[4:20 Reviews] LZ 84 SE
[4:20 Reviews] LZ 84 SE
As always, we’ll start with the high level basics for the curious folk:
- Case Type: 2 piece aluminum case, aluminum plate, feetless design
- Featured Keycaps: Black Cherry doubleshots, girldc DV Esc key
- Cabling/Wiring: N/A
- Other Aesthetics: Amber Caps and Scroll Lock
- Switch and Modification: Cherry MX Clears with custom 62g gold springs and MX Grey spacebar. Each individual switch is modified with lubricant on the friction points (slider, spring) and stickers applied between the housing.
I like to start these reviews with a little history about the keyboard and their designer. Similar to the LZ Mini MX I reviewed previously, this case was designed by LifeZone, a Korean keyboard blogger and custom case designer. Originally, there was a community driven keyboard project called the A.87 (84 in this case) and was one of the first ones to sport the TKL design with winkeyless options. I believe the PCB schematic was made public, so many keyboard case designs started coming up in the market ranging from acrylic to aluminum in material. LZ has designed similar other models that used the A.87 PCB such as the LZ-F, LZ-S and the upcoming LZ-GH (GeekHack edition). The special edition, though, has been designed to use now feet or bar, but instead an angled case.
Talking a little bit on the internals for a moment, we’re using an A.87 PCB with modified gold 62g MX Clear switches. The A.87 PCB is an older generation, Korean forum project that I believe uses the AIKON controller and unfortunately did not come with pre-soldered SMD diodes, which is fine but it required extra soldering and switch assembly time to apply in-switch diodes. And the switches, I went with modified MX Clears (Grey for the spacebar) using: custom 62g gold springs, GPL 203/103 mixture (60%/40%) slider lube, Victorinix Multi-Tool Oil for the springs.
The overall feel of the switches are a tad heavier than I expected and wasn’t sure why that was until I learned about the gold springs. According to Choi Young Gyoo, a Korean member from KBD/OTD, the gold material used has a different elasticity causing the springs to be more stiff. In comparison, he says, the 62g gold springs actually feel more like the 65g silver ones. If that’s truly the case (though I’m sure ripster would probably deem it a McRip effect), it would explain why it felt significantly heavier than my KMAC with silver 62g springs. In any case, just a tad heavy for my taste and I may end up swapping out springs some day.
Let’s move on to the case and plate design. For starters, this keyboard weighs over 8 lbs. (tips my shipping scale) and is probably closer to 10-11 lbs! It is outrageously and unnecessarily heavy, there is no way it’s moving on any desk. It offers a unique slanted case design with a ribbed back piece. There are also carvings on the sides which act as handles to pick the keyboard up easily. With other slanted case designs (i.e. KMAC 2, KMAC Mini, duck Poker case), my complaint was that they were difficult to pick up. As you can see with the LZ SE, there are no issues with that.
For this model, it features the 84-key Winkeyless layout. This means that for the bottom row, the keycap spacing allows for 1.5x modifiers and a 7x spacebar. The plate, similar to the LZ Mini and PHANTOM, utilizes modern design to allow a switch’s top housing to be removed without desoldering. This feature needs to be on every keyboard, period. I can’t stress that enough. As a switch and keyboard modder, this feature just saves so much time when experimenting with different switch types.
When we look at the underside, it has a ribbed finish with rubber feet nubs. Just a little bit of design flair instead of a simple flat surface. The color is also a very beautiful red. It’s not as vibrant as the KMAC 1.2/2 Red, but the anodized layer is very high quality and more of a red/maroon. Someday soon, I’ll take a picture side by side with my red KMAC 1.2.
Overall, for $320 (+ shipping from Korea), I’d say this was definitely a great buy considering what LZ merchandise costs these days. You can always expect some quality products from LZ, but you’re definitely going to be paying a premium for that. The LZ SE is certainly one of the more unique ones as well. It utilizes some classy design specs with the ribbed back piece, angled case with handles, switch friendly plate and enough weight to smack someone over the head and end their life! If you come across one of these rare gems, don’t hesitate to get one.
Now that I’ve been banned on GH, I may have some more time to update my blog more often. Hope you guys like what I do here and if you don’t, well…sorry man.
Over and out!