POK3R RGB LE: a quick reference guide and review

In my quest for the perfect keyboard, I picked up a Pok3r RGB LE on Massdrop a few months back. I’ve already determined that a 60% board is not for me; I’ve confirmed this fact with the missing arrow keys on this board as I wrote this article tonight! But I’ll keep this board for one of my computers. It’s too pretty not to.

The manual for this device sucks, so I’m going to start there and then go over the keys, switches, arbitrary programming, RGB programming, and case.

The manual fails to mention that Pn is the Menu key next to Fn. When it comes time to set RGB backlighting, use the Menu key. Same is true for arbitrary programming.

The manual also fails to mention that you must cycle through modes as well as colors when setting RGB. There’s an asterisk in the manual, so it nearly got it, but it wasn’t clear. Get ready to tap, tap, tap! When it comes to colors, you can mix by taking away; all Red, all Green, and all Blue are lit when enabling, so it cycles through to 0 on the first tap and then it goes through 6 steps to get back to full. Beware of these steps when mixing your own color. For instance, I pressed Menu+1 1 time to get rid of all Red; I pressed Menu+2 3 times to get a lighter shade of blue but still plenty dark and not at all Cyan; and then I did not touch Menu+3 as I was satisfied with my mixed color.

That being said, here’s an edited and revised manual:

Arbitrary Programming Instructions:

Step 1. Switch to a non-default layer using Fn+<, Fn+>, or Fn+?

Step 2. Press Fn+RCTRL to enter programming mode as indicated by the Spacebar right-hand LED being steadily lit

Step 3. Select a desired key or combination you want to program (The Spacebar right-hand LED will begin to flash red)

Step 4. Key in the programming contents (the original commands or the output you want when your shortcut is pressed), and then press Menu (The Spacebar right-hand LED will stop flashing and turn solid)

Step 5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to program other combinations as needed

Step 6. Press Fn+RCTRL to exit programming mode as indicated by the Spacebar right-hand LED turning off

Remember that Fn+A in Layer 2 if different from Fn+A in Layer 3 as the keyboard supports layer programming You can program time delays as follows: 15ms (Fn+T); 0.1s (Fn+G); and 0.5s (Fn+B). Consecutive delays will add up but will only be counted as 1 key stroke in your programming Every key can program up to 32 keystrokes If no key is pressed for 15 seconds while in programming mode, the mode will automatically exit Note that the default layer, <, >, ?, and RCTRL are all fixed and can’t be programmed

Restore to Factory Default:

Current Layer: Press and hold Fn+R

All Layers: Press and hold LALT+RALT

Note: when you reset the current layer or all layers, the Spacebar left-hand LED will flash after 5 seconds and then stop; it will then return to default

Note: if you had changed the Fn position and forgot where it was, you still can press the original position of Fn+R to restore it

Fn Keycodes

Esc = `

1-0 = F1-F10

– = F11

= = F12

I = Up

J = Left

K = Down

L = Right

P = PrintScreen

[ = ScrollLock

] = Pause

Z = APP

H = Home

N = End

U = PageUp

O = PageDown

Backspace = Delete

‘ = Delete

; = Insert

M = Default Layer

< = Layer 2 (Red)

> = Layer 3 (Green)

? = Layer 4 (Blue)

Q = Previous Track

W = Play/Pause

E = Next Track

S = Volume Down

D = Volume Up

F = Mute

RGB Programming (Pn or Menu keycodes):

Esc = Palette

1 = Single Color Red

2 = Single Color Green

3 = Single Color Blue

4 = Display single color LED in Interactive mode, Flash Vortex mode, or Aurora mode

5 = Display full color LED mode in Full Key Light mode, Breath mode, Vortex mode, or Rain Drop mode

9 = Custom LED mode 1

0 = Custom LED mode 2

– = Display recording 1

= = Display recording 2

X = Brightness down

V = Brightness up

< = LED speed up

> = LED speed down

Note: RGB programming may be customized in Layers 2-3 per the following instructions: Step 1. Choose a layer you want to edit between Layers 2-3 Step 2. Press Menu+9 or Menu+0 to enter the RGB edit mode Step 3. Press Menu+1, 2, or 3 to mix the color of your choice OR press Menu+Esc to turn on the palette and select a color you want Step 4. Select a key or a row you want to change color Step 5. Press Menu+9 or Menu+0 again to exit edit mode Step 6. Press Menu+- or Menu+= to display the previously saved setting.

