Going back a few months (quite a few at this point) I managed to spill beer all over one of the nicer keyboard that I’ve got, a Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro S. As a result of this, some of the switches gummed up and the board became horrible to use, ultimately this event can probably be blamed for the influx of keyboards ever since.
The Hako Trues are a box style, tactile switch manufactured by Kaihua that have been designed to feel similar to 55g topre domes with the tactile bump being more subtle when compared to basically every other switch I’ve ever used. Personally, I can’t feel any tactility what so ever unless pressing the switch down very slowly. I’m hardly the lightest typist out there and, despite these switches discouraging you from bottoming out, I’ll almost always end up slamming down on the keys with almost every key stroke. Personally I feel that this is one of the reasons why I can’t feel the bump when pressing down so I’ve been trying to bottom out less while typing or gaming.
I have noticed a slight improvement when being careful to not bottom out but being the heavy handed brute that I am does mean that I’ve got to really focus on typing and as a result, my typing speed drops by quite a bit. I know that over time I’d be able to build this speed back up and I am working on doing so, but the change is rather weird at first. All in all I’m happy with the end result as it’s given me back one of my personal favourite keyboards in my small collection. At some point in the future I’ll post an update to this with my thought after a substantial amount of time has passed. As I’ve not had the change to compare the Hako Trues directly to a 55g Topre keyboard I’ll never know how well these switches work as imitation Topre until I do get something with 55g domes.
In the future I do plan on getting a Happy Hacking Keyboard 2 and once I have one, I’ll definitely be comparing the Topre Domes to the Hako Trues.
Recently I’ve had my interest into smaller sized keyboards peak. This first started when I got my hands on a Gherkin kit and used it for a while before changing back to a TKL keyboard. The reason I changed back was due to the 30% being too small to be practical. I found trying to remember the different layers a bit to awkward to get used to and not having all the modifiers easily accessible made typing anything longer than about 3 sentences a pain in the backside.
Because of this, the newest addition to my collection has 19 more keys but still takes up less room than a large chocolate bar on my desk. The Magicforce 49. A 40% keyboard by Qisan.
Instead of beating round the bush I’m going to just point out the one issue that I’ve got with this keyboard. I hate that it’s non reprogram-able and because of that, I hate the layout this keyboard has. It uses a combination of a function layer and the shift key to access all the needed keys that a 40% board would normally have. However, other 40% boards that are out there (the Planck is the main one I’m thinking of) use multiple layers rather than having to hold 2 keys at once to access something.
Because of this, using the Magicforce 49 to do more than play games gets rather awkward rather fast. While this could be me not being used to using the keyboard it does seem like a bit of a blunder to have something that small and not add the option to reprogram the layout. Getting past the layout issues however, the Magicforce 49 works well enough as a little travel keyboard. Recently I’ve been going around helping people with their PCs and having something that feels damn good to type on help with the job at hand. The build of the board itself is solid. The LED lighting helps to navigate the weird layout with a few nice looking effects to boot, and generally if it had a simpler layout I’d probably have made it something I use rather regularly.
I just can’t get over the fact that something of this size and layout has no option to be reprogrammed. While I understand it is possible to do via software I can’t take that with me to someone else’s place and have it ready to go from the moment I plug it in. All in all a nice keyboard, just with one hell of an Achilles heel.
So after about an hour and a half I finished building my Gherkin kit. For those of you who don’t know, a Gherkin kit is a 30/35% Ortholinear kit that you can use to build your own keyboard.
When I first posted about getting hold of a kit I also mentioned that I’d make a guide for building said kit as I was unable to find a perfect guide on building a Gherkin, however while I was building said keyboard I didn’t take as many pictures as I’d have liked and don’t have the resources to make a tutorial that flows well. The video I used as a rough guide was an archived live stream from the channel The Board Podcast. On the same channel I used a guide for flashing the Pro-Micro that is installed with the Gherkin to actually turn it into a usable keyboard.
If anyone gets there hands on one of these kits and would like some help feel free to get in touch and I’ll do my best to help out. Below I’ll add the rest of the pictures from while I was building.
So there is a mechanical keyboard kit out there called a Gherkin. This is a 30/35% keyboard that is nothing but the standard QWERTY layout with 4 keys extra. I’m going to be building one (once my kit arrives) and as I can’t find a really decent guide, I plan on making one and posting my progress here. Hopefully I don’t completely ruin everything and make myself look like a smeghead in the process…