Home Mechanical Keyboards Epomaker RT100 Review: Reviving Nostalgia

Epomaker RT100 Review: Reviving Nostalgia

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
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Big thank you to April at Epomaker for sending the RT100 to review!

Full disclosure: This is a paid review but I made it clear to them that I do not guarantee positive reviews or recommendations – I make in-depth, honest evaluations based on my impressions and the ultimate value that the product may or may not provide. 

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

Before you begin reading this, understand that I am brand new to the world of keyboards, so my enthusiasm may come off as a bit over the top.

That said, it’s all genuinely how I feel lol.

With that…

Step into a world where the air crackles with the electric anticipation of a bygone era.

Close your eyes, and let the rhythmic click-clack of keys transport you back to the 90s, where dreams were written and memories were forged on the glowing screens of our first digital companions.

Imagine a keyboard that’s not just a keyboard; it’s a time machine.

It’s a portal to an era when flannel shirts and grunge ruled the fashion scene, when the internet was a newborn, and when the thrill of discovery was as tangible as the worn-out keys beneath your fingertips.

Enter, the Epomaker RT100; a link to the past.

This vintage keyboard, my friend, is everything you’ve ever dreamed of and then some.

Its keys hearken back to countless creative journeys, each stroke echoing with the whispers of that sweet, sweet nostalgia.

It’s a symphony of tactile feedback, a time capsule waiting to whisk you away to a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.

There’s the signpost up ahead, your next stop, The Twilight Zone!

With every keystroke, you’ll feel the heartbeat of a time long past, a time that shaped the way we communicate, connect, and create.

So, are you ready to embark on this journey back into yesteryear?

The keyboard beckons, its siren song calling you to rediscover the magic of the olden days, where memories and dreams converge in perfect harmony.

Epomaker RT100

Price: Check Amazon | Check Epomaker

In The Box

Epomaker RT100

User Manual

THICC USB-C to USB-A Cable

Combination Keycap

Switch Puller

Specifications

  • Model: EPOMAKER RT100
  • Keys Amount: 97 keys+one knob
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, wireless, 2.4G connection, Type-C
  • Keycaps: MDA profile 5-side dye-sub PBT
  • Plate Material: PC
  • Case Material: ABS
  • Battery Capacity: 5000mAh
  • Polling Rate: 1000Hz
  • Product Dimensions: 330*116*25mm
  • Product Weight: 1250g

Introduction

Epomaker RT100 Review

Epomaker RT100 ReviewI’ve been reviewing gear since 2014 and there are very few products that have truly stood out to me.

One such product was the Gravastar Mars Pro, which my mom’s husband lovingly refers to as “Wilson.” 

As fun as that was, Epomaker’s RT100 is by far the coolest gadget that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing, and I don’t say that lightly.

Surely this has to do with the pure nostalgia of it all.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I can vividly remember the very first PC my family had. It was an IBM PS1 running MS-DOS and Windows 3.1.

Yes, that’s right you heard me correctly.

Windows. Three. Point. One.

Yikes. I feel old. It’s hard to imagine at one point this was our primary computer for all of our computer-y related tasks.

And here’s the only image I have of it; sitting in my Grandmother’s house in Smithtown, Long Island before she passed away.

This was our computer at one time, and towards the end of its life it sat in my Grandmother’s old house before she passed away.

Cool story, but what does it have to do with the RT100?

To that I say,

I’LL ASK THE QUESTIONS AROUND HERE!!!!

Just kidding.

*ronald reagan voice*

Well, every computer needs a keyboard, right? Just like every idea needs a vehicle of expression.

Well that vehicle in the technological age, my friends, is the mighty Keyboardia.

For years I distinctly remember using an IBM Model M from 1984 or so, and there was no mistaking it.

It was mostly a cream/off-white color with some variously shaded grey keys mixed in for contrast.

Wait, hold on. I’m getting a signal from the past.

What’s that? You have a picture of me using the Keyboard when I was like 18?

Hoo boy. I weigh like 120 lbs. soaking wet there. Lol.

If you can believe it, the defining feature of it wasn’t its color (though that was a pretty close second).

It was…

THE CLACK.

That clickety clackety sound the keys made when you typed on them. And let me tell you something right now: That sound is glorious. I don’t care what anyone says. 

I could type on that keyboard for hours and hours.

But can I type for hours and hours on the RT100?

Let’s dive in and find out.

What Is It?

Epomaker RT100 Review

The Epomaker RT100 is a 95% Retro, Gasket-Mount Mechanical Keyboard with a Customizable Display Screen.

Essentially, it’s a mechanical keyboard with a lot of different features.

Build & Aesthetic

One of the first things you’ll notice is how great it feels in your hands.

It’s heavy-ish and incredibly durable while having just the right amount of heft.

In addition, it’s fairly compact and won’t take up too much space on your desk.

While not being an exact replica of those older IBM keyboards, the interface is very similar and makes better use of space.

