Community

Geekhack

Geekhack is back with new hosting and all seems good. The DOS ended and not a lot was said.
With the return of Geekhack, a long time moderator and site admin Mkawa has stepped down from those roles.

Board Makers

For those who don’t know this is a mechanical keyboard podcast This continues to be a very good podcast that I very much enjoy. For anyone in the mechanical keyboard hobby, this podcast will give you some insight and information into the whole keyboard process.
I was most excited for the Atomic PCB’s which are getting closer. There is a lot of shipping around involved but the coming weeks could be interesting for the Atomic.

Ripster

Today I was surprised with a new wealth of ripster posts. This all happened very quickly today but I am happy to see ripsters guides making a comeback.

With the quiet announcement/discovery of the QuickFire Rapid XTi Ripster has a sample and has posted a gallery.
https://redd.it/3brz70
From the looks of things this looks to be a nice stock keyboard.

Keyboards

The Diverge II

Blahlicus is back with the second revision of the ErgoDox alternative the Diverge II. This is really a great project as it is making split keyboards more accessible than the ErgoDox did. It is cheaper and only uses 1u caps. You can preorder it with a surprising amount of custom options. You can choose the switches how assembled you want it, the colour of the case and the keycaps. Blahlicus is another rare member of the community who is offering something quite special.

The Last KBT Keyboards

I found this to be the most interesting and keyboard news this week as it is at least a new product. I believe this was teased a while back with the announcement of KBT making their own switches, and this is what they have done.

With two sources in Chinese I do not exactly feel informed on the specifics of the keyboard and the switches. The keyboard is called the ‘Next’ and features KBTs ‘Squirrel Axis Switches’. These switches both remind me of Gateron switches and project zealio at this point do not know if there is any connection.
The keyboard itself has 108 keys and blue led’s. The project page suggests something about the case being low profile and thin without being too heavy.

I also found it interesting that the project is being crowdfunded. The ‘kickstarter’ has rewards such as a big-ass enter key pillow and a keychain.

EliteKeyboards

The HHKB Pro 2 is $15 off at the moment. This is not the greatest deal, but if you are in America you wont find it much cheaper at a retail location.

Mechanicalkeyboards.com Stocking FC660C

This has been quite the hard keyboard to get hold of lately, and mk.com is making that easier. If I hadn’t a HHKB, I would be seriously tempted by this.

Signs of the New PMK

PMK have just put up the deep space DSA set up in their store for purchase. This is all part of them stocking popular GB’s of keycaps which are always in demand. I am interested to see how well this works. This could be very beneficial for PMK and I do hope it works out because the community can only benefit from this.

The Last Brobot V2 Auction

This is most definitely artisan territory, but this is a limited engagement. A Topre and an MX brobot are up for auction on [CTRL]ALT. These are aluminium CNC milled brobots which will not go cheap. Although you only have a day, this will quickly go out of many peoples price range.

Hotkeys Sale

Just a heads up a sale is happening tomorrow on the 8th of July. This is featuring the new designs that were shown a while back in his design thread on geekhack. The best pictures are on his instagram

For those who want to be notified of new posts I have created a mailing list. Join it here


Typed on Cherry MX 6.0

The Cherry Mx 6.0

The Cherry MX 6.0 is full-size backlit keyboard with media and function keys. The main selling point of this keyboard is the RealKey technology, which is supposed to reduce the latency of key presses to 01.00 ms. I will talk about this later.

What’s in the box?

I posted some unboxing photos of the keyboard earlier in the week to show off how nice the packaging was. What you get in the box is the keyboard and a wrist rest. Besides other packaging and a manual, you will not get anything else. An interesting thing about this keyboard is that it does not have a detachable cable. This is interesting as it appears to look like a detachable cable. I can almost assure you that it is not detachable, but even now after giving it some considerable force it still looks although it is detachable.
The packaging deserves its own section because of how nice it was. It’s a box within a box and then a keyboard in a sock. Everything is red and black which is in keeping with the colours on the keyboard. And although the packaging is trivial in most respects it adds to the whole package of the keyboard.

Unboxing Album

What does this keyboard have?

  • Backlighting
  • Backlighting controls
  • Media keys for play/pause, next and previous
  • Volume Controls
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • 6.5 foot cable
  • Fn lock
  • Win lock
  • Feet to tilt the keyboard

Build Quality

This keyboard is incredibly solid. This keyboard comes with an aluminium case with an almost half sanded finish. It is not as rough as some other aluminium cases and feels rather nice. Although this is nice, the shape of the actual case is a little odd. The sides for example are tapered outwards and not all on the same level. I would prefer if the whole case was the same as the front, a flat face that is at a slight angle. Another point to note is that it is not all aluminium case. The only aluminium part is the top part. If you turn the keyboard over, you will see the plastic. The aluminium only covers the top. I would have preferred a complete aluminium case which would have given this even more weight. As a full-size keyboard I do not see it as needing to be light so it can be easily carried.
The machining of the aluminium is fine and I cannot see any imperfections. One example of the quality is the Cherry logo on the front. As a Cherry keyboard, I think the overall quality is one of this keyboards strengths.
cherry logo on front The combination of the plate and the aluminium case make this a very good platform for reds. I do not feel any switch ping and I think this could be a very good red experience. Maybe Cherry knows how to get the best out of their own switches, as I think the typing experience on these switches is exquisite.

