Cherry MX Board 5.0 Mechanical Keyboard Review

Cherry has not failed impressing us with the Cherry MX Board 5.0 Mechanical Keyboard, lets see why you get your bang for buck with this one!

Manufacturer: Cherry
12 minutes & 35 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 97%
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The Bottom Line

Cherry has done it again! Our experience with them may be limited, but they never fail to impress. The feature set is somewhat limited, but for what you get, you will be hard pressed to find better value than what can be had in the MX Board 5.0!

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Cherry is a company that gets much praise for their switches, yet at the same time seems to be almost unknown when it comes to keyboards. Doing what we do, we have known of them and their products for a while now, yet at the same time, this is only the second keyboard they have sent to us over the years. Even with limited first-hand knowledge on the full assortment of keyboards they have produced, we can tell you that they are not geared towards the gamer, which may be why they seem to lurk in the shadows as much as they do.

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Just because a keyboard is not designed with gaming as the priority, does not in any way mean it cannot be used for such things. While Cherry does deliver a reliable solution to stay on the desk for years to come, they do cover things like backlighting and multimedia keys, which will suit most users just fine for options. You will lack things like Macro buttons, you may not get RGB LED lighting, and software for remapping may be limited or even non-present, but the bottom line is that for most gamers, a keyboard is a keyboard. Not everyone needs all of the extras, especially those in the workplace, and is where the more subdued Cherry XM Boards shine.

The Cherry MX Board 5.0 that we got last should not be overlooked. While this is not of the caliber as most of the aggressively shaped, super fancy, full-featured gaming solutions out there that we see all the time, it is a great keyboard none the less. From what we can gather there are seven versions of this keyboard, dependent on geographic locations. That being said, the only things that change are the layout and language the keys are presented in, as all versions are based on Cherry MX red switches. Solid build quality, aesthetics that work in any environment, and near silence of operation are what Cherry was most enveloped with while producing this keyboard, and we like what we find and urge you to stick it out and see what Cherry has for you this time.

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In one of the most thorough charts we have seen for any product on the market, anything you need to know about the Cherry MX Board 5.0 can be had. Things start with what we are addressing about the various versions available, but the rest of the specifications are common to all versions. The housing of the keyboard is made of plastic, and while the bottom section and part of the top section are black, there is a textured silver ring that surrounds the layout of keys, which are black as well. The keyboard alone weighs in at 1060 grams, and there is also a tick rubberized wrist rest with adjustable legs, which weighs in at 420 grams to add on if desired. The cable length is 18. Meters and is covered in braided cloth. Storage and operating temperatures are shown, as well as the power consumption, just before we find the notation of the two-year warranty.

The keyboard uses a USB interface for the PC, and then we notice the symbols for product approval entities. In the box, you will get the keyboard, the wrist rest, and the operating instructions. Dimensionally the MX Board 5.0 is 464mm wide, 145mm from front to back, and without the feet raised, it stands 36mm tall. The wrist rest is much wider than the keyboard, it is 86.5mm deep, and flat on the table, it stands 36mm high. The Meat Time Between Failures is set to 80,000 hours, which is something like nine years. We also see that there are one billion cycles before failure as well. Each switch is rated for fifty million clicks, and in all of the designs, there are an additional four keys added to the standard 104-key layout.

The tricky part of this situation is that the Cherry MX Board 5.0 is a tough keyboard to find in the retail market, at least on this side of the pond. We do know that you can buy the keyboard right from Cherry, and the MSRP is set at €159.99. Typically that converts dollar to pound for us, which leaves the MX Board 5.0 in a good place compared to other products out there right now. We did find a couple of obscure listings inside of the US, and the price asked was a few more dollars than the MSRP, but if it were us, we would contact Cherry and grab the keyboard right from the source. As it sits, $160 for a mechanical keyboard not aimed at gaming has quite the hill to climb, but we do feel that Cherry put the right parts in the right combination to make anyone more than happy to have the Cherry MX Board 5.0 under their hands.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The packaging for the MX Board 5.0 comes with a thin outer layer of cardboard to present information, and we can see it is not in the best of shape. The front panel offers the Cherry name and logo on the left side, and to the right is the MX Board 5.0 name followed by notations of the high-speed MX switches, and that it is designed in Germany.

