CSTC75 - A good keyboard for those who just getting into custom mechanical keyboards
Review by u/Raptor2832009 (if you'd like to watch the sound test and RGB effect, please click the original post and watch. Hope the review is helpful. If it is helpful, please don't forget to give it a upvote, Cheers!)
Right out of the box, I was decently impressed. You actually get a lot for the price you pay. I received the Black Kit 4 option, which is supposed to include the PCB, Case, PC Plate, Stabilizers, a grey knob, 85x Gateron switches (~$20 value!), and nice PBT keycaps (~$40 value!). For the $96 MSRP (with free shipping), that initially seems like an impressive value.
Polycarbonate plate! Stock stabs = bleh, but once tuned and lubed are actually quite decent. Standard Gateron SMD Yellows... They're fine.
RGB Underglow! RGB on this board is pretty insane.
Another interesting note: it includes 85 Gateron switches (I chose Yellows because they’re the best in my opinion), but includes Cherry keycaps… on a north-facing LED board. Very interesting. I’m sure many of you have recognized the supposed problem: Cherry profile interference. However, upon testing, it seems that these Ghost Judges keycaps are not true Cherry Profile, and might be slightly taller. They do not have any interference. I chose not to use them, however, and instead used Akko ASA Neon keycaps. But the Ghost Judges keycaps seem to be well printed and are quite thick.
Gaskets are silicone and don't provide much flex but they do isolate the plate and pcb.
Besides that, the build process was relatively intuitive and simple. The plastic of the case appeared very thin, but that was just my first impression; it’s actually quite sturdy, even though the built keyboard is quite light. The plate is not machined too well and it was very hard to put switches in, but it still was decent overall. I did like the fact that it included VIA compatibility, which is very convenient. The stock stabilizers were completely dry and had a LOT of rattle, but they were pre-clipped which was nice. I lubed them with a little bit of dielectric grease and they are now very nice.
Goes together very easily... but hard to take apart. Snap together the case.
So what are my overall thoughts? Well, this is a very good board for its target audience: people who are just getting into custom mechanical keyboards. The ability to have VIA (and VIAL, though I do not have experience with it) customizability, a gasket-mounted design, and a low cost make it quite enticing. In addition to that, building it completely by yourself is very nice because it gives you the full “self-built” feeling. Unfortunately, I do not have experience with the IK75 or the Next Time 75, but I believe that this is comparable. However, I would say that this might be better due to its open-source software programmability and similar pricing. For reference, the QMK/VIA model of the Feker IK75 sells for over $100 most places, so the value of this one seems to be quite good. The sound is a bit thin and there isn’t too much flex, but it’s still nice to use.
Looks very nice with ASA Neon keycaps.
Would I recommend it? It’s a fine board for the price. Compared to something like the CIY Gas67, which is about the same price, I would say it’s probably comparable. There might be better options for the price (GMK67 comes to mind) but it's a 65%. I would venture to say that it IS better than the IK75 or NT75, however.