These Are Keyboards You NEED To Know About!
So our desire to explore really cool keyboard content at Computex 2019 really started with SteelSeries and their introduction of a new switch called Omnipoint. They’re using hall effect technology in which you can customize the actuation points from 0.4 millimeters to 3.6 millimeters, and that is a cool concept but it is not a new concept because the hall effect switch has been out for about 30 years or so.
So let’s start with Wooting keyboards. The Wooting One was my first analog keyboard and you could customize the actuation point as well – just like with new Omnipoint switches – but now Wooting is releasing a new Lekker switch that is using the same hall effect technology as SteelSeries.
Basically there’s a magnet at the bottom and there is a magnet in the actual switch, and they’re constantly measuring the signal between the two magnets to calculate or calibrate the actuation point. The Lekker switches will be linear of course, that is needed when you have the customization of the actuation point, but one cool thing is they’re introducing the concept of a dynamic reset point. Basically, if you go past the actuation point and you still have not reset the key, anytime you go slightly up the key will automatically reset. As a result, you could theoretically activate the key and then perform these minor up and down movements and the key will again activate to grant new much faster actuation. Basically, you don’t have to bottom out and reset the key every time – by going all the way to the top – because the dynamic reset point will already be active as soon as you’ve done the first actual actuation. It’s a little complex, so don’t worry if you don’t quite understand it yet, or I’ve just done a poor job of explaining it.
These new switches will be introduced in a special edition keyboard from Wooting, known as the Wooting Two Lekker Edition. It is a full-sized keyboard with a really cool graphical and vibrant layout, PBT keycaps, and quality Lekker switches. It has a nice body and they’re trying to shift away from the gaming demographic and move into a more enthusiast and serious crowd for keyboards. I’m really excited to have more hall effect switches on the market now.
By far the most visually impressive keyboard we saw at the show was the Ducky One 2 SF. The SF stands for 65% – which is the size of the keyboard – while the special edition red theme has to do with the Year of the Pig. This keyboard also has an incredibly unique font, it has these rich dark red keycaps, a really cool body, additional special keycaps both for the escape and the right keycaps. These special keycaps have meaning in the Chinese culture and at the booth they had descriptions for exactly what each key meant.
There is also some golden accents behind the keyboard near the USB Type-C connector, and the overall keyboard is just so unique. You most likely will not be able to buy it because it’s not that expensive – under $200 – so it’s going to sell out fast due to its special edition uniqueness and really fantastic built quality. The space bar also has a really unique pig graphic that should never rub away since they are using PBT keycaps with the dye-dublimation technique. What’s really cool is the new One 2 SF keyboard is also available in your standard edition white or black and ranges from $89 to $119. It really removes the stigma surrounding Ducky being like a really expensive brand because of their quality. It’s not like that anymore, they just deliver really good quality keyboards that are actually not that expensive.
Moving onto Cooler Master, we finally have a properly low profile keyboard. The SK851 which will use Omron’s new B3KL switches, which are incredibly low profile. It will come in both linear and tactile formats, and just from our typing experience the switches felt much better than the linear low profile MX Red’s that they have currently on their SK650 line of keyboards. I’m really really excited for this SK851 keyboard to come out because it will be fully wireless. Right now it’s only going to be available in full-size format, but it will be both PC and Mac compatible and hopefully the battery life will last forever. And we do have to restate that the switches themselves feel really awesome and so do the key caps.
And then we found Varmilo and this is something that I’m really excited to share, because they’re this boutique/enthusiast/almost budget friendly keyboard manufacturer that allows you to customize absolutely everything from your switch type, to your key cap color, to your font, to your space bar design, to the actual body of the keyboard. TKL versus full size, everything about the whole customization process is up to you. They use PBT key caps, which are super high quality and dye-sublimation techniques in which the actual font or whatever is imprinted throughout the entire body of the key cap. It’s literally imprinted inside the key cap, it’s not laser printed, it’s not a sticker, and basically the letters will never wear off. The most impressive part of Varmilo keyboards is the price. Eber customized himself a TLK layout with different switch types throughout the board, so the WASD area or something else, he got himself additional key caps, a wrist rest, and that price was only $150. That is usually the price point of your regular mainstream gaming keyboard. Yet here you have something that is literally tailored by you, and I really just wanting to pass that information to you because I feel like they deserve some attention.
The Wooting guys pointed us over in the direction of Leopold, supposedly a company that makes really high quality keyboards, but they’re pricing tops at $125. From what we saw in terms of the customization of the different layouts and different color options, different wrist rests, it was all really really high quality. For example, the PCB underneath all the soldering points were really well done, and this is coming from Wooting guys that make keyboards themselves. They said it’s a fantastic job on the actual soldering points. So for all silence enthusiasts, they had this silence focused keyboard that had felt underneath the PCB and the frame, the frame was aluminum and this is to minimize any vibration noise. They had felt underneath the key cap itself and a little rubber piece on the body so when the key cap bottoms out that sound is being absorbed. They also had the additional stabilizers on the space bar, and when simply typing on the keyboard not only did the felt and additional materials kind of dampen the sound, but it also gave the the keyboard a little bit of a different feel that is so unique. Our keyboard was $109, which is an amazing value. Next we got to try their new switch that aims to compete with Topre and it was one most unique switches that I’ve ever typed on. After the actuation point the switch becomes heavy and that decentivizes you from bottoming out, and it was so enjoyable to type on.
And so that my friends concludes our little keyboard exploration at Computex 2019. This is something that I never expected to see here, and the fact that we were able to just see these five companies in the span of like 30 minutes is just incredible. I’m really looking forward to doing more exploration at the next Computex because I’m sure we’ll find some gems in the future.