And compact keyboards—which nearly match the size and layout of a laptop keyboard—take up less space on your desk. The Qisan 82-key Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is the 75% equivalent of the 68-key Magicforce, but it’s available with very few switch options and a blue-only backlight. We found these pairing instructions (PDF) to be a little clearer than those on the Obins website, but the process is still fairly straightforward. Kimber Streams is a senior staff writer and has been covering laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more for Wirecutter since 2014. The One 2 SF also supports macro recording, but you can’t record macros to the default profile.1 In our tests the keyboard worked well on Windows and Mac, though you have to swap the OS keys in macOS—there’s no DIP-switch function to swap them easily—and it comes with Windows keycaps instead of neutral OS ones. The Tab 75’s PBT keycaps are durable, but their flat DSA profile can take some getting used to. The Best Ducky Keyboards. It has equally excellent build quality and a similarly compact, minimalist tenkeyless design, and it comes in all the most popular switch types. The One 2 SF is a solid keyboard that provides a delightful typing experience, and it has clearly labeled, easy-to-access volume keys. If you spend most of your day typing or coding, a mechanical keyboard is a worthwhile upgrade over a cheaper, less comfortable keyboard. Many shine-through PBT keycaps have ugly fonts with lines through some legends (what’s printed on the keycap), which is a result of the way PBT keycaps are designed, with a cross of plastic bars under each keycap. If Cherry switches are regular butter, Topre switches are Kerrygold—smoother and richer. Ducky One 2 Mini Its aluminum backplate is solid and stylish, it stays put on a desk, and its open design looks nice. Mechanical Keyboard. The HHKB Pro 3 Classic is the same as the Pro 3 Hybrid but is not fully programmable and doesn’t support Bluetooth. A 2u key like the Backspace key is twice the size of those 1u keys. You can switch between Windows and Mac modes with Pn+Q and Pn+W, respectively. While testing for the 2019 update to this guide, I fell in love with a brand-new type of switch, and I now have plans to buy a ninth mechanical keyboard. As with the VA87M, the FC750R’s low-profile, mostly flat case is ideal for your wrists, but it does have feet in the back to raise that portion of the keyboard if you prefer. We recommend Cherry MX Brown switches because they offer a satisfying tactile bump without making too much noise for a shared space, but we like that the VA87M is also available with MX Clear, MX Blue, MX Black, MX Red, and even more options if you so desire. Like the Varmilo, this Leopold model has a removable Mini-USB cable and works on both Windows and Mac. It also lacks a warranty. If you just can’t get enough of that number pad, we recommend the Leopold FC900R. The One 2 SF is the Goldilocks keyboard—it doesn’t have too many or too few keys—and it feels great to type on. Any keyboard can work for any task—there’s not really any such thing as a special keyboard for typing, say, or a programming keyboard, or a gaming keyboard. And just like Ducky the Akko keyboads are known for crazy body-shell and keycap colours, cool backlighting patterns and and engravings and patterns on their keys. perform to a new standard with nothing holding you back. It has Gateron switches, its build quality doesn’t match the Vortex Tab 75’s, and its USB-C connection is inconveniently located on the left side of the keyboard. We’ll retest it if this changes with a firmware or software update. The Tab 75 can also connect via Bluetooth, and it’s the only one of our picks that comes with Mac-specific OS keycaps. But I’d personally order from MechanicalKeyboards.com for that retailer’s one-year warranty—which covers manufacturer defects—because we’ve had positive experiences with the customer service, and many companies based in China and Taiwan charge steep shipping costs for their own warranty service. Plus, all the keycaps have their functions labeled; the K2 looks less minimalist than the Tab 75 as a result, but it’s easier to remember what all the keys do. Unlike our other picks, the Alt is fully programmable—but doing so is tricky. The form factor calls for … We are also researching mechanical keyboards from Keychron to see how they stack up against our current picks. The FC750R’s closed layout means the keys are set deeper in the case rather than appearing to float on top as in the Varmilo’s open layout. Kimber Streams is a senior staff writer and has been covering laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more for Wirecutter since 2014. It’s great if you’re willing to tinker with Karabiner for macOS or AutoHotkey for Windows to add volume keys, but take a look at the tutorials for each program to see if that’s something you’re willing to do before you buy. As explained above, it’s possible, but confusing, to customize the One 2 SF. Mike Fahey, How To Pick The Right Mechanical Keyboard, Kotaku, February 5, 2018, Anson Wong, Tom