Ben's interest in video games started as a result of his intense need to be better than his sister at something. It didn't work but it started a lifelong passion in gaming, which then evolved when he built his first PC. He completely botched it but it was fun and he hasn't stopped since. He's currently fighting an embittered battle to get even slightly competitive at Apex Legends. He has a particular interest in peripherals and loves messing around with his setup.
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We’ve been testing the Shurikey Gear Hanzo EC V2 001. This new manufacturer is unproven and funded by IndieGoGo, but after doing some digging, it appears as if Shurikey is actually a sister-company of Varmillo, which is a fairly popular Key Switch manufacturer. Will the Shurikey Gear Hanzo be a quality contender in an already crowded market, or will it be a crowdfunded catastrophe?
What’s in the box?
- Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 Mechanical Keyboard
- Keycap Puller
- USB Type-C cable
- One-year Warranty Card
- Various additional keycaps to replace the default branded ones
- Spare faceplate
- Shurikey Stickers
The Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 is pure plug-and-play. Unlike many mechanical keyboards from big manufacturers like Corsair or Razer, this keyboard has no software suite. This is a refreshing experience as proprietary software suites can be unintuitive and poorly optimized, with some actually having an impact on your system’s performance.
Connecting the keyboard up via Bluetooth is almost as easy. You just hit the function key and “W” and the keyboard will show up on your device of choice, then just enter the code it displays on the keyboard and hit enter. It’s seamless when Windows plays nice.
The Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 can also be paired to three Bluetooth devices at a time for ultimate multi-device productivity, with each device bound to “Q”, “W”, or “E” for easy switching.
The Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 is primarily minimalist and utilitarian in form. However, it’s still designed with personality. As much as I enjoy neutrally designed PC peripherals, such as WASD keyboards or the venerable Ducky brand, Shurikey makes no apologies in its aesthetics, with other colourways also available in interesting and bold configurations. Although the 001 model’s color scheme is named “Vintage Computer”, it holds a closer resemblance to a monotone nerf gun or a JCB digger with a Yellow and Grey colourway. Two other color schemes are also available: the 002 “Western Desert” and the 003 “Arcade Game” which are also just as weird and wonderful as the unit that we received.
It’s a standard 65% layout and has agreeably slim bezels, and thankfully has no unavoidable garish logos. Some of the keycaps bear the Shurikey logo, but it also comes with blank caps for those of you who like to roll brand-neutral. Although, keyboard experts will recognize this board right off the bat due to its novel modular housing and kickstand-style height adjuster. If you’re interested in seeing more of the design, check out Shurikey Gear’s Instagram page here.
Considering every exterior surface aside from the height adjuster on the sides and bottom of the chassis on the Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 is plastic, the keyboard is remarkably sturdy. It’s also a satisfyingly heavy piece of gaming gear and the rubberized grippy feet really do keep it rock-solid on your desk regardless of the surface. Interestingly, the faceplates feel very flimsy. But, when the keyboard is all tightened up, everything falls into place, and each part individually reinforces another, which results in an incredibly robust keyboard. The double-shot ABS keycaps feel very premium for ABS, usually a budget option as opposed to the more premium-feeling PBT.
The kickstand-style height adjuster has a paltry two settings: completely flat and slightly higher than completely flat. There is a method of getting a middle ground but it requires flipping the handle style stand up against the USB Type-C connector. We’d recommend against this as it feels like sustained usage could strain the cable and damage the port. This is fairly disappointing, as it only limits this otherwise impressively-built keyboard. The handle is also entirely removable if that tickles your fancy.
For a retail price of $129, the Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 is really impressive. There’s also a further opportunity to get this board under its retail price by picking it up over on their IndieGoGo for $99 or $109 if you didn’t quite catch the previous tier.
Equipped with the Varmilo Ivy EC V2 switches, the Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 is a delight to type on. As a clicky, tactile switch it’s also smoother than the usual Cherry MX Blue and a tad more stable. Honestly, we’ve loved this keyboard so much that it’s going to be a little sad to have to move on to something else.
It’s worth noting here that the switches on the Shurikey Gear Hanzo are not hot-swappable, unlike other popular 65% options. So you can customize the keycaps all you like, due to the standard “+” stem. But for those looking to customize your keyboard further, look elsewhere or choose wisely as you’re stuck with the switches on whatever option you choose.
In addition to this, the stabilizers are pre-lubed out of the box. This means that wider keys such as the spacebar and the enter key travel smoothly with relatively little wobble. In the process of reviewing the Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001, there were zero issues with the comfort of the board aside from the pretty rudimentary kickstand.
The Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 was put through some rigorous testing in the form of repeatedly dying in Apex Legends over and over again. The specific Key Switch of our review sample came were the Varmilo Ivy EC Switch V2s. With an actuation force of 50g, these keys are rapid and relatively effortless, even for First Person Shooters. But, require just a little force to actuate, This is a benefit as you’d have to be pretty ham-fisted to accidentally press a key and do something embarrassing in front of the whole lobby with this keyboard
The keyboard as a whole provided a good gaming experience. The keycaps feel robust and smooth, and the board itself stayed planted and solid despite hours of sustained and furious keystrokes. The volume control knob located on the top right of the keyboard came in handy too, as we all know how inconsistent game volume mixing can be, so having control of the volume just a couple of centimeters away from the right hand is a strong benefit.
The Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 001 is equipped with EC V2 Key Switches, produced by their sister company, Varmilo. This keyboard is available with your choice of the Ivy, Sakura, Rose, or Daisy subtypes. All of which offer different typing sensations. The marketing sample we were provided with came with the clicky and tactile Ivy.
The EC V2 switches have an atypical design, It’s electro capacitive, which opposes traditional MX-style switches wherein two conductive metal plates or “leaves” make contact at the actuation point to complete a circuit. The EC V2 switch type works by measuring the electrical signal between two plates that never actually make contact. As they approach each other the signal grows until it hits a predetermined threshold and the keystroke is registered by the keyboard. The main benefit of this is that wear and tear of the plates is effectively eliminated. This results in a far longer lifespan of the switch compared to those of a traditional leaf structure. For those of you who have a thirst for Key Switch engineering and design, check out this in-depth breakdown of the EC-V2 switches by ThereminGoat
The feel of the switches is excellent, the last two keyboards we’ve reviewed featured Cherry MX Browns and Razer Greens. It exceeds both Cherry MX Browns and the Razer Green switch. The audible click is far sharper than the Razer Green, and the tactility is more decisive and pleasurable in your hands than the extremely popular Cherry MX Browns.
Another point of note is that if Shurikey also has a small but-burgeoning community, where you can get involved in their Discord server.