Worst-title 2: This is one cool keyboard that I didn’t know I needed
Every once-a-once, dear worst-reader, whether in a computer section of a retailer or fiddling around at an Apple Store, I always give keyboards a test. The thing is, as a MacBook user for the past (going on) twenty years, I’ve never really liked the keyboards. And even though there’s been a lot of complaining about the 2015-2017 12” MacBook’s butterly keyboard, I’ve actually taken a liking to it compared to their chiclet keyboards. That worst-said, over the past few years when trying out all these fancy gamer keyboards, which are nothing but copies of keyboards from the IBM PC days (1980s), I couldn’t help but think these things are more for nine1 finger typers. And so. I’m there. I need me some new keyboard.
When my MacBook is in clamshell mode I always use an Apple wireless aluminium keyboard that dates back to 2010. Yeah. In fact. When I bought my 2017 12” Macbook I also took in my trusty albeit broken keyboard hoping they’d repair it. And get this. After I paid for the MacBook, I’m sure, the Apple Store just gave me a new aluminium wireless keyboard. Now. They didn’t give me the newer magic keyboard. Of course not. But they had an actual new-old aluminium keyboard and they didn’t even charge me for it. Ain’t that cool.
New-old keyboards betold
I broke down the other day after visiting with my son who just bought a new gamer keyboard. After I finished fiddling with it–where he always admires his old man’s nine finger typing skills–it didn’t take long before I knew what was to be done. And so. When I got home I started doing some research.
Which of these new, fancy, higher tech copies of 1980s keyboards should I get? Keep in mind. I’ll rarely refer to these things as mechanical keyboards. They are NOT mechanical in the least. If you notice in the pic above, I’m still an avid worst-typewriter. Now that’s where you’ll find mechanics in a keyboard. Moving on.
Long worst-review almost short
I decided for the Keychron K2 version 2 bluetooth and RGB keyboard with the aluminum bezel. Since it was also on sale I kinda new the stars were aligned. As soon as I hit the buy button I continued watching reviews on the youtubes and blogs to see what I’ve gotten myself in. Luckily, unlike many other tech purchases I make, the reviews about this keyboard didn’t make me regret my choice. The only problem? I got a delay message from you-know-who online distributor which meant it took almost a full week for it to arrive. You know, a full week after we pay that annual fee that’s supposed to give us two-day shipping. Sarcasm off.
Brown, Red, Blue
This keyboard is much heavier than I expected. I suppose that has something to do with the aluminium bezel. As far as the design and styling, I like the contrasting grey keys and the orange accentuated ESC and RGB lighting key. I’ve only begun to understand the meaning between red, blue and brown key mechanisms so the jury’s still out on that. I have the brown mechanisms. I think my son’s keyboard is red. If the brown mechanism is supposed to be between the red and blue in loudness and tactile feel, I’m not sorry with my choice. I don’t need anything louder–but a bit more key resistance would be welcome. Then again. Beggars can’t choosey, eh. For whatever reason the red key device was only available in the larger (with number keys) keyboard and was significantly more expensive.
I’ve been worst-typing with it for about three days now and it’s gonna take some getting used to, which should be expected after typing for the past (almost) twenty years with krappy chiclet keyboards. But my first impression is positive. Even though I’m still not quite sure what the RGB backlighting is all about, I’ll probably only use white light when I need it in the evenings. BTW. This is the first external keyboard I’ve owned with backlighting, so that’s cool. I guess I can see the lure of the fancy lighting for young folk. Then again. Keychron does market this little keyboard to gamers, which, even as a non-gamer, doesn’t make much sense with its compactness. Don’t gamers want more room? ￼But I’m just gonna let that sit for a while till I figure out more ins and outs.
I was a little surprised how large and bulky it is compared to my aging Apple keyboard. In fact, directly compared, its size is not insubstantial. It’s at least, I’m guessing, two and a half times higher and, as I already mentioned, it’s waaaaay heavier. When typing intensely on the Apple keyboard I would often have to adjust its position as it moved around with my finger hacking. The Keychron doesn’t move at all. It’s more planted on my desktop and its rigidity makes typing more precise. In fact, I would compare it to how the rigidity of a car or motorcycle chassis (without getting into suspension) determines how well it handles on the road. That’s cool, right.
One of the issues I was concerned about is bluetooth. Although I’m a bluetooth fan, for as long as bluetooth has been around, I’m kinda surprised that it doesn’t do more. You know. Like polish my toenails or just work. Luckily I’ve had no issues, except one. The keyboard immediately connected to my Mac and I guess it’s polishing its toenails. What more could you ask for, right. There is a lag between the keyboard waking up (after sleep mode) and then reconnecting. This takes a few seconds–where the Mac keyboard had zero lag. The good news is, once the keyboard wakes up, the number 1, 2 or 3 key lights up in blue. This lets you know which of three bluetooth devices is connected. Yeah. That’s worth a few second wait.
Macintosh & Linux
Obviously I bought the Mac version of this keyboard. It has a sliding button on the left side that allows you to switch to Windows. It also includes a bunch of spare keys to replace the Mac keys. What would have been really cool is having spare keys for Linux. I think Keychron is working on that. As of the writing of this worst-review, and I’ve not yet connected it, but I also use a Raspberry Pi 4 (see pic above) for $hits & giggles. I’m looking forward to just hitting a button and connecting to my Pi. Previously, I would have to disconnect my Mac keyboard and then reconnect it to the Pi. Had to do the same thing when reconnecting to my Mac. Yeah. That was no fun. Oh. And before I forget. This Keychron K2 has a few more keys than the Apple keyboard. I can now finally enjoy using the page-up, page-down, home and end keys. Heck. It even has a dedicated del (delete) key. Do you have any idear, dear worst-reader, how long it might take me to get used to NOT using the option back-space key for delete, i.e. the standard key combination I’ve been using on the Mac keyboard layout for all these years?
Is this keyboard a keeper? Yea. I guess it is. Well. I think it is as long as the battery life lasts, the keys don’t corrode and it doesn’t stop cleaning my toenails. At the least, if it fails or I find fault in it, I will most likely upgrade to another Keychron. I’m sold on these new fangled keyboards, that’s for sure. Is it worth the price I paid considering what a new Apple magic keyboard costs? A new Apple magic keyboard is but another chiclet keyboard, and it costs quite a bit more. Since the wireless/bluetooth seems to work reliably and the key feel is a pleasure to type on and and and… It has a delete key!
All in all, let’s see how it goes.
Even if I don’t end up keeping this keyboard, I don’t think I’ll give up on Keychron. The K2 V2 is already an out-of-date model (hence the sale price) and what I’ve seen of newer models there’s been a whole lot of improvement. I’m sold.
- Nine finger typers are those who learned to type with every finger except the left thumb. ↩︎