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On the right end of the box, we see two stickers. The white label not only shows the date code, serial number, and part number, but it also states that this Cherry MX Board 5.0 has the US International layout. The red sticker not only addressed the MX Mechanical Gold-X-Point Technology used to build the switches but also states the red linear switches require 45 centinewtons of force to actuate.

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Along the top edge, we find many languages covering the various features. Cherry points to the ergonomics and palm rest as one, and we see the switch technology again. Latency is kept low; there is NKRO support, 100% anti-ghosting, dimmable backlighting, double shot PBT keycaps, and elegant logo application to the keyboard.

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Rather than to put stickers on both ends of the box, the Cherry name and fruit logo are presented in red letters, while in the white text we are given the MX Board 5.0.

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The back of the box is the first look you get of the MX Board 5.0 and wrist rest, as it would look on your desk. The name of the product is to the right with HS and MX notations again, and with the company information, compliances, and legal information, we also find the system requirements and package contents at the bottom-right corner.

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Inside of the sleeve is this bright red cardboard box, which protects the keyboard from damage. The box is dual-layered, and the inner box is folded at the back to allow room to hide the cable as well as tightening the space for the keyboard. As for the keyboard, it is wrapped in plastic to keep dust out, and to protect any of the finishes applied. The MX Board 5.0 is a bit dusty but in perfect condition.

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With the inner box removed, you will find two things under the keyboard. First is the manual. Inside of this, there are connectivity instructions as well as usage instructions. This includes pointing out what the secondary functions are, and how to employ them, as well as covering five languages to help serve their market better.

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The second thing found under the keyboard is the oversized wrist rest. The top is padded and rubberized and also sports the MX logo on the right end of it. It attaches magnetically to the front of the keyboard, and also offers feet to lift the wrist rest to match the raised height of the back feet of the keyboard.

Cherry MX Board 5.0 Mechanical Keyboard

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At this end of the keyboard, we can see the two halves of the frame, the bottom of which is angled in and has a notch to access the foot at the back comfortably. On top of the top component of the frame, Cherry added a silver trim layer, which does dress up the visual appeal.

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The seventy-four keys on the left of the MX Board 5.0 are what we expect to see in a QWERTY layout. The font used is a bit different than most, and we do like the bump-out along the front edge for the Cherry name and logo.

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The F-keys offer some of the multimedia functionality in the first group. While holding the function key, you can press F1 to mute the PC, use F2 to lower the volume or use F3 to raise it.

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Still holding the function key down, pressing F5 will turn the LEDs on and off. F6 will dim the white LEDs in ten levels from brightest to dimmest. F7 reverses that action and allows you to raise the brightness of the LEDs.

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F12 is the last of the standard keys with offer dual functionality. When pressed, this key allows the user to switch between solid LED display of light, to a fade out and fade back in mode, and a pattern which rests with dim LEDs and blinks every one or two seconds.

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The right end of the keyboard shows us the command keys, and the abbreviated text used on them, and below that the frame is angled towards the arrow keys. The number pad is all there and even has arrow icons for gaming. At the top are four extra buttons, the first for lock-out mode, while the following three work the tracks being played on the PC.

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The right side of the MX Board 5.0 is a mirror image of what we saw at the other end. The only difference now is that the foot has been extended, and the keys are presented more ergonomically.

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The cable comes out of the bottom of the keyboard and extends out the back to the right of center. The 1.8 meters of cable is covered in braided cloth, and the connection is normally shaped but does say cherry on it to make it easy to find.

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Under the MX Board 5.0, we see eight red feet supporting it. All of the feet are rounded, even the feet when collapsed match the shape. Along the front edge, you can see the notches the wrist rest attaches too, and the pair of feet under the wrist rest and the feet at the back of the keyboard can be raised at once, making the keyboard hover roughly a half of an inch above the desk.

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The flip out feet are structurally made of plastic, and this simply implemented design is as sturdy as can be. The outside of the feet are covered in red rubber, and with the notches on the side of the keyboard, you can lift the back and swing the feet down, rather than having to flip the keyboard or fumble by feel for them.

Inside the MX Board 5.0

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While at first, the keycaps may look pretty standard, but there are two things to note here. First is that the keycaps are double shot, not painted like most other keyboards. On top of that, the caps are made of PBT instead of ABS plastic. The former adds a wear layer so that over time, the legends do not wear off the keys. The latter means the switches are more robust and less susceptible to things like scratches or the texture wearing smooth.

