Every time I read about Zephyr people bring up the “Zeal tax” and I don’t get it. I simply can get it because this keyboard is good at every single level and it’s definitely one of these products that lives up to its expectations.
I was recently told when discussing about custom keyboards on a discord and they told me that paying $500 was OK because of the designer’s attention to detail, so I don’t get why when Zeal sells a product the topic of the Zeal tax is always brought up just to devaluate the work the designer of this board (Wilba) has put into this. So please, give me a moment because I want to rant about Zephyr.
Right now, Zephyr is the best custom you can get. Period and maybe there are some other customs that have LED indicators or other features, but let’s break down what is inside this piece of machined metal.
Let’s talk about what’s inside Zephyr first, because Wilba is known for his PCBs for a good reason. The PCB isn’t just good, it’s fantastic. If you want the pure definition of “attention to detail” Wilba just smashes other people into the hard ground and come with his PCBs. This PCB has been custom made for this keyboard, and you are not only paying for the PCB, but for the work that Wilba has put into this. Adding these RGBs it’s just a lot of extra work, or just the fact that he has written the firmware for it. You are paying for that.
And I’m not even talking about the gold and black finish, because that’s purely aesthetic or that the work Wilba does with traces.
Now, let’s go to the case, not just the plate, but the case itself. It’s an 8 degree 65% case, and if you want attention to detail there you have it again. The case is fantastic, the anodization finishes are top notch, I haven’t seen anyone being let down because of the case, or complaining about anodization problems, hooking marks, scratches. The case comes with a PVD coated brass weight which looks good, but it also costs more, but that’s the price you pay for not having those ugly oxidation marks that many other keyboards end up having.
And now, we can talk about the 4.75mm brass plate. It’s a very well done plate, PVD coated, with an excellent finish.
What do we have left, custom packaging. I don’t care that much about it but it’s nice, and it certainly is more expensive than just some regular box. But hey, it’s a premium board, you should expect the best of the best.
So we end up with a very expensive board, and people expecting to get the very best. What’s the Zeal tax of this product then? Because the quality check for these is excellent. I haven’t seen anybody complaining about a dead PCB, scratches, bad anodization. People are expecting the very best, and they are receiving the very best.