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Cherry KC200 MX keyboard review – MX2A switches arrive

The Cherry KC 200 MX is a no-frills mechanical keyboard with a simple elegant style and low price. It’s the first keyboard to feature the latest Cherry MX2A switches, which improve on the original MX switches with longer life and smoother movement. Otherwise, it’s not the most exciting of keyboards.

Reasons to buy

  • Cherry MX2A switches feel lovely
  • Light and simple design
  • Useful extra multimedia keys
Reasons to avoid

  • Non-removable USB cable
  • Not particularly quiet
  • Small feet don’t grip desk well

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Cherry has been producing the world’s most popular mechanical keyboard switches for decades now, with its Cherry MX switches being the defacto standard against which nearly all others are measured. In all that time, though, those switches have hardly changed, until now. With its Cherry MX2A switches, Cherry has slightly tweaked the formula to create a smoother, longer-lasting switch, and the Cherry KC 200 MX keyboard is the first model to ship with them.

While the specs of this Cherry keyboard don’t immediately make it stand out as a best gaming keyboard candidate, the basic pure typing performance and modest price of this keyboard make it a tempting option for those just seeking a simple, but highly effective, typing tool.

Cherry KC 200 MX specs

Dimensions (mm) 429 x 120 x 39 (W x D x H)
Weight 822g
Format Full-size/100% (104 or 105 keys depending on region)
Switches Cherry MX2A (Brown tactile, Silent Red linear)
Connectivity Wired – tethered with USB-A plug
Media/Extra keys Volume, mute, calculator
Backlighting No
Extras Two color options: white and silver or black and brown
Price $90 / £98

Cherry KC 200 MX features

The Cherry KX 200 MX is nothing if not simple. It’s about as basic as a standard full-size mechanical keyboard can get, which in many ways is what makes it appealing. However, there are a couple of notable missing features.

cherry kc 200 mx keyboard review 06

Firstly, though, there are a few additions in the shape of four extra keys in the top right of the board. These provide volume down, volume up,  and mute control, while the final one brings up the Calculator app. These are hardly gaming essentials, but they’re useful in many other walks of life.

Otherwise, that’s really it for key features, which leaves us only able to talk about some of the obvious missing features. For a start, there’s no gaming-centric extra keys, such as one for quickly turning off the Windows keys. The key switches aren’t hot-swappable either, though the keycaps can be popped off easily, as is usual for a Cherry MX-style board.

cherry kc 200 mx keyboard review 04

There’s also no RGB lighting, with this board using standard non-RGB switches, and there’s no extra RGB lighting built into the board. The only lights you get are on the Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock keys – these have a white LED switch under them, and a small transparent window in the key. While hardly a ground-breaking feature, having the lights on the keys is much more useful for telling at a glance if they’re activated or not, rather than having separate Lock key indicator lights elsewhere on the board.

The other notable absence is a removable USB cable. The one here is permanently attached so, if it gets damaged, you’ll have to dismantle the keyboard to install a replacement. Thankfully the cable is a decent 1.6m in length, which is ample for most desks.

Cherry KC 200 MX design

So the KC 200 Mx isn’t exactly a tour de force of keyboard features, but what it lacks in extras, it in many ways makes up for in style, especially with this white version. The addition of an aluminum top plate on a keyboard at this price is not to be sniffed at, and the plain white keys (basic ABS build with screen printed legends) look simple and smart.

As for the black and brown version, I’ve not seen it in the flesh but despite the combination sounding a little off-putting, the brown is a coppery metallic color that looks rather fetching to me.

cherry kc 200 mx keyboard review 04

The base of this keyboard is quite slim and is otherwise plastic underneath the thin aluminum top plate. As such, there’s a bit of flex to it, though not enough to create an annoying bouncing effect when you’re typing. It’s not the quietest keyboard either, though far from the loudest either, with it registering a 60dB noise level at a distance of 20cm above the board (1dB quieter than the Corsair K70 Max, for instance, though nowhere near as quiet as the 41dB Razer Huntsman V2).

The rear of the keyboard can be raised about 10mm via flip-down feet. There’s only one level of adjustment, though. Meanwhile, you only get small rubber feet on the underside, which means the board can slide around a bit on a smooth desktop. This situation also isn’t helped by the relatively lightweight build, with a total weight of just 822g.

Cherry KC 200 MX performance

Quite simply, typing on the Cherry KC 200 MX is a lovely experience. The use of Cherry MX2A Brown tactile switches makes for an effortless typing feel, while the full-size layout is always a step up over more compact models when it comes to daily practicality. I didn’t really use the extra keys much, but for just getting the basics done, this keyboard delivers.

The new switches are ever so subtly more pleasant to use than the old ones. There’s just a very slight extra smoothness that means you still get a bit of resistance on these tactile-feedback switches, but it entirely feels like it’s from the intentionally added tactile bump, rather than a stickiness to the slide.

Many other Cherry competitors offer a similar experience these days – with Cherry being among the slowest to start offering switches that come with extra lubrication right from the factory. However, there’s no doubt these switches feel great, and these Brown versions are rated to double the lifespan of the old versions, with a 100 million keystroke life.

It also helps that the keyboard’s footprint is small, thanks to the lack of any extra casing around the keys. Frameless keyboard designs such as this one are hardly a revelation, but bulkier boards can encroach on desk space quite a lot more.

As for gaming performance, the raw keyswitch performance will depend on your choice of linear or tactile switches, and your preference. Linear switches will provide a lighter feel, and the ability to rapidly fire off more key presses, but many gamers just prefer the feel of tactile keyswitches.

As compared to the latest optical and hall effect analog keyboards (such as on the Akko MOD007DB), with their ultra-fast response times and programmable actuation points, you don’t get that here. However, for most general gaming use, these are far from essential features, and they certainly aren’t available in this price range.

cherry kc 200 mx keyboard review 02

Should you buy the Cherry KC 200 MX?

The Cherry KC 200 MX isn’t setting the world of gaming keyboards alight. It’s a simple keyboard with few extra features and basically no extra gaming abilities.

However, it looks smart, it’s built to a decent standard, and it brings you  Cherry’s latest MX2A switches. Many other Cherry MX clone switches are basically as good, if not better, than Cherry MX these days, but if you want the latest real deal switches, this board gets you them without any extra fuss and at a reasonable price.

Alternatives to the Cherry KC 200 MX

There are countless full-size mechanical keyboards that compete with the Cherry KC 200 MX. If you want similar overall specs, but in a smart retro design and with a USB-C connection, the Keychron K10 is great option for $95.

Meanwhile, if you want a little more RGB lighting and a lower price, the Royal Kludge RK920 is a great option for just $40.

For more keyboard recommendations, check out our best gaming keyboard guide, where we take you through lots of models at a wide range of prices and sizes.

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