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Under the keycaps, each of the switches found and Cherry MX Red. This means linear feel to them, the light force needed to compress them to actuation, and with a fifty-million click lifespan, should be around for quite some time. Each switch is LED backlit, and for the longer keycaps, the torsion bar is enclosed, and dummy switches are used to support them.

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The frame is made of two parts. The lower section in the back is deep but has ridges horizontally and vertically to fully support the steel plate and PCB without movement or vibrations. The top part is open for the keycaps, but we also noticed the silver trim is screwed onto it, and custom painting or use of vinyl comes to mind.

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The PCB is one of the cleanest we have ever seen. The solder points are smooth, and not a single joint does not look as nice as these. Secondly, we see absolutely no remains of flux on the red PCB. Sadly, the MCU is on the side of the PCB with all of the switches, so obtaining a view is impeded.

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With power applied to it, the Cherry MX Board 5.0 glows with white LED lighting. The intensity is hindered by the lights, but we are in the brightest mode. We also like that the lock indicators are white to match, yet the Windows lock-out keys use is indicated with a red LED right above the cherry key that enables it.

Gaming and General Impressions


We are not the type to use Macros much, so the lack of software is of no loss to us. We typically do not remap the buttons much either; we play with the default settings of the game. However, "gamer" essentials still are found. Lighting can help in a dark room and many gamers like that in a keyboard. There is NKRO support out of the box, and combined with 100% anti-ghosting, never is an action left out, or is any combination of key presses missed. There are arrow keys to the right for left-handed gamers, leaving very little out of the design, even though it is not intended for the gaming market. We never found ourselves going somewhere we were not supposed to be going, it is comfortable for hours of gaming, even more with the wrist rest in place, and for us, the Cherry MX Board 5.0 makes for the perfect place for our left hand to command our characters.

Windows and Productivity

In daily use, the multimedia keys came in handy in times when someone walks into the office, and you are rocking out to get things like this review written, and you need to hear them. The use of red linear switches did take us a bit to get to the point of accurate again, but once we had some time with this keyboard, words flowed from our fingers with fewer mistakes each day. The structural integrity of a plastic framed keyboard is nearly inflexible, and over many hours behind this keyboard, we have not noticed vibration or fingertip discomfort for extended usage. The more time we spend with this keyboard, the happier we got, and you can sense a more professional feel, design, and layout to other keyboards on the market.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a Cherry MX based keyboard, why not go to the source for your mechanical keyboard needs? Cherry has proven itself that while not billing their product for any specific task, they have come up with a delightful solution to sit at your desk. Whether at work, whether at home, for either productivity or gaming, there is little to keep you away from buying the Cherry MX Board 5.0. We like the lack of software; we do not miss the Macros, we like thing simple. Even so, the build quality and use of high-end materials and technologies put a keyboard such as this in a different bracket. Many keyboards we see do not go to this extreme when developing a keyboard, and many will charge you the same if not more for a similar looking design.

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The feature set is enjoyable to the masses as well. The keyboard is backlit, and many shy away from RGB products anyways, so here is another option outside of that spectrum. There are a couple of modes to select, and many levels of intensity to fit the room it is used in, and you can even turn them off when they are not needed. The MX Board ships with anti-ghosting and NKRO by default, so no matter how fast or how clumsy you are, every press will be registered. With all of the effort, Cherry has put into this design; we cannot think of any solid reasons to shame this product for. Everything works, as intended, and that is all we can ask of a product.

Many may cringe at a price involved with obtaining the MX Board 5.0, but let us try to add some perspective. Any other maker out there would likely offer a standard mechanical keyboard with nothing fancy about it at $99.99. Now, add in the fact that there is LED backlighting, with mode and intensity adjustment. Also keep in mind, that when you by that average $100 keyboard, it comes with painted ABS plastic keycaps. Add in a custom set of ABS double shot keycaps will cost the average customer roughly $50, and it all starts to make much more sense. Yes, Cherry is charging a premium price for the feature set and what you get for the money, but the product is -premium too, and well worth the investment. This Cherry MX Board 5.0 may not have been in your mind at all, but Cherry delivered the goods, and is a keyboard that will stay in our recommendations for quite some time to come.

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Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

TweakTown award

The Bottom Line: Cherry has done it again! Our experience with them may be limited, but they never fail to impress. The feature set is somewhat limited, but for what you get, you will be hard pressed to find better value than what can be had in the MX Board 5.0!

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM and coolers.

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