When it comes to eSports and competitive gaming gears, ZOWIE takes a spot as one of the most recommended brands to date. The most popular ones are their signature line of monitors, gaming mice and mouse pads.

Now what we have here is the ZOWIE CELERITAS II, an update to ZOWIE’s 2011 full size mechanical gaming keyboard. This particular keyboard features an optical switch which is a first from the company. Other than that, it looks like your normal full-sized ISO keyboard with a wrist rest priced at over $150 USD.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

Keyboard
Form FactorFull Size
Layout104 Key ISO
MacroNA
ProfileNA
SoftwareNA
InterfaceUSB, PS/2
MemoryNA
Polling Rate1000Hz, adjustable
LightingYes, Red
Wrist RestYes, fixed
PassthroughNA
Cable ManagementNA
Multimedia KeysYes, integrated
Cable Length1.8m
Switch
TypeFlaretech Optical
Actuation1.5mm
Travel3.6mm
Lifespan100 million
Dimensions
Length442mm
Width170mm
Height38mm
Weight1890g

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:

The ZOWIE CELERITAS II comes inside your typical keyboard packaging. The product should come with the following items inside:

  • USB to PS/2 Adapter
  • User Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • ZOWIE Case Badge

DESIGN, LAYOUT AND BUILD QUALITY:

The ZOWIE CELERITAS II is a classy looking keyboard. Build quality is over the top with a matching UV coated facade and a weight to back it up at 1890 grams. This is an ISO layout keyboard though so adjusting from an ANSI layout is definitely a requirement.

Zowie Celeritas II (2)

The back side is simply bland. No cable routes here for management, no height adjustments could be found, nor DIP switches to play with. At least we’ve got a truly stable platform due to the weight and the padding.

Zowie Celeritas II (3)

ZOWIE CELERITAS II’s key profile is sculpted from top to bottom which is accentuated further by the thin frame design of the keyboard. Yes, this is a grease magnet as seen from the shot below. Most ZOWIE products are, to be honest.

Zowie Celeritas II (5)

Connectivity is provided by a non-braided 1.8 meter cable. This is a kink-free one and will take the PS/2 adapter just fine.

Zowie Celeritas II (4)

TEST SETUP AND METHODOLOGY:

Testing a keyboard is not that difficult, but it is mostly subjective; similar to testing head gears in a sense. That said, no keyboard is perfect and the verdict usually depends on personal preferences. With that in mind our methodology is overhauled to follow the key pointers that should matter the most. That includes how good the switches are, the quality of keycap and its profile plus the comfort.

Test Setup
GamesOverwatch, Battlefield 4, DOTA 2
Repeat RateShortest
Repeat DelayFastest
Polling Rate1000Hz, If possible
SoftwareEliteKeyboards Switch Hitter

PHYSICAL LAYOUT, FUNCTIONALITY AND ERGONOMICS:

Keyboards are generally categorized in 4 standard sizes or layouts: Full Size, TKL, Compact 75% and 60% layouts. These standard layouts had drastic effects on the functionality and ergonomics of the keyboard. Generally, compact layouts allows for better ergonomics; whereas full layouts offers 100% functionality.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (4)

The ZOWIE CELERITAS II features a traditional 104 key ISO layout. That said, it isn’t particularly the best when it comes to ergonomics. The fact that you can’t adjust the height adds to that. Clearly, you have to get used to the ISO layout if you’re coming from ANSI and pray that the wrist rest is enough.

Zowie Celeritas II (1)

As for functionality, there are a few to talk about. We have multimedia keys, lighting and polling adjustments at the function keys and a toggle for the game mode. That’s about it really.

Zowie Celeritas II (10)

KEYCAP PROFILE, PRINTING AND MATERIAL:

The keycap profile is often overlooked when it comes to keyboards. It shouldn’t be, considering that the profile usually makes or breaks a portion of keyboard’s ergonomic and feel. The DCS family is the most common one here, with Cherry and OEM profile slotted beneath it. On the other hand, profiles such as the DSA and SA profiles are mostly found on higher end mechanical keyboards.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (5)

Keycap printing method is also an important aspect we should look into. Pad printing is the most common one here, while dye sublimation and double shot injection being the more premium ones due to their printing quality and durability.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (1)

Keycap materials are important too in selecting a mechanical keyboard; though it is common to see keyboards shipped with either ABS and PVC keycaps. These materials do however shine faster than other materials and quality is generally not the best. PBT doesn’t shine as fast compared to these keycaps and are highly regarded for their quality and distinct texture. POM on the other hand is also a durable material but they are rarely found as aftermarket options.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (3)

Keycap profile of the ZOWIE CELERITAS II is under the DCS family, more specifically the sculpted medium OEM profile.

