Mechanical switch keyboards: Worth it?


Aren’t you the guy who pays $40 for a keycap???


Not sure what you mean. The Esc key is on the left like a normal keyboard.

I have only used the software once on my MacBook. I changed to a Mac layout, hit download, and haven’t had to fiddle with it since. There’s a pretty unique feature with the right side Shift, Fn1, Fn2, and CTRL. When I tap them, if I immediately tap them again, they act as arrow keys.

I banged out about 1,500 words and I like the feel of the keyboard a great deal. I normally like clicky blues, like on my Das Keyboard, but the gateron browns have a weirdly satisfying ‘clack’ to them.


The HHK keyboard puts the Control key where the caps lock key is usually. I am not a fan, since I like my esc key to override the caps lock key and the ctrl key to remain in it’s normal spot. See: vim vs emacs.

My question about the software was if it stored the key layout on the keyboard’s firmware or if it modified the OS or just stayed resident in memory. I would love to be able to modify the keyboard directly to convert the Caps->Esc, instead of having to modify each OS installation.


Oh! I see what you’re saying about the HHKB. I also don’t know if I’d like the placement of the backspace key where the \ should be. I think that would take a lot of getting used too.

Here’s a screen capture of the software. Once you assign keys you download them to the keyboard via USB. Same with the lights if you want to make a crazy RGB scheme. Personally, I like having the lights, but I leave them as one bright color instead of a pattern. Hope this helps. If you’re interested in the KB, they are doing a 15% discount in a thread on Reddit. I can dig it up. I had never even heard of this KB until a few days ago, and the 15% discount on Amazon swayed me.


That sounds promising, the test would be if you made a change can you just plug it into another device and have it work without fiddling with software.

Also see the keyboard supports bluetooth, when I checked out the HHK and equivalents years ago they didn’t have BT yet, which is why I never bought one. I see they all have it now it looks like.


It works because I used the keyboard with my iPad Pro last night and it remembered my Mac key settings in Scrivener.


Ah nice, that’s what I was hoping for. Pretty impressive little keyboard for the price.


Yeah I did, and it is the one I’m using as my avatar here. And it’s why the HHKB is ok, price-wise, in comparison. But I get it that not many thinks the same and will see HHKB towards the higher end.


Just teasing you. If you think it’s overpriced…


We are blinded by our hobbies/poisons :)




Speaking of being blinded by our hobbies. I’m currently typing on a brand new Realforce 87UW Topre keyboard. It’s nice but ungodly expensive. I went with the 55g instead of the variable.


Nice! I have the Black one and even then, I’ll tell you HHKB feels and sounds completely different even though both are Topre switches, primarily due to the switches being installed onto the case.


Different in a good or bad way? The Topre switches feel exceptional but I feel like they may need a little break in.


I say it is different in a better way. The HHKB is addictive once you start using it because of the feel and the thock thocking sound it made as you type. You just can’t get enough of it and when you changed to another keyboard, your mind wanders back to it. It’s unreal. The only thing I dislike about it is it’s lack of arrow clusters, which made it not as useful at work when I do lots of spreadsheets.

Edit: the switch is also lighter compare to the Realforce, 45g vs 55g, so if you do tons of typing, your fingers will not be taxed as much. The keyboard is also very light and some people complain that it slid easily on a smooth surface but I didn’t find that to be a problem. In fact, it’s very lightweight is what I like so I can move the keyboard easily about to adjust to the way I sit/my hands are placed. I haven’t tried the Bluetooth version so I couldn’t attest to the battery life.


Verdict so far on these new Cherry Silver switches (they’re reds, but with a shorter throw) is very good. Just picked up a Corsair K70 Rapidfire (apparently Corsair has the exclusive on these switches, for now at least) and it’s delightful.

Dunno what the real-world difference is between these and reds, but either way I’m a big fan of this thing already.


I need a new keyboard, my old K95 cherry red broke. The cable in the back wore out and while I took it apart to fix it the retaining bits were all plastic, in stark contrast to everything else being metal. I have another keyboard, the K70 blue I am using and like it but I don’t want to get another corsair. I do like most everything else about the corsairs except they all randomly crap out when waking my PC from sleep. If I use that keyboard to wake the PC I have to re-plug them everytime. So I use the mouse, but that’s annoying if I forget and hit the spacebar.

So, new keyboard. Thinking reds because as it turns out I don’t like gaming on my blue. Didn’t think it would be an issue for me but apparently it is.

I want in order of priority with only the first being a must…

  • A full size 105 bog standard layout keyboard with F keys.
  • Cherry Red switches
  • Ability to remap the keyboard permanently so the caps lock key is esc either by dip switches or firmware
  • Analog dial/wheel volume control
  • Would like wireless but didn’t see any with practical battery life.
  • Detachable cable in the back

Don’t care about lights. The WASD would be close to perfect but it’s not in stock and doesn’t have analog volume or Reds. If it wasn’t for the above sleep/wake issue I would probably just cave and get another Corsair but I am done trouble shooting that thing. Both the K95 and K70 do it.


DasKeyboard maybe?


Last time I checked Das Keyboard out I wasn’t terribly impressed but the new models look very nice. I especially like the layout with the volume wheel, that’s pretty much what I want.

But no cherry red switches. Bah. Will keep that Pro 4 in mind though, maybe with browns. But those are basically blues but quieter as I understand it. Very nice looking keyboard.


I tried a keyboard with blues once and it wasn’t the noise that got me but the fact that it made my (apparently wimpy) hands hurt from the effort. I don’t remember the old Model M’s buckling springs being that bad.