The model I have uses Cherry red switches that are no different from any other. They are mounted upside down in an aluminium plate that is painted black. The switches are only upside down to have the LED at the top. This gives it better coverage to fully illuminate the main legend. The backlighting is even and can go very bright, certainly enough to illuminate the whole keyboard.

Another important part of this keyboard is the wrist rest. It is detachable and locks to the front with a magnet. This is my least favourite part of the keyboard. Although I really like the design of the wrist rest, It does not work as well as I would have liked. What I don’t like is how much it is able to move. With normal usage you will notice it has a slight wobble and will move down slightly. If you press down on the wrist rest, you will hear the magnet disconnecting.
This keyboard also features a material that attracts more dust and dirt than piano black. If you get anything on the wrist rest it will stick and be very hard to get off. Anything like dust and glitter will be the bane of your existence if it gets anywhere near your wrist rest. Again I will mention how nice it looks although they seem to have compromised the usability for how it looks. It also features a nice aluminium Cherry logo at the bottom.
Where the wrist rest connects to the keyboard, I am noticing something black rubbing off onto the aluminium case. I think it is just plastic rubbing into the case. This can be seen on either side of the magnet slot. blackrub

On closer inspection, when the LED’s are active a faint buzzing can be heard when close to the keyboard.

The keyboard has feet on the back which give you the option to tilt the keyboard forward. Unusually the feet fold the opposite way to anything I have seen before. They fold outwards from the middle facing either side of the board.

Regarding the cable, it is wrapped similar to a pexon cable just not as colourful. This is nice and in keeping with the quality of the board. For the price I think this should be expected.

Keycaps

My disappointment is more surrounding the keycaps than anything else. They are fine not really any better. Reasonably thick, they are made to accommodate the illumination of the legends. This is where they fall short. After a couple of hours of typing on them, I think the feel degrades significantly. At the beginning they feel smooth but not like worn down ABS. After a while they feel sticky and unpleasant. I think in some way this is a similar situation to the novatouch. Very nice keyboard with nice ideas but shipped with not so great keycaps.

Firmware

This keyboard does feature an Fn layer although it is slightly unexciting it does give you a couple of extra keys to play with. What you are given are backlighting controls in two different increments, volume controls and media keys. You also have access to a winlock-key.

The backlighting can be changed in either 1% increments or 10% and you are also given a key to turn it off and on. The 1% increments are very subtle and quite hard to notice. I almost didn’t think it was doing anything the first time I was using it. Although trivial, the on and off switch has a nice effect where the light fades out. Anything lower than 100% and you will not see the bottom legend on each keycap fully illuminated. Due to the LED positioning this will always happen.
From the gfy’s you can see the backlighting is all red apart from win Fn and Num. Fn is only blue when locked. The win key is unlocked when blue. Backspace also goes blue when on but I do not see this a lot.

Decreasing and Increasing by 10%

Decreasing by 1%

Backlight Off and On

win-lock

Fn Lock

The volume keys worked out of the box on windows 8.1 and are standard XFAudio keys that can be configured in Linux based operating systems and osx. This goes the same for the other media keys play, prev and next.

One key that slightly confuses me is the win-lock. I was not aware of win being a problem but if it is this key has you covered. Be warned, that it does not only disable the windows key. It also disables the following:

  • Windows key
  • Alt + Tab
  • Ctrl + Alt + Del

This lead so some frustrating moments where I could not find out why I could not use alt tab. Changing the state of the win-lock changes the colour of the win led from red to blue.
Full NKRO over usb has been implemented and I have not encountered any problems with this or any ghosting.

The Fn lock is a great idea and is very useful for someone who rarely uses the function keys. Holding control and pressing Fn will turn it on permanently. This is saved to the keyboard, much like the win-lock state and backlighting states.

RealKey Technology

I found this very hard to come to a conclusion on. How I am judging whether it is useful or not is if I can feel its effects, and I can conclude that I cannot. Whether the analogue signal path is actually in effect is irrelevant if I cannot tell the difference. I was prepared to be amazed but I can say with some certainly that I do not care for this new technology. Or it is just not useful. I ensured that I gave this some serious use and played games and did a lot of typeracer and could not feel anything in effect.

