Author Topic: duckyPad macropad review  (Read 651 times)

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Offline Fallen_Angel72

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duckyPad macropad review
« on: Wed, 29 September 2021, 17:51:49 »
Many of us have likely seen Chyrosran22's video on the duckyPad, I recommend it:

Some context: I developed an interest in macropads after having used a Logitech mouse for several years, which has several programmable buttons. I found just having "copy" and "paste" buttons on a mouse improved my workflow quite a lot, so I wanted to explore the concept of macros a bit further.

Build quality: Not bad at all. I have the acrylic version (there's an aluminum option as well). One downside of the acrylic is that it's a bit flexible. This has not been an issue during actual use, but I was a little confused during the assembly process, as the top-plate tended to flex downward at the edges when I was inserting switches, meaning that it had a warped profile when I first assembled it. This happened because by design, there is insufficient space beneath the plate to fully insert the switch pegs into the hot-swap sockets, i.e. if you fully press the switches down into the hot-swap sockets, the acrylic plate will deform - this is fixed by gently pulling each switch upward, until the plate becomes flat again (important: I am using Kailh Box switches, and have not tested other types of switches). Regardless, the switches are secure in the plate, and even though they are not 100% seated to the PCB, I have had absolutely no problems with switches becoming loose, and they have been registering flawlessly.  It was only a minor inconvenience during assembly. It is possible that other switch types will seat fully, but regardless, it's not necessary (you can't even tell the gap is there during use).

Positives: It works extremely well, the software was easy to learn & start using, and the RGB is useful for color-coding individual keys or blocks of keys. The little display allows me to swap between 3 different profiles (those are just the ones I use, it can support more) without getting confused, and largely eliminates the need for physical stickers on the keys (which would become quite crowded with secondary & tertiary legends, using multiple profiles like this). Of note: I did not have to go through Chyro's ordeal in order to program the pad. For me, using Windows 10, I have been able to fully program the device via USB-C; never once have I needed to remove the micro-SD from the pad in order to program it.

Negatives: The keys don't light up perfectly (which isn't a surprise); I have attached an image which I believe shows this - for example, if you look at the key directly in the center (yellow light), you may see how only the upper half of the keycap is lit up, and some blue light has bled in from the key below, but I've quickly gotten used to this (you can always turn the RGB off if you prefer). Additionally, I've found that I need to use the darker color options for them to show up properly (that yellow key is actually supposed to be orange). It may be important to note that I'm using Kailh Box switches with the keycaps that are an option when purchasing the device. Notice also how the keys are arranged like a "tall rectangle," while the legends on the display are more like a "wide rectangle." This can make it a little tricky to visualize which legend belongs to which key, it just doesn't line up visually, however this has gotten easier with practice. In the image below, you may notice that I stuck some translucent amber tape over the top row on the display, which has aided me in visually distinguishing between the selected profile & the legends themselves. Please note the display itself is only black & white, that retro yellow text is a result of this "tape mod."

Conclusions: The duckyPad has proven remarkably useful to me; with a bit of learning, I have gotten it to do just about everything I want from it, and it's surprisingly easy to quickly open the software and tweak things. It is not perfect, but came much closer to perfection than I had anticipated, and I honestly have no problems with it other than the minor points described above. I cannot say how this would work for modern gaming (I use the pad for productivity purposes), but I suspect it would do just fine (one of the pre-loaded profiles is actually a "WASD" profile). I look forward to any future improvements on the design; this thing has a lot of potential.
I am not an experienced tech reviewer, but let me know if you have any questions.

P.S. In case anyone is curious, the keyboard used as a backdrop in the photo is my stock Dell at101w.

Offline Fallen_Angel72

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Re: duckyPad macropad review
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 29 September 2021, 17:53:30 »
By the way, the photo doesn't do the RGB justice, the colors are slightly more vibrant & distinct than they appear in the photo.

Best