Polar 65 Keyboard review

Arbiter Studio Polar 65 review: Premium features at an affordable price

Magnetic, hall-effect switches are in popular demand and at its current price, the Polar 65 could be a standout 65% option

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Table of Contents

As the custom keyboard market booms, it is fantastic to see prebuilt models such as the Arbiter Polar 65 taking it to the next level. First impressions are marvelous, this board remains competitive with excellent features for the price and its sleek, minimalist design is worthy of any desktop.

You may have already heard about magnetic hall effect switches, with many gamers looking to switch to these keyboards over the last year or so. Most “gaming” peripherals are marketed as the fastest and most responsive but the magnetic hall technology genuinely appears to give an advantage. Popularized by Wooting, these types of switches have quickly won the hearts of esports players with their ability to actuate and reset near-instantaneously, otherwise known as Rapid Trigger. Analog input and its benefits don’t end there, the switch can give users multiple actuation points during a single keystroke, which has a handful of applications in several games, while also making movement and general use a lot more responsive.

This is Arbiter Studio’s debut product and what an entry into the market it is.

A more affordable Magnetic HE keyboard alternative
Specifications
  • Form factor: 65%
  • Weight: 2.2lbs / 990g
  • Switches: Fuji Hall Effect Magnetic Switches – 36g Linear
  • Keycaps: Dual-shot PBT Keycaps (KOP Profile)
What We Think

The keyboards aesthetics and overall build quality standout over countless competitors but it is the features beneath and value that make the Polar 65 a must have.

Reasons to Buy
  • Excellent build quality
  • Magnetic HE switches and Rapid Trigger are a must have for serious FPS players
  • Feels custom despite being a prebuilt
  • Pre-lubed and very smooth to type on
  • 9 colorways
  • Web app software
Reasons to Avoid
  • No height adjustment options (wasn’t a con for me personally but others may need one)
  • Limited remapping

Is the Fuji Magnetic HE switch worth it?

In short, yes. Aside from the wonderful design and excellent build quality which we will touch upon, the main USP of this board is its switches. The Polar 65 comes with 36g linear Fuji HE magnetic switches capable of 20 steps of sensitivity from 0.1mm actuation all the way to 3.8mm.

I was happy to see the switches had been pre-lubed, they feel very smooth and a pleasure to type on with the right settings. Performance-wise is where keyboards like this from Arbiter stand out though and the main reason I wanted to test this model out. The switches and rapid trigger function provide gamers with some sort of lag-free wizardry! The hall effect switches can actuate at 0.1mm and rather than waiting for it to reset before another press, rapid trigger takes over giving you yet another instant keypress. What does all of this mean? Well, in games where milliseconds make all the difference (any tac FPS), there is a potential advantage here.

Precise movements such as strafing are required in CS2 and Valorant for accuracy and with this keyboard it can all happen faster – technically giving you the edge. This isn’t going to turn a casual gamer pro but for those who take this seriously, it is yet another variable that can be fine-tuned.

Price and performance keep the Polar 65 competitive

Straight out of the box, I changed everything to 0.1mm actuation and 0.1mm rapid trigger. This was all a bit too much for me and my fat fingers to get used to initially, It took me weeks in fact (transferring from bog-standard Cherry MX Reds).

It is hard to say if I notice a difference with the HE switches or not, similar to faster polling rates on mice and keyboards, I’m unsure. Based on the science alone, I know that this setup gives me every chance to be more accurate at a precise moment but it is hard to measure for a regular old casual player such as myself. I mostly only enjoy FPS games, so having super-responsive peripherals is always something I prefer, and moving to HE switches is yet another I will be sticking with.

Changing the actuation through FN keys on board is all relatively easy enough but the web app from Arbiter is fully recommended here. Using the software I started to adjust the actuation, making the WASD keys as low as possible. I left everything else at around 0.5mm to limit accidental keystrokes and the board instantly felt far better in-game. Game mode is probably another requirement as my large hands frequently brush the Windows key at the worst possible moment. With everything at 0.1mm and rapid trigger on, a sneeze could be catastrophic, this is that sensitive. With all the above adjusted and set I can no longer go back to my old ways.

The build quality and design are fantastic

The build quality is exceptional for the price and the overall design is beautiful. The heavy nature of this board (990g) is comprised of an aluminum “case” with a thick layer of internal padding beneath the PCB. This makes the keyboard feel quite heavy – something I tend to prefer. The switches are pre-lubed and the stabilizers are screwed in, which definitely makes a noticeable difference to the overall experience. It also sounds phenomenal and the fluidity when typing makes the Polar 65 a joy to use day to day, with minimal chatter and a touch of wobble.

The included keycaps are dual-shot PBT (KOP Profile). I’ve not used the keyboard enough to test out any sort of wear and tear but design-wise these caps (Ronin-Red) are crisp. You get a set of extra keycaps with every colorway option too. The 8 additional black/white keys in total completely change the aesthetic of the board and I’m a fan (see below).

Other than that everything is pretty standard, you’ve got a USB C to A cable, and a keycap/switch puller. The Polar 65 is hot-swappable and comes available in a “Barebones” edition if you would rather save money and use your own keycaps.

The Polar 65’s software does the job

Arbiter Studios’ web app is basic and functional. I’m on the side of no software being required with my peripherals (can change everything you need through function keys) but this no-download, middle-ground option to make some adjustments was welcomed.

As you can see above, you can adjust your actuation per key, set/ disable the rapid trigger, and create profiles in the web app. I found creating a “gaming” profile to be an obvious way to go, as I mentioned I needed to increase the actuation for general typing as I was prone to countless typos when set at 0.1mm. My gaming profile had WASD set to 0.1mm actuation with everything else at about 0.5mm. For work or general use, I prefer everything back at my familiar MX Red 2mm.

Should you buy the Arbiter Polar 65?

For what you get, the Arbiter Polar 65 is a no-brainer. This board isn’t for the modding enthusiast it is for those who want something prebuilt and substantial. The fact it is perpetually on sale for around $100 makes it perfect for those who want to give magnetic hall-effect switches a go. This is a quality keyboard, that looks amazing, comes with functional software, and performs well. Must be considered.

Arbiter Studio Polar 65 Magnetic Gaming Keyboard

Form factor
65%
Weight
2.2lbs / 990g
Switches
Fuji Hall Effect Magnetic Switches – 36g Linear
Keycaps
Dual-shot PBT Keycaps (KOP Profile)

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