With years of successful products behind them, Cherry is undoubtedly the most reputable manufacturer of computer keyboard mechanical switches. The company practically invented the mechanical keyboard switch, with their first products – under patent protection at the time – leaving assembly lines over three decades ago. At the same time, Cherry doesn't just manufacture keyboard switches, but myriads of items, ranging from basic electronic parts to complete retail products. During the recent market boom of mechanical keyboards, Cherry also released several retail keyboards of their own, such as the MX Board 6.0 that we reviewed last year.

Today we're taking a look at the Cherry G80-3494 MX Board Silent mechanical keyboard. This keyboard is an especially interesting item to review because rather than being a wholly new design, it's a new iteration on a classic design, following in the footsteps of the original iconic Cherry G80-3000 series keyboards that have been in circulation for decades. Unlike most of the keyboards that we usually review, the Cherry G80-3494 MX Board Silent is not a keyboard directly marketed towards gamers or even consumers in general – rather it is a keyboard that has been designed for workspaces, with an emphasis on office workers, public computers (kiosks, schools, etc.), and for applications where reliability is of the utmost importance (medical equipment, control systems, etc.).

Cherry G80-3494 MX Board Silent Mechanical Keyboard - Key features and specifications

  • Mechanical Black or Red stem MX Silent keyswitches are rated at 50 million actuations to withstand harsh environments and ensure long product lifetime
  • Patented noise reduction using an integrated 2-component stem minimizes noise at top and bottom-out
  • N-Key rollover: Simultaneous operations of up to 14 keys without any ghosting effects
  • Self-cleaning contacts, dust and dirt resistant
  • Full QWERTY key layout in full-size 18.5″ form factor
  • USB 2.0 Interface or PS/2 with adapter
  • 104 Keys
  • PC & MAC compatible over USB

Packaging and Bundle

Cherry supplies the G80-3494 MX Board Silent in a simple, no-frills, black cardboard box. With the exception of the company’s logo, there is virtually no artwork on the box, not even marketing hype. The box seems to have been designed solely to provide the keyboard with shipping protection. Cherry does not bundle anything along with this keyboard, only the keyboard itself can be found inside the box.

The Cherry G80-3494 MX Board Silent Mechanical Keyboard
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  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    I don't understand why keyboards don't put dedicated media controls on them anymore. The problem with keyboards now is that they try to condense them down. Being able to mute/turn volume up and down, skip tracks, etc is fantastic when doing other things in full screen apps.

    The way they put them on keyboards now is very cheap way about it, not only that but because of it you have to disable some keys to make them work, and windows won't recognize the media keys to even use them! For example i like my CMstorm keyboard, but its media keys won't work with web based apps like google play music. Or it won't detect some windows borderless games.

    However my old Logitech keyboard has no problem doing it. I mean come on, it can't cost much to put real media keys on keyboard, literally plenty of space to do so most mechanical keyboards have a huge height to them. You can put them on top/back and be easier to muscle memory remember location on top/back of them.

    Biggest pet peeve of mine with keyboards. :P
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    To clarify what i mean, if you are playing a game on my CMstorm for example, the F5-F11 keys are the media keys, but to use them you have to disable function button, then press them to use them. Being a gaming keyboard, people use those keys for other things in games. So its cumbersome to have to reach for two keytrokes back and forth to keep enabling/disabling them for each time you want to skip track, pause, etc.

    Given how many people play games with music you get how its annoying.
    Reply
  • blackworx - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    Personally I'm glad the trend for media keys and replacing F keys' default function with media controls is on the wane. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Gaming and media are both still vastly well catered for anyway. There's more choice than ever before, it's just that the rest of us are now less often forced to deal with keyboards that are half broken by default. Reply
  • jimbo2779 - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    I wouldn't really say that having dedicated media controls is a gamer keyboard thing, it is a convenience thing. Having the keys for things like media controls or calculator is just convenient.

    If you don't like these keys you don't need to use them but if they aren't there then the keyboard is missing something.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    Exactly, its silly spending as much for a one of these keyboards that is actually a regression in tech vs only membrane keyboards. Reply
  • Findecanor - Thursday, September 21, 2017 - link

    Manufacturers have not settled on one consistent mapping on F-keys. They each have their own or sometimes a different mapping per keyboard model even.

    Personally, I use programs that put Skip<, Skip> and Play/Pause on PrtSrc, Scroll Lock and Pause. Those keys are on all keyboards and pretty much useless anyway.
    Reply
  • ayabe - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    Good for what it is I guess, I think once you've laid your hands on a Topre switch keyboard, anything Cherry just feels terrible and chintzy by comparison. Reply
  • achinhorn - Thursday, October 5, 2017 - link

    First time on a Cherry I dropped almost $200 for a das keyboard only to realize it was basically unusable. I mean really. It maybe that DAS keyboards are garbage but everything felt loose, and the sound, feel, and smoothness of the switches & my Topre were instantly missed. I often lug my Topre to and from the office and bench the Das it's that bad. I don't think I'll ever buy another switch. Reply
  • ithehappy - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    I'm all in for simple keyboards always, but without any backlight it's impossible for someone like me to consider :( Reply
  • grant3 - Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - link

    [X] Many pages of non-silence related critique
    [X] Detailed discussion of interior design of 'silent' keyboard
    [ ] Noise output measured on 'silent' keyboard
    ... -.- ...
    Reply

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