Week in Keyboards #223 Jun 2015
Ducky Shine 5 August Release date
For those who missed the announcement the Ducky Shine 5 is the successor to the Ducky Shine 4 (shocking) now sporting RGB backlighting. Although I don’t care for RGB backlighting myself I think having a stock board with more options such as this keyboard is a good thing. For details on how the RGB lighting will function this ducky video should cover everything. It uses cherry RGB switches that were previously locked into corsair so this could be the first of many stock RGB keyboards that you see. It also comes with some possible extra gimmick in the form of a double PCB. What this does to the keyboard I am not entirely sure. I can only guess that this is just for stability and changes the feeling similar to how a plate does. But again the Ducky Shine 5 also comes with a clear plate. This is likely functions like a traditional keyboard plate but also helps even out some lighting. It will be available in August with lasered ABS and doubleshot options.
Cherry Keyboard 6.0 is Now Available
Cherry’s new “fastest keyboard in the world” is now available. I have not tested one so I cannot really say if the speed is noticeable. The reason for the speed is cherry’s “realkey-technology”. Read more about this in the article. It also boasts full NKRO, red in switch lighting and a detachable wrist rest. It looks ok, but I much prefer the classic cherry g80-300 design. I can’t say much without testing one but it is at least interesting.
Although it is said to be available, I could only find one place on ebay in the UK http://r.ebay.com/Xco411
Here is the official release
Quite interestingly massdrop has continued to be a keyboard retailer. The KC60 is a very reasonably priced 60% that is available through massdrop. The main draw and surprise around this keyboard is the price. $74.99 + shipping, for a backlit 60% with gaterons this seems like a good price. The other draw was the dyesub PBT keycaps pictured. They do however cost an additional $15. The keycaps by themselves are available on taobao here. The PCB seems to be a GH60 rev b, which really is famous for it’s long and arduous groupbuy. Because of this it is expected to be fully programmable and able to use TMK. Since it uses the atmega32u4, programmability should not be an issue. It’s case is injection moulded plastic available in black and white. Limited to 400 units it is due to ship some time in August. This may be subject to change. For this price it is almost worth seeing how it turns out. I myself bought one and am excited to see how it is.
Find it on massdrop here
Blahlicus/UniqueK Is Still Working
Blahlicus is another community member who is making keyboards that are a bit different. Starting with the Diverge as a cheaper ErgoDox alternative and moving onto the Terminus mini which 40% matrix layout keyboard. Now I believe they are creating a 60-80% ish keyboard amongst other interesting prototypes. Follow their blog for photos of the prototype PCB and plate
Adomax Solderless Infrared Switches
The title says it all. Adomax has created a switch that does not require any soldering of the switches to the PCB. The switches use an infrared sensor to detect whether the switch is depressed. This also allows for measuring how far the switches are pressed. Infrared also allows for a faster response time, but whether this is noticeable remains to be seen. Analog switches whilst not useful for traditional typing could have other uses. The stem looks to be Cherry MX stem compatible and diffuses backlighting much like the Romer G switch created by Logitech.
New UK Vendor UK Keycaps
Find them at http://ukkeycaps.bigcartel.com/. Although they don’t have the largest inventory at the moment, another retailer in the UK is welcome. Currently they have a limited selection of keycaps, o-rings, 60% cases and ring keycap pullers.
The Super Novatouch by Matt3o and Massdrop
Massdrop, Cooler Master, Vortex and Matt3o have all come together to create a ‘super’ edition of the novatouch. It is super because it comes with thick PBT keycaps produced by Vortex and Designed by Matt3o, all for $199 + shipping. This is something that people have wanted as soon as the novatouch went on sale. The major issue people seem to have with the base novatouch is the low quality keycaps. I think the set designed by Matt3o is incredibly nice and is another great design in his lineup. Everything else is the same novatouch. It is also available without keycaps for $130 + shipping. As well as this being a collaboration between major companies, I find it interesting that Vortex is the company producing the Matt3o’s set. I’m not sure how much this was down to whom, but this could indicate Vortex being more open to creating community designed sets in the future. The drop is limited to 500 units, but I have to say there does not seem like a huge amount of interest.
Find it on massdrop here
Hemingwrite is Now Freewrite
For those not familiar with the product the ‘Freewrite’ is a new-age typewriter that is a mechanical keyboard with an e-ink screen. This is a simplification of the project but this is the main idea. I am very interested to see how it works and if it lives up to what was boasted in the kickstarter. From the latest updates on the kickstarter it seems to be entering the production phase.
Find the website here
Board Makers A Keyboard Podcast by Jack Humbert and wildpanic
I just wanted to give this a bit more exposure as mechanical keyboard podcasts are very non existent at the moment. I’ve listened to it and I can say it is very enjoyable. Subscribe on itunes or follow their tumblr here.
Royal Kludge Doubleshots
Spotted by Ripster these look to be very nice thick doubleshots. Here is a Chinese article with more information. I was drawn to the colour that the underside of the keycaps and was then again turned off by the font used. They are currently only available on China but with massdrop being as enterprising as ever we might see them soon. One thing to note is the similarity to JT Keycaps. Particularly the stem design. Although it is now known whether they are the same manufacturer it could be possible.
Datamancer Keycaps on massdrop
On the higher end for novelty keycaps these are typewriter style keycaps. I have never typed on them but the unusual shape could make for some uncomfortable typing. Although I don’t like them, they are the more interesting sets available. There is really not much else like it.
Find them on massdrop here
Some new dyesubs by Leopold PBT with 1.5mm thickness. These look incredibly nice and the Leopold quality is generally praised. Keycaps are available with the option for English ansi and English ansi with Hangul. Again these are only available from Leopolds online store so you will need a Korean proxy.