Note: Each layer can be edited in single key (Menu+9) or whole row (Menu+0); note also that the color you mix or choose will show on the Menu key. You may have to release the Menu key and re-press it in order for the updated color to appear This RGB keyboard is not millions of colors. There are 61 colors on the palette from which you may choose or mix.

DIP Switch Functionality:

Switch 1 ON + Switch 2 ON = Colemak

Switch 1 ON + Switch 2 OFF = Dvorak

Switch 1 OFF + Switch 2 ON = Qwerty

Switch 1 OFF + Switch 2 OFF = Qwerty

Switch 3 ON = CapsLock > Fn (OFF then CapsLock as normal)

Switch 4 ON = Change Fn and Menu at any position (but RCTRL will not change to the original Fn or Menu places) (OFF then Fn and Menu are at their original places)

Note: Fn+Shift+Esc = ~ Note: LGUI (Windows key) + RALT + Spacebar = bottom right corner keys as arrow keys where RSHIFT is Up, RCTRL is Right, Menu is Down, and Fn is Left.

There are a number of helpful Youtube videos on how to use the RGB programming:

How to: POK3R RGB layers

Vortex POK3R RGB LED Customisation Explained

Vortex POK3R RGB DIP Switch Explained

Now, let’s talk materials, craftsmanship, design, etc.

The PBT keycaps are great. They feel solid. The texture though slight is a good feel. The backlight compatibility is great, allowing the RGB to pop.

The switches are Cherry MX Blues. Meh. They feel mushy compared to the distinctive, definitive click of the Kailh Box Navy’s I recently discovered. But to each his own.

The arbitrary programming is functional. I already swapped LGUI and LALT keys and swapped out RALT for RGUI (well, technically, it is LGUI). I set Fn+Esc to be Control Command Q for quickly locking the screen with a far more memorable and recognizable key command. Just remember: after switching to a non-default layer, press Fn+RCTRL to start programming mode; then press the key or key combo you want to use; then press the original keys or commands; then press Menu to save that program; repeat as needed; then, super important, end programming mode by pressing Fn+RCTRL. I learned the hard way by not ending the programming mode and it caused some weird character to be reassigned to Esc. I just wish there were more flexible options to program similar to QMK layer and mod taps, but I digress. Ultimately, this arbitrary system is effective and easy, so I can’t complain.

The RGB programming is also functional albeit strenuous. Press Menu and then 4 repeatedly to cycle through active color modes; 5 for static modes. After selecting your mode, set your color as applicable by holding Menu and tapping 1, 2, or 3 to set your RGB, respectively. It’s cumbersome to say the least, but it works. There is a way to use Menu+Esc to select a color from a palette. That is more helpful. The bottom line is it works. I just wish it were more intuitive.

The case is nice. The keyboard is heavy. The bezel is thicker. I like all of that. But, the frosted acrylic middle layer only lets a little light through on the wrist edge, but that’s the part I mostly see, so it really just looks white save for the light from the layer light indicators below Spacebar. Even with brightness at full, the key backlighting barely spreads any hue into the wrist edge of the frosted acrylic. It’s disappointing. This keyboard’s PCB really needs RGB underglow to take advantage of the acrylic. However, the other 3 edges light up fairly well with the opposite of the wrist-edge looking the cleanest and the brightest.

One more thing. A few keys, especially the Spacebar, are slightly twisted. In fact, the Spacebar can rub against C. Poor craftsmanship if you ask me.

Overall, it’s a solid keyboard, and I’m happy with it.

How about you? Are you enjoying your Pok3r RGB LE? Have any questions, concerns, or issues with yours? What tips, tricks, settings, or recommendations do you have for this mech?

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