Both the numbers and letters are larger, and they’ve never looked better. I love the font they chose.

The backside of the keyboard contains your USB-C jack for charging via the supplied cable, the On/OFF switch, the Mac/Windows switch, as well as the 2.4GHz RF transceiver slot containing the Type-A USB receiver.

The On/Off Switch is essentially wired mode and wireless.

If you’re like me and don’t like the keyboard going to sleep every 2 minutes, you’ll primarily be using wired mode as the colors stay on all the time and look super neat in the dark.

Epomaker RT100 Review

Charging

Epomaker RT100 Review

Smart Screen Slot

To get started, simply take the USB-A receiver out and plug it into a USB slot on your computer. Now turn the keyboard to On (wireless mode)

For wired mode, just turn the switch on the top of the keyboard to “off” and plug in the supplied USB-C to USB-A cable.

Features & Functionality

Smart Screen

Epomaker RT100 Review

From here you can plug the Smart Screen in which displays date, time, temperature, battery life, etc.

You’ll get differing opinions on whether this is a gimmicky add-on or not, and my stance lies somewhere in the middle.

While I like the look of it, it’s a bit finicky. That said, I really love the gif feature which we’ll get into in a bit.

Epomaker doesn’t include a driver link in their instruction manual which I found rather annoying.

To install the driver, go to their website > downloads > software > and search RT100.

Click the driver and download it.

From here you have some customization options. The first thing you’ll want to do is calibrate the time.

Click Screen > Other Setting and click the button that says “Synchronize Time On Screen.”

There are a few issues here.

One is that the interface may randomly malfunction or glitch out. Such was the case when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the screen was a jumbled mess.

Thankfully, unplugging and replugging it fixed the issue. It hasn’t happened since, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

The other problem is that the screen reset to its default settings of 1/1/2000 after I synchronized it to the current date and time.

This is pretty irritating as it requires me to go back into the App and do everything over.

Thirdly, you can set the weather information by clicking the button directly below the Synchronize Time on Screen button.

Just type your city and state into the Region Name box.

Epomaker RT100 ReviewEpomaker RT100 Review

You can also set it to Fahrenheit. The problem is that it still displays a °C sign even though the temperature (the number) is technically right.

For instance, it says 62°C when it should be 62°F. If you change it to Centigrade, it displays correctly as 17°C.

In addition, it has defaulted back to 0°C, so again, I’m going to have to go back into the app and type everything in.

Not ideal.

Lastly, the time displays in military time (24-hour) and can’t be switched to standard 12-hour time.

Some of these things are nitpicks, but having to constantly enter information into the app is something that I’m simply not going to do moving forward. 

So yeah, it looks cool, but it’s kind of a pain to maintain.

That said, it doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the unit, but Epomaker definitely can and should rectify these issues ASAP.

GIFs and Images

Epomaker RT100 Review

The only feature I think is worth the hassle is adding GIFS or Images.

Before you start, a very important step is to Turn OFF the main switch at the top of the keyboard. This will put you in wired mode which is required by the app to work with images and gifs.

Now we’ll head over to the Screen Tab inside the driver software. 

Towards the bottom, you’ll see the “Select Picture” button. Click it and find an image you want from your PC.

If the image is a GIF, it will upload frame by frame.

I chose the ever-nostalgic gif of Mario running; which, if you’re familiar with this blog, is the gif I sign off with for every article.

In any event, once the frames are added, you’ll click on the first one and then press “Upload Animation” on the right-hand side.

For images, use “Upload Picture.”

Now we have a really neat gif of Mario running!

Epomaker RT100 Review

 

From here you can mess around with the other settings in the app, and delete images by hitting the “My Work” Tab.

Light Settings

Epomaker RT100 Review

One of the coolest features of the RT100 is its Back Light settings, with 9 different modes and 8 color options.

The 9th keystroke typically features an amalgam of all the colors for that specific mode – in other words, it’s a rainbow.

To cycle modes, press the FN Key + Del at the top of the keyboard.

Once you’re in a specific mode, hit FN + PgUp to Cycle colors.

To slow down or speed up the pattern, hit FN + Right or Left Arrow.

To increase brightness, hit FN + Up or Down Arrow.

Hit FN + PgDn to save battery, but let’s be honest, who’s going to do that with all these neat colors? xD

Main Functions

Epomaker RT100 Review

Your main functions are as follows:

  • FN + ESC = Press and hold 3s to restore factory settings.
  • FN + F1/F2 changes the brightness of your PC up or down respectively.
  • FN + F3 is the Window tab.
  • FN + F4 = File Explorer
  • FN + F5 = Mail
  • FN + F6 = Homepage
  • FN + F7 = Previous Song
  • FN + F8 = Play/Pause
  • FN + F9 = Next Song
  • FN + Win = Lock Windows Key
  • FN + Backspace = Query Power (Battery Power is available in Wireless mode)
  • Power Switch = On/Off
  • Mode Switch = Left for Windows, Right for Mac

Multifunction Knob

Epomaker RT100 ReviewAnother cool feature that I use is the Multifunction knob (top right).

