I’m wanting to start on my 2nd “end game” keyboard. I’m happy with the Tenkeyless keyboard that I’ve got now, but I still think it’s a little too big. Time to try a 60% keyboard.

At the moment I’ve not got a keyboard with linear switches that I’m happy with. I’ve got a Cooler Master QuickFire TK Stealth with Cherry MX Reds but the reds feel a bit scratchy and the size is a little to big for what I want. Because of this, I’m going to try out some of the Tealios from ZealPC.

From what I’ve experienced, they’re the smoothest switch out there with the next best thing being the Kailh BOX Heavy Dark Yellow or Gateron Yellows. Only down side that I can see is the massive price hike due to them being a “premium” switch…

The other parts are going to need to match the premium option that I’m using for the switches, so a 5 degree case, brass top plate and Zeal60 PCB seem fitting for my end game 60%. Hopefully I can get them soon!

My 5 Degree case sat on my bed.
My 5 Degree case sat on my bed.

Magicforce 49

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.

Mine came with Gateron Green Switches. A Clicky, heavy switch.
Mine came with Gateron Green Switches. A Clicky, heavy switch.

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.

I got mine from Massdrop. Here’s a link to the drop if you’re interested.