My first mechanical keyboard

My first mechanical keyboard. @macsparky planted this seed in my head when he first talked about the Keychron K1 last year. Since than, there is a v4 out which appeared to be heaps better.

For many many years, my only keyboard has been the Apple magic keyboard.

For more than a month now, I have been using the Keychron K1 v4 and its been a joy. I use it with my Mac and iPad Pro. It’s already saved me from selling my kidney to get the magic keyboard for my iPad Pro.

I wrote about it here:

Drop images of your mechanical keyboards here as well. Will be cool to check it out.

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Great write up, and I agree with you assessment that the Keychron K2 is too high – I have one, and while it is better for long-form typing, I do feel it sits up too high for day-to-day keyboard tasks.

But ultimately why I returned to an older wireless mac keyboard was pairing issues with the K2: it would work fine for awhile, but the keyboard could never be depended to work from the log in screen after a boot. Since I had to keep the old mac keyboard around anyway, which just worked, I found myself reaching for the Keychron K2 less.

Perhaps the lower-profile K1 would be a better fit. I do like the idea of a mechanical keyboard very much; but even intermittent bluetooth issues are not worth it.

I have heard that the Keychron K2 was too high to be comfortable to type on without a significant wrist wrest. I had one in my cart at one point but, then I saw that Das Keyboard had education discounts and purchased a Das Keyboard 4 pro for Mac. I really like it but, it is big. I wrote about it here.

I recently purchased an HHKB Hybrid and I think I may have found the correct size for me. The HHKB is a 60% board and I love it. It took a little while to get used to the layout but, I am not sure I will try any other layout from this point forward. I love the Topre switches that the HHKB has. The HHKB Pro Hybrid has bluetooth and it works very well. I have had no issues with the connection. That said, you may have to sell two kidneys to get it. I received mine as a present.

I enjoyed your review. I too got sucked into the mechanical keyboard subreddit.

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@Brad That keyboard of yours is very desirable. And you are right, I do not have enough kidneys to get one for myself. The height will bother me so I will have to pass.

I also read your review. Nice. Perhaps, you can also review the HHKB. I would be interested in that.

However, I will kindly request you to please pass on my details to the person who gifted you that keyboard. Just incase, they also feel like giving another gift, I am right here :slight_smile:

@Timo the K1 v4 has bluetooth 5 and I have had no issues with my 2016 MacBook and my 2018 iPad Pro. Even switching devices is very quick.

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A review of the HHKB is in the works! I’ll let my wife know you want one. :slight_smile: I will report back when I have time to finish it.

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HHKB is a great portable keyboard but for me, the missing arrow keys are a big deterrent. I do a lot of Excel in my day job and having arrow keys are really convenient to update each cell or move about the worksheet. The HHKB failed me there. I want to like it, but it’s just not that useful for work.

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It takes some time to get used to but, I use the arrow keys all day long for work (data work in SPSS, R, and Excel) to and it does not bother me. It did at first but now, it is just second nature. That said, I can see how it is not for everyone. That’s the beauty of the mechanical keyboard world; there’s a keyboard for everyone.

What are you currently using?

I’m currently using a Matias keyboard just because I want to have the feel of the old Apple Extended Keyboard. Matias uses alps switches which were in Apple keyboard before.

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IMHO good macOS citizens should support the emacs key bindings for basic cursor motion. Learning them may help with the missing arrow keys, but I suspect that Excel may not support them.

Up = CTRL-P
Down = CTRL-N
Left = CTRL-B
Right = CTRL-F
Beginning of line = CTRL-A
End of Line = CTRL-E

These help but they aren’t supported everywhere, even in the OS (i.e. some popup menus).

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I was not aware of most of these. Thanks! To be clear, the HHKB has arrow keys but, they are built in under a function layer. So, you just need to press the function key and the keys assigned to arrows. At first, this caused a huge slow down in my ability to touch type. But, now, it is just as easy as having dedicated arrow keys. Also, this version of the HHKB has key mapping software so you can change the keys to be whatever you like (although I have not changed anything).

