| Mechanical Keyboard | Hot-Swappable | Wireless/Wired | 70% |
EPOMAKER Shadow-X, a quality mechanical keyboard with 2 hidden features.
The EPOMAKER Shadow-X is part of the newer 70% series of mechanical keyboards from the brand, a layout that is neither the ultra-popular 60% nor the larger TKL.
With the Shadow-X, EPOMAKER adds another innovative and unique keyboard design to their vast and always evolving catalog of mechanical keyboards.
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EPOMAKER Shadow-X Review
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ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING
The keyboard comes inside a dark grey color packaging including:
• 8 yellow PBT keycaps
• 3 spare switches
• Keycap puller / switch puller
• USB-C cable
The EPOMAKER Shadow-X has a clean, stylish aesthetic with a business-alike flavor.
The casing has a space grey finish while the 2-toned keycaps harmonize nicely with the whole keyboard – if you want to give it a hint of an color accent without spending additional money, you can use the 8 yellow PBT keycaps included with the package.
The 70% layout gives an in-between footprint of 60% and a TKL keyboard with also a mix of the benefits and compromises of both formats. On the other hand, the actual casing’s size has sufficient unused space that could had easily fit the entire F num row without expanding the dimension of the device.
To the left of the DEL key you can find 3 light indicators (Caps Lock, Lock and Wireless) for a quick overview of the status of these functions, the lights have a dim white LED light that matches very well the non-flashy spirit of the Shadow-X.
As you can see from the photos a vertically-rectangular display screen is placed right next to the up arrow and a knob is found above the PGDN key (oddly there is no PGUP key)
The brand has packed a good amount of info on the 1.06″ color screen of the keyboard, making it actually quite useful with permanent visual feedback of:
• CAPS Lock
• Windows/Mac mode
• Battery charge – with a colored icon plus a 3-digit percentage
• Day of the week
• Date in format MM/DD
• Clock with current time
• Active connection mode
• RGB backlighting settings (color, effect, brightness, speed)
All info and status are intuitively described with either a clear icon and a blue color when active.
On the other hand, EPOMAKER does not highlight a special feature of the screen; it actually can be personalized with custom designs, animated GIFs or downloading pre-made GIFs by the EPOMAKER community – a feature that is actually found on the more expensive EPOMAKER RT100 that we have reviewed.
If used in wireless mode, we noticed that sometimes the screen will go into a deep sleep mode turning off after some minutes of inactivity and will not turn on even after pressing most keys, unless you either press CAPS LOCK, rotate the knob or use the Fn functions to access the screen settings.
Counting the 2 adjustable levels of the feet, this EPOMAKER keyboard allows 3 height tilting positions to adjust to your preferences.
The feet have the same superb quality of most EPOMAKER keyboards with a tight and secure position and excellent non-slippery rubberized silicone pads.
The more standard sized keycaps on the Shadow-X will fit the muscle memory of a wider public than more exotic or special keycaps, while the same comfort aspects are also given by the nearly TKL width, distribution and placement of the keys.
CONSTRUCTION & BUILD
EPOMAKER never disappoints on the build quality department; this is a characteristic that the brand has undeniably earned by always incorporating quality components and a careful assembly on all their EPOMAKER keyboards.
As so, the Shadow-X is no exception to the rule, with an instant quality feel as soon as you grab the keyboard and specs that backup the sensation, such as:
• Gasket mounted design
• Multi-layer padding
• PC plate
• Silicone pads
• Pre lubed switches and stabilizers
• Hot swappable PCB
• PBT keycaps
• Detachable USB-C cable
The EPOMAKER Shadow-X has double-shot PBT keycaps but with a non-shine through design.
The finish of each key has a medium level of texture (not as heavily texturized as many Razer keyboards but neither as smooth as the EPOMAKER RT100 nor the EPOMAKER TH80 series). All editors agreed that the texture intensity did not add a tactile discomfort and it, actually, was found as a welcomed addition to improve grip.
The profile of the keycaps is nearer to a OEM or even SA sculpted than a Cherry sculpted or XDA uniform.
Most probably you saw a knob and thought: “oh, yes, volume and media control”, well, no; the knob of the Epomaker Shadow-X works as a mode switching control – the screen will indicate which mode you are currently set to.
On top of that, the keyboard has a dedicated button named “MENU” (you can see it on the photos, right between the right CTRL and FN keys), this key serves to access the further options offered by the LCD screen (light control)
The dedicated knobs for changing between modes and paired devices is a superb feature for easy and quick switching between devices – surely will be loved by users with multiple devices setups and multi-PC systems.
The PCB has a hot-swappable design with compatibility for 3-pin and 5-pin Cherry MX styled switches.
The switches pre-assembled come already pre-lubed by EPOMAKER, so you will not have to worry about disassembling and lubing the switches.
This model is offered with either Epomaker Flamingo (linear), Epomaker Budgerigar (tactile), Epomaker Bluebird (despite the “Blue” in the name, it is a linear switch and not a clicky one) or Gateron Pro Yellow (linear); which covers the 2 of the more common type of mechanical switches so you can opt for the variant that fits better your taste.
The EPOMAKER Shadow-X offers the capability of connecting with up to 5 different Pc, Mac, tablet, etc. and switch with extreme ease by a simple rotation of the knob and having status confirmations by a handy LCD screen.
