plate was roughly $300. At least that’s how much I paid and comparing average prices of other customs, it’s definitely in the right ballpark. Since it was so expensive, I commissioned the highly rated alaricjs from GH to do all the soldering work. I didn’t want to be reminded of that day I first got my KMAC! alaricjs did an excellent job, and kept me updated through the whole process. Professional, excellent work, friendly, consultative, detail oriented and FAST. Sounds like I’m leaving him an eBay review, but seriously, he’s awesome. If you ever need any work done, he is a great person to contact!
My LZ Mini is built with uniform 62g Cherry Red switches with the exception of the spacebar, which uses a Cherry Black stem and spring. Each switch was heavily modified by me with your typical stuff. Sliders were lubed with a Krytox grease/oil blend (203/103) and springs were oiled with Red Line 75W90 gear oil. Oh, and those damned stickers too!
This is my first experience with modified Reds and it feels really nice. Considering these were my favorite switches before I discovered ergo-Clears, it was certainly a nostalgic feel to type on. Reds in my opinion, should only be used to play games on. For fast paced, high APM games, Reds and Blacks are the most ideal switch. As I said in the Cheat review, it’s like riding the clutch on manual cars. It allows you full control of the actuation point for precision gaming. Planning to type with Reds? Get outta hereeee….but hey, that’s my opinion 🙂
One of the unique features about the newer LZ plates are that they utilize a design similar to the Phantom. It allows switch top housings to be removed easily, which is a modder’s dream! Imagine being able to sticker, lube, swap springs, stems and all that jazz without having to desolder a single switch. All you need are some binder clips or the_Beast’s housing removal tool.
One more thing I wanted to mention about the LZ Mini was it’s size. It fits perfectly into the bag that I received with the KMAC. And for this reason alone, it makes this keyboard my favorite “mini” keyboard!
Oh and one last picture for the road. A color comparison of the KMAC titanium versus the LZ Mini titanium for anyone wondering…