Well made mechanical keyboards are usually on the thick and heavy side. “Built like a tank” is a term often thrown around when describing them. It’s this perceived build quality that’s one of the major reasons many users are initially drawn to mechanical keyboards.
Metal backplates. Sculpted keycaps. Full travel mechanical switches. A rigid case and high quality PCB. All these components require extra space and the weight quickly starts adding up. Thin & light isn’t normally present in the marketing of mechanical keyboards. The HAVIT HV-KB390L low profile mechanical keyboard I’m reviewing today is attempting to buck that trend. Continue reading
Generally speaking, the stock keycaps found on low to medium budget mechanical keyboards are lacking in quality. That’s because keysets are one of the easiest areas where manufacturers can cut corners to reach a lower manufacturing cost so they can obtain higher profits. The reality is average consumers aren’t even aware of the quality difference between thin ABS keycaps and thick PBT.
Keyboard enthusiasts know better. For most of us, replacing and upgrading stock keycaps to something more substantial with premium materials and high wear resistance is a priority. Continue reading
Today Massdrop added a listing for a 65% wireless (Bluetooth 4.0) mechanical keyboard from a brand called Keywalker. The keyboard has 68 keys in a compact form factor similar to the TADA68. It includes dedicated arrow keys while only being one column wider than a typical 60% form factor mechanical keyboard. The switches are Cherry MX in either tactile (brown), clicky (blue), or linear (red/back) variants. Continue reading
You may already be familiar with the Chinese brand Xiaomi due in part to their popular line of affordable smartphones. Believe it or not they’re the 5th largest producer of smartphones in the world, behind juggernauts Samsung and Apple.
The Xiaomi Yuemi MK01 (aka the Wyatt Meter in China) I’m reviewing today is the first mechanical keyboard to carry the Xiaomi name. It was actually released thanks to Xiaomi’s own crowdfunding platform. Just a quick glimpse at the MK01 is enough to notice the similar design philosophies between Xiaomi and Apple products. The MK01 may be the solution for users wanting a mechanical keyboard with Apple inspired design to match the aesthetics of your new Mac. Continue reading
The Obins Anne Pro has created a lot of positive hype in the keyboard community. I know it’s been on my radar for the past 5 months or so. A 60% mechanical keyboard with wireless support (Bluetooth 4.0), true RGB backlighting, Gateron switches and PBT keycaps for only $80. Sign me up!
A lack of time and backlog of other boards delayed this review longer than expected, but I finally got around to ordering one. I’ve spent the last couple weeks using the Anne Pro as my daily driver. Is the buzz around it merited? Spoiler: Yes. Continue reading
I have a special mechanical keyboard up for review today. The Vortex CORE could end up being a pioneer for 40% form factor keyboards and the future mech market. What makes it so unique? The CORE is not a kit that requires soldering skills for a complex assembly process. It’s not a custom you design and build yourself from the ground up based on a specific PCB. The Vortex CORE is the first mass produced, fully assembled 40% mechanical keyboard for the “mainstream” retail market.
Until now, these ultra compact 40% layouts have been mostly relegated to a hardcore niche audience, even among keyboard enthusiasts. Does the Vortex CORE have what it takes to invigorate the 40% market the same way its predecessor, the Poker series, did with 60% mechanical keyboards? We shall see… Continue reading
The ability to program your mechanical keyboard and assign different functions to specific keys may sound like a luxury feature, but in some cases it becomes a necessity. Anyone who’s ever used a tiny, space-saving form factor keyboard — I’m talking 60% and smaller — knows their default key layouts can be a challenge when the number of dedicated keys is limited. Having the option to customize a key to your desired function can alleviate these shortcomings, making your typing experience more intuitive. Taking the time to choose the best programmable mechanical keyboard according to your own personal preferences will result in comfortable and faster typing with less errors.
Not only that, but many programmable mechanical keyboards allow the user to setup macros. A macro key can initiate and perform a series of multiple recorded inputs with a single keystroke. This feature is popular among gamers, as it allows advanced combos to be successfully pulled off with 100% accuracy. They have practical purposes too. Any tasks that requires the same repetitive input can be programmed to a macro key. Even something as simple as having your email address bound to a specific key to quicken logins and the process of filling out forms. Continue reading
Vortex’s next “big” product comes in a tiny package. The Vortex Core 40% mechanical keyboard was just recently made available to order from Amazon (sold by Corus but fulfilled by Amazon).
The Core is a ultra-compact mechanical keyboard with only 47 dedicated keys. It uses multiple function layers and programmability to provide functionality similar to that of larger keyboards, but with a much smaller footprint for improved ergonomics and space-saving ability. Continue reading
When I started writing this post I wanted the list to be a lot longer. I quickly discovered the market for wireless mechanical keyboards is akin to a barren wasteland. There seems to be a demand, but the supply just isn’t there yet. Wired mechanical keyboards are somewhat of a small niche themselves and enthusiasts willing to pay the premium to own one are almost always looking for the best performance possible, which admittedly isn’t usually offered via wireless solutions. This is especially true for PC gamers who require low latency and no input lag.
Honestly, I don’t even own one myself yet, though I hope to remedy that in the near future (Update: Review added for the Anne Pro). Still, more choices for a good wireless mechanical keyboard is something I think many in the mechanical keyboard community would welcome with open arms. Since I’m currently on the hunt for one of my own I thought I would share what I’ve learned from my research. Let’s take a look at five of the best currently available wireless mechanical keyboards and see if we can find a viable board or two that will please casuals and enthusiasts alike. Continue reading
Mechanical keyboards are expensive, especially when compared to typical membrane based keyboards. A high quality mech with solid build quality, durable PBT keycaps and switches from a well known brand (Cherry, Matias, Topre, etc.) will generally set you back in the neighborhood of $150. Over the past couple years a barrage of low-budget mechanical keyboards have hit the market. These boards are very economical, but they typically cut a few corners with build quality. They usually make use of MX style clone switches, not genuine Cherry switches. You’re also not paying a premium for the name brand.
This type of product has made mechanical keyboards a more viable option for the budget conscious crowd. The Drevo Gramr 75% mechanical keyboard I’m reviewing today is one of those economical options. Let’s test this cheap mechanical keyboard and see if it’s possible to provide good build quality, attractive design, reliability, and performance for under $50. Continue reading