@Brad, You keep finding ways to post pictures of your keyboard lol and I get sucked into considering getting my own :frowning:

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Ha! I can’t help it. I started typing all the the letters corresponding to the number keys and I was like a quick picture and markup is better.

I keep waiting for others to post pictures. I love seeing everyone’s setup!

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image

I have a Logitech G613. I can use Bluetooth on my work PC and wireless on my Mac to switch back and forth. I’m not a gamer but I like the mechanical feel, the G series is their gaming line. I wouldn’t want the keys to be any louder but they do not bother me.

@Brad I’m pretty impressed that you retrained your brain to run the arrow keys through the function layer.

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I like your setup. I have seen that keyboard but haven’t tried it. I like that the switches in it are tactile and that it is Bluetooth. The switch sound on Logitech’s website sound similar to an MX Brown or MX Blue. My Das Keyboard has MX Blues and it is loud but, I like it. I also like that it has dedicated media keys. It looks nice!

Retraining my muscle memory was no easy feat! It took about 2 months before there was zero lag in my finger placement. But, I love the layout now and would not go back (i.e., the backspace is placed lower and the control key is swapped with caps lock).

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IMG_3184

I have a custom-built Varmilo VA87M with Cherry MX Browns. Got it based on Wirecutter’s recommendation. Awesome keyboard.

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I looked at that too also based on Wirecutter. I am glad to hear a positive review. I like the color way of the key caps!

You guys. I had never considered a mechanical keyboard before reading about them here. After a bit more ‘research’ I have just ordered the Keychron K2 rev 2, and because of the ‘height issue’ you all mention I just had to get that lovely $25 piece of wood to go with it.

To think a few days ago I had never heard of PBT keycaps or any kind of keycaps for that matter.

If it doesn’t work for me I can always sit and drool over it. It looks gorgeous (to me) :laughing:

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May I get a quick overview as to why mechanical keyboards are so popular?

I come from the dark ages of computing, when mechanical keyboards were not optional but mandatory; I even owned a classic Cherry keyboard on my PC, which I loved… at the time because it was softer and made less noise than the usual ones.

But now I sincerely don’t understand the hype.

  • Silent keyboards seem such an upgrade (I’ve had enough of the typewriter CLAC CLAC in my teenage years)
  • Very low-profile keyboards for minimum wrist elevation seem such an upgrade

(My favorite keyboard feel was the butterfly keyboard, if only it had been reliable)

By all accounts, mechanical keyboards look anachronistic to me and I type all day for a living. What am I missing?

I was just like you. Then I got sucked down the rabbit hole. It is deep. I think you will really like the K2. Many people love it. Welcome to the club! Post some pictures here when you get it. I would love to see it.

I get it. I also used to feel the same way. I got interested in Mechanical Keyboards when @imyke noted that he bought one on a relay show and then I saw the Keychron K2 on MKBHD’s studio tour video. That led me to do some searching on why anyone would want what I considered to be an old and loud keyboard. In short, it is preference. If you love what you are typing on, stick with it. But, there is something unique about typing on switches that have key travel and an a tactile bump to let you know that the key has actuated. These things sound small but, when you type all day, the experience is much better in my opinion. Apple has done a great job making keyboards fit in smaller and smaller spaces. But, this also means that some things are compromised. You can customize the switches to your preference to make typing enjoyable. I used to just type because I had to. Now, I find it enjoyable (kind of like when I got my first Jeep Wrangler and drove with the top down). Some will tell you that because of the tactility and key feel, you will improve your typing speed (I did) but, I have not seen data supporting this view.

In the end, I believe it makes the typing experience better. We spend all day at our keyboards. Why not make that experience more enjoyable? But, it is all about preference. Here is a brief video explaining why some people use mechanical keyboards.

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