Zowie Celeritas II (6)

UV Prints on the ABS keycap set are excellent. Fonts are simple yet crisp enough and nothing is out of place.

Zowie Celeritas II (8)

Material used for the keycap set is again ABS plastic. Thickness is more than decent with small amount of nub marks. The keycap stems are well reinforced too which is nice.

Zowie Celeritas II (9)

MECHANICAL SWITCHES AND STABILIZERS:

The mechanical switches makes up the reason why mechanical keyboards are called “mechanical keyboards” in the first place. There are tons of switches out there but Cherry MX switches are the most popular of them all; setting a standard for the rest. They have clicky, linear and bumpy switches; all with their own mixture of actuation forces and actuation points.

Mechanical Keyboard Information 2018 (2)

The ZOWIE CELERITAS II we got features the Flaretech switches inside which is basically an optical switch under what appears to be a Cherry MX inspired stem and housing. This switch felt like Cherry MX Reds but with a more aggressive actuation point and shallower travel distance. Sound wise, the keyboard has this MX Red output when bottoming out. A bit on the shallower and quieter side of course.

Zowie Celeritas II (7)

Stabilizers are present on all switches and or keys that requires them so everything’s good here I suppose. A shame that this keyboard doesn’t support analog input though. Wooting did it with their Wooting One analog keyboard so…

KEY ROLLOVER, CHATTER AND GHOSTING:

EliteKeyboard’s Switch Hitter is an excellent freeware to test key rollover, chatter and ghosting. Key rollover is basically the number of keys the keyboard could register, while chatter is multiple registered inputs with a single press of a key. Ghosting on the other hand is the unwanted input registration when several keys are pressed together.

TT Premium X1 RGB Review (1)

The ZOWIE CELERITAS II passed with flying colors on our rollover, chatter and ghosting tests. Nothing to worry about here guys.

SOFTWARE, LIGHTING AND SPECIAL FEATURES:

Just like their previous releases, ZOWIE had no intention to bundle the CELERITAS II with a software.

Zowie-Celeritas-II-11

Lighting on the other hand is excellent even though it only has Red lighting in tow. It is soft and candy like to be precise – just the way I like it. Locked keys on the other hand will output a bluish tone when toggled though.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The CELERITAS II is a beautiful over built gaming oriented keyboard from ZOWIE and there’s no doubt about that. The optical switches are also excellent to work with, provided that you gave yourself enough time to get used to them. As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of getting used to this keyboard. That includes the adjustment from ANSI to ISO layout, the non removable wrist rest and the fixed height.

Yeah, the CELERITAS II is far from perfect especially if you’re keeping a tab with the company’s recent releases. You’d think the next CELERITAS would be a TKL keyboard but it is not the case. With the addition of the Flaretech Optical switches, you’d also think that this will support analog input but alas, it did not. It’s just baffling considering the massive following’s requests to the company to release a true basic yet compelling competitive gaming keyboard.

On its own, the ZOWIE CELERITAS II is still a proper mechanical gaming keyboard. It checks out where it matters the most with just a few missed opportunities. Consider it if you 100% prefer the astounding build quality that ZOWIE has to offer.

  • EXCEPTIONAL BUILD QUALITY
  • SEAMLESS THIN BEZEL DESIGN
  • CAPABLE OPTICAL SWITCHES INSIDE
  • GORGEOUS RED LIGHTING
  • COULD REALLY USE MORE FEATURES
  • PRICE POINT COULD BE BETTER
  • NO ANSI LAYOUT OPTION
  • FINGER-PRINT MAGNET

TechPorn Awards 2018 (5)

ZOWIE CELERITAS II Optical Switch Gaming Keyboard Review
  • PERFORMANCE
  • BUILD QUALITY
  • FEATURES
  • AESTHETICS
  • VALUE
3.8

Summary

On its own, the ZOWIE CELERITAS II is still a proper mechanical gaming keyboard. It checks out where it matters the most with just a few missed opportunities. Consider it if you 100% prefer the astounding build quality that ZOWIE has to offer.