With this, you can Play/Pause tracks in Spotify (or whatever app you use), as well as turn up and down the volume by rotating the knob.

I would really like to see Epomaker somehow integrate a next/previous track button, but again, I’m nitpicking.

This is a very nice feature that saves me the time of having to bring up the Spotify app to pause a song for whatever reason.

Bluetooth Mode

Epomaker Shadow-X Review

If you’re lazy as crap like me and hate typing with your phone, the RT100 (and the other 3 keyboards I reviewed) offers Bluetooth mode. That’s right you heard me correctly.

Just Hold FN + Q, W, or E to pair.

You should now see it appear in your phone’s Bluetooth settings. Pair it up and away you go.

This is perfect for people like me with fat fingers that have trouble gliding across the phone’s keyboard with grace. xD

Do keep in mind that once connected via phone, the keyboard disconnects from your PC. To revert, simply hit FN + R.

Battery Life

Epomaker RT100 Review

I’m not to sugarcoat anything here – the battery life of the RT100 is just “okay.”

Of course, you’ll get better life without the RGB colors, but that kind of defeats the purpose/fun of having a unit like this.

Customization

The RT100 is hot-swappable, meaning you can freely replace the switches without soldering.

Epomaker also offers a few different types of keys including Wisteria Linear, Dawn Pink, Flamingo, Shadow Black, Sea Salt Silent, Wisteria Tactile, and Budgerigar.

Tactile Feel

Epomaker RT100 Review

With all that said, the main draw for me personally is the feel of the unit, its tactile elements, the RGB colors, the colors of the unit itself, and the nostalgia of it all.

I love it. It’s fun to type on and takes me back to a simpler time.

I’m sure there’s a segment of people out there who are super snobby about this sort of thing.

After all, it’s another niche type of product – and trust me, I’m very familiar with all of that. But I don’t care. The RT100 is just amazing.

Before we give a final verdict, let’s recap what I liked and disliked about this retro mechanical keyboard.

What I Liked:

  • The retro look and feel are incredible.
  • It’s built really well and the charging cable provided seems incredibly robust.
  • Bluetooth feature works without a hitch.
  • Love the RGB colors.
  • Multifunction Knob is mostly great.
  • The GIF feature is actually pretty neat.

Potential Drawbacks:

Instruction manual fold-out

I would honestly like to see Epomaker make this a booklet rather than a messy fold-out map. I’m not on a road trip here. 

In addition to that, the layout is incredibly poor and the font is tiny.

They could really add to the value by making a proper book and giving more detailed explanations of all the RT100’s features while making it immensely more readable.

As mentioned earlier, there’s also no driver link in the instruction manual. This is pretty inconvenient for new users such as myself who have next to no experience in this niche.

Multifunction Knob

The Play/Pause button and volume dial are great, but would have liked it to also have a next/previous track integration.

USB Adapter

The USB Adapter is super hard to get in and out of my laptop. It almost feels like you’re going to break something by pulling and pushing it.

Battery Life

Battery Life isn’t amazing, but if you’re like me, you’ll just use it wired most of the time.

Smart Screen Is Finicky

I’m not going to call this gimmicky, because, for the most part, I’ve been enjoying the heck out of the GIF feature.

That said, it measures in Celcius (Centigrade being the old-fashioned name), sometimes glitches out, and you have to re-enter information into the app which I find irritating.

Others have also noted that they’d rather have a gauge for the PC’s temperature, but your mileage may vary on that.

Final Verdict

Epomaker RT100 Review

The Epomaker RT100 mechanical keyboard is a true gem for anyone seeking a touch of nostalgia and a premium typing experience.

With its retro design and modern features, it seamlessly blends the best of both worlds, making it a compelling choice for keyboard enthusiasts and nostalgic souls alike.

In addition, it delivers a satisfying tactile and auditory typing experience, reminiscent of the classic mechanical keyboards from the 80s while offering the conveniences of modern technology.

Its durable construction ensures it will be a reliable companion for years to come, just as those vintage boards of yesteryears still stand the test of time.

With customizable key switches and RGB lighting, you have the power to make this keyboard uniquely yours.

Whether you’re a writer, a gamer, or simply someone who appreciates the allure of a well-crafted keyboard, the Epomaker RT100 caters to a diverse range of users.

Epomaker sent me 4 keyboards, and after reviewing all of them, I’m using the RT100 exclusively and it’s not even close.

So, if you’re yearning for a keyboard that effortlessly bridges the past and the present while inviting you to explore a world where the boundaries of imagination know no bounds, the Epomaker RT100 is a choice you won’t regret.

Learn More:

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you enjoyed this Epomaker RT100 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please leave a comment below or contact me! I would be happy to help in any way…

Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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