Li, The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming, PC Gamer, April 6, 2019, Brendan W, Best mechanical keyboards 2019 guide, Go Mechanical Keyboard, June 10, 2018, John Burek, The Best Mechanical Keyboards for 2019, PCMag, March 19, 2019, Buying_Guide TKL, Cheap MKBs, July 12, 2019, Schmich, Programming Media Keys on the Ducky One 2 Skyline, GitHub, April 15, 2018, Weyman, Removing Cherry MX Keycaps, WASD Support, July 29, 2019. The Fujitsu HHKB Pro 3 Hybrid is a great Topre keyboard that’s fully programmable—and easy to program—and equipped with Bluetooth support. Like the One 2 SF, the Tab 75 comes with a removable USB-C cable and lacks cable-management channels on the underside of the case. (Good news, it can!) Hello everyone! Removable cable: A removable USB cable is preferable to a built-in one, because if the cable breaks it’s easier to replace just the cable rather than the whole keyboard. It comes with plain gray keycaps, and even though the online manual has instructions for controlling the RGB backlight, none of the models we’ve tested have offered a backlight. Most keyboards use Cherry or OEM profiles, where each row is a different height and each key is sculpted to cup your fingers. The Tab 75 has a full function row at the top but doesn’t take up more horizontal desk space. It also comes with a handy switch puller for changing out the hot-swappable switches, a sturdy metal keycap puller, and extra feet if you want to prop the keyboard at a steeper angle. Plus, the Alt is fully programmable and has hot-swappable switches, so you can try different switches without having to break out a soldering iron. The Razer BlackWidow Lite has a removable cable but also comes with cheap-feeling ABS keycaps. It offers a ton of switch options and colorful keycap sets to match your preference, and it comes with a removable Mini-USB cable and a wire keycap puller. At the back of the box, you won’t find any other information on the specifications except for the dimension, wei… The Anne Pro 2 is available with a bunch of different switches and can connect via USB-C or Bluetooth. Other keyboards offer onboard programming, where you press certain keys to record macros and customize backlighting. (As with our other picks, though, we recommend starting with Cherry MX Brown switches.). At around $170, it’s definitely not worth buying over our less expensive, higher-quality picks. Many of them involve buying a kit or all the components and then soldering and programming it yourself. The manual also details how to customize the RGB backlight, what the DIP switches do, and how to swap the functions of the Esc, Caps Lock, left Ctrl, left OS, left Alt, right Alt, and Fn keys; doing so is a bit tricky, but it does work as stated in the manual. The Magicforce is much more pleasant to type on than any other budget keyboard we’ve tested, thanks to its sturdy aluminum backplate and Cherry or Gateron switch options. For starters, it doesn’t come with a manual, and the manual on Vortex’s website (PDF) is difficult to decipher. Typing on the TKL02 felt like banging on a damp, hollow log covered in a blanket, and it looks like the greasy old keyboard from a public library in the ’90s. The tenkeyless VA87M has top-notch build quality and a tasteful, minimalist design. The FC900R has the same depth and height measurements as its tenkeyless counterpart, 5.51 inches and 1.3 inches respectively. Ducky Mechanical Keyboards and Accessories Ducky is a well respected brand in the Mechanical Keyboard industry and a leader in producing clean, simple, and … You only need the driver to program it with arduino. ALL. The Moonlight model we tested also came with two spare keycaps for Caps Lock and Scroll Lock with shine-through LED indicators. We tested the process on Windows, and it requires basic knowledge of how to navigate file structures in the terminal; we ran into an error because the config file needs to be in the same folder as the app (the directions weren’t explicit about this). The Ducky x Varmilo Miya Pro is noticeably wider than other 68% options, but it does have all ANSI-standard keycaps. The Ducky Shine line was a bit of a sleeper hit in the call for contenders thread. It’s by far the easiest 60% keyboard to program thanks to its straightforward, user-friendly software, which makes a huge difference on such a compact keyboard. If you’re willing to pay more for an even better typing experience and a keyboard that you can tinker with—but you don’t want to learn how to solder—get the Drop Alt. But the FC750R’s media keys aren’t labeled on the keycaps (or explained in the manual), so you’ll have to memorize them. Just like the Varmilo, the Leopold comes with PBT keycaps, which are higher quality and more durable than those of most mechanical keyboards. The Ctrl costs $200 and the barebones kits cost $150, but you have to buy your own switches and keycaps separately. It isn’t fully programmable and it is tricky to customize, but most people don’t need to mess with that. Recommend them. ) cable management still provides an enjoyable typing experience and ability! 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