Conclusion

I can’t help but say this is a nice keyboard. The aluminium case always helps and the main aspect of a keyboard is typing, on this keyboard it is excellent. The wrist rest is nice but down to personal preference. Aesthetics wise I think the keyboard looks much nicer without the rest. Backlighting is nice but not useful or adding much to the experience, again this can be down to personal preference. To me backlighting is a bit useless, and in this keyboard I am not sure what the point is. One application for backlighting is typing in the dark, but this is only useful to those who do not touch type and in any case why are you learning to touch type in the dark. For gamers they don’t need to look at their keyboard let alone in the dark. For these reasons I will just categorise the backlighting for aesthetic purposes and it does look nice combined with the keycaps, even though I don’t like how the keycaps feel. The real feature of RealKey technology is marketing as I am not finding any difference. But then again this is a good standard to set. If the response time can be this low then why not do it. I think this is almost a great keyboard, more switch choices are needed, but I don’t really see anybody needing the RealKey technology.


Typed on Cherry MX 6.0

KatzenKinder

Only a small update but as a fan I like KatzenKinder information. From the ama on the /r/katzenkinder subreddit, there might possible be a sale around the beginning of August.

GirlDC Surfaces

After the banning debacle on geekhack it seems like GirlDC is expanding their opportunities and is somewhat active on /r/MK I don’t like the homer vader design but the keycaps are incredibly clean. The stormtroopers are much more to my liking however they are pricey. The stormtroopers cost $39 on techkeys. t

KappaKapps

At the end of last month KappaKapps teased their ‘Stark’ keycaps (not official name) that are a new design for a new line of keycaps.
Then they moved on to their summer sale. This featured some very nice discounts on their keycaps. Undead Clackin’ caps were 50% off at the beginning. For those who want some caps now, the July sale is currently running, as is the summer sale 2. The summer sale 2 is the ‘Ocean Beach Pack’ which includes the ‘Ocean White’ and ‘Seafoam White’. The July sale as you might expect is 3 Undead Clackin’s in red white and blue.

Flehrad

sakura Another new maker with some promising designs. Currently they have 3 designs the Critical 20, Samboo and Sakura. My favourite is the Sakura and I can’t quite say why. These are some nice designs and they seem well made. But I would agree that there is a definite over-spruing in making these caps.

fudorekz12/adamski07

This is a new capmaker with a prototype design. I like the direction they are going and will be watching them for the future. The cap looks especially good when backlit. backlit

zorberema_

Another upcoming maker. They have a concept that looks awesome and could make a great keycap. Expect some prototypes in the coming weeks. ;) the kinght

kudos_and_godspeed

Finally meowcaps are back and shipping. They also look incredible. These really do look good. t

On their website you can find a link to their mailing list, so I suggest if you are interested in future keycaps look there.

HiddenPower

With the previous sale being a success and caps showing up everywhere new designs have been shown. Two named designs; Otto and Ninja. They look very inline with the rest of their character designs. ninja

HfCx Handmade Backlit Keycaps

I was drawn to these as they are another type of artisan keycaps that are made in an entirely different way. The making process seems really interesting but I do not have backlit keyboards to take advantage of these kind of caps.

XX7 Artisan Groupbuy

The XX7 GB is underway and is very close to the MOQ. XX7 along with KappaKapps, they are producing the best 3d caps available.

vanpops

vader A simple show of ability but interesting to see what they are able to produce. All the caps pictured seem to be of great quality even if it is not an original sculpt or original design.

Brocaps

Finally the cosmic sale is here. I believe it started on the 1st but it is only around for 22 ish hours so get there quick. As we knew before this is the last sale for the Reaper V1. But what we didn’t know is it would be the last sale of the Brobot V2 as well. I found this more interesting as it is a much more prolific design. If you don’t get a Brobot V2 then they will become much harder to get after this sale. This sale does however contain many colour options.

Celestial PinkAstralInterstellar PinkInterstellar PurpleInterstellar BlueInterstellar GreenNebulusStar ClusterAndromeda SkysCosmic DuskCelestial Blue
Brobot V2xxxxxxxxxxx
Reaper V1xxxxxx
Broninxxxxx
Bronadsxxx
Stumpxxxx

Hotkeysproject

New sale is live and features some very appealing colour choices. Both MX and Topre caps are available. However, it does not feature any of the new designs that were shown during the month.

Binge

Binge’s latest sale is interesting as he is limiting the keycaps to a specific colour palette. This is something I have not seen done before and I thought to be interesting. The colours chosen are also quite interesting and I would like to see how they turn out. oclour

Clack Watch

Many clack sales in the past month. I find it interesting that all of a sudden clacks appear on ebay and are going for large amounts. It just seems to be accepted that now they will be sold for these prices so more are coming forward and putting them up for sale. Some of these are being sold for charity.

Clack Price
Mint Skull Topre $210
Candy Corn Skull Topre $225.50
Blood Splat MX $487.67
Drunken Skull Topre $490
Mr Friday Skull Topre €550
Salute Skull MX $910
Red Skull Topre $197.50
Blue Skull Topre $192.50
Pink Skull Topre $154.50

Typed on Cherry MX 6.0