Mountain is a newcomer to the PC peripherals industry. The German-based company started a few years ago, starting its business with just one mouse model. Recently, last year, the company made a bold move by setting up its first (and rather unusual) keyboard for crowdfunding. Of course, the bold move was not crowdfunding itself – a tactic many companies use today, especially when they want to weigh uncertain market demand – it was the modular nature of the keyboard.
That keyboard became Everest. Designed with maximum flexibility in mind thanks to its modular parts, Everest is made to compete as a state-of-the-art mechanical keyboard, with all the many advanced features that come from the territory. And, as we’ll see in our review, Mountain wasn’t just looking for parity of functions – to produce a keyboard good as the best keyboards on the market. Instead, they seemingly got even better, constructing one of the best-built keyboards we’ve ever seen at AnandTech.
In the end, Mountain’s engineering efforts led to two different Everest products. With the modularity of their design serving as a hallmark for Everest, the leading product for the keyboard line is Everest Max, which is what we are reviewing today. Everest Max is a complete set and caboodle, so to speak, which offers a basic keyless keyboard, as well as all the additional modular components of the Mountain. Meanwhile, for those who only need a board without modular accessories – and with a lower price – Mountain also offers Everest Core, which truly includes only the basic keyboard.
Packing and package
We received Mountain Everest Max in a very cleverly designed cardboard box. The artwork on the box itself is minimal, but it reveals tons of information after opening and is designed in such a way that it will attract the eye of the user who opens it. It also provides outstanding transport protection for the keyboard and its components. Each component comes in its own cardboard box, neatly packed in a drawer under the compartment where the keyboard core is located.
As we got the Max version of Everest, so did we get all of its modular parts available to date. These are just two – Numpad and media dock. The company also includes tilt adjustment feet, a normal Esc key cap, five Cherry MX test switches, a quick start guide, several stickers and a USB cable. The USB cable can be removed and has a Type-C connector on the keyboard side and a USB Type-A connector on the computer side. Mountain also includes a Type-C adapter, for those looking to connect Everest Max directly to the Type-C port for the host.
The Max version also benefits from the inclusion of a high-quality magnetic palm rest. The pad is also extremely soft to the touch. The magnetic holder on the keyboard is very light, maybe too light, which can be good or bad depending on how violent the users are with their joints. The light magnetic force makes it very easy to remove and clean, even without the need to move the keyboard a bit – but it also means that it can move unconsciously during heated play.
Mountain Everest Max
Core of the Everest keyboard is not unlike most mechanical keyboards without tenkey on the market. Were it not for the subtle company logo on the top of the chassis and the silver Esc keys, it would be difficult for most people to distinguish Everest from other keyless keyboards on the market.
We got an American / international version of the keyboard. It has a typical ANSI layout, with seven 1.25x buttons in the bottom row plus a 6.25x full size space bar. The mountain uses a clean, rounded fund on the button caps. Standard button caps are made of ABS, but Mountain offers an upgrade to dual PBT button caps for approximately $ 30 more. There are no additional buttons on the keyboard core.
The upper part of the keyboard is made of aluminum, with a flat brushed frame and a circularly brushed tip. This creates an attractive visual effect, but for some users it may be unattractive, because it looks like someone has gone crazy with a wire brush on it.
The included palm rest fits the Core keyboard perfectly and is very comfortable to use. However, when the Numpad is attached, the palm rest looks aesthetically inappropriate. This isn’t necessarily embarrassing because most people don’t rest their wrists on the Numpad, but it seems like the Numpad is a foreign body to the rest of the keyboard.
When all the modular components are installed, Everest Max ceases to be a simple keyless keyboard and its true potential can be clearly seen. The Numpad has four mini screen buttons on the top, and the media station has an LCD with rotating wheels next to small media control buttons and tiny informative LEDs.
Users can configure four display keys on the Numpad and an LCD with rotating dials on the media dock via the keyboard software. It would not be an exaggeration to say that most (if not all) of the advanced features of Everest rest on modular parts.
The lower part of the keyboard is plastic, with three wide anti-slip strips and two circular tilting feet. There are many ways to clean the cable from the keyboard connector in the middle, including to the front of the keyboard.
On the back of the keyboard we find two connectors, one type C connector and one type A connector. The type A connector works the same as a regular hub port and users can connect any USB device to it. The Type C connector is designed as a mounting point for a media docking station. Two more Type-C connectors can be found on both sides of the keyboard, which are intended for the numeric board.
Under the button caps of our sample, we found the original Cherry MX Red switches. Mountain offers Everest either with Cherry MX red, blue or brown switches. This is one of the few existing keyboards with original Cherry MX switches that can be replaced with hot, allowing the user to change the switches on the keyboard as desired. The switches are of course RGB variants, with clear bodies. Mountain uses typical Cherry MX cross racks for larger keys.
The RGB lighting on Everest Max is clear and crisp, but not too bright. It’s strong enough, especially for those who will be using the keyboard in relatively dark rooms, but we’ve seen stronger backlighting at the same Cherry MX switches before. It is possible that this is just an illusion, because the very dark surface of the keyboard absorbs almost all the light, denying any backlight.
Opening the keyboard reveals another surprise, because we found an extremely well-designed and assembled device, which surpasses even what we usually see even on top products. This could be the first keyboard we saw that the manufacturer used foam material that fills the gaps to soundproof and mechanically improve the assembly. However, there may be a downside here, as the material can retain moisture if someone spills a lot of liquid on the keyboard.
The heart of Everest is the Holtek HT32F52352 ARM processor. This is a 32-bit microcontroller with an operating frequency of 48 MHz and 16 kB of built-in SRAM. It’s pretty exaggerated for a keyboard, but it’s always good to see something too much on such high-performance devices.
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