In total, the keyboard provides 3 Bluetooth connection slots, one 2.4GHz wireless connection (with the included dongle) and 1 wired connection through the USB-C connector found on the center of the back edge of the casing.
CUSTOMIZATION & REPROGRAMMING
If you dream of changing the function of the knob for multimedia control, you cannot, even if you use external software to override it as the design of the knob has a rotational movement of 6 fixed positions which would not be of much use as a volume control knob.
With compatibility with MX Structure Keycaps, any user can access an infinite variety of keycaps designs to customize the EPOMAKER Shadow-X, while the hot-swappable PCB allows to get your hands into switches customization or to experiment with innovative new switches.
Regarding macro and the ability to reprogram keys, this EPOMAKER keyboard can be customized per key for every single key on the device, except for the knob function.
PERFORMANCE & USE
Many gamers love TKL layouts, yet we do not find them to have the best format optimized for heavy gaming, a 60% one is probably the best choice. On the other hand, everything above 60% starts to become more multifunctional and less limiting for additional use apart from gaming.
As the Shadow-X has a 70% layout with the length in line with a TKL keyboard but with a shorter depth; this could be a well-adapted keyboard if you are a gamer into TKL layouts.
Moreover, the keyboard is featured with specs that can fulfill gaming needs, such as:
• NKRO in all modes
• 1000Hz polling rate
• Wired and 2.4GHz connections available
Intense designers, video and photo editors could miss the added layer of quickness and versatility that the missing F number row could add.
Despite this, more casual productivity use can benefit from the extra navigation keys that the Shadow-X has over a 60% keyboard but keeping a fairly compact size.
Without doubt, the dedicated mode switching knob and LCD screen will give productivity users an unique and faster experience if they work with more than one PC at the same time or with a tablet and a PC back and forth.
Thanks to dampening materials, PBT keycaps, good switches and stabilizers already pre-lubed, the EPOMAKER Shadow-X ticks the boxes of non-annoyingly loud/disturbing mechanical keyboards; making it a valuable model for people looking for high-quality mechanical typing in office environments.
The portability and versatility of a wired and wireless connection will allow any office worker and businessman to carry around the keyboard from the office to their home office and on business trips.
The business aesthetics and classy looks might be another strong feature for office and business use.
Having Bluetooth connectivity and a smaller footprint than larger TKL and full sized keyboards, the EPOMAKER Shadow-X becomes a smarter choice than the latter.
Moreover, the dedicated knob for device pairing switching can be a neat feature if you go back and forth between your iPad and your computer.
On the other hand, if you are a mobile user that spends too much time around Cafes and airplanes, the power consumption of the LCD screen will make the battery last less than keyboards without displays.
The EPOMAKER Shadow-X is a 70% keyboard, thus comes without a numpad nor the dedicated F number row; consequently as any keyboard below 100% and TKL starts to sacrifice dedicated keys that might be useful to many programmers.
The keyboard offers full light customization per key with 16.5 million colors by the RGB LED lights plus 18 factory presets of lighting patterns already predesigned.
Thanks to the south-facing design, the backlight is optimized to be better seen and make full use of the brightness levels offered by the LED lights.
You can control the backlight behavior through the software or on-the-fly through the LCD display of the keyboard itself through shortcut combinations involving “Menu+Fn+Enter” and the arrow keys.
With a gasket-mounted design, a sandwich dampening layer of Poron foam and IXPE switch pad and a polycarbonate plate to improve the acoustic profile and reduce resonation, the EPOMAKER has most of the best quality features to ensure a high quality mechanical keyboard and switch sound.
In addition to this, switches and stabilizers come pre-lubed from factory.
As a result, the carefully manufactured and assembled effort provides a deep pitched sound that is in the thocky territory and far form sharp nor muted sound.
The stabilizers also show an excellent performance overall regarding rattling noises and wobbliness, with a subtle rattling presence only on the spacebar if you hit it really hard and from one the very end of the key (most problematic key for any stabilizer)
Our model of the EPOMAKER Shadow-X with Gateron Pro Yellow switches is able to exhibit, preserve and even enhance all the beloved sound qualities of these switches that made them so massively popular.
The Shadow-X uses the latest version of EPOMAKER’s proprietary drivers and software, which is well featured and unlock all the customization options of the keyboard, including the screen customization and “installation” of animated GIFS.
Though, there is no option for setting a full shutdown timeout time for the LCD screen – the screen will go automatically to sleep in sync with the timeout setting off the RGB lighting.
Inside, the keyboard holds a 3000mAh battery to power the unit in Bluetooth or wireless 2.4GHz modes – the unit can be used while charging.
Although we did not fully depleted the battery charge of the Shadow-X, the percentage informed by the display seemed to indicate that the battery was draining at a noticeably faster pace than the other 3 EPOMAKER keyboards that we have recently reviewed. Nonetheless, this makes sense as the RT100 has a 5000mAh battery, the TH80 PRO has a 4000mAh battery (and no display) and the EK68 has the same 3000mAh capacity but without the consuming energy of the screen.
EPOMAKER Shadow-X Technical Specifications
Number of keys
70 keys+1 knob
wireless and wired
double shot PBT material
Poron foam, IXPE switch pad
Inside the box
• Instrusction Manual
• Type-C Cable
• 1*2.4G receiver
• 1*keycap/switch puller
